Riding the rush of accolades from his latest CD, singer/songwriter Peter Katz brings his international tour to Red Deer’s Fratters Speakeasy May 9th.
We Are The Reckoning is a collection of 11 songs from the Juno-nominated singer-songwriter. He just returned from touring through Europe where he continues to garner much-deserved support and acclaim for his exceptional talents as an artist.
“I have put a lot of time and energy into the Netherlands, and I’ve had some really good fortune touring there with some larger artists and getting some great opportunities,” he said during a chat from London. Germany is increasingly becoming acquainted with his music, and it’s always fun to visit London where folks are tuning into his repertoire as well. Switzerland is also showing more and more support these day, too.
After three tours in support of his 2012 release Still Mind Still, Katz spent much of the past two years writing more than 50 songs while collaborating on some of them with a list of co-writers in Los Angeles, London and at home in Toronto.
Hanging out in LA proved a fascinating, albeit at times, kind of intimidating experience. Much of the production was done in Ontario, but California brought a bevy of rich songwriting sessions in particular. To help him focus more on his art, Katz would do a morning run in the Hollywood hills.
“A lot of my time in LA was for writing sessions, and kind of doing the groundwork. Day after day after day, I was in these rooms with people who have these amazing track records – musicians I really respect and serious heavyweights in the industry,” he said. “It was scary because I’ve always typically written alone and you think you know how to write a song, but then you (ask yourself) do I really,” he laughs.
“You sort of wonder, can I actually roll with the big boys and girls, you know? That feeling is very disorienting and exciting – you want to do your best.”
During his vigorous daily run he would use the time to generate ideas as well.
“It was the only thing I could do to feel like I had control over something.”
His hard work paid off when he attracted the attention of co-producers Royal Wood and Bill Lefler who signed on to help him with We Are The Reckoning. Wood and Lefler also were integral to the process of selecting from those 50 songs what would end up on the CD.
They didn’t always agree on what to include and what to leave out, but Katz was determined to really let go and trust the guys. Not that he didn’t have a role in it, but he was trusting their experience. “Sometimes they didn’t pick the songs that I thought would have picked. Sometimes they for sure didn’t pick the songs that I thought would have picked,” he laughs. “They also didn’t go for some of my favourites.
“I felt like, let’s just see what they see in all of this, and let’s explore that. And let’s not shut it down before it’s complete. It was a really healthy process.”
Ultimately, there’s something stimulating about bringing new folks into the mix.
“Those moments, when you lose your bearings, when you’re forced to sink or swim, are the moments when you have an opportunity to rise to the occasion, to surprise yourself, to do the things you didn’t know you could do. That’s what making this album was for me, I’m so proud of the process, and I’m so proud of the result.”