Every Monday we will be bringing you an unsigned singer or band as part of our Independent Music Monday feature. This week, we caught up with Pete Beat find out more about him…
Where are you from and how did you first get into music?
I'm from Newcastle upon Tyne. We had a Hammond organ in the house when I was growing up, and a series of books on playing the organ. I taught myself to play from them. I've always loved the more unusual chords. The organ was great, you can play three parts at once, plus the built in drum machine.
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
The earliest music I can remember hearing and loving is the Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin, which I told myself I'd learn to play one day (I did). I loved the Beach Boys from the first time I heard them, just sublime music, everything from the surf stuff to Pet Sounds. I had major phases of loving early 90s dance music, then The Beatles, then The Doors and then The Smiths. These days I listen to all sorts... anything and everything.
How would you describe your sound?
It changes. For years I made dance music - rave, then funky house - but seem to be getting more pop, or at least song-based, as the years go on. My production is definitely influenced by electronic music, but the songs are a meld of all the bands I mentioned. I couldn't put a single label on it. There's a common sound to all my productions though, they're all just versions of what I like to hear.
What is your latest single called and what was the influence behind it?
The current EP is called "Forever". Each song has a different subject and uses fairly different instrumentation, but they seem to fit together. The first track is about whether you'd really want to live forever, the second one a joking look at the things parents tell their children (like the Easter Bunny or Santa is watching them all the time... isn't that just preparing them to accept a surveillance state?). The final song was one of my earliest, but a fresh recording with some nice strings.
What’s your local music scene like?
It's good. There are some great venues around Ouseburn, some excellent local bands (a special mention to Twist Helix who are great live... I remixed one of their tracks last year). Some good visiting bands too, Jumpin' Hot Club bring some fine Americana to town, and the Sage Gateshead is a great venue. I'm not really immersed in the scene, as I've only just started playing live, I'm just doing open mic nights really, trying to build my performance skills (and confidence).
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
More open mic nights, then try and get some support slots once I have a reasonable shot at doing a good job. In terms of writing and recording, it's just something I always do. If I end up with one good song I'll release a single, or more I'll release an EP or an album. No firm plans there. I think you might stumble on a hit once or twice in a lifetime if you write enough, or maybe never... here's hoping for one!
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
Total dreamland, Nile Rodgers, he's recorded so many great tracks. I used to think Morrissey, but him calling Nigel Farage a "liberal educator" killed that dream for me.
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
A gig I did with three friends, we used someone else's PA, and we didn't know it had a special 'VIP mode' which was turned on. It didn't happen with anyone else's mic, but every time I sang, every other instrument and mic went silent. If I'd realised exactly what was happening I'd probably have felt quite self conscious!
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
With my glasses on, I have 25/20 vision, so better than most people (although I can't see a thing without them).