Peter Broderick Interview: “Irish people really appreciate music.”

peter broderick

Broderick plays Cyprus Avenue this Sunday as part of Sounds From A Safe Harbour.

Folk musician Peter Broderick has been at his thing publicly for at least ten years at this stage. For some reason, I think it is the gravity and depth of his music, it seems like he has always been present and playing. A man who loves collaboration and experimentation, he has worked with everyone from Nils Frahm to M. Ward to Zooey Deschanel.

Ahead of his gig in Cork this weekend, we had a chance to catch up with him to talk about contributing to the Irish music program This Ain’t No Disco, his love of collaboration, and settling into life living in Ireland.

Overblown: I saw that you recently performed ‘The Wise One’ with David Allred for the new Erased Tapes series Sound Gallery Sessions. Was that an enjoyable experience? What did you like about it?

Peter Broderick: Yes, indeed! The day we filmed that session was kind of crazy because we had so many other things going on . . . but David and I are happy to have a nice document from our tour. Robert (Erased Tapes label head) had the idea for us to play back to back in the video, which was a bit of a challenge since we are used to being able to look at each other. The camera man really had to work hard, pushing the camera around on a little track, going around in circles, around David and myself. It was a cool experience and I’m glad that they will make a series out of it, inviting more artists to perform a song in the sound gallery.

Overblown: I also saw that you contributed to This Ain’t No Disco. Did you know that that is a completely DIY venture? Isn’t it wonderful that the internet, despite some drawbacks, has enabled people to reach large audiences without the support of mainstream media?

Peter Broderick: Absolutely . . . there’s definitely both the yin and the yang with the internet. But it really is wonderful that people can share information and projects so freely . . . it gives people a chance to discover more than what’s pushed in the mainstream. I was honoured to be invited by Donal Dineen to appear on This Ain’t No Disco . . . we had a lovely day with him and his team.

Peter Broderick: If have an upcoming gig in Ireland to play the Sounds From A Safe Harbour festival. You seem to play in Ireland a lot. What do you like about playing there?

Peter Broderick: Interesting that you say that, as I don’t feel like I get to perform in Ireland that much, at least in recent years. I actually moved to Ireland last year, and I feel like I’m always traveling elsewhere to perform! But I’ve always had a soft spot for Ireland and Irish music lovers. I think it’s safe to say Irish people really appreciate music.

Overblown: You will be playing the songs of Arthur Russell. Why is that?

Peter Broderick: Well, earlier this year I was asked by a festival in Denmark to perform an entire set of Arthur Russell songs, and then another festival in Berlin asked if I could do the same thing there, and then somehow the word got around and I got asked to do it in Cork. It’s funny because it wasn’t my idea at all! But I love the music of Arthur Russell so much, it’s been a great joy to learn some of his beautiful songs.

Overblown: You collaborate with many varied musicians. What do you enjoy about that process?

Peter Broderick: I like the diversity, of being able to get outside my own musical mind and expand things with all different kinds of musicians. Playing alone can be nice, and sometimes I feel like I need to do just that . . . but some of my most rewarding musical experiences are when I get to share with other like-minded souls.

Overblown: You recently released your first book of piano sheet music called ‘Piano Works Vol. 1’. You have said you often get requests from fans about sheet music for your music. Is that gratifying?

Peter Broderick: Sure, it’s always nice to get positive feedback and feel that people appreciate your work. For many years I had to tell people who asked me that I didn’t have any sheet music . . . but finally I have a book!

Overblown: What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Peter Broderick: I’ve got a few more scattered shows throughout the rest of the year, and I have a new release coming out in November. I’ve also been commissioned to write a piece for a youth orchestra in Athenry this Winter, so once my travel schedule settles down a bit, I’ll be working on that. Seems I always have several projects going at once! I have to remind myself sometimes to do other things that aren’t necessarily related to music. My new passion is baking sourdough bread, and I like to spend as much time as I can out in the wild nature of County Galway.

Check out our Creative Process podcast.

Follow Overblown on Facebook and Twitter.

Do you want to change music journalism?