24 Mar 2019
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PT - PT Newsletter Interview

01 Jun 2018 // An interview by ShelleySketch

Shelley recently sat down with PT at Auckland Art Gallery to catch up with him and see what he’s been up to. The interview kicked off with us discussing social media and technology. The change things have taken from currently hearing from artists everyday compared to back in the day when you didn’t hear from them unless they released something or toured here.

We both agreed that NZ music is taking a dive. With little to no radio play etc, artists are having to jump the ditch to pursue a better career. Spotify is now the commercial Soundcloud and we’re discovering artists from algorithms they have set up. At the way NZ music is going Australia will dictate the NZ music scene more and more. But then we started going through some of the questions I had:

Why PT? Why the change in America?

It was about evolution for me as an artist and it was time for a change. It wasn’t just a change for me in the music, it was a change for everything. I felt like I wanted to go from being the guy next door to really establishing myself in the music. For me I felt my name was very homely and chill but as it grew I was like I want to grow to even bigger heights. I realised I have to change with how society changes and again it comes back to social media. A lot of artists are blowing up because of their branding, that’s the appeal, it’s not even the music. You know it’s scary you’re essentially attempting a brand change but so far, it’s worked for me. I guess it’s about separation, that’s the old me, that’s the old artist and this is the new me, the new PT. I’ve changed so much from the kid I was way back when I first started music to where I’m at now. It’s been 9-10 years of doing music professionally. There’s been a lot that has happened in that time. Nobody should ever stay the same after 10 years. If you’re still the same after 10 years you might want to sit down with yourself and look in the mirror and think okay are there things I need to fix here?

So how long have you been working on Goliath for?

2 ½ years. So, I came back from the US in August 2015 and after spending a lot of my time out there I recognised the RMA scene which was really popping off and that’s when I made the Dopamine EP. But after making it I was like this still doesn’t feel like me right now. I feel like there’s new depths to explore and so I literally shut off from the world. I stopped posting so heavily much on social media, I stopped giving a lot of my time and attention to that because I was like no it needs to be first and foremost about the music. I need to just go away and make the best thing I’ve made in my life. In order to make the best thing, you have to devote a lot of time to it. So, I sat hold up in a little studio, one of my homies gave me a space and I just started searching for sounds and listening for things all over the world. I checked out Spotify, Soundcloud, YouTube and talked to a lot of DJs and producers to figure out where it’s all moving too. You obviously want to be moving with the flow, but you don’t want to be copying everybody. You still want to stand out, but you need to at least fit the mound of how music’s going. So, it took about 2 years and in between all that time I had a lot of spiritual moments. I’ve always known the spiritual moment was real since I was a child. So, while that was going on in my life, the recognition of the fact that god is real, it was all manifesting in my personal life and my music.

Is that where the track King came from?

Yeah well, I’ve always been a believer in god. I’ve always known he was real. Coming back to god and finally giving my life to him and just saying stop running, it was a maturing process that happened for me. I’ve been emotionally stunted for a very long time. Music and fame was an outlet to cover up some of the things I’ve never really dealt with in my life. Things that have affected me ever since I was a child. But you know we cover them up, we fill the holes in our heart, with things that we think will fit. King was born out of me having deep conversation with god and just realising just how far I walked away from him. The recognition of so many things in my life such as the sins I’ve committed. Then just feeling god's presence and love to say I forgive you. So that’s where that song has come out of. It’s funny because on the album, that’s the songs that everybody loves. And a lot of people who aren’t question or who haven’t walked with god for a long time are just wow that song has ruined my day. That song has me on my face crying. It reminds me of how good god's love is. It’s a song about repentance and seeking forgiveness of our creator. We’re not living the life he intends for us, so we have to first come to him and ask for forgiveness before we can actually have a relationship with him. I think King has spoken to a lot of people about remembering to just go say sorry and the big fella will forgive you and you can carry on life.

Well it’s definitely the different track on the album. Because the rest of the album makes me think of summer, electronic, dance type vibe from it.

The album is very gritty. It’s got a lot of dance elements compacted into it.

It’s not what you generically hear. It’s a lot of beats you don’t expect to be together but it works.

Yeah well, the producers that worked on it – Will Starr, I.amsolo and DJ Sabio, these guys are all based in the club as well as dancers. DJ Sabio who mastered and engineered the album, he’s the resident at The Marquee in Sydney and this club is regularly packed with people. So, they knew what was going to move people and what the rhythms are that move people. This was something we really wanted for the project. I wanted an album that people could play start to finish and it would just set you up whether you wake up in the morning and it’s the first thing you listen too, whether you’re on your way to the party, whether you’re at the party, whether you’re on your way home, on your way to training etc. I wanted to make something that would help people to move.

Obviously, I want to evoke an emotion but if I can just evoke a feeling or get you to move or out of your space for a minute, then I’ve done my job. A lot of what I’ve got from people is this is different, but I dig it. I know I’ve taken a big risk from steeping away from what I’ve done before but you know this is what we have to do as innovators. We have to do that as creators. But it’s also a matter of the fans don’t grow at the rate that the artist grows. There’s a number of people who tell me they love my 1st or 2ndalbum but this 3rd one is okay, we’re getting there. It’s nostalgia and the human condition. We revert back to things we love and cherish the most. But you have to risk being future-forward, even if it might mean that people don’t understand you. As an established artist in NZ I have a responsibility to go deep and test this thing out. If I get swallowed by sharks in deep water well that’s okay if it meets the next artist can come in and swim there comfortably. I have to do that. Music is a reflection on society and culture, so it’s my responsibility to figure that out and go guys this is where music is going. 

I’m really starting to use auto tune as a tool for new creation. We’re already working not he next album and we’re starting to play with vocals and engineering, kind of like how it was in the 80’s. Taking a surge of hardware and how people were using it to make sounds with their voices and different types of music. Now I can see this is where it’s at right now. Everybody is doing everything. It’s a weird cacophony of sound at the moment. I’ve coined this term for it, electro-R&B. It’s not R&B it’s this new feel. But that’s how I describe this album. There’s definitely elements of pop in there as well though. The boundaries are litigated. I don’t want to live in the constraints of the typical sound structure. It’s been standardised for so long and I’ve done that to get radio play, stick with the flow etc. But now there’s not really a standard anymore and artists are trying more.

How do you feel now that music seems to be more of a response to politics?

I’ve never been highly politicised. Politics to me doesn’t matter. It’s funny that people moan and complain about each individual politician, but they forget that there’s people behind the scenes too. So again, I could never really go that deep with myself and with the music. I think music is always a difficult one because you can only give a one-sided basis to the argument. You can’t really delve deep into things. So, for me I just stay right away from it.

For me the biggest socials I see today and with every generation is love. Everybody wants love. Everybody want to be loved, experience love, give love and be loved for what they do. It’s this crazy intangible things that even if people say they don’t want it, they do want it. Everybody wants it. This is why consistently you see that love songs are overdone etc, but they still go just as big no matter what time they come out. That’s because new generations all want the same thing. So, what does that do? It speaks to the social conditioning and human psyche. It’s an essential need. But yeah, it’s humans, we’re always going to be divided.

With your album artwork, the title Goliath is quite crooked, why?

As human beings we’re imperfect. Goliath was imperfect. David was imperfect. We’re all imperfect. So that’s kind of what it is. It’s summarising the fact we’re all a little bit messed up regardless of how we come across or want to be perceived. Regardless of how we perceive somebody. Nobody’s perfect. Everybody’s got their things they want to deal with. But it makes us human right? In music the imperfections can often make the sound because it’s real, it’s human. A lot of music today loses its emotive connection because it's not real. But when you leave some of those mistakes in then yeah. In the past I used to clean everything up completely. Now there’s been times I’ve finished the song and I debate changing it and decide no I’ll leave it. It was done that way for a reason. If it’s a bit off that’s okay, I just want you to feel something.

We then had a funny conversation about how music has new terms. “Mayonnaise music” – The condiment in the music. It’s the filler. “This is pickles. It’s not everybody’s flavours but to some people it’s their life”. 

With our discussion of how everything is digital these days, do you think you’ll release a physical copy of Goliath?

I don’t know. I think it’s time for us to move forward and find a new way. Like I’m starting to see new USB’s that connect to a lot of different technology. Why aren’t we moving forward that way too?

It seems a lot of people are investing more in live shows and merch than music. They’d rather buy a shirt with the album cover than the album. 

This goes back to what we were talking about before. The aesthetic of who you are, the brand. This tacks into everything else. if you could sell a $2 shirt for $30 that’s better than selling a $15 CD. I’ve never really been one to push people on iTunes. And you know it’s funny when people come up to me and tell me they love my music and show me what their listening to, but the file has official music video next to the file name and I’m like, it’s all right my bro I used to do MP3 rip as well haha. But you know I know some people get pissed off about and are like you’re not a true fan if you don’t buy it but it’s just the way it is. If they could steal your album they would.

What would you say you’re currently listening too?

Honestly, it’s a little bit of everything. I’m feeling a lot of DJ’s that are coming out of the UK. I’m kind of enjoying the vibes on what pops up on Spotify. But It’s kind of a lot of the DJ’s at the moment I’m really listening too. It’s because they’re just making these incredible mixes. 

Will you tour?

We’re looking at developing a new show. I’m figuring out how that all works. I still love doing the club shows but I want to change it. I want to give people more of an experience and that they can take away. We’re developing the show now and there’s already been a few companies come forward and request potentially opening sets for bigger acts. It’s weird, it’s kind of been like restarting. I can easily start on the club circuit but it’s more than that. There’s an opportunity here to take the brand worldwide.

Anything else to add?

I’m thankful to the people that are rocking with and even if they don’t understand it they're still rolling with it. I’m even grateful to the people who have tapped out at this part of the journey saying we’re cool with what we like, you go off here and we’re going to remember you over here. And that’s cool too. It’s going to be a very wild ride for the next 5 years. It’s going to be interesting to see if I can surpass what I’ve done. Because that’s the aim. The aim is not to match it on another level, the aim to surpass it and grow far beyond what anybody thought I’d be capable of. I’m pretty confident I will. If not to the level I think of now, then it will still be a great learning experience. It’s going to be good anyway.

Thanks for the chat. Good chat mate, good talk.

PT also mentioned how he said he has fallen head over heels with creating again and all he wants to do is be in the studio and make music. He also touched on a couple of quotes which I’ve heard, and thought should be shared again:

Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. 

David Bowie also mentioned that you cannot make art for the gallery. The moment you make art for the gallery you’re screwed.

Thank you to PT for the great chat. It was quite inspiring for me to see how he has come back with such a fresh drive and belief in his art.
 

About PT

Two years in the making, 'Goliath' sees PT forging new ground with his sound and pushing the envelope across the musical spectrum. From the uplifting opener I’m Ready; to the pumping, bass-heavy Signs and the already released singles - the soulful Moving On, feat. B Wise. and the club anthem R.O.D - the record’s an out-and-out winner from start to finish.

“I wanted the sound to be visionary and future-forward,” PT explains. “New platforms for consumption of music have broken down old barriers when it comes to genre. So much so, that much of the new material being released at the moment is hard to stick into a box. That’s exactly what Goliath is, in my mind - out of the box!”

The record’s already off to a good start, with its lead singles R.O.D and Moving On getting widespread love on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple. Both tracks debuted on Spotify’s highly coveted New Music Friday NZ/AU playlists, with R.O.D also added to Monster Dance Hits, House Party, New Dance Beats, Friday Funday and now sitting on more than 410,000 streams. R.O.D and Moving On are both getting airplay in New Zealand on stations Mai FM, Flava, Niu FM and George FM.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for PT

Releases

Goliath
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Completion
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Life, Love And Lessons
Year: 2011
Type: Album

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