Track By Track: Riley Pearce expands his sound on his latest EP Maybe I Can Sleep It Off

Melbourne-based alt-folk artist Riley Pearce has today released a new 6-track EP titled Maybe I Can Sleep It Off. The EP sees Pearce take a more of a band-like approach – with Pearce himself noting that it is quite a diversion from some of his previous releases.

“Maybe Dad’s messages of “needs more chorus” or “can the drums play from the start” are slowly infiltrating my subconscious,” reflects Pearce. “I really felt like my songwriting was in a good place for this EP, and coincidentally the running theme is my relationship with my songwriting”.

We are thrilled to have Riley Pearce share an exclusive track-by-track of the new EP to our readers. Give the EP a spin and read on as Pearce details each of the EP’s six tracks:

“Leap Year”

Being a musician has a lot of highs and lows – so much goes into every release it’s hard to detach yourself from how the songs perform once they’re set free. As much as I know it’s best to expect nothing – part of me really struggles with ignoring this and it can be quite deflating when a song doesn’t resonate or get the opportunities you think it would. I got really lucky with the first song I pushed hard, it achieved a level of success I never would have thought was possible. I was self-managed at the time and for whatever reason the hustle of pitching my own music and seeing things happen was addictive. I’ve since got a truly wonderful team surrounding me and am now way more focused on the artistic side of things and in a great place with my writing but the pressures to have a song perform as well as a previous one after so much hard work goes into it is ever growing. I hope to shed this one day and am probably on the path there but that’s where “Leap Year” stemmed from.

“Time’s Eyes”

A bit of a self-reassuring song. Whenever I’ve reached a hiccup stage of my career things always work out in the end and it’s the old ‘mountain out of a molehill’ situation that’s easier to see in hindsight. I’m so lucky to get to do what I do for a living that I needed this song to remind myself to enjoy the journey rather than focusing on the end result. When we recorded this track, Andy Lawson and I really tried to find that ‘sitting on the front porch’ vibe.


A refresh of an old song of mine I had shelved called “Nice Place to Start”. I recorded it a few years back but it didn’t feel right, it felt like somebody else’s song. I had all these lyrics written but couldn’t relate to my own song. It wasn’t until Dylan Ollivierre (The Money War) and I sat down to try to breathe new life into the song that it reconnected with me, I finally figured out what the song’s message was. It was a pretty surreal thing to have something you wrote a few years back only make sense to you a few years later. Anyway, it turns out “Statue” is about trying to rediscover my relationship to songwriting in a trying-to-find-square-one kind of way.

“Ceramic Real Estate”

I read a book (a statement surely to make my mother spit out her coffee in surprise) called Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert that changed my life and my outlook on being a songwriter and more specifically my relationship to my own ideas. This song was strangely one of the quickest writes I’ve had in recent memory – almost like my ideas were happy I had read the book and learnt how the world of ideas operates. This song is part apology, part break-up song to all my half-written songs.

“Common Link”

This song is about me being my own worst enemy sometimes. I get obsessed with productivity and sometimes that means I’ll spend hours listening to podcasts or read articles trying to “improve my system” – as I call it. And quite often that means I spend more time trying to make myself productive that it’s become a sort of procrastination that means I actually get less work done. I was in denial from this fact for a while and once I realised that that’s exactly what was happening – I wrote this song.

‘Breathe & Release”

Sometimes you just gotta write a song people can dance to right?? Usually that’s something I’d shy away from but it just felt natural with this song and I’ve learnt not to fight what the song wants. The music industry isn’t kind to ageing artists – I mean I’m 27 and still can’t grow a beard or any sort of >1cm facial hair – but there’s an unnecessary influence on Australian artists that they have to do things a certain way to get heard and achieve success. That’s where “Breathe & Release” came from – trying to stay relevant and the balance of maintaining who you are and not giving a flying f&$k!

Maybe I Can Sleep It Off is out now on all major streaming servicesFollow Riley Pearce on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Ed Hirst

I'm either listening to music, writing about music, or writing my own music! Keep up to date with my latest projects @edhirsty