>> Peter Michel, Seattle based artist, has come a long way from recording his first album in a walk-in closet! His dream-pop has evolved into a very therapeutic method of sharing his ongoing battle with anxiety and depersonalization. Depersonalization is a disorder identified by feeling disengaged from the mind and body, as if someone is an outsider viewing their own self. Music isn't the only thing that helps Peter cope, he is also a licensed mechanic! Check out our interview with him below!
So, thus far you’ve had two very different ways of recording your music, thus far which one do you think yields the “truest sound”?
I’m not sure about “truest sound”, as the way I think and write is constantly changing, they’re just different. But lyrically, on ‘Something Familiar’ I was being the most true to myself. I delved deeper and spent a lot of time focused on being honest with what I was saying.
Do you remember the first time you were working on a car and thought, “Oh yeah, this is the good stuff?”
I was in Colorado Springs and our van broke down. We took it to a mechanic we found on craigslist, and he ended up needing a bit of my help. That’s when I first remember feeling super stoked on it.
Do you find that the thought processes differ largely when working on a car or working on an album?
Absolutely. When I’m working on an album I’m almost 100% in my head. Worried about micro details and obsessing over the smallest things. Time moves very slowly. When working on cars time moves incredibly quickly, and my focus is undivided to fixing an issue that doesn’t reflect my anxiety.
In your new album you’re a lot more open and willing to talk about a more dark, real side of life, was this a hard decision, pulling away from simpler stuff?
Yes, it was a hard decision. It’s always a challenge opening up and talking about something scary. I hope people can relate to the album and it can get a conversation or 2 going.
What have you found that works well on keeping you grounded and present in yourself, especially on stage?
Being on stage isn’t an issue with feeling grounded. I really enjoy performing. Staying grounded in day to day life an issue that I’m still addressing. I haven’t found something that can keep me present yet, but am continuing to search.
Was it a hard decision to be more open about your personal and emotional troubles, or did it come naturally to be that open?
It didn’t come naturally. It ended up being quite difficult to get myself to address these feelings, but once I let myself get going, it got easier from there, and sometimes even felt like a relief.
Your music is really light and dreamy, Is there a media you like to consume to get you in the right space to make such specific tunes?
Now that you have a band behind you, do you ever feel wistful for the days when you worked by yourself?
Yeah, I do. Working with a band was awesome and I wouldn’t take it back...but not having control over the end product of how everything came together was really strange to me.
Do you feel you write your music differently now that it's not only you playing it, and you have to “think about” other people and how they’ll perform it?
For sure. Taking something from the studio to the stage is always a strange thing, and parts have to be completely rewritten to make sense live. One thing I appreciate so much about playing with other musicians is the ideas they come up with for live performances ~ because I don’t think my mind works in a very live setting, its immediate thought is to have things be polished and perfect, until someone else can get me in the mindset the imperfection is important as well. And then I end up having a lot of fun.<<