- SALUTE: So Peter, where did you grow up? What was it like?
I was born in Holloway Prison in London, fostered then adopted into a musical family up in Falkirk, Scotland. The first years of my life were a bit chaotic and so is my lifestyle and music. As Freud says I think those early years definitely have an effect on our later lives and so a lot of my music is written from the soul on subjects such as adoption, addiction, depression, love, loss and all the rest of the crazy things I’ve been through in life.
Falkirk is a typical Scottish town really, I went to a school that was predominantly white so I was one of say three black people in the town so I had to learn when to keep my mouth shut and when to stand my ground against racists. I want my music to reflect some rawness and maybe a hint of the determination and grit I had as a younger man.
- SALUTE: How did you get started making music?
Music has just been a constant in my life. It must have started at birth because my folks are huge into classical music and are constantly booking tickets to all sorts of great music. One week we’d be going to see A Mendelssohn violin concerto, the next the Soweto choir.
Throughout school all I wanted to do in life was be a musician, my music teacher used to say I was ”A big fish in a small pond”, I still don’t know if she meant this as a compliment or not. When I left school I was accepted at different uni’s but I chose not to study music, I thought it might kill my love of the art. I studied Sport Science instead because boxing was my other real heavy passion growing up
Growing up I had a love for Jimi and BB King so my folks were very encouraging bought me my electric guitar and such even took me to a BB King concert. I started with piano at primary like p1(which was classical) and then moved onto add guitar in during secondary school. They used to run competitions every year in the school and I’d win them every year because music was my passion. I would sit for hours just working on techniques, dynamics etc, picking each piece apart till it was perfect.
- SALUTE: What kind of music did you grow up on?
As I said my folks are crazy into Classical and a touch of jazz, but I also have three brothers so I’d hear them all banging out their different tunes. My oldest bro loved bands like Belle and Sebastien. Blur, Arab Strap and Pulp whereas my middle brother was banging out Fun Loving Criminals, and the beastie boys. My second oldest bro more of a taste closer to mine with things like Erykah Badu, Herbie Hancock, Snarky Puppy so I used to just soak it all up man. Myself, I was immersed in the blues from Robert Johnson to BB King, Albert Lee for the aggression, aww I loved it all!
- SALUTE: Was there much of a local scene, a community of musicians in Falkirk? Or did you find a lot of stuff through the internet?
Man I think the local scene in my area is geared towards acoustic singer/songwriter stuff but I’m stepping away from that with new sounds, in fact, this is my first ever solo project. There’s nobody coming out my area or really the whole of Scotland with a sound like mine and that’s what I was specifically going for. I’m not hearing enough great MOBO music coming out of Scotland. It took me a while to step on the scene as I was shy when it came to performing in my own area but I went traveling for a few years and spent a lot of time building my confidence as a performer.
- SALUTE: When did you write your first song?
I wrote my first half decent song back in school it was called ”Survive” and it was about getting through a break up with an older girl (laughs).
- SALUTE: How much do you try to fit your music into structured songs, or do you just work through a story and apply any sound/instrumentation that helps you tell that story?
The problem I have is that people want a set sound these days, to pigeon hole you so they can lock you in a genre but I’ve been around the world now and taken bits of music from all over that I like. I’d say I’m heavily influenced by the blues but just as much reggae as I traveled the Caribbean and just as much jazz because I study it in my spare time and listen to all the great players of the past and present. I want to make great tunes that have the sounds that I like and hope others can feel.
Like I tend to listen to different people for inspiration, guys like Dylan, Cohen, Simon and Garfunkel etc for lyrical content, I listen to Reggae bass players for phat provocative lines, keys players like Cory Henry and old soul singers like Sam Cooke. I’m not saying I love all the elements of their music but I want to try to combine the best bits of it all together.
Can you imagine lyrics of Dylan with say a Dre beat, Cory keys, reggae bass, it’s almost perfect in my eyes.
- SALUTE: Dig!
On the flip I’m so tired of these music shows, they have slowly killed the art of music.
We are now on the 14th series of X-Factor and to be honest it’s tiring to even hear the name of the show whispered.
In this day and age, almost everybody can sing, just as almost everybody takes some sort of self-defense class as part of their lifestyle but it doesn’t make them Floyd Mayweather!
- SALUTE: True! What gear do you use for production?
For production we use Ableton and our ears. I’m releasing my first EP soon ‘The Beautiful Struggle’ including the SALUTE tracks and so this is my first real time paying attention to the actual production of tracks. I play all the instrumentation on them but didn’t know how much more work goes in afterward in choosing the right sounds. I have been working with my engineer on the project, Kieran Thomas, and so he has kept it close to how I want it. In my opinion Kieran is a wizard technician at Catcher studios, Cumbernauld; definitely the best sound engineer I have worked with before thus far. I would like to be able to one day work with some top producers and master my overall sound.
- SALUTE: What was your most recent music project?
My most recent project is ”The Henry Davis Project”. This is my solo music project. I am well know in my area for playing acoustic music but this EP will be my first release using electric instruments so I decided to bring them out under my alter ego name Henry Davis, which was the name given to me at birth – he’s the rawer more chaotic side of myself and this is what I want from my original music.
I just set up a crowdfunding page to raise money to produce a professional video for Water Edge and also to pay for music PR and marketing of the release so that is the most recent project.
- SALUTE: What do you think of the SALUTE initiative and competition?
I think the Salute music initiative and competition is absolute genius. There definitely needs to be more avenues for musicians to reach a higher platform for their music and even get valuable advice on how to take their projects further. I am a big fan of the initiative and support it all the way. I will say I’ve never really been a fan of music as a competition but I have to say I love the fact that it awards those chosen with a huge amount to boost their careers further. I wouldn’t expect to win any competitions which eventually boils down to public vote but I am proud just to be a part of the process as I believe in SALUTE.
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