Last week I had the pleasure of reviewing Petter & the Pix‘s second album, prostate Good As Gold, pilule an eclectic bundle of folk and rock that never sits still longer than one track at a time. I urge you to seek it out, and you can listen to the first single off the album (Never Never) here. Petter, lead singer and ringleader of the group, of sorts, is an Icelandic chap from something of a musical family – his brother, Pontus, is half of the successful pop songwriting duo Bloodshy & Avant (not sure which one), and Petter himself used to be in Iceland’s first big reggae band, Hjálmar, as well as in a few other acts making everything from house beats to jazz. The Pix is Petter’s band, consisting of Mike Svensson on piano, Andreas Gabrielsson on bass, Nils Törnqvist on drums, and Mattias Franzen and Klas Ericsson on guitars. I had a quick catch-up with him to ask about his songwriting process.
Hi, Petter. What is it that you’re trying to do with the Pix? As in, what are you aiming for?
To make music and let everyone that is involved feel as involved as we are. I see music as some sort of get together, and I don’t want to work with anyone unless I can trust them to do their very best. For me a very big part of making music is to find situations where you can create moments of trust, with both your fellow musicians and a possible audience.
How would you describe your sound?
I’d say it some sort of pop.
Your music is extremely varied in style and instrumentation – how much to do you draw upon your experience with genres other than just ‘indie’ in making music?
I don’t really know how to define indie or pop if you are referring to it as a certain style of music. There are so many different music styles that people call indie or pop. The expressions seem to change depending on the decade in which they’re used. I think that for musicians, every piece of music they participate in changes the way they think about making music. If the musical history of the members in a group is varied, the outcome will somehow be a reflection of this.
What’s it like working with such a talented range of musicians? How much do they help in achieving that semi-orchestral breadth of sound?
The musicians are everything that there is! If I would choose another constellation of musicians then I’m sure that it would sound very different, not necessarily bad, but different. The fact that we’re all old friends makes it easier to work together.
What else influences you in your work? Where do you draw your ideas from? The world around you, friends, things like that?
The fact that it’s possible to survive as a musician, and that I enjoy playing and recording music, of course, are definitely the reasons why it’s worth making the effort to finish a song. But I think that what actually triggers the ideas could be just about anything, most likely it’s a combo of different components that effects your emotional state and I believe that music is just a product of that process.
This is your second album – do you feel that you’re progressing as a band?
Yes, I think that this album sounds different from the first one, so that would be progress. We haven’t been touring with this band so we haven’t been able to evolve in terms of meeting an audience. But we’ve played together in different constellations for at least ten years so I think that gives us the comfort to play what we like, even if doesn’t happen that often.
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