Focus: Daniel Peterson

27th May 2016

With a fantastic new album Welcome To My House, Bumblebee launching on June 17th 2016, I thought I’d have a little pre-release catch up with the incredibly inspiring front man and producer Daniel Peterson.
Daniel has already had some great airplay on BBC Radio London and his music is getting glowing reviews all around. I wanted to know a bit about his background, creativeness and artistic hopes for the future…
So Daniel, what sort of music did you grow up listening to?
My whole family loves music, so we always had a big Hi-Fi sound system, almost like a centrepiece in the living room (it was that and the upright piano). In my Father’s music collection there was anything from The Beach Boys, The Beatles and Dire Straights to Mozart, Chopin and Rachmaninov. He even had the Ghostbusters sound track on slime green vinyl! My older brothers were listening to the likes of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam and Jeff Buckley, which all filtered down to me. Also, because of my interest in playing the guitar, I learned Metallica riffs and got into metal bands.
Can you tell me a bit about your creative process? What do you mainly take inspiration from and how do you begin working on a track?
Because I spent a lot of time when I was growing up playing the guitar, my default starting point comes from improvisation on guitar. When I come up with an interesting musical motif, the song starts to grow from there. By developing the musical layers first, for me it’s like setting the scene for writing the whole story. It can work both ways though when you think about it – a film director will look for just the right piece of music to fit with the mood of the story. So sometimes I find myself mulling over a particular message I want to get across first and then I try to fit music to that. Either way, I’m always intrigued by interpersonal relationships and what I observe from them, both from personal relationships, and people I meet in the homeless centre where I work. I can’t help being influenced by that environment – the friends I’ve made there and hearing about their struggles. Also, I won’t shy away from incubating a song. If I am convinced that an idea is worth spending time on, then that process is important to me, especially if there’s a true story to be told.
How would you describe your sound?
Hmm… I’m stoked if anyone says my guitar playing reminds them of John Frusciante and can hear hints of Jeff Buckley in the way I sing, because I love them both. I guess if you took a little 90’s American alternative-rock and mix it with a bit of London indie then that’s me. I always like to make sure there is a solid guitar riff and aim to make my melodies as memorable as possible.
If you could collaborate with anyone who would that be and why?
I’d like to hand over the production to someone else for my second album. I really love Conditions by The Temper Trap, which was produced by Jim Abbiss, so that could be a good shout collaborating with him. In fact I’d also love to go on tour with the band, they are all such nice dudes.
How did you come up with the amazing name of your new album Welcome To My House, Bumblebee?
True story… a bumblebee flew into the window of my Tooting Broadway flat where I was recording my album. I was by myself, and for some reason the words just came out of my mouth, “Welcome to my house, Bumblebee”, and there I was, talking to a bumblebee! I realised in that instant it was going to be the title of my album. I know that for sure, because I wrote it down on my phone. The bee became an unlikely symbol for me – that everything was going to be ok. It’s because it was the first warm day we’d had that year, and whenever you see a bumblebee you know spring has arrived. I was going through a dark time and went into a bit of a hole, so I was welcoming change in my situation. I felt really positive about my album and just super ready to show people what I had hibernated away to make. I can’t really look at bumblebees in the same way now.
I'm a huge fan of your track The Velvet Rope – What's your favourite song on your new upcoming album? Is there a particular one we should look out for?
Thank you! I love that song too. I think I recorded about 6 or 7 different versions of it before I was happy though! Right now my favourite is Reconcile which just came out on the 6th May 2016. I’m really happy with the music video. It was also a real privilege to shooting it with talented dancer, Jaslyn Reader. I like the song’s positive vibe, which is all about leaving differences behind and choosing to make things good in a relationship. It is the final part of a trilogy of songs based on the same theme, same key, similar tempos, which all started from the same guitar riff and morphed into three different songs. So I put it at the end of the album, which goes against logic, but there is a message flow on the album that I wanted to keep in tact.

And finally, what are your plans for the rest of 2016?
Hopefully… shed my ‘undiscovered’ skin, promote the album in Australia, America and beyond, do lots more shows, start recording an EP, make more music videos, play guitar every day and drink more water.
So Candid readers, I would highly recommend keeping up to date with Daniel Peterson’s beautiful, passionate and silvery sounds. His album launch is taking place at Oslo in Hackney on June 22nd and you can pre-order his album on the iTunes store.
Words by Lisa Coleman

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