The Peter Broderick Interview, Part Two: Http://www.itstartshear.com
In the second part of my interview with Peter Broderick, we discuss his new record, http://www.itstartshear.com. This record is unique because the website provides all the artwork, liner notes, stories behind songs, etc. a listener could ever need. There’s even a title track where the title URL is sung. And there is, of course, music, masterminded by the wunderkind Broderick and produced by his partner in crime, Nils Frahm.
ELM: How did the idea come to you to make this album a URL and make everything so accessible for people who illegally download your records?
PB: Basically I just wanted everyone to have access to all the things that are meant to accompany the songs . . . lyrics, images, stories, credits, etc.. Originally I thought maybe I’d include a big book with this album, telling all the stories of the songs, and then I thought, wait . . . most of the listeners will never see that! It’s all digital these days. So this way everyone has equal access to the liner notes for the album. And they can even make comments and become a part of the liner notes as well. I also like the idea that any time the album is written about, it automatically becomes a link to the site I’ve created, which basically is the album…
ELM: This is your return to a vocal album after some time away. Was that difficult or remarkable for you in any way?
PB: Well, it certainly took some time to get this one together. With a lot of my other projects (such as scoring work) I have deadlines, so the music gets finished quicker and then usually gets released. But with this one, there was no real deadline, and that allowed me to take my time with it and wait until everything felt really right.
ELM: One of the songs on the album, “Blue,” is a song your father wrote. Can you tell me more about your discovery of it and choosing to record it?
PB: I’m going to leave this one to the website. I’ve written the story about this song there, so it will be live soon at http://www.itstartshear.com
ELM: You included “A Tribute to Our Letter-Writing Days,” which is appropriate because February is letter-writing month (the goal is to write someone a letter every day the mail runs). Do you still write letters?
PB: Sometimes… not nearly as much as I used to. But I do send out a lot of packages with records in them, and I always like to put a little note or photograph in there. I love the post! This song is more a recollection of a relationship I had a few years ago . . . we exchanged tons of letters. I loved that so much. I also explain this more on the website.
ELM: What was it like recording with Nils [Frahm]?
PB: Nils is amazing. I often refer to him as a sound wizard. I just love his ears and his incredible work ethic . . . he’s so thorough! Not to mention he’s just one of my greatest friends in the world. So we had a great time together.
ELM: I’m guessing this is Nils’ wizardry, but I wonder how you got the guitars to come through with such warmth and intimacy. What was your secret?
PB: Indeed much of that should be credited to Nils. He is mostly responsible for the sound of the album . . . of course I was sitting there pretty much every step of the way and giving my thoughts and ideas, but in the end he’s steering the wheel of sound, while I just point out the directions and handle the song writing. He has a combination of great vintage microphones and tape machines and other gear, which he uses on all of his recordings. His productions always sound super warm, and I love that.
ELM: Is that you singing on the beginning of “Asleep?” Can you tell me more about that song in general? It’s very moving.
PB: This is another for the website! I think it’s a great story ;-)
ELM: Would you say that the song “It Starts Hear” is a departure for you? It’s the first time I’ve heard someone singing a url!
PB: Sure, it definitely feels like an oddball on the album… but then again, I feel like all the songs are quite different from each other. And I like to think that anything is possible musically . . . I don’t want to be restricted by certain genres or techniques, and this song is kind of a demonstration of that exploration of music and sounds.
ELM: What’s your process for writing lyrics?
PB: It changes for me. Sometimes the melody comes first and then I try to fit words in to match the tune and the rhythm. And other times it starts with a poem . . . just words on paper (or the computer), which are later turned into a song.
ELM: What are your plans for your live shows?
PB: I’m actually taking a break from solo shows this year. I’ve been traveling around so much these last 4-5 years, my body is telling me it’s time to slow down a bit. It does feel like slightly odd timing with the new album coming out, but I didn’t want to wait to release it (it’s already taken so long) . . . I think I’ll be back on the road next year.
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