Peter Broderick has a track record of speaking directly to his fans, literally - in the past he has recorded his answers to fan questions and uploaded the audio to his website, a particularly lovely personal touch. You get a gist of this kind of personal attention too in this interview I did with him when he played at the Crane Lane Theatre in Cork in 2009.
His new "vocal" album is just out on Bella Union (as opposed to his many soundtrack and instrumental/collaborative projects). It's called http://www.itstartshear.com. That's right, it's a web address. Why? Rather than me explaining, let me hand you over to the man himself.
How do you feel about music downloading?
It is a common question addressed to musicians and one that I have been asked several times in interviews. My response has always been that it doesn't bother me. It is unavoidable. And in the best case someone who downloads an album and likes it might consider buying it at some point, or they might come to a concert and buy it directly from me at the merchandise table.
What does bother me about downloading is how most of the time the listener doesn't have access to the artwork and/or text that comes along with a physical copy. Perhaps for many people this doesn't even matter, but personally I have always felt a great satisfaction from having an image and some words by the artist to accompany and enhance the sounds. To take in the full picture as the artist intended, which in my mind includes all the liner notes and artwork as well as the music .
So, http://www.itstartshear.com was designed simply to be a place where all listeners, no matter what format they obtain the music in, can easily access all the lyrics and notes and visuals which are meant go along with the songs. And as a title, http://www.itstartshear.com serves the music well by automatically becoming a link any time the album is written about. A link to the place where people can learn all about the album, directly from the source. A link that is the album.
Or at least a link that will be the album, once it comes out, February 20, 2012. For those who read this and hear the music before that date, I am happy to tell you that http://www.itstartshear.com is the result of nearly three years of studio work, and is my first album created without any self-made restrictions. Whereas on albums past I set out to work strictly with certain sets of instruments, this one includes anything and everything I could get my hands on and which seemed appropriate for the song.
Produced by Nils Frahm at his Durton Studio in Berlin, it is my first project on which the sonic timbre of the songs was treated equally as important as the music itself. I have been in awe of the sound on the many records coming out of Nils' studio over the last couple years, so I thank him deeply for helping me to explore a richer, wider sonic landscape.
Furthermore, many of the songs on this album were made in dedication to someone or something in particular. There is a recollection of a romantic letter exchange from several years ago (A Tribute To Our Letter Writing Days), a song written by my father when he was 19, which I discovered on an old cassette tape in late 2008 (Blue), a remembrance of a friend who passed away in a kayaking accident, for which I enlisted anyone and everyone to submit recordings by sharing a commemorative text over the internet (Asleep), a celebration of a little-known artist who has inspired me greatly (Colin), and a dedication to a bird whose life I stole while driving alone in the countryside (Trespassing), among others.
Thank you for taking the time to read and listen.
Peter Ray Broderick - November 18, 2011
What a legend. Instead of wringing his hands about the injustice of illegal downloading, PB concentrates on what, in my opinion, should be the key concern for every musician - to have their music heard. How to add value to that for the audience is the logical next question, which he addresses above. And if you've seen the man play live, you'll know the kind of value he provides as a live performer.
Rock on Peter.
*The album is sounding great on first listen, I'll have a review of it later in the month. In the meantime, type the album title into your address bar and have a listen for yourself. And in the process, take part in the future of the business we call music.