Hi! Thanks a lot for agreeing to do this interview.
my pleasure, Eduard! hope you’re feeling better.
I am only just getting accustomed to the world inhabited by dr. p’s music, so you’ll please excuse any misconceptions.
Would it be fair to call your art “perverse spoken-word over R&B beats”?
haha, not bad. we tried to imagine these as tracks being performed [maybe booed, who knows] at the Apollo Theatre. Geoff [Geoff Pye, Montreal-based collaborator / producer] pulls so many sounds & influences into these tracks, but hiphop / R&B was one of our guiding stars. the fact that 9 out of these 10 tracks began on his ASR / Ensoniq is probably part of the explanation, here.
as for spoken word, i am a word guy, first & last. and when Geoff sent me the first beat back in December, i think we both were thinking of something pretty minimal – spoken word over stripped-down beats. but it became more than that, even with that first beat [what became the track “High Again”]. melody emerges, in fact it’s already there in most spoken word.
What are your influences? It’s very hard to pin down a source.
Geoff, who laid down the musical foundations for most of these tracks, has a huge CV of influences i won’t even try to catalog here. you can hear hints of a wide swath of 20th Century music in these tracks. it struck me at some point in the process, and i said to Geoff: “these are weird tracks, dude. hints of the familiar genres, but something uncanny is going on. it’s like you’re an alien anthropologist who spent 5 years on Earth, then returned to your home planet to give a recital of what you absorbed.”
lyrically, i’m coming out of the Academy, most recently, but more broadly i’d say i’ve been in conversation with the world’s wisdoms traditions, in my written work – which all these lyrics are from. this Alter Ego is some kind of poète maudit / marginalized prophet who has read Nietzsche and the slokas of Guru Nanak and who sometimes smokes too much hashish.
Could you walk us a little bit to the story of the single “free porn”, and how does it relate to Ed Sullivan and the Beatles?
when the Beatles played the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, 70 million Americans tuned in, transfixed. rumour went around soon after that no crimes were reported in major American cities for that blessed hour. is it true? Snopes says Nyet but they don’t really justify their answer. i.e. they don’t look at crime stats. in any case, in “free porn” we’re asked to imagine a time when this time it’s clearly true – that some new supergroup debuts and lets forth into the world a powerful Song and the world is transformed. the whole song [free porn] is about the End of History – in a happy way.
You can stream the single “free porn” on dr. p’s Bandcamp page.
I would have loved for your album to have been released in the days when everybody was buying vinyl so that the artwork could be visible to all record store buyers.
Where and when exactly was that picture taken?
that’s my work area. . . . that’s where i recorded most of the vocals, and where Julien laid down the guitar. [Julien Beillard, who contributed to 5 tracks]. the shelf is empty because i’d just built it. it’s a selfie, taken just after we got the tracks back from Mastering.
Sorry for my naivety. I haven’t yet been to Canada, but understand it’s a rather conservative place. How are your neighbors and friends taking to your music?
my mom and sister love it. a few friends love a few tracks. the only neighbor who even knows about it is Mario across the road, because he saw Julien coming in one day with his gear. Mario and his consort love Paul Anka and the old school. there’s a bit of a Crooner persona that comes out on this album, but not sure if Mario would dig it.
What’s next for dr. p?
not sure about dr. p, but i’m working with my sister, Kiran, on an album we should have done by Xmas. this time i’m the beat-maker, and she’s the the emerging Voice. Geoff Pye i’m pretty sure is going to keep producing – he has made many many songs over the last three decades as his own alter ego, under the moniker Yellow Jacket Avenger – but he may be moving into a new phase where he’s nurturing & producing emerging Voices. at least i hope so!
And, for the distinguished members of the KISS Army, there’s even an interview with dr.p conducted by none other than … Gene Simmons.