by the partae
Photo by Hudson Reed

“On his debut solo record ‘Pei’s Pageant’,
the former Gang of Youths guitarist pursues creative freedom
and reflects his Fijian identity – in his own thoughtful way”


“Malani has cemented himself as a household name”
Rolling Stone

“A lot to like for fans of the broad-strokes indie of Bon Iver and The National”
triple j

“Honest is an instantly-magnetic, radiant debut— all sun-drenched
and rooted in 2010s indie (not the landfill kind)”

The Australian

“A stirring, sweeping piece of music that pivots on his dulcet guitar chords
before becoming something grander, more orchestral in tone”


“Pei’s soulful vocals shine through like a warm ray of sunshine uncovering wise and melodic twists and turns”

“Themesong is a kaleidoscopic piece of work that showcases his myriad skills as a composer, songwriter, and performer”
Music Feeds

Today the anticipated debut album from Pei, the solo project of Joji Malani (Broth Records) arrives in Pei’s Pageant, highlighted through his latest music video for ‘Medicine‘ out now. LISTEN HERE + WATCH ‘MEDICINE’ HERE.

Warm, relaxed and instrumentally rich, Pei’s Pageant is an exultant exploration of self and culture unveiling previously unseen edges to Joji Malani’s identity. Across the album’s nine tracks, as Pei, he freely explores a variety of sonic influences from bright, rich production; to orchestration that swings between energetic, borderline ambient and country balladry. In relocating from London to Sydney, where he had been based since 2016, Pei was brought to life in the home studio of close friend and longtime collaborator Tim Fitz (Middle Kids), following a near-decade of writing in studios and touring the world as a founding member of one of Australia’s most revered local exports. More than just a passion project turned big, Joji’s solo debut is a moving illustration of creative evolution.

Upon reflection, Joji reveals “There are a lot of thoughts and feelings which are hard to consolidate and compartmentalise. I think clarity can only come through time. 1 year on, 5 years on, 10 years on. That’s when I will really know. I think for now, there’s more relief and appreciation that it’s out there. I did most of this alone. I’ve had the support of great people. But I really drove this. I don’t know how it’s perceived by others but these are my ideas, the music, the clips, assets, everything. My music, my label. There’s a lot I could have done better but I’ve done this myself in the midst of some strong challenges and now it’s out. I’ve done my best to represent my fam, my people, my country and honour my influences and my heroes. I’m just grateful.”

Released on Fiji Day today, Joji shares some background on the album art, explaining “There is sat a Fijian woman with the dollar notes stuck on her. Each note, from every single cover, has a bit about myself and the various things I enjoy, for example, ‘Themesong’ alludes to my love of football and ‘Count To 10’ alludes to my love of effects pedals. I had this idea of what the album cover would be and worked backwards from there. I’ve probably been more conceptual about the artwork than I have been with the music itself.

“The cover art,” he continues, “is meant to depict a Fijian woman taking part in something called ‘Fakawela’ which is a Tongan word adopted into our culture. There’s a bit of crossover with Tonga, especially in my family. The Tongans colonised the Fijian island of Lau and despite being a part of Fiji, is still quite Tongan with its language and customs. Within the Fakawela, a select group of young people at any significant or celebratory function will dance either in tapa (traditional material with patterns) or a curated item of clothing and rub oil on their upper body. The significance of the oil is to capture the dollar notes that the elders of the event would place on the dancers as they dance.”

Above all, Pei’s Pageant is reflective of someone just trying in life and art, fading through memories of a childhood spent in Fiji, displays of beauty and brawn, and pure creative expression for the sake of it; a cacophonic introduction to Joji Malani as he is today, best reflected in the album focus ‘Medicine‘ – “This is me, you know?” he explains. A song that speaks to loss across multiple forms, this sentiment is harnessed through ‘Medicine‘s music video, starring Alexander Hodge (InsecureResort To Love), directed by Jonathan Zerger and assisted by Sosefina Fuamoli – WATCH ABOVE.

“Medicine is the first song I have attempted to write,” Joji reveals. “I had written the first verse and chorus back in 2013 over a simple loop I put together with my sister’s little keyboard and a line 6 DL4. The song is very simple but to me, it’s the best and most meaningful thing I’ve written thus far. When I started writing this track, I had just experienced my first real heartbreak. Fast forward to 2019 and the song took on a new meaning, I had lost a few people in my life and life just didn’t feel the same without them. They were unreplicable types who make society and the world better. People who I not only adored or respected but people who objectively make the world a better place. Social and relational cures. Like an antidote. I liked alluding to these people as medicine as I come from a strong medical family and am named after my Father’s brother who is a doctor.”

Pei’s Pageant moves with grace, harnessed by Joji’s heartfelt, direct and confident vocals at the project’s core. Its persistent pacing keeps us hypnotised within the fantastical, musical world etched through vibrant and slick arrangements including ‘Honest‘, ‘Themesong‘ and the recent ‘Count To 10‘. Pulling from the deep crevasses of his life, here reflections on relationships, romantic and otherwise, are balanced with  with free creative experimentation.

Weaving contemporary indie, pop and rock influences with the memories and influence of his Fijian culture with natural ease, lifting his stage name from the Fijian word for baby, Pei’s Pageant arrives produced alongside Fitz, backing vocals from Hannah Joy (Middle Kids) arrangements from Macie Stewart (WhitneyOhmmeSZAChance the Rapper), mix engineered by Antonia Gauci (DaineTroye SivanKesha) and mastered by Grammy-nominated Ryan Schwabe (Pussy RiotShamirOneohtrix Point Never). Where some consider infancy a daunting prospect, Pei’s Pageant harnesses the humility and reward that comes with learning to take your first steps, a second time.

Pei’s Pageant LP is out now via Broth Records, buy/stream it here.

Count To 10

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