INTERVIEW: Peter Brewis | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Whether you know Peter Brewis from Field Music or from one of his other creative ventures (including Frozen by Sight with Paul Smith and You Tell Me with Sarah Hayes), you’re probably aware that he’s a man who’s had his fingers in a lot of musical pies – and he’s about to add to his impressive discography with his second solo release.

I’ve always got little bits of music knocking about that I’m just wondering what to do with,” says Peter, “and I’ve been trying to think of ways to use it that weren’t songs. I like classical music – Beethoven and Stravinsky – and I like a lot of instrumental music. I didn’t want to make something that was electronic and dance music. So I thought ‘Ok, how can I use these synthesisers that I’ve had lying around in the Field Music studio for ages just gathering dust?’”

The brilliantly named Blowdry Colossus comprises mostly instrumental tunes filled with playful synthesisers and joyous harmonies, and was heavily influenced by Japan and Japanese culture. “The Yellow Magic Orchestra is a big thing for me but also Studio Ghibli movies and Nintendo games,” explains Peter. “I never really let that creep into what I’ve done before but I think with an instrumental thing I felt allowed to do that. But obviously there’s a sense of humour in it – or I hope there is – which I like to think is authentically me. I’m a sort of North East nomad. I’m kind of a Mackem but I was a Sand Dancer when I was growing up and I’ve lived in Newcastle as well, so I think the humour’s quite North Eastern.”

The only vocals on the album appear on Dog Bark Dark, courtesy of Peter’s brother and Field Music bandmate David, who also helped with some of the music. “He’s been really good,” says Peter gratefully. “He’s got a mathematical brain so he can program the more difficult synthesisers. I just don’t have the patience or the mental capacity. There were times where I’d be scratching my head and he’d say ‘How about this?’, so he co-wrote two of the tracks really because he came up with the tunes.”

there’s a sense of humour in it – or I hope there is – which I like to think is authentically me

There are a variety of styles on the LP, including the funky Generation Dial Up and Second Hand Slow and lo-fi last track, Panda Tonic. “I think it needed to have a moment of stillness and contemplation after all the wacky sounds,” explains Peter. Some of the melodies are reminiscent of 80s or 90s computer games. “My son and I were playing a lot of early Mario games and I was just thinking they sound so daft but the actual composition of the tunes makes them memorable and so brilliant. I worked quite hard on it all but I wanted it to be quite whimsical.”

There’ll be a short November tour to promote the album, including a date at Sunderland’s Pop Recs on Friday 3rd November. “I’m hoping to rope in the old Field Music keyboard player, Andy Moore and Dave [Brewis] and Sarah Hayes, my You Tell Me partner,” says Peter. “She plays flute and keyboard to a very high standard – probably too good for us, really! And I think I’ll just play drums – I’ll let everybody else play all the hard stuff!”

Peter Brewis releases Blowdry Colossus via Daylight Saving Records on 22nd September. He performs at Pop Recs Ltd., Sunderland on Friday 3rd November.


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