A Chat with Juno Nominee Peter Katz, Who is Touring NL with Steve Maloney This Month

Peter Katz is a JUNO-nominated singer-songwriter whose albums have debuted #1 in iTunes' singer-songwriter charts

Peter Katz is a JUNO-nominated singer-songwriter, recently crowned Best Male Vocalist in the NOW Magazine’s Best-Of-Toronto 2014 reader’s poll.

After a decade in music, that included album debuts at #1 on iTunes’ singer-songwriter charts, and selling as many as 25,000 albums per show, while sharing stages with the likes of Glen Hansard (also of The Frames, Swell Season), The Good Lovelies, and Melissa McClelland (Whitehorse), he caught the attention of producers Royal Wood and Bill Lefler, who signed on to produce his latest album, One Peter pushed himself into new territory for.

“I’m in a different place than I was when I started 10 years ago. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into and I maybe didn’t always put my focus in the right place. Now I know the relentlessness that’s required, I know it’s not a race, and I know that the music has to come first. I feel like I finally did that with this record. I took my time. I shook myself up, threw myself into unfamiliar territory and took some big risks. Now that I’m on the other side of it, I can see why it was the right thing to do.”

Catch Peter Katz and Steve Maloney on their NL tour:

February 11th – St. John’s, NL – Rocket Room
Tickets are $10 in advance, and $12 at the door. Early show! Doors open at 8pm, show starts at 8:30.

February 12th – Corner Brook, NL – Swirsky’s

February 13th – Bonavista, NL – The Garrick Theatre (annex)

February 14th – Lewisporte, NL – The Citadel House

Have You Heard Much of Steve Maloney’s Music, Given You’re Heading Out on Tour Together? What Do You Think?

I first saw Steve play at In The Dead of Winter Festival in Halifax a few years back. His voice is instantly memorable, really stood out to me.  We also played a show together in Berwick NS on my fall East Coast tour and that was the catalyst to this tour coming together.  Definitely a fan of what he’s putting out into the world.

Is This Your First Time in St. John’s, or Newfoundland? Any Expectations?

It’s my FIRST TIME going to Newfoundland! So excited!  You may think that I’m just saying this to butter up the locals, but I’m not lying when I say that most of the greatest humans I’ve met in this life have turned out to be from Newfoundland.
They’ve all got this special quality to them, great spirits, great artistic minds (or lovers of the arts), so warm, kind, generous. I’m can’t believe there’s a whole island of them and I haven’t been there yet!

You’ve Toured the World with the Likes of the Good Lovelies and Glen Hansard. Do You Have a Wild Story from the Road You Can Share? Or a Career Highlight?

Hmm… wild road stories, I’m kind of boring after the show, usually just want to stay healthy for the next show, the fun is had onstage for me.
But when I played with Glen Hansard the first time, I was the opener (obviously) and I was watching his set side-stage. When he came offstage after the main show, he ran up to me and said ‘want to come out and do a song?’.
And I was like ‘sure!’.  He said: ‘ok, what key is it in?’.  I said ‘G’. So he ran around to the band and said ‘Peter’s going to play a song in G!’ and then he went out for the encore, called me out, and the band played along to a song they’d never heard before… and nailed it.  It was unbelievable. They’ve been playing together for so long, they can read each others’ minds (and mine too apparently). That was definitely a life/career highlight.  
As for touring with the Good Lovelies, I think I was educated in the fact that you need to allow yourself at least an extra hour when touring with 3 women because there are SO many pee stops!  But they’re so good and so lovely, it was definitely worth it.

How Did Royal Wood End up on “Brother?,” and as Co-producer on the Album? How Was That Experience? 

Royal messaged me randomly one day wanting to do some European touring together as I had toured there a lot and he was wanting to get into the market more. We organized a tour together, pooling our resources to maximize our impact and cross-pollinate, and we thought it would be great for the audience to have a moment where we did a song together at the end of the show.
We locked ourselves in a room, and a few hours later ‘Brother’ was born. It was a real highlight of the tour every night, and we got along so well that after all that touring Royal offered to co-produce the record along with Bill Lefler who had just done his.
It was an amazing experience working with them, a totally different process than I had ever done before, building songs up one at a time, making decisions with our guts versus overthinking, was pretty magical.

How Did Felicity Roberts and Rachel Sermanni Come into the Fold on the Album?

I was a huge fan of Felicity from her work with Bahamas and she was on tour with Royal in Canada, so we got to know each other when I was supporting those dates.  I just asked her, and was delighted when she said yes!
As for Rachel Sermanni, I was a HUGE fan of hers, we first met at the Folk Alliance conference and my jaw hit the floor, couldn’t believe how amazing she was. I gave her a CD and then didn’t see her again until I was running up Runyon Canyon in LA a year later.  I got a tweet from her that said ‘Peter Katz, were you running the Hollywood hills today?’
I was pretty stunned as 1. I didn’t think she would know who I was, let alone recognize me sweatily running up a hill in Los Angeles 2. She lives in Scotland. She happened to be in town for a showcase.
I messaged her back and told her how I had been asking my manager to email her manager to see if she would be willing to sing on my record (which was very true of course). Seeing as we were both in town, maybe we could skip a step and she could just come in and do it, and to my delight, she said yes.
A few hours later we were in the studio and she laid down the vocal on ‘Dark.’ A pretty wild serendipitous sequence of events, so happy about that.  She’s the perfect voice for that song, so hauntingly beautiful.

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