Between his shows on his US Tour, we’ve been able to pin down Peter Comes From Neverland to ask him a few questions. Extra nice guy, he’s what he had to say..
How long have you been playing and what was your first instrument?
My first instrument was piano. I started that when I was 5, but being young, I found it a bit of a chore to practice. I picked up the guitar when I was 12, and that’s when it all clicked musically. I’ve been playing guitar for 10 years now, and ironically I really want to pick up where I left off with the piano.
What are your main musical influences?
I was thinking about this last night. I grew up in the Australian countryside, so I wasn’t exposed to any bands of the 80s or 90s until I was about 16. When I was growing up I heard a lot of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennet, Willie Nelson, people like that. When I heard Elvis, and then the Beatles on a TV program I flipped out. These guys just blew my mind, and I became obsessed with both acts for ages. After that it was Hendrix, Zeppelin, then I finally started digging some newer stuff. I love the Smashing Pumpkins, John Frusciante, Meshell Ndegeocello, Radiohead. All massive influences. I’m still hesitant to embrace new music, largely I think because of my assimilation with ‘old’ bands.
Who do people say you sound like?
Smashing Pumpkins, Hendrix, Radiohead, John Frusciante.
What’s the song you’re most proud of writing?
There’s a few songs that I haven’t released thus far that I’m really proud of. 4 of them will be on my next EP.
What inspired you to get your great one man chorus sounds that you use in your EP?
The last EP is made up of 2 songs that I recorded with my last band (Trigger and Balloons). This band fell apart after we did our debut record, and these were two of the songs that I felt most close to, as they had been written in the last year or so. The other 2 songs (Airplane and Absorb) are newer songs that I wrote after that band ended, and I took a few months off work to decompress. There’s an urgentness to the last EP that reflects my mood at that time. I was anxious not to have wasted the last year with a record that was just sitting around in my garage, doing nothing. In the end I was really happy with how the songs turned out, but my best work is yet to come.
Your songs and your personal life are intertwined in a way. You’ve been through and conquered a battle with Anorexia. Did songwriting become a release or an escape from everything?
For me, trying to write music while I was sick was very difficult. Instead of writing I became obsessed with practicing scales on the guitar..perfecting technique that at the time I thought would benefit my songwriting. It was probably my most unproductive time musically, as I ended up doing damage to my hand, which just added to my frustration. On a more positive note though, music was there for me once I came out the other end. Having anorexia made me feel like I have an obligation to constantly be ‘working’. These days that obligation manifests itself in music. I feel fortunate that I have something as rewarding as music to pour myself into, instead of a degenerative illness.
Do you have any words of advice or thoughts/feelings to share with people who are battling with Anorexia at the moment?
This is something I’ve thought about before, and having met people who were sick after my condition improved, I found myself reacting to them in the same way that other people reacted to me when I was sick. This is usually a reaction of shock, which can come across as disdain to someone on the receiving end. It is an extremely personal battle, but the only way I got better was to open up to those close to me about my problem. I was fortunate to have two extremely supportive friends who let me be the way I wanted to be, but at the same time encouraged me to regain the confidence to get over it.
What do you tend to do to relax if your not playing music?
I enjoy seeing friends. When I’m not playing music I spend a lot of time with my girlfriend also, which is great. I’m at a stage where I’m trying to make everything I do contribute to the music I make in some way. I’ve got heaps to learn about music and myself as a musician, so I’m most relaxed when I can get to the end of the day and feel satisfied that I’ve improved.
Are you working on any music right now?
Yes. I’m touring the US but have had a few weeks off to write while I’m here in LA. I’ve written 3 of the 4 songs that’ll be on my next EP here, which is great. With this EP i’m going to try to have more of an artistic flow to it. I think writing the songs within days of each other is something that’s going to be fun to catalogue. The new EP is called ‘The Escapist’.
We wish Peter all the best with his new EP!