FR catch up with Peter, two years on
After a long five years in prison and completing two Finding Rhythms courses in that time, Peter was released in June 2016. He kept up contact with us and in September we invited him to London for a studio session with our Creative Director, Robin Harris and engineer, Aaron May. The final track will be released soon but in the meantime, here’s an interview we got with Peter at the end of the session.
Emily: So what happened today?
Peter: Well we got in, I had a chord structure going on, Robin added to my thought pattern, adding little flourishes and that which helped. There was drums already there from Aaron, ‘Mr Laptop’, so I just added the sounds and vocals… It was a good session, I liked it.
Emily: Where did the lyrics come from?
Peter: From the top of my head, I freestyled it all! I just freestyled it out then we chopped it up, put this bit with that bit.
Emily: Do you think you would approach music in the same way if you were making it back at home?
Peter: No. If I was at home I would just be sitting there making trap music. Today I’ve kinda come out of my music zone…
Robin: Yeah because I think you often come with a preconception of the sound that you want to create, then inevitably when you work with other people, like Aaron and myself or even when I’m working with you, you end up going in another direction and discover things. You discover other sounds which might inspire you in a different way. Would you say that working with other people stretches you?
Peter: Yeah it stretches your feeling of music. Like today I kind of had the idea that I wanted to do something a bit more electronic, but we’ve just gone acoustic which was sick.
Robin: So back when you were at Isis prison, what do you think got you through it?
Peter: Music! If it weren’t for the fact I was on the music course, I was on finding rhythms, I was in chapel Sundays. If it weren’t for the fact that my whole week was filled up with music, I probably would have ended up in block for a long time.
When I first come to the jail, for the first two weeks I was trying to attack staff, going nuts in my cell, self-harming and that… It’s because I’m bipolar. If I can’t physically hurt someone else I have to hurt myself to calm down. It’s like, to go through that and you’re begging people to do music and no music is there, then suddenly you get it and it’s like “YES”, you can actually do your thing…. Music took me away from jail. It’s like, when you put those headphones on you’re not there anymore, you’re in your element making your beats….
Robin: How do you think your experiences have lead you to the music you make?
Peter: The best song writers are the people that have gone through so much s***. They’ve gone through stuff where some people would normally kill themselves over, yet they come out of it and just smash it. Like Johnny [from the album Dream Chaser]. He’s gone through some horrible things. He was in the army and that, he lost his brother, and that song there [So Much Left to Say] is about taking Heroin. It’s like some people go through these dark times that no-one would ever want to through but then it results in a hit song that loads of people sing.
Robin: So I guess you’re like our Guinea Pig Peter. This is a new venture for us meeting up with people after the projects and after they’ve been released. You were on two projects with us at Isis prison and it would be great to know what it has meant for you to keep up this connection with us.
Peter: Put it this way: if I weren’t down here today, I’d be stuck in Brighton sat on my arse with friends who are selling weed. And to be honest, I don’t want that no more. I want to be able to go do gigs. I want to get my music out there and have people listen to it. I’ve got like 58 views on Soundcloud. It’s not much but still I’m happy that people are listening to my music. I just want to do something where my mum will start to be proud of me.
We look forward to keeping in touch with Peter and to following his story as he goes onto even greater things!