I came across this interview with Don Peyote this week. If you've been checking out my mixes then you'll have heard his stuff. So it's about time we all knew more about the mysterious Aussie...
When did you start to take an interest in making music and who were your biggest influences?
I started making music in the late seventies, played guitar in funk/avant-garde band in Sydney, Australia. I was also involved in the production side of the studio recordings.....in those days big analog desks and great hardware Fx.... my biggest influence at the time :Bill Laswell, Brian Eno, Steve Roach, King Tubby, Pink Floyd & Miles Davis...... "My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts" album by David Byrne & Brian Eno had a profound effect on me, it was the first time i heard ethnic sampling mixed with funky beats. Still a favourite!
Which approach do you prefer when composing a track. Organic? Synthetic? Or a fusion of the two?
It often starts with a simple synthetic kind of back drop, drums & bass lines and then add live elements. I play guitar, bass and live percussion on my recordings and often enlist the help of maestro multi instrumentalist friend of mine Dan Richardson who plays all sorts of flutes (metal & bamboo) and also sax and trumpet. This gives the music a 'live' feel, a good blend of natural and synthetic mix and the unquantized human factor....
Do you find your music more popular in Australia or world-wide?
I would say world wide. I have sold a good amount of cd's overseas because the market for down tempo/ethno beats lovers is bigger abroad than here. Chill space at festivals is a relatively new thing at festivals here. So for a chilled music producer the opportunities to get exposure are a bit limited here....The aussies liked their music quite wild and banging...
You have worked in film and television soundtracks do you find this allows you to explore your tastes fully or is it more restrictive than making your own albums?
In producing your own album ,you are the decision maker ,you call the shots .you can be as indulgent as you like and explore to satisfy your heart content. With films and documentary your are dealing with the "director’, the film industry producers and directors can sometimes be very pedendic,difficult and cryptic individuals. A few years ago this 'nature/documentary' director hired me to do a soundtrack; the 'brief' was nature sounds and acoustic instruments, I plugged away for days and was happy with the result, sent a dat tape away.....A phone call later. The director was not too impressed with the result of my 3 days recording sessions and kept saying i want the music 'big and spacious' but was not able describe his vision further.... this process went on for weeks me sending him stuff and him still not happy and feeling just lukewarm about my musical offerings....An awkward situation.. So i said, can you play me some music, what you have in mind. He then managed to play me an extract from “river dance' the Irish musical over the phone....So i hired a fiddle player and a guitar picker and anything i sent to him from then on was approved with a big yes...So working for films & doco's is trial and error, a bit restrictive at times and can be an exercise in dealing with quite eccentric characters.... but it's all good. I feel blessed spending my time following my musical passion and getting hired & paid for it!
Which venues/festivals would you recommend to others?
In australia I'd recommend the 'Rainbow serpent" in rugged country Victoria and 'Exodus' in the lush sub-tropical settings of northern New South Wales. I did a small tour of Canada this year and 'Diversity' on texada island and 'Lasqueti escape' on lasqueti island were very friendly and much fun!!
Where can people hear and purchase your music?
I've added a low quality mp3 snippit of Don Peyote's 'In Habana' off the compilation 'Arcana' on Interchill Records. Check out the compilation because along with this Don Peyote track there's stuff from Eat Static, Zen Lemonade, Tripswitch, Kaya Project, & more.