This week I’m pleased to introduce you to upcoming singer-songwriter Päter who just recently released their latest single “Obstinate Brain,” which best described as indie pop/rock drama given their unique theatric delivery.
While Päter is not new to songwriting having begun writing as a kid, they were inspired to take on a 30-day songwriting challenge when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and began sharing new original music to TikTok where they gained significant interest and a strong following, and ultimately leading to their first EP “SOLE” whose lead single sits proudly at over 800k streams today.
I penned some questions over to Päter to talk all about this surge of success and what we can expect from their upcoming 2022 EP release, “WHEREFORE WEEP I THEN?”
Listen to “Obstinate Brain” on Spotify now and read on for the interview below.
I know you started writing music since you were little, but can you take us back to that, what’s your first real distinct memory of sitting down to write a song, and do you remember what it was about?
I think it was about my parents. It took some convincing to get them on board with the art thing. I remember being about 11 and writing a very bleak song about feeling trapped by that. It was called “just breathe”… which is funny to think back on. They are very lovely and supportive now.
You produced your first EP “SOLE”, are you someone who plans on maintaining that or are you looking to branch out and work with other producers? If so, who makes your short-list?
Producing my first EP was something I never thought I would do. I thought someone had to do it for me. That didn’t really lead anywhere because I had a pretty strong sense of what I wanted my music to sound like, I just didn’t have the language to communicate it to someone else. So being stuck at home last year and coming up with “SOLE” was such a mind and door opener for me. I learned a lot that I now feel I can bring to collaborations. I don’t know if I would ever fully hand off a project to someone else to produce… but co-producing is definitely happening.
I’m super inspired by Grimes so it’d be crazy to work with her. Other than that, there are a lot of music makers in my own circles I’d still love to work with as producers like Kevin Howley and Hill Kourkoutis.
I remember when I first heard about TikTok and the push for artists on the platform and thinking to myself then, “but how can I start to grow any sort of following in 60 seconds or less?” You’ve actually had significant success with TikTok and you equate the success of your single Dam, Damn (over 800k streams on Spotify to date and climbing) with it. What’s your favorite part about using this platform to promote your music?
Yeah, that was so random! I’m so thankful to the community on TikTok, they took this exercise I was doing (a 30 day songwriting challenge) and said “yes, I vibe with this, let’s go.”
I think what I realized is TikTok is not a promotion platform, it’s a sharing platform. What comes across is your genuine excitement about the work you’re doing. There are lots of people on there, sharing their talents and what they connect with. So I would say my favorite part is definitely the community.
Following up on that, what advice would you give new musicians who are looking at TikTok with the same lens I once was?
To build on the last answer, take what you love and share it with an open heart. After that I would say, be aware of the medium. The social media feed is like people walking by you on the street and you have half a second to get their attention. You kind of have to imagine who you’re trying to reach and speak directly to them. That’s my best guess anyway.
Who are some of your favourite artists to follow on TikTok?
So many great ones!! Two awesome friends I made on TikTok who make excellent music are @boyjr.69 (great human, producing mastermind) and @itsmeemsea (incredible songwriter, also a great producer, stupidly stunning voice).
Can you see yourself doing another 30-day songwriting challenge like you did on the platform, or do you have your sights set on a new one yet?
I’ve considered it. When the first one took off I did have a moment where I was like.. am I supposed to do this forever now? But I think it would have to make sense for me creatively. I have a few projects in the back of my mind I want to record and release first. After that, it might be time for another intensive challenge!
Can you tell us who some of your favourite vocalists in the indie pop/rock realm are?
The first one that comes to mind is actually a friend of mine in Toronto, Kaili Kinnon. She’s more in the indie R&B world but she has one of the most incredible voices I’ve ever heard. I actually asked her once if it was her natural voice and, spoiler, she said yes.
Some other favorites – Lianne LaHavas, Sondre Lerche, Mitski.
You have a new EP coming out in February 2022 called “WHEREFORE WEEP I THEN?” where you tackle breakup songs in your own way. The first single “Obstinate Brain” gives us a look into that. What inspired this song specifically?
I sure do! I wrote Obstinate Brain when I was super frustrated about not being able to stop thinking of someone I was into. At the same time, I was not fully willing to admit I was into them. There were a few years back there when I was quite self-sabotaging in love, mostly because I was unwilling to be vulnerable. That’s a running theme through this song and the EP.
Is this EP a solo effort or have you collaborated with other artists on it? Who?
This one was definitely a collaborative effort. Co-produced with Charles Tilden, recorded with Alex Purcell, James Cudworth and Kevin Howley, mixed by Kyle Gamble and mastered by Mariana Hutton.
You have a really unique sound which, in this track, I’d almost describe as quirky while being infectiously catchy, but what really grabs me as a listener is the lyrics. When you’re not writing, what type of writers do you gravitate towards?
Well, thank you! I do love writers who aren’t afraid to embrace the drama of songwriting. Kate Bush is a personal hero of mine. Matt Bellamy, Fiona Apple. Recently I’ve also gotten into Lorde.
Some of our readers might not quite know what an obstinate brain is, can you explain what you mean by that?
It basically means a stubborn brain. One that, for example, will not stop pulling up images of someone you don’t want to think about.
Where will fans be able to grab your new EP when it comes out next February?
Are you supporting the release with a tour?
Ugh. I want to! Ask me next year.
With all the changes the world had faced over the last, let’s just say 2 years now, there are a lot of people looking to explore new ways of expressing themselves and new ways of making a living in a way that allows them better work-life balance, but many of them are hesitant to enter the “artist world” given its volatility. What would you say to those people in an effort to encourage them?
Well, everything is volatile. And I do think creativity is necessary. I’d say the artist world is all around and sometimes entering it is less about what you’re doing and more about how you’re doing it. It’s exciting to see people living more consciously and feelingly, wherever that may lead.
Can you tell us about the best live show you’ve ever seen, who it was, and what made it stand out so much in your mind?
Franz Ferdinand, 2019 at Rebel in Toronto. I went by myself and had low expectations because I didn’t like their new album at the time. I was going through a boring period where I thought music had to be complex. But then they came on and performed it and it all made sense. I was like… this album was written to be performed… music is about getting people on the same rhythm… that’s all there is…!!!! I had a spiritual reawakening at that show tbh.
Finally, when you’re not racking up crazy Spotify streams, writing and developing songs, how do you spend your time off?
I really like to go on walks these days! Just putt’n around, looking at the rest of the world go.
Thanks very much Pater for chatting and sharing with us!