{Behind The Music} Trevor Petrie on Intersection

{Behind The Music} Trevor Petrie on Intersection


Trevor_ALongRoadThere is no time like the present. If you are not challenging yourself, you are not growing or developing. You have to be prepared to try something new and be prepared to suck in order to learn from the process and grow from it.” @trevorpetrie

Listen in to the show : http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avaliveradio/2015/09/03/episode-253-ava-live-radio-behind-the-music-with-jacqueline-jax

Jacqueline Jax logo photoGETTING TO KNOW TREVOR PETRIE
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio

I started with music…
around the age of 16, when I started doing guitar lessons back in high school. The owner of the local music store selling instruments rather than CDs decided to try and form a  band from his various students. We were playing mostly songs from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones with some Deep Purple and Status Quo thrown in for good measure. I’d never really sung before, but when the question of who would sing came up everyone looked at me and that was that. On 31 March 1993, we played our first gig ever at a music cafe. A few years later, I started writing my own songs and I have never looked back since.

“Intersection” is…
a song I wrote not long after my daughter was born. Anti Social Commentary, the rock band I had been in for nearly ten years, had just broken up since we had recently moved towns and I had been hardly playing or writing. My 9-5 job was getting really busy and stressing me out and we were in the middle of renovating the kitchen. It is probably the closest I have ever come to throwing away music for good. And then, I wrote intersection. I often write about my personal experiences as well as challenges and “Intersection” is very much an introspective song. It is almost a conversation with myself, where I discuss how I am feeling about my music, about my lack of down-time and how I am adjusting to a new life. Ultimately the song led me to a whole new direction and I have been able to explore more intimate song writing, something I was not really able to do in Anti Social Commentary.

The releasing of our newest album has been..

a long ride. I was initially aiming for a release in our fall, around April. Realistically it’s looking like November because we’re still working on some overdubs, cello and keys which should be down in the next few weeks. The three songs are very close to me, Intersection is one of them, it’s getting some overdubs and re-mastering. The title track, “Lion In The Closet”, is about my history of depression, the lion being a metaphor for my depression. It is about knowing that something is wrong but not wanting to admit it. I guess it’s easier to pretend that everything is OK. Ultimately it catches up with you. Enter the lion.

I’ve consciously decided to go with singles over albums…
so that I can hopefully record, release, promote and tour in twelve months and then repeat. Once I feel like I know what I am doing, I will look at the possibility of recording an album. As of now, my primary goal is to get out there, play and meet some other musos and music fans in order to build up an audience. I have really enjoyed The Healers Of Hurt for that very reason. We have put together something really special: four songwriters sharing their songs and their stories in a folk-club style song-for-song format. The intimacy and the connection with the audience has been incredibly rewarding and I love that people from the audience feel comfortable to come up to us afterwards to tell us how they enjoyed the show and which songs they connected most with and why.

The music business is…
definitely a roller-coaster that is not exactly a lucrative business model. I have certainly done my share of driving hundreds of kilometers with $5000 worth of gear to play a 45 minute set to half a dozed people for only $50 split four ways. But I keep doing it because music is an essential part of who I am. I know in my heart that I am meant to write and perform. What I have struggled the most with is juggling a 9-5 job while trying to kick-start a music career. Plus, being a new parent has its challenges too.

My strategy though is not to rush into anything, break projects down into as many small parts as possible and tackle one at a time. I have a to-do list on the home-screen of my phone so that I am not instantly distracted by social media or emails and I also dedicate two nights a week  to music, including anything from rehearsal, web updates, reading blogs or watching helpful or inspiring videos. I have also started building a studio at home and I have been gradually upgrading my gear as well as the room in order to be able to do a lot more at home.

My marketing theory for my music brand is…
to be open and accepting to all walks of life and to embrace diversity. I believe in a fair go for all and I guess that’s my brand in a nutshell. You cannot ignore marketing and you have to be prepared to market yourself. I was not for a long time and that is why I never really got out of my home town. It can be awkward and uncomfortable, but we are all human and I hope people will ultimately judge me for the songs I write and my performances. I am not sure I have a well developed marketing plan yet. My history of depression, alcohol abuse and low self-esteem is a big part of my story, and people with a similar history will probably connect strongly with my songs.

My creation process takes place in…
my home, which has a really basic set up. I am only using that to demo songs at the moment. I have a laptop, two channel interface, a midi-keyboard, a collection of good mics and EZDrummer. I have got everything I need to be a one man band really, however the recording I am working on now is with Mark Woods from Bald Hill Music Studio. He has done live sound for some of the biggest names in music around the world but now lives on a property not that far from where I live. He is very easy going, which suits me and it is a relaxed and comfortable environment to record in. I am also working with an animator for a video clip for “Lion In The Closet”. It has been a lot of fun but it’s a slow process with lots of back and forth. I am really excited about it though and I think it is going to be something really special when it will be done.

I live in Castlemaine…
a small regional town located 120km north-west of Melbourne, in the gold-fields region of Victoria, Australia. Castlemaine has seen quite a strong population growth over the past 5-10 years and there are a lot of commuters here now. It’s a very beautiful old town with most of the original buildings from the gold rush still standing. There is a lot of art, sculpture, craft and performance art; it is a very artistic community. Like anywhere these days, the music scene is up and down but thanks to our beautiful old theater, the Theatre Royal, we do get some fantastic artists come through. Something For Kate, Clare Bowditch, Dyson-Stringer-Cloher, The Beards and Frente to name a few. As much as I love heading into town for a coffee since there are so many great coffee shops, my favorite thing to do is to take my motorbike for a ride out to the Golden Point reservoir and just sit and look out across the water. It’s a really calming and grounding place for me.

Social media is…
something I’m still not sure I understand. I would love to say I have a social media strategy but I honestly do not. I get mobile notifications from a handful of people I follow and I use that as my doorway. I will usually turn on mobile notifications from people I am comfortable getting into a conversation with or sometimes from a similar artist I think I can get some tips from. My biggest challenge has been getting people to interact on Facebook with me. I can put up a video of my 2 year old daughter and get 70 views and a hundred likes but a video of me performing might be lucky to get one view and three likes.

The emphasis on being current and trendy is…
something I guess I am blissfully aware of. I have always tried to stay true to myself. I have tried once or twice to consciously write a song in a particular style, but it has never really worked out. I feel that if the song really comes from within me and that I understand it and connect with it, then I will be able to perform it better and listeners will be able to better connect with it.

I would love to have 5 minutes alone with…
Paul Dempsey from Something For Kate. There is no other songwriter who has inspired me more than Paul. He is a genius, lyrically and musically. Every time I see him perform, I come away with a renewed appreciation for his song writing ability and a burning desire to write. He is not afraid to discuss difficult topics in his songs and the emotion he puts into his performances is simply spine tingling.

I have continued to challenge myself by…
saying yes. I have had a few opportunities in the last twelve months that would not have come about if I had said “no, I’m not ready”, or “maybe another time”. There is no time like the present. If you are not challenging yourself, you are not growing or developing. I put off playing in Melbourne for so many years for fear that I was not ready or good enough for it. Then, one day, I was listening to a podcast by the comedian Will Anderson and he was talking about his live comedy and how he realized that to become a better comedian he had to be prepared to try something new and be prepared to suck in order to learn from the process and grow from it. It really hit home and that is when I realized that my biggest roadblock was actually myself.

My biggest fear is…
not giving it my everything. I do not want to look back later in life and wish I had put in more effort. I know I can write great songs and I am confident during my performance, so why not get out there more? It is what I love doing and it is where I feel I can truly express myself.

Success for me is…
connecting with people through music, audiences, music lovers, other artists, being part of a music community and making time for music. Life is pretty hectic and it is not always convenient, however more often than not, once I start doing something, I find myself immersed in it and enjoying it.

My greatest success has been…
continuing to play music and pursue my goals through what has been a very challenging time.  Becoming a parent, moving house and renovating are all highly stressful things, but doing all three at once is arguably crazy. There is no denying that I could not have gotten through it without my wife’s support. She is incredibly supportive of my aspirations. We both drive each other to pursue our goals and help each other when it gets tough. I have had great support from a number of fellow musicians too. You cannot do it all on your own and having a support network is definitely the key to achieving any goal.

My overall professional and personal goal is…
to be happy and to enjoy what I do on a daily basis. I love writing and performing and I will keep doing it for as long as I can. As far a career goes, I would be happy with almost anything that involves music and enables me to interact with interesting, creative and positive people. I am enjoying the process of designing and building my home studio and there is no doubt that it will lead me to spending more time writing, recording and learning along the way. I am not really stressed about reaching an end point because I am too busy enjoying the journey.

I move forward towards my goal by challenging myself to…

1) write a new song every month. It does not always eventuate in a song that will get finished but it keeps me in that head-space.

2) go to a lot of open mic nights and make a point of talking to other performers since striking up a conversation with strangers does not come naturally to me. I have met some great artists and industry professionals by doing that. There are a few that I am even planning to work with on my next EP.

3) read a lot of articles about self-promotion and self-management, artist development, song structure and lately home-studio recording. I am a bit of a skimmer and I mostly go for short sharp to the point. I do not get much time to put it all into practice, but I pin anything that I think will be of value so I can come back to it when I need to.

Trevor Petrie Social Media Links:
Official website: www.trevorpetrie.com
YouTube: www.youtube.com/trevorpetrie
Facebook: www.facebook.com/trevorpetriemusic (main artist page)
Facebook: www.facebook.com/healersofhurt (side project)
Twitter: @trevorpetrie
Periscope: @trevorpetrie
Instagram: www.instagram.com/trevorpetrie/
Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/trevorpetrie
Bandcamp: www.trevorpetrie.bandcamp.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/trevorpetriemusic

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