Peter Hayes, musician, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
I’m getting inspired by not knowing – but wanting to get as close as I can to knowing – what the fuck is going on ...
When it comes to internationally touring rock’n’roll bands, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club might be one of the hardest rocking outfits on the scene. Since the early 2000s, the trio – consisting of Peter Hayes, Robert Levon Been and Leah Shapiro – have released seven (soon to be eight) studio albums and have embarked on countless tours around the world. Come early January, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club will release its new album Wrong Creatures, and will then swiftly follow it up with a visit to Australia. Ahead of their whirlwind run of shows, which includes a stop at The Tivoli on Thursday March 22, we caught up with Peter Hayes to chat about finding one’s place in the world, living happily and trying to figure out what the hell is going on.
In a few short weeks your next album Wrong Creatures will be released to the world – the band’s first release since 2013. How did the process of creating the album begin initially?
It’s an endless process. You do the best you can with them and move on. Each one is a continuation of the last for me. A lot of these songs came out of hour-long jams we would have – a few were ideas from the last record or even three records back.
The past few years in particular have seen a lot happen in the world and within the band itself. Can you describe your headspace when it came time to return to the album process?
I’m not sure we really ever leave to return to writing. As far as headspace is concerned, it’s coming from the want and need of understanding what my place is in it all, on a good day when I feel like giving a shit matters.
Did ideas for new material come easily or was there a period where you had to rediscover the creative rhythm?
Each album has felt like rediscovering or reworking our own thoughts of who we think we are and want to be in music. It’s always a question in the back of the mind how easy it really should be. I do believe life has to happen to you, and you have to want to interact with it in some way to do any creative thing.
Are there any particular themes or ideas that significantly informed the vibe and overall feel of Wrong Creatures?
Maybe! Sometimes it seems like I don’t really see or live the songs until further down the track.
Ideally what do you hope new and old fans connect with on Wrong Creatures?
I come at it right now with the idea that it takes the listener to want to connect with something. If they choose to do that with our music at any level they want to connect at, old or new, then that is an honour.
How would you say you’ve personally evolved as a person and a musician over the past few years?
That changes on a daily basis. Today, I’m not gonna assume I’ve evolved at all – I’m happily living in entropy, I guess.
Being in an internationally touring band would be gruelling on your physical and mental health. How important is it you to monitor your own wellbeing – and the wellbeing of your band mates – at this point in your career?
You start to realise over time, that taking care of each other more is taking care of the music. I try not to use the word gruelling with what we do – maybe it’s just a mental trick to play on myself but I’ve done jobs that are gruelling. This can be hard at times, but I’m not sure we can take it that far. We are lucky to have a group of people that work with us that make the shows possible – it’s not just the three of us on tour and keeping the wellbeing of all of us is important.
What are you more consciously aware of now about the industry that you weren’t cognisant of earlier in your career?
I wasn’t aware of what a small industry the music industry really was and is. I feel like I always knew we were lucky and we should be grateful, but knowing that and living that are two different things.
Finally, what is something you are finding inspiring about the world around you?
I’m getting inspired by not knowing – but wanting to get as close as I can to knowing – what the fuck is going on.