For a start, Hammer describes himself as someone who loves obscurity. He lives in Italy and has various skills. These include composition, sound design, audio editing, virtual orchestration and guitars. I am currently playing his tunes via Spotify premium, and I see that he has fascinating songs there. The style range from indie pop, electronica, symphonic metal and Billie Eilish indie pop.
I am getting hooked on his channel, and I think you should give him a listen. He collaborates with many artists. He also worked in soundtracks. He is also active in social media. He recently tweeted his newly-furbished website featuring his Peter Hamer Productions and original music.
With his propensity for currently musical styles and genre-hopping, I think he will continue giving us satisfying music. He seems to be a fun guy to talk to as well.
A true artist always finds a way to figure out how to make ends meet. Whether it is about beating deadlines or surviving a pandemic, creativity is our savior. That is why it is fascinating to chat with creative people from all walks of life. It is by unexpected chance that I get to meet singer-songwriter Grant Larseny who loves going against the flow. He has an album out called Dirty Laundry.
At first, listen I’ve been captivated by his incredible voice and unique way of writing and recording song. A singer and solo electric guitar. This is rare. It’s usually acoustic guitar; we shall find out what made him take this route. The effect lies somewhere between the brunt force of pop-punk and acoustic rock, but with that candid lyrical expression that only he can pull off. If you haven’t listened yet, you better listen to some songs via his album while reading this interview. I promise you that you will make something good out of this. He is speaking on behalf of the creative individuals out there. People who are trying to surf the stormy seas of the pandemic and, if you are brave enough, then maybe you can follow his route. You would be surprised at how many doors will open if you are not ashamed to be who you are!
The inspiration was my life and my family. I found myself unemployed for a couple of months one spring/summer, and I would spend a couple of hours every morning applying for jobs, then spend the rest of the day just enjoying life. I was surfing a lot and made a real effort to play and write more music. I had been in a punk band previously, so I consciously stripped back the anger and but kept the simplicity of a couple of chords with a real focus on the melody and fun.
The album is notable for its solo electric guitar and vocal. I kind of like this approach because it showcases your vocal abilities. What made you decide to record the songs without a full band?
The guitar and vocal approach were more out of necessity than anything. I didn’t have the time and energy to put into band practice and promos and gigging, especially considering the goals of 3 or 4 other people. This was a way to scratch the musical itch in my own time, at my own pace. And choosing the electric guitar over an acoustic just came down to doing something a little different. I’ve always preferred playing an electric, there’s not a lot of solo artists playing them, and it was nice to have that little bit of distortion to dirty up the sound.
Any plans for a follow-up release?
I’ve got a couple of songs that I think about releasing from time to time, but no plans at the moment for a follow-up. I have a weird relationship with music – it’s always part of my life, but we’re not always close, and we’re spending some time apart at the moment, haha.
What are you currently into these days?
Currently, I’m just trying to keep the bills paid without going mental. Coming into summer, I’m planning to do a lot of surfing, and I’m always into some kind of weird project. I build longbows and surfboards when I can find the time, and I recently started playing basketball again after a ten-year break. But more than anything, my partner and I just had a little girl, who is baby number 4. Just being a dad takes up a lot of my time these days.
What’s your advice for fellow artists on how to deal with the pandemic and other craziness?
Man, craziness is right, and to be honest, I’m don’t know that I’m the most qualified person to be giving out advice, particularly as a musician – but in a general sense, being kind to yourself is the big thing. Keep your mind busy, find and do things that bring you joy, take a break when you need to, reach out for help, and all that standard stuff. It sounds easy and cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason, and it’s easy for us to forget that it’s important.
Grant Larseny is an alter ego he created. He currently works and lives in Australia. You can catch more of Grant Larseny through his Facebook and Bandcamp page.
Music streaming is the new radio without the DJ. Is this good or bad? Well, it depends on your preference. For me, who is part of Generation X, radio WAS a thing back then. DJs have the privilege to introduce new artists. They can also add little bits of info about the artist. They even say something about the current situation teetering on the verge of being political. They can even insert their own reviews. DJs also personalize the playlists, especially when they know the demographic listening to the show. These days, non of that happens. It makes me long for the day when humor gets injected between songs. However, there are singer/songwriters who introduce their own brand of humor, wit and irony. One artist who does that is Dee McIlroy from Northern Ireland.
For me, Dee McIlroy is a musical chameleon. Well, you would e surprise to learn that he is a guitar builder by day. Music is a passion, whether performing them or creating musical instruments that deliver sound quality of the highest caliber.
Still Waters is his 2021 album. He wrote and recorded these songs in the middle of the pandemic. You can feel his frustration on Like A Book which is the opening track. While other artists resort to maudlin delivery, his approach has an ironic and even sarcastic feel. Of course, we are in the middle of a ridiculous situation. It’s either we succumb to the negativity or approach the dire situation with indignation and humor. Other memorable tracks are Strange Times, The Soap Box Song, and It’s The Ordinary Things. One standout track is the jazzy Summer In New York. This track clearly showcases his musical skills as well as his diverse musical influences. Still Waters is out, and you can listen to it via Spotify for all those streaming fans.
It felt like ages since I updated my Sphere Music blog. This pandemic has either moved people in the positive or negative direction. There is no middle ground. You either do things, or you avoid doing them. So, for a year now, I have lost passion for something that consumed my life back in 2009. It’s about writing posts about new releases and exciting artists who are not in the mainstream environment. I prided myself on knowing genres and bands that only people with sophisticated ears listen to. It is almost like an elitist game which is not something I am proud of. Still, it is really great considering that mainstream music is so dull and boring. Anyway, let’s move along as this post is not about my situation but about an artist named Alex Pardini.
My correspondence with him goes all the way back to the early part of my music blogging years. He has released quite an extensive discography of singles, EPs, albums and even music videos. He is into fitness and healthy food, and I think that is why we click.
Chating with him again is like a breath of fresh air amid a pandemic. I mean, I’ve been riding my bike without any dip in passion, but my blogging is not doing great. Yes, you need to take care of your fitness music is the soul’s food, and you need to balance things out. So this conversation is quite interesting because I get to ask him something close to me: creativity, the process of creating music and also the current situation. The album is called “Honest Li(f)es”, and the release date is October 22, 2021. There will be two singles up front, with according music videos.
Alex: Hello Baxter. How are you doing? Riding that bike like a pro?
Me: Listening to it now. Wow, I am loving it and digging the groove!
Alex: Thanks, Baxter, glad you like it.
Me: I got questions.
What inspired you to write this album?
The songs came together over a period of time and are influenced by things that I encountered in my life, directly or indirectly. It is as much about me as it is about you. It is about life and about the world we live in. The album covers topics like privilege and bullying, relationships, climate change, the pandemic, faith, religion, doubt and self-awareness.
What’s the process of writing and recording?
Could you elaborate on question two for me? Do you mean in a technical way?
Oh yes technically
There is no clear process concerning the creative part. Sometimes I come up with a certain sound that gets me going; other times, it is a chord progression (although usually, it is as much the sound I use to play the chord as it is the chord progression itself), or a drum pattern with a special feel to it.
What happens a lot is that if I feel that certain musical spark I strive for, after a while, I come up with lyrics. Just a sentence or two, but that is usually enough to finish them. Still, music pretty much always comes first.
Technically speaking, I use a combination of hardware and software. I embrace both worlds.
Classical instruments like bass, guitar, keys etc., but also (soft and hardware-) synths, a modular synth, plugins, sampling. I record everything at my studio, including vocals. As I have limited skills as a classical musician, whatever that might be, I often record a draft to get things going and later re-record until I get it right. In more than one way, limitations can push your creativity.
Creation, arrangement, mix-down and mastering are the usual steps. They tend to overlap, and I tend to make a mess out of the steps. C’est la vie.
“Who are you” has this gorgeous piano solo part. What’s the story behind that
Actually, “Who Are You” was not supposed to be on the album. The album was finished. I was experimenting and having fun in the studio. I had this slow musical loop going and, even though I’m no piano player at all, was jamming a little to it. I posted a short video of it on the usual social networks, and people liked it, so I sat down again and made a whole song from that little jam.
As the solo was somehow the main part of the video I posted, I placed it in the middle of the song. It is something that you don’t hear quite often in popular music, but I actually like having solos in the middle or even at the start of a song (or more than one of them). A solo is a very personal and precious little creature inside a song.
How did the pandemic affect you artistically and personally?
I suppose this is where privilege comes into play. While the pandemic was (and still is) interfering with my life and is responsible for a lot of suffering, I am very aware that I am, like most Europeans, in a privileged position. A roof over my head, enough to eat, heating, a working healthcare system, proper ways to protect myself and hell, even an internet connection.
Work-wise (musically), it didn’t affect me as much as I have my studio at home, but obviously, the pandemic found its way into my music. The song “Crown” is proof of that. I suspect that other songs like “Who Are You” or “Lose You” might have been affected by the pandemic too. To what degree, I don’t know, as introspection and extrospection are an integral part of the work I do and the human being I am.
Glad to have this short but sweet interview with Alex Pardini. His album Honest Li(f)es will be available this October so watch out for it!
We all have our own “Through the Looking Glass” adventure during the pandemic. Yes, it isn’t over yet, but things are getting better in some parts of the world. Everything was surreal, and perhaps a piece of music is needed to sober one up. Kandemic is one of the answers to that. It is what we need. There is rage, anger, empathy, and a sense of humor that the band carries well.
You can read more about the band’s manifesto through their story. Here’s one exciting paragraph from that:
If we understand that nature has an abundance of anything we need if we treat it right, how could you profit from it? How could the powers that be control us if every one of our needs were met? This is why for years, they have oppressed our natural abilities to the point that we forgot how to use them.
These musicians came from different backgrounds in terms of musical influences. So they used that to create something different and fresh.
The new single was released this March of 2021.
According to the band’s bio:
The production team consists of Killabase (ShotgunMunkeyz, Sudalicious ) Zar Acoustic (Headtrip Acoustic Project, Counter Intelligence), J.P. Kallio (Sliotar, Boneyard Bastards, Liberty Hell), NikMartken (Headtrip Acoustic Project, Krude Band)
You can learn more about them and check out new releases through their social media sites. Oh yes, this band is highly entertaining. They are not novelty acts. The music speaks for itself. There’s a lot of artful craft in there, through years of touring and recording.