Moving from being the frontman of The Fuzzy Nerds, singer-songwriter Petros Fuzzhead embraces a genre-defying solo music project. We speak with the Greece-based artist about his album The War Is Near, future plans and animal reincarnation.
OSR: What drew you to music?
Petros Fuzzhead: I’m not really sure. I guess that music has always been in my life somehow as far as I can recall. My childhood home was always full of music, dozens of vinyl records – my father was and I guess he still is a huge music fan – and a couple of musical instruments such as a melodica or a harmonica which my mother owned and somehow used in her job as a pre-school teacher and which my older brother and I used to play with at every chance we got. At the age of 4 or so, I would also sing along holding a pen or something pretending it’s a mic and I’m a singer. These are my first memories regarding music.
Later on, I had been cooking my own “pop-like” songs since I was 11 years old using a tiny Yamaha keyboard I had, a classical guitar which I was supposed to study – but never did ‘cause I just wanted to do my own thing instead of doing what my guitar tutor told me to – and an Akai mic my father used to have as a component for his hi-fi sound system, God knows why. So, I used to take all that stuff and experiment writing and recording at home at first, trying to figure out mostly who I was, I guess, through learning how the instruments sounded and how I could use them in a song context and structure of my own.
Shortly after that, the “rock” and “metal” era came and along with it a more “serious” approach to music and guitar playing. In high school, we had our first band with my friends which soon turned out to be at first The Soundness – a garage/post-punk band that later became The Fuzzy Nerds. The Fuzzy Nerds was the alternative rock/post-grunge band we founded with my older brother and my best friend where I used to write music, perform live and make records for 20 years, from 1994 to 2014. After the Nerds and at the same time with my personal project which I started then, we also started with other friends and musicians a couple of other projects such as Tristessa and Blind Them With Science with whom we also made an album and some single releases so far.
OSR: What is the backstory to your album The War Is Near?
Petros Fuzzhead: The War Is Near is my first album as a solo artist and its story goes back to 2019 when I started building it as a concept. Before that album, I had done some selected live gigs both by myself using looping techniques as well as with a full band and I had also released in 2017 a single and an official video clip for it (Petros Fuzzhead – Out Of Your Box). But the idea for the album was actually an ongoing process upon a concept that worked as a core around which every little aspect could be formulated. It had to do with all this dystopian era in which we live nowadays. Climate change, financial crisis, poverty, corruption, mass media control, Covid-19 pandemic, the rise of far-right extremism, anti-scientific beliefs, tons of conspiracy theories and so on. All this stuff forms a situation that sounds very similar to me to what the world was under something like a century ago, when everything led to an inevitable conflict regarding both the social structure as well as the international status upon the collapse of old empires. Around all these issues there is always love, infidelity, desire, friendship and all that little things that make human life as complex, painful and worth living as it is at the same time.
OSR: Did you face any challenges when writing or recording the album?
Petros Fuzzhead: It took us something like two years for the album to be done owing partly to the Covid era and the following long-lasted lockdown, and partly to me and my side music projects which needed my full attention at times and my full focus as well. Since the main thing here, the main factor that led to this delay I guess, is my inability – generally speaking – to sit back and cool down as far as new music writing, music performing or video making is concerned. During that time, I was preoccupied not only with what the album recording, mixing and overall production needed but also with some old Fuzzy Nerds single releases and new videos for those singles as well as with some online gigs that had to be done with my other projects and so on. It was worth the effort and the time spent at the end of the day I guess. The production process of an album is always troublesome to an extent, maybe painful and tiring but the outcome is what matters and I’m happy with it.
OSR: What do you find more challenging: melody or lyrics?
Petros Fuzzhead: I think that lyrics must be a little bit more challenging to me since I’m not a native English speaker and as you can easily guess in most cases of songwriters such as mine, words do not throw themselves around just like that. At first, they come out mostly based more on how they sound rather than what they actually mean. So, at first, lyrics come like a little sound structure that turns out, piece by piece, to gradually become a full story. I prefer to present lyrics in each song as a part of a storytelling process that is understood in relation to other songs in the album which, in the end, makes it all clear to the listener according of course to his personal filters – something that differs for every single person.
When it comes to the music, I would say that it emerges as naturally as you breathe. It happens just like that. It may come while you’re sleeping and you get up and write down a tune or a couple of words. Other times it comes while you’re driving, it comes almost in every instance and when it comes you’ve got to write it down in order to work on it later. It’s just that simple and of course, you work upon it to the point that the arrangements can take it to the level it needs in order to be ready to perform it with the band and record it in the studio properly.
OSR: Do you have a favourite track?
Petros Fuzzhead: I do like some tracks more than others yes but I’m not sure if I have a particular one that I love the most. If I had to pick one though I would say probably ‘I Know Who You Are’ ‘cause it’s a powerful song with lots of energy and emotion which I enjoy performing every single second of it, every single time just like the first.
OSR: What about a least favourite track?
Petros Fuzzhead: I would say the last one ‘And That’s How It Ends’ ‘cause it’s not really a song in a wide sense but, in fact, the melodica theme I wrote for ‘The Truth Is That Sheep Adore The Wolf’; a theme I thought it would be too much to put in the mix. So I left it out but thought it could be well used as an outro for the album instead.
OSR: What do you hope people take from The War Is Near?
Petros Fuzzhead: I do not have any hopes. I’m not the guy who wishes things. I’m just an observer and someone who says what he feels out loud for anyone who cares enough to pay some attention. I guess I’m just inviting people to give it a listen and make their own connections with it and eventually let the music and lyrics take them to wherever they want to go. It’s up to them.
OSR: Do you have any phobias?
Petros Fuzzhead: I’m afraid of insects and especially every bug able to fly. I’m totally terrified at the sight of them.
OSR: If you could be reincarnated into an animal, what would it be?
Petros Fuzzhead: Definitely a cat. A big fat lazy cat lying on a huge comfortable couch in front of a fireplace. That would be fair enough.
OSR: Do you have any future plans for Petros Fuzzhead?
Petros Fuzzhead: We’re planning a tour, probably in Spring when the Covid-19 pandemic makes it possible and safe enough for fans and us as a band to attend. Beyond that, there’s gonna be a live album release in a few months. That’s all at the moment.