An Interview With Long-Time Musician PETER KATER On His Latest Collections “Inner Passion”, “LOVE” & “Etheria”, Working With JOHN DENVER and More!
Posted On 12 Feb 2016
Tag: #Rock, 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama, Active Child, All Access, All Access Music Group, Ambrosia, Andrea Bocelli, Artist Interview, BLISS, Cat Stevens, ColdPlay, David Darling, Discovery Channel, Dominic Miller, Ed Sheeran, Eddie Vedder, Element Series for Real Music, ELTON JOHN, Etheria, Fire, Grammy, Hans Zimmer, How The West Was Lost, In A Dream, Inner Passion, James Horner, John Denver, Keith Jarrett, Kenny Loggins, Light Body, london grammar, Love, Maui, Michael McDonald, Mozart, Paul McCandless, Paul Winter, Peter Gabriel, Peter Kater, Pianist, Piano, R. Carlos Nakai, Radiohead, Ralph Towner, Red Moon, Sea & Flame, Snatam Kaur, Solo Piano, Sting, Tina Guo, United Nations Environment Leadership Award, Valentine’s Day, whale song, Wind
He has received 11 Grammy Award Nominations in the last 12 years with the most recent being for his “LOVE” recording.
Kater has also been nominated for and won many awards for his music and is a proud recipient of the United Nations’ Environment Leadership Award. Peter is known for the diversity and technical and emotional quality and intensity of his music. His love, respect and commitment to the natural world fuels much of his creative urges and instincts.
Recently, SoloPiano.com awarded Peter’s “LOVE” album “2015 Modern Contemporary Album of the Year” (one of several categories). They also revealed that this collection is the overall SoloPiano.com “2015 ALBUM OF THE YEAR”!
Just in time for Valentines Day, Kater’s album, “LOVE” can now be purchased in the form of a dark chocolate bar! The bar consists of hazelnuts, toffee and a hint of sea salt. Look for it wherever chocolate is sold! 🙂
Learn more about this talented musician in the following All Access interview:
So, what’s a typical day look like for you lately?
I really don’t have any “typical” days except that on Mon-Fri I take my son to school first thing in the morning and then pick him up at 3:15pm. What I do in-between and after that time is usually different depending on what I’m working on. I usually try and get some kind of exercise in the mornings at least 4 days a week if not more. And then I go about whatever I feel like I’m drawn to . . . meaning either administrative/organizational work or being creative. I like to schedule lunch meeting with people cause it gets me out of the house and socializing because if I don’t do that then I find myself spending lots of time working alone.
My process is very similar but I struggle with it less. I’ve gotten very good at following my instincts and intuition. I don’t second guess myself very much anymore and I don’t waste time trying to be creative if I’m not feeling creative at that moment. And I trust that, most of the time, whatever I really want to and feel like doing is what I’m supposed to be doing. So, you could say that I’ve refined my process.
How do you think you have grown as a musician since your debut album released in 1983?
I answered part of that above. But to fully answer this question I’d have to have some objectivity about what I’m doing and honestly, that’s something that I really don’t have much of. I’m very much inside my creative process and I don’t really stand outside of it much and compare it or try to understand it’s growth. I’m very focussed on expressing what’s true in the moment for me creatively. And even though I’m sure that I’ve grown as a musician since 1983 I think what’s more important to me is how fully and quickly am I able to drop into my creative sweet spot either in the studio or on stage. And in that respect I’ve grown a lot and can “drop in” pretty easily almost all the time. (knock on wood)
John was a great guy and really fun to work with. I miss him as a person, as a talent and as human-being that really cared about this planet and it’s inhabitants.
You’ve gotten to collaborate with so many other artists too. What have been some really memorable ones and why?
Working with Sting guitarist, Dominic Miller, was amazing. He is such an intelligent/intuitive musician. He always made me sound great by what he was playing. His timing is impeccable. And his choice of notes and phrasing is just brilliant.
Playing with reed player Paul McCandless and cellist David Darling, two of my mentors and heroes, was such a gift. These two musicians inspired me so deeply before I started recording records. When the agreed to actually record with me and perform with me live I felt so humbled and blessed.
Playing with R. Carlos Nakai is one of the most natural musical expressions of my career. From the first day we met we could go into the studio and pick a key and close our eyes and improvise like we’ve been playing together for lifetimes.
I had been a fan of Snatam Kaur’s for years and when I finally reached out to her to do a record together and she said “yes” it was like a dream come true. But playing live with her was really the best part. I loved being onstage with her and all the beautiful energy that was expressed through her voice, her band and myself.
I just released a new CD with virtuoso cellist, Tina Guo, called “INNER PASSION”. It’s a beautiful CD that we recorded having never played together before. We booked the studio and had a 5 camera video shoot of our first notes together. We recorded a whole album in just 4 hours and documented all of it. We’re doing a short tour the end of FEB thru Mid March through Colorado and California. I’m excited about playing live with her. She’s such a super talented and diverse musician and it’s so awesome to be on stage and pick a key and go for it. Really tune in to each other and each note. Deep listening and passionate responding.
Can you talk about how you decided to make music that supported deep personal healing and transformation? What first got you thinking about all that?
Personal healing and transformation has always been a deep interest of mine and very important part of my life. And I think that it had/has a great affect on my music. But I noticed many years ago that the music a lot of people would play for those kinds of “healing” sessions didn’t really work and had nothing to with the healing that was possible. So, I set out to create music that I would like to hear in those kinds of situations.
You’ve written countless TV and film scores, which ones stand out to you as your favorites?
The Discovery Channel 13 hour series called HOW THE WEST WAS LOST was a favorite of mine for sure. And I also really enjoyed working on the film “10 Questions for the Dalai Lama”.
Can you talk about the inspirations for your latest collections, “Love” and “Etheria”?
LOVE is a collection of compositions and improvisations all inspired by LOVE . . . romantic love. I recorded everything I played on the piano over a period of 3 years and then picked the 13 best performances that were all directly related to something very intimate and real that I was experiencing with my partner at the time.
ETHERIA is the 5th record of my Element Series for Real Music. I have to say that it was inspired by the music itself (if that makes any sense). The music just came through me and wrote itself pretty much. It was an experience of letting go and letting my muse take me for a ride. I loved it.
What artists have continued to inspire you as the years go by?
So many (in no particular order), Sting, Paul Winter, Keith Jarrett, Paul McCandless, Ralph Towner, countless classic rock bands, Elton John, Cat Stevens, a group called BLISS, Andrea Bocelli, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Eddie Vedder, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Hans Zimmer, James Horner, Mozart, Peter Gabriel, Radiohead and on and on. There are so many.
Right now I can’t stop listening to Active Child and London Grammar.
Out of all your many accomplishments, what are you proudest of today?
I’m proud of the fact that I can still do what ever I want creatively and that I’m established enough as an artist that I could probably reach out to almost anyone and have them seriously consider working with me in some capacity. Not that they necessarily would, but that I can “dream” of what I’d like to do and have a pretty decent chance of it happening in one way or another. I don’t look back. I don’t rest on past projects or achievements. I’m always in the moment and looking forward. And I’m more excited than ever to be doing what I’m doing.
What do you hope listeners take away from your music?
I think what any artist wants for their work . . . for it to be heard, seen and felt deeply, individually in a most personal and intimate way. Touching the lives of other people. Making a difference.