Interview with the exquisite Peter and Kerry
The indie-pop duo Peter and Kerry took the stage last night at the Barfly, filling up the busy venue with their soulful harmonies and kitschy sound.
Peter and Kerry’s music is fun and extremely easy to listen to, which will have you tapping your foot to the beat before you realise. Their music has a very down-to-earth manner and armed with guitars, synths, keyboards and percussion, the duo pull you into the lyrics they sing, often expressing meaningful and relatable stories of the artists.
Their performance of the song from their first EP Crash and Burn was truly intense. After the crawling intro, the two clink their beers together before the verse of the boozy-inspired song begins. Their new track for their upcoming album La Trimouille called Fucking Around has a quicker pace, which breaks into heavy drum before dropping into the catchy chorus. Their voices work perfectly together, which has a unique and recognisable sound.
From what started off as a side project, the duo has definitely caught on to something that really works here.
The Upcoming caught up with the pair and was lucky enough to have an interview with them.
Hi guys, could you tell us a little bit about the style of your music?
Kerry: Hi, we are Peter and Kerry and I guess we are pop! It’s not difficult to listen to.
Peter: Yeah, I used to do a lot more abstract, electronic music, but when I started working with Kerry I wanted to indulge in something new.
K: We are both massive suckers for 80s groove!
P: Power ballads! Really disgusting power ballads!
K: So I think we wanted to incorporate a little bit of that sound, fusing similar synths and the like.
Your name is pretty self-explanatory; were there any qualms about whose name came first?
P: Well, I remember after a night out we texted the following morning about what we were going to call the EP, and you [Kerry] said “Peter and Kerry” and I said “Kerry and Peter!” Although that name was never really going to stick.
K: No, it wasn’t supposed to stick! Even when we did the EP, we weren’t a band; it was going to be a one-off thing to keep us busy. So when we released the EP under the name Peter and Kerry, it felt a bit silly to change it.
P: At the time I could not think of any good band names!
K: We have a list!
P: Yeah I’ve got it on my phone! (The whole room laughs)
So your debut EP Clothes, Friends, Photos came out last year. What was it like creating music as a duo, rather than your solo projects? More enjoyable or stressful?
P: Well for me, and I can only speak for myself (looks over at Kerry with a sly smile), so much more enjoyable. I’m a massive bedroom music geek! So from going from doing stuff just by myself to me and Kerry sat in my bedroom doing music was amazing!
K: Yeah it was really good!
P: The whole EP came about in a weird way because we were both doing our own solo stuff and we had a free weekend, so we decided to go down Southampton to record some songs. We had both written three songs, so we kind of just decided to record them together and have each other playing on them.
How do you get yourselves into the creative zone when making lyrics and music?
(Kerry reaches over to grab her beer)
That’s the answer then?
K: Pretty much! (Laughing)
P: It completely depends. We both go through periods of not writing any music at all and then we go through a period when we write loads and loads. I don’t think there is anything specific either of us does to get into the zone. Sometimes we might watch a film and take inspiration from that.
You mentioned your new album; it’s called La Trimouille. What’s the meaning behind the name?
K: We started to write the album in France. We were given a very small budget to go away and write, and our manager wanted us to choose the place in the UK. However, we decided to go and stay in one of the remote places in France! We had no car, no taxis…
P: We did have two little kids’ bikes though!
K: We managed to hail a ride from some very kind people and it took us… How many miles? (At Peter)
P: Probably about 20 miles.
K: Yeah, we would have had to walk that!
P: We had all our luggage, with a weeks’ worth of shopping, plus a few crates of wine and beer!
K: We were very lucky!
P: The one thing I always forget is that he had this tiny little pick-up truck! (laughing) The back was just full of our shopping. We were both sat in the back like this. (Both of them brought their knees up to their chest.) The guy Jean-Paul and his daughter Camille were in the front.
K: Neither of us really speaks French either!
P: (Laughing) Yeah, there was a lot of hand gestures and map pointing!
What can we expect from the album? Is it very different from the EP?
K: I would say it’s very different from the EP; it’s a lot more light-hearted and in terms of lyrics it’s a little bit more objective; it’s not that personal. There will always be personal elements, whether it’s been about things we have witnessed and some of them are just outright stories that we’ve created.
P: When people ask about the difference between the EP, the only thing I can say is the list of the instruments we used. On the EP there was a lot of piano, acoustic guitar and banjo. We made a conscious decision with those instruments not to do anything with them.
K: Basically we went into a studio called Press Play with the guy who engineered the album called Andy – the drummer from Stereolab. He has built up the most beautiful collection of instruments, so it was like walking into a playground. Although, we recorded most of the album on his mum’s old Yamaha PSR-36 keyboard which we loved so much, so we ended up buying!
P: So all the thousands of pounds worth of equipment we didn’t use. He (Andy) said himself “and you’re only using my £10 Yamaha.” (laughing) It’s quite fitting because we wrote the album on a nylon guitar that Kerry got from a car-boot sale, even though we both have nice acoustic guitars.
Do you prefer the sound they produce?
K: Yeah, personally I quite like the sound of a bit of tack! It gives off a really nice tacky and crude sound.
P: I’m not a big gear or equipment snob anyway…
What is the best and worst thing about playing live on stage?
K: For me, the worst thing is nerves. I get very, very nervous, like I’m really nervous now (puts out her shaking hands). The best thing about it is that it’s my favourite thing to do!
P: The worst thing is getting on the tube with all our equipment! (both laugh) The best thing is singing in harmony together; it’s a good feeling.
Could you tell us one interesting fact about yourselves that people would never guess?
K: (Laughs) Hmm, okay. I have to get into bed a certain way; I can’t just lift up the covers and get in!
P: I sing a lot while walking down the street! Is that interesting? (the room laughs)
Thanks, last question guys! What are your plans for the near future?
P: Anything musical really! Release the album and play as many nice gigs as possible!
K: Yeah, just keep making music; it’s all about the music!
Photos: Marco Arias Rua
Their album will be released on 16th July 2012.
Listen to Peter and Kerry’s Fucking Around on SoundCloud here