OneNamedPeter is taking listeners on a sonic road trip with his debut album Atlas. With each track representing a different stop on the journey, he fills you with the free spirit of adventure. While hitting all the major stops along the way, he also considers how all the natural elements we visit exist within us as well. We sat down with OneNamedPeter to talk about the album, sonic road trips, inspiration, music videos and much more!
OSR: What is the earliest musical memory you have and how do you feel this affects the music you create?
OneNamedPeter: Nursery rhymes in kindergarten. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Baa Baa Black Sheep. Awful stuff. I sincerely hope they haven’t affected the music I create unless it’s to reinforce an aversion to the trite and the twee. Maybe that’ll be the next project: to write some decent nursery rhymes. The wheels will definitely come off that bus!
OSR: Your debut album Atlas is a sonic road trip. How did you come up with this concept?
OneNamedPeter: I was sitting listening to Joni Mitchell’s masterpiece ‘Hejira’ for the 1,000th time. It’s a musical road trip across America, but also an interior road trip into one woman’s psyche. I suddenly realised that I wanted to take a road trip into one man’s psyche, mine, by using the concept of an atlas to explore within. A kind of Hejira for the 21st century.
OSR: Each track on the album is a new stage in the overall journey but how difficult was it to ensure there is a linking thread through each.
OneNamedPeter: Once I had the concept of internal and external geography, of human emotions mirroring physical locations, it fell into place naturally. So a song about pent-up lust/anger/frustration would be set inside a volcano (track 3, ‘Krakatoa’). A song about isolation/loneliness/depression would be set in the deepest cave in the world (track 2, ‘Krubera’).
OSR: You create and produce all your music yourself, what is the biggest challenge you face with this DIY approach?
OneNamedPeter: Oh, definitely perspective. I love having absolute control over the music but the price you pay is in having to be both the sole creator and the sole listener/judge, at least until it’s released. So one day I think I’m a genius; the next an idiot.
OSR: Each track on Atlas is a trip around the world, but also a journey through inner challenges. What prompted you to create this layered messaging?
OneNamedPeter: I think that inner and outer, micro and macro are inseparable in a way we don’t always realise. The album is a Christopher Columbus-style exploration of that. I love travelling and am looking forward to doing some more of it after Covid, but we all need to explore our selves as well, and to be explored. Hence the lyric from the title track, ‘Atlas’: I am land and I am sea/ waiting here for my Christopher/ to criss-cross my territory/ to the final peninsula.
OSR: Who would you say is your biggest musical influence?
OneNamedPeter: The holy trinity: Joni Mitchell, David Bowie, Kate Bush.
OSR: Every track from the album also has a music video. What was your creative process for making the videos?
OneNamedPeter: Me, my iMac and the magic of Adobe.
OSR: Why did you decide to have a video for each track
OneNamedPeter: I’ve always enjoyed creating the total package: song, cover art and video. Most of my songs tell stories and I can often see the video taking shape in my imagination as I’m writing and refining the songs. The transfer from imagination to screen is the tricky part!
OSR: If people could feel only one emotion while listening to your album, what would you like that to be and why?
OneNamedPeter: I do think it’s a mistake to assume anything about the listener, this is where she’ll laugh; this’ll make her cry, she’ll sing along to this. All I want, really, is the listener’s attention. But that’s not an emotion, is it? Errrm. Joy. I want joy!
OSR: What else can we expect from you in the coming year?
OneNamedPeter: A new album. My most popular song on streaming platforms is called ‘Stupidly Happy’ and I want to make a whole album of optimistic songs, maybe also called Stupidly Happy, or maybe called Bliss. It’s a challenge because I think happy songs are the hardest to write. They can easily sound fake or shallow but the world needs happy songs right now, so…