A Spotlight Interview with Peter kauffman
A bright and honest undertoned contemporary rock album from Peter Kauffman breeds an outstanding classic rock touched feel with an array of smooth guitar work and vocals that keep an air of mystery at times.
The Distorted Days album is packed with an incredibly well woven set of songs that feel like they came from someplace real and are performed with a style that beckons artists like Tom Petty and Bob Dylan but with this jazz approach that lurks just beneath the surfaces of many songs.
The guitars on this record are layered and give these textures that compliment everything and bounce off the vocals perfectly as the songs take shape and there is loads of heart that comes through on most of these.
You get a warm, live in studio feel from a lot of the tracks and those guitars are the driving point of many hooks and catchy tonality in the songwriting.
The songs seem to take a course that almost feels like a concept record of sorts, and it all falls in place quite well with a personal feeling vocal performance.
You get a freeing and one on one vibe from this record, and it's got very well-built songs and songs really do a great job of telling stories with some detail and this makes them more impactful at times.
With such a wonderfully woven record, we wanted to touch base with Peter Kauffman and talk shop about where this album may have actually come from.
Here's what happened.
RAG: Where did this record come from?
Thanks! The album is an amalgam of songs from the last 15 or so years. I went back and grouped songs that I thought were good and worked well side by each, at least musically, without the lyrics. Then I re-wrote the lyrics and kept on that for the last year or so until I was basically happy with them, and felt they were cohesive as a whole.
RAG: So how did this all begin for you? When did you fall in love with music really?
I started music when I was 6, taking piano lessons. I was alright as students go, getting to grade 10 in the Royal Conservatory of Music by the time I was 18. I really got into music at about age 19, when I got into jazz. Listening to Miles, Bill Evans, Monk and Coltrane was all it took. But, you know, earlier I was pretty into rock too, like Billy Joel and Sting, stuff like that.
RAG: Who is in your headphones right now?
I’m taking this question generally…I’m listening to lots of 90s indie rock, it’s kind of my thing. Guided by Voices, Jesus and Mary Chain, Teenage Fanclub, and can’t get enough Stone Roses.
RAG: What inspires you to write a song?
Usually another song. I’ll hear something and think, I should try something like that! Whether it be the vibe, sound, lyrics, or chord progression.
RAG: I'm hearing some great styles on this album. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
In the rock genre, I’d say I’m most influenced by Big Star, like the Third album is a big inspiration for me, I just love it so much. But also Elliot Smith, Built to Spill, and I can’t forget Bruce Cockburn.
RAG: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?
I teach piano. Actually I have over 30 students, so that’s my bread and butter. I hang out with my wife and son a lot and just watch TV or workout. Also, I have this thing where I’m becoming a minimalist, so checking out that on YouTube, the various videos related and such.
RAG: Would you say live performances are a big part of what you do?
That’s a hard no. I haven’t played my rock stuff live since 2013, which is really hard to admit. I’m practicing and planning to return to live performing, but probably just me and my guitar, as the logistics of having a band I feel are too much for me at this point.
RAG: This record feels like a big undertaking, is there any advice you'd give to other up and coming artists out there?
I would say, keep it simple, manageable, and within budget. Start simply, maybe with demos on GarageBand. Learn to use the software as much as you can using YouTube videos. Buy a mic and maybe a midi keyboard and you’re on your way. Network, try and associate with quality musicians who you feel inspire you and who know how to play, and when it comes time to shell out, do so!
RAG: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?
Right now I’m working on 2 EPs. One is 5 songs that I wrote with my friend Craig Proctor, who wrote all the lyrics, and I wrote the music. The other will be a more power-pop oriented EP, and I’m hoping I can make it sound heavy, like my single “Seeker”.
RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
Most of all, thank you for listening! Sometimes I’ll check on my logistics and see listeners in Australia or Europe, and be like, thank god for the internet, you know? But I’m happy that there’s a few people in the world checking out my tunes and hopefully digging them; I plan to keep making music because I love doing it!