Updated: May 18
Written by Kiersten Gerard
“Dam, Damn?” More like “Damn, Päter’s music is fantastic!” With wildly clever lyrics and compositions that are beautifully complex, Päter is establishing themself as a force to be reckoned with within the indie music scene. We recently sat down with them to chat about their writing process, upcoming projects, and the beautiful strangeness of Fiona Apple.
When did you first start writing music?
I started writing when I had moved to Canada with my family. We moved when I was 7 and I picked up the guitar when I was 10 or 11. I was a pretty lonely kid, I didn't have a lot of friends, especially in elementary school. So I started writing music as a way to kind of escape and do something else for a while.
What artists do you draw inspiration from?
When I was growing up I was super obsessed with Hilary Duff because I was always watching the Family channel. I started to steer away from that genre of music when I started listening to Muse. I became completely obsessed with them, I’ve seen them live like 7 times at this point. They’ve got a bit of theatricality to them and that’s where my musical attitude started.
What does your writing process look like?
I don’t necessarily have a defined process that I follow, but typically I’ll start with a lyric or idea that I feel could be expressed well through song. Recently I’ve been looking for new ways to approach songwriting, like my 30 day writing challenge on Tik Tok.
Are there any recurring lyrical themes in your songs?
Lately I’ve been super self reflective. I often write songs to try and make myself feel better, to try and say something that I need to hear or repeat something that calms me down. Thats a big focus for me.
Out of all of the songs you’ve released, which one are you most proud of?
They all have their own challenges and successes but I’d have to say it’s between “Sleep” and “Earth in Revolt.” I almost didn’t finish “Sleep.” I got to the point where I felt like it needed to be a really big production and I didn’t think I had the tools to make it how I needed it to sound. I was really set on doing the whole EP on my own but for this song I had to give in. I called some friends and it suddenly came to life. I’m super proud of how it came out because I wasn’t sure that it would at all. “Earth in Revolt” is super complex musically. It took a lot of time to find the balance between natural instruments and the synthetic but I’m really proud of how it ended up sounding.
The album art for each of your releases are variations of the same illustration. Why?
Around this time last year I was thinking about how I wanted to put this music out. I wanted it all to be connected but I knew I wouldn’t put them all on the EP. I had the idea of releasing 2 singles, the EP, and 2 more singles so it’d be 5 separate things. They all came from the 30 day songwriting challenge and I wanted the art to represent that. The base image is a drawing of me sitting where I typically write. “Dam Damn” and the underlying sketch were done @drawgabedraw, “Desert” was created by @ahlena.art, “Earth in Revolt” was created by @baska_szostak, and “MTL” was by @melwizeart. Now I’m nervous because now that those songs are done I have to come up with a new idea for album art!
How has Tik Tok impacted your music career?
Hugely. Before lockdown my game plan was to play shows around Toronto and get my music out that way. I wasn’t expecting much when I first started on Tik Tok, I was just going to use it as another platform to post my music on. I ended up really getting the chance to be seen by people and I’ve been able to connect with people that I never would’ve met otherwise. The Tik Tok community has given me so much love and support, and they’ve really helped me get through this past year. It would’ve been so difficult without all of this beautiful music stuff.
How do you spend your time when you’re not making music?
Usually scaring myself into making more music. Before the pandemic I was working as an actor and I’d be auditioning all the time. Since lockdown and the whole Tik Tok thing happened I actually left my agent and decided to focus on music full time. So whenever I’m not making music I feel like I’m procrastinating making music. That makes me sound like such a nervous person. Yes I do relax, I watch Netflix, Prime, all that stuff.
Who is your favorite artist at the moment?
A band that I’ve found myself playing a lot lately is a Montreal band called Men I Trust and their album Oncle Jazz. It’s a really chill vibe. It puts me in a good headspace whenever I need to be.
If you could hang out with any artist, living or dead, who would it be?
The first person that comes to mind is Fiona Apple because she is such a weirdo in the best way. I really love her music and I watch her talk a lot on Youtube. She’s so authentic. She’s one of those people who’s been through pretending to be someone else and doesn’t have time for it anymore. That’d be a great energy to soak up.
What is some of the best advice you’ve received?
Not too long ago I was talking with my old high school drama teacher. I was saying that as an artist and as someone who’s only ever done art, I don’t really know what's going on in the world. I don’t understand politics well enough, I don’t understand international relationships well enough to be able to write or speak on them. He told me “You are it. Whatever you’re going through is what people are going through. What you’re experiencing is what's happening. A young person whose world is falling apart in this way, who is confused. A person who wants to know and wants to be on top of things and figure things out but things are too overwhelming. That is the stuff that you can use to make art and music from.”
What advice do you have for anyone who wants to make music?
Engage with the thing you want to do. You don’t have to feel like you’re succeeding, just sit with it. If you get frustrated, walk away and come back another time. See what happens. The more you can remove expectations, the more things will start to flow.
Anything to plug?
The music video for “Earth in Revolt” is out! Also, there’s new music coming out this summer that should start rolling out in June. Excited about that.
Follow Päter on Instagram and Facebook @paterverse!