Small Talk: PETER KATZ

Who are you and what do you do:
My name is Peter Katz, I’m from Toronto (though born and raised in Montreal), I write songs and I play them for people as much as humanly possible all over the place.

Current obsessions:
I just finished my long-time obsession with Dexter as the series finally ended. I was totally engrossed, I’m glad it’s over, I have vowed to never get into another TV series again, it ruined my life. I’m obsessed with making bread too. I have this no-knead recipe that I discovered and I keep trying to tweak it to get it perfect. I got this kitchen-aid mixer on sale for an amazing price so I’ve been loving doing homebody stuff when I’m not on the road and there’s nothing more homebody than baking fresh bread. Beets too, I’m obsessed with beets, I love beets so much. I may have to go eat some beets right now. I’m also obsessed with running, it has been so good to clear my brain, I’ve been running more than ever and every time I’m not running and I see someone running up the hill near my house, I want to drop everything and join them. It’s weird because it hurts and it’s hard, but I want to do it so badly. And oh yes, how could I forget, everyone that knows me would answer without hesitation, one word: Single Malt Scotch.

A song or a record that will always put you in a good mood, without fail:
David Celia’s song ‘Evidently True’, my wife and I usually put that on at the beginning of every road trip and have a hoe-down. Mike Evin’s album ‘Do You Feel the World’ is so good for that too, especially the song ‘Sweet Emma’s Group’.

Tell us about an album or artist you think is really under-appreciated, and why they are deserving of more praise:
I love Valery Gore’s music, definitely think she deserves wider recognition. She’s a beautiful poet and a world-class musician. For the longest time I thought Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland were under appreciated, I would always go watch them and wonder why they weren’t even bigger, but they’re finally getting their dues which is so nice to see. Another big one is Mike Evin. He’s UNBELIEVABLE, he’s so good, SUCH a great player, songwriter, human, his stuff fills me with joy, he deserves to be in everyone’s ears, he makes magic. Mike Evin, he’s the guy.

Most played track on your iTunes:
Bahamas ‘Lost in the Light’, man oh man do I love that song. That and ‘Sweet Emma’s Group’ by Mike Evin, oh and ‘Lightning Bolt’ by Joel Plaskett, so good.

Most cherished musical object:
The little jam jar that my grandma gave me to store my guitar picks in.

Proudest moment:
There’s a bunch. In my career I would say:
– Getting to play my song ‘Forgiveness’ for the man I wrote it about, along with his community, that was powerful.
– Getting to play ‘The Fence’ before Matthew Shepard’s mom Judy spoke at York University.
– When Glen Hansard was playing in Toronto and I was in the audience, and during his encore he started talking to the crowd about how one of his favourite songwriters was from Toronto, and “was Peter Katz in the audience?” at which point he called me up on stage impromptu and his band backed me up on one of my songs and the audience gave us a standing ovation. That changed my life and filled me with hope when I desperately needed it.

In my life as a whole, first thing that comes to mind is any moment where I’m surrounded by great friends and family, sounds cheesy maybe, but I feel really proud of the relationships I’ve been able to nurture.

Most vulnerable moment:
Any time I put music out into the world, it’s pretty terrifying. I feel really vulnerable every time I look ahead in life, at my bank statements, thinking about the future and survival, that gives me panic attacks.

If you could score a film for anyone, who would it be any why:
I’m not the biggest film buff to be honest, but a movie like Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson) would be awesome, or a documentary like ‘Man on Wire’ would be really cool. I love docs a lot, and I write a lot of songs based on real people’s lives, so I think that genre in general would be a good fit.

Your favourite use of a song in a film:
Whole Wide World by Wreckless Eric in ‘Stranger Than Fiction’, that moment KILLS me.

Favourite venue to play in and why:
Vredenburg Leeuwenberg in Utrecht, NL or the Paradisjkerk in Rotterdam, NL. They’re both these super old gorgeous churches with so much built-in vibe, I don’t even have to play a note and anybody in there feels like they’ve had a good night. I love playing the Paradiso in Amsterdam too, so many of my heroes have graced that stage. More than anything though, anywhere where there’s a vibe, good sound, nice lighting, and people are willing to give me the benefit of the doubt, is as good as anywhere else in the world. It’s more about ‘getting to do my thing’, than the space I’m doing it in, so that could happen in an old church, a club, a theatre, a bar and even a living room. There’s gems all over the world, sometimes in the most unexpected of places. I once played a log cabin in Jasper National Park and it was one of my favourite shows ever.

Dream venue to play in and why:
Massey Hall, that’s the one everyone probably says, but that’s the dream for me. I’ve seen so many concerts there that have shaped my life, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Glen Hansard, etc. etc. etc. That’s the place. It’s big and small at the same time.

First band t-shirt you ever purchased from a merch table:
haha… The Eagles on their ‘Hell Freezes Over’ Tour. My first concert, I was 11 or 12

Band you’d leave your bandmates for:
The Frames (aka The Swell Season, aka Glen Hansard’s band). Or the back-up band Joni Mitchell had at Massey Hall, that was crazy (Brian Blade on drums, Herbie Hancock on Piano, Bill Frisell on guitar… it was so good). I’ve always loved Josh Ritter’s band too. There’s a lot of of great musicians out there that I would be very excited to play with.

Album you want to expose your kin to whilst in the womb:
Oliver Schroer ‘Camino’.

If for some reason you lost the ability to make and play music, what would fill that gap:
Working with teenagers out in the woods. I did that for 2 weeks last summer and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. That came about through music stuff, but I would find another way to do it, I loved it so much.

What was your last dream about:
I’m really not sure, I’m digging into my brain and coming up empty. I’ve been staying up way too late these past couple of weeks trying to sort out all the details for my euro tour that starts on Saturday so most nights I’m just still figuring out details and booking flights and cars in my dreams and I wake up exhausted. Usually I have pretty vivid and crazy dreams, but not much lately, just visions of a rental car company not having the car when I walk up to the desk…

More of this artist:



Watch Peter Katz and Royal Wood perform their co-wrriten song ‘Brother’ at The Great Hall, Toronto.



Watch Peter Katz perform ‘Still Mind Still’ on a motorboat in Port Credit, April 2012.



Watch Peter Katz perform ‘Dangerous’ and ‘Son’ in Toronto, Feb 2011.