Photo Credit: Marcus Maddox
“Sometimes I feel like everyone knows how to act better than they do, and choose not to.” – Peter Katz, Peaer
While you and I are just doing our typical day to day this week, Peaer is preparing for the release of their new album, A Healthy Earth. With a solid foundation of sound and precision, this Brooklyn trio is ready to impress just as much as they did with their last record. With that, we talked to their own Peter Katz (vocals/guitar) and Jeremy Kinney (drums) about the new album, Marvel, and more.
Kendra: It’s been almost a decade since the first piece of Peaer music came out. In that time a lot has gone on not only in the world but in music. Do you feel Peaer has evolved with the times as far as indie rock is concerned or has just evolved in its own way, on a path that runs alongside the mainstream?
Peter Katz: I’ve always tried to be very direct with my influences when I write, so in that sense, I think the music has evolved alongside the newer music I’ve been listening to and falling in love with. Other than that, I/we haven’t been making music any differently than we have been thus far. I feel as if we’ve evolved socially the same way that indie rock has been evolving – being more conscious, considerate, and attentive to who we are playing with, playing for, and involving in order to promote inclusion in the music world.
Kendra: Peaer has had members come and go over the years but a few years ago the dust settled with Thom and Jeremy. For Jeremy, how was it to go from the producer of the 2016 self-titled to a member working on A Healthy Earth?
Jeremy Kinney: The process of recording A Healthy Earth was definitely quite a bit different but at the same quite similar in some regards. With the self-titled, my goal with recording the record was very much to capture what I felt the sonic essence of Peaer and present the band and songs as faithful to how they sounded live.
Of course, my flavor and preference for recording techniques and overall sonic palette were imparted but I tried my best to stay out of the way of the song and capture them as the trio first and foremost. We used different guitar and vocals colors and layers as well as keyboard and electronic drum overdubs but I’d like to think the record is fundamentally a guitar, bass, and drum record. With the new record, it was certainly different being there from the start of each song and involved with sculpting, rearranging, imparting ideas, and playing it live.
Knowing the music much more intimately this time around was also beneficial in that I already had a relatively clear vision for what I wanted the sonic palette to be presented as whereas the self-titled was more so of an in the moment decision process. I also think being involved as a member of the band this time and having spent so much time on the road together in the intervening years we were much more prone to trying out new and experimental ideas and able to both be supportive of the exploration but also quite honest when we didn’t think it was working.
The couple aspects of recording that I think to tie the records together nicely as a body of work and were the same in both processes is in having recorded the base of the songs (drum, bass, and initial guitar tracks) live as a trio and in our preference for never putting anyone element to heavily under the microscope. We keep a lot of first takes and always try to lean on evaluating each part in the context of the overall image as opposed to it under a microscope where the
only concern is it be played/recorded “perfectly.”
Kendra: Lyrically this album feels and sounds like it is a clear reaction to the present with songs inspired by everything from shitty people in “Don’t” to shitty leaders in “Joke.” Where were you mentally when you wrote a lot of the record?
Peter Katz: I started compiling songs for the album starting summer of 2015, and we didn’t complete the recording process until January of 2019, so throughout those years I was in various mental and physical places. The clearest answer I can provide is that I was spending a lot of time observing, trying to process what my life was like and how to make sense of it. “Don’t” and “Joke” are very clearly about what they are about, I was trying to write more directly about a specific situation as opposed to a vague feeling. I tried that a couple of different times on this record.
Kendra: I feel like we all know a person that “Don’t” could be about. For you, was it just a singular person that served as the inspiration or was it a collective of sorts?
Peter Katz: “Don’t” was initially about a specific experience I had with an old friend of mine, but it turned into a song about a general collective of stubborn and insensitive people with nasty worldviews or otherwise unsavory behavior, and the feeling of dealing with them either on a night out, at work, etc. Part of the feeling of the song comes from the idea of: “you are a fully grown adult, why are you like this?”
Kendra: Thanks to all those Marvel movies, the idea of multiple universes is on the minds of many. When it comes to your own “Multiverse,” would you want to encounter your other self (or selves) ever?
Peter Katz: I haven’t seen any of the Avengers/MCU stuff but I’m determined to change that…I would definitely want to meet alternate-Peters. The chill ones would hang out and form a sick crew that fights all the lame/shitty Peters throughout the various universes. Or we would form a band…Or two of us would be locked in an eternal battle forever.
To see Peaer live, check out the date below and don’t forget to pick up A Healthy Earth, out August 16, 2019.