An Interview With The LA-Based Duo PERIDOT On The Band’s Formation, Their Debut EP and More!
Posted On 17 May 2017
The duo Peridot originally bonded during their time at Berklee College of Music and toured and recorded as The Hillary Reynolds Band but as their roles in the band formed, they became much more of a male/female vocal duo and became Peridot!
One thing that really sets they apart from other bands is that since both main members, Hillary and Trevor have history in performing in symphonies- they have had orchestral arrangements made of their songs and Peridot has begun to be the special guest on some regional symphony concerts! Their first was in Wisconsin where Hillary is from and it was a benefit for the Trina Fund, a foundation her mother started before she passed away from cancer- the fund helps provide financial support for cancer patients who need to travel for proper medical treatment. And now the concept of mixing a pop/folk band with an orchestra is starting to take flight and they are booking more for later this year!
Learn more about Peridot in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What are some words you would use to describe 2016? What were some of the highlights for the band? What are you all most excited about for 2017?
Hillary: Overhaul, travel, movement, breakdown, crystallization, breakthrough, vulnerability, & several leaps of faith to name a few!
In 2016, Peridot relocated to LA – but we all relocated in stages. Trevor was the first to land out west in June of 2016 – Marton arrived in September & then I wasn’t 100% in LA until the beginning of January, 2017. We recorded our debut EP in Winter 2015 / Spring 2016 & released it in July of 2016. This release just happened to coincide with all of us turning our lives upside-down. We all had our leaps of faith. In October 2016, we collaborated with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra in Appleton, WI to raise awareness and funds for my mother’s breast cancer travel foundation, The Trina Fund. That one-night event raised over $10,000 for the foundation, and it was also our debut performance with a Symphony featuring a program of our original material. It was incredibly meaningful & ever since that night, we got bit by the Symphony bug.
How did Peridot first form? How did you come up with your band name? What other names were you considering?
Hillary: Peridot wasn’t always Peridot – we were previously known as the Hillary Reynolds Band. HRB was a beautiful experience. We learned so much about the process of playing shows, routing tours, & making records. But after a few years, I decided I didn’t want my name to be the brand of the band. Over time our sound became more focused, and naturally, we evolved. Trevor & I made the decision to be Peridot. It resonated with us. And it felt good. And I felt like I was finally settled into something that reflected our music as well as something that equally represented Trevor’s contribution to our collaboration. Trevor’s voice and my voice were becoming more balanced in our group dynamic. He became a more affluent songwriter, and we could both identify with Peridot’s identity. Peridot means “To find what was once lost” – & in music, I’m constantly trying to peel back the layers to find a deeper connection to humanity. We are equal parts masculine and feminine. Together, we’re Peridot.
How do you think both of your experiences with symphonies has influenced who you are as musicians and how you create music as part of Peridot?
Hillary: Playing with Symphonies is like second nature to us. Trevor & I grew up playing in them. The music we write isn’t specifically written FOR symphonies, we just happen to be melody & harmony nerds who write songs that lend themselves beautifully to Symphonic arrangements.
Let’s talk about your debut EP that was released last year. What was it like putting it together? Where did the inspiration for the songs come from?
Hillary: Putting the EP together was a completely DIY passion project. We recorded the majority of it in the woods in a toy closet featuring the entire “Boxcar Children” set of books, as well as a bucket of legos. There were also some hanging flannel robes that we used to sound-proof the walls. It was cozy and completely wonderful. The songs from the EP came from all sorts of mysterious places – from conversations over too many glasses of whiskey with a friend (when the whiskey takes your words) to randomly being struck with inspiration on the kitchen floor (tightrope) but I suppose if there was a most meaningful song from our EP, it would have to be “Lonely Work,” because that song really crystallized the birth of Peridot.
Trevor: “Loving you is lonely work. I could use a friend.” Believe it or not, it wasn’t originally written about anyone in particular; it really just started as a strong feeling. I was pretty lonely at the time, and I suppose I was almost imagining there to be some imaginary, far-off lover…and we could be so happy if only fate would stop cruelly separating us. It’s a feeling I’d had more than once, and a feeling I thought was probably universal, but one I’d never found quite the right way to say.
Where can fans see Peridot perform next? Do you have plans to play a lot more this year?
Trevor: Since moving to LA, we’re really taken to a cozy little venue called The Hotel Cafe. We’ll be playing there again on May 5 and likely more in the future as well. As far as touring goes, we’ll be out in the Midwest in August for a few shows, anchored by a Wisconsin festival called “Mile of Music.” But really, we’ve been most focused on creating meaningful, intimate experiences, most of those being private house shows – as well as curating a few bigger symphony concert collaborations. That’s something we’re really excited about going forward.
Where do you think you are happiest-in the studio recording new music, performing live or elsewhere?
Hillary: I’m happiest performing to a living room of people who are really with us in the unfolding of a song. I love going on the journey with the audience – sharing stories behind the songs, singing our hearts out, being truly seen, and having meaningful conversations with others. Kindness is a huge turn-on for us to share our music. I would say we’re also happiest writing a song by a fire with a bottle of wine, filling a house with our muses, getting chills when the melodies are good, and laughing when the lyrics are bad.
Who are you listening to these days? What artists have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Hillary: We both love Ray LaMontagne – I mean, good lord. I’ve recently gotten into this French artist, Zazie – especially her song, “Je suit en homme” – its so good. I’ve also been super into Joni Mitchell’s Court & Spark recently, as well as “Silver Springs” by Fleetwood Mac.
Then there’s always Emily King, Bernhoft, Tingsek, Neil Young, John Mayer, Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, Nickel Creek, Milk Carton Kids – I’m always consuming music.
Trevor: One of the reasons we work well together as writers is how many musical influences we have in common…so my list looks pretty similar to Hillary’s. I would add Simon & Garfunkel, Iron & Wine, Zac Brown Band, and I’m a big Bruno Mars fan.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? What do you hope is the message of your songs?
Hillary: I hope the message through all of these songs, is that emotions are totally grey. They’re not finite expressions. Very rarely do we feel absolute love, or absolute hate, or heartbreak – they’re 100% intense when they actually do occur. But as humans, we’re more complicated than that. I love exploring the emotional hues & reflecting them through our music.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourselves and your music?
Trevor: Aside from music, we’re both really into good food and drink.
Hillary: We have been cooking up new songs over the last year, and have begun tracking for a new release! Don’t stay strangers, keep in touch.