Latest posts by Jon Berrien (see all)
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With a soulful and rustic rock sound, Pete RG’s latest EP Reaching For The Moon, celebrates the splendor of life, it is five tracks of pure sonic goodness. GroundSounds recently caught up with the singer/songwriter who gave us an exclusive in-depth look at the inspiration behind his latest project, which is available now. Check out Pete RG’s Reaching For The Moon track-by-track below.
This is the song that started it all for Reaching For The Moon. I’d had the chorus guitar riff sitting around for several months. During a rehearsal for the Lightning Strikes tour, I played the riff and a chorus melody idea for the band. They really liked it and pushed me to finish it ASAP. They wanted the song to open our set. No band; just me and my guitar. Great idea, I thought, but finishing the song was somewhat laborious. I tried a bunch of different ideas, a number of good ones, but none of them were appropriate. Along the way, though, I realized that some of these ideas were strong enough to be songs of their own. Songs like “Divine”, “True Love” and “Fighting Fires”; that’s how they had their beginning. As such, it’s very siting that “Our Escape” is the first song on the EP.
As I mentioned, “Divine” was one of the songs inspired by “Our Escape”. The chorus melody as well as lyric idea came first. I played the bit for Brina [Kabler, multi-instrumentalist/co-producer] and she immediately added some ideas of her own. I was so inspired by her ideas, I finished the song on the spot. At that moment, we quickly recorded a demo of the song. When we played the demo for our guitarist Kevin Haaland a few days later, the first thing that rolled from his fingers was the song’s signature guitar riff. It was a very exciting, not to mention relieving, moment. Brina and I had high expectations for the song. We couldn’t have been happier then when Kevin’s ideas exceed our hopes for the song and raised the bar.
Again, one of the “Our Escape” inspired songs. I remember playing all of the songs on the EP on acoustic guitar for my dad one evening. It was just a few days before we were to begin recording. He commented how he thought the EP was going to be a really good collection of folk songs [HA!] “True Love” struck him, in particular, because of the simple fingerpicking pattern played underneath the vocal. That’s how most of the writing was done on “True Love” as well as the other songs, just me gently plucking away on acoustic guitar while searching for the melody, lyrics, the syllables and vowels that felt just right.
One morning I woke up with a melody and lyrics in my head. I rolled out of bed and started playing “Magic” as if it were already written. Brina was up and in the kitchen having breakfast. She heard me and shouted out how she really liked it. I kept playing while she sang some counter melody ideas. Our usual method of capturing such initial ideas on our iPhones wasn’t enough. We got cleaned up, went to our studio and recorded a demo of the song. Nearly everything about that demo was recorded in one pass and nearly all the parts made it to the final recording; including drum loop, keyboards and rhythm guitars. Likewise, as is often the case with our recordings, Brina’s original melody ideas evolved into key guitar parts.
I didn’t think this song was going to make the EP. I didn’t think it would even get recorded. Brina and I liked the lyrics and aspects of the melody, but we couldn’t find the right groove or mood to match. We tried a fast tempo and an even faster one. We tried slow. We tried grooves from retro rock to hip hop. Nothing hit us. Finally, two days before recording with the band was to begin, we came across an arpeggiated synth sound on our Dave Smith Pro-2. For those of you who don’t know what an arpeggiated (arp, for short) sound is, it’s a sound that has a built-in rhythm of its own. You hit a key and a tone comes out in a repeating, rhythmical pattern. Brina and I instantly knew we’d found what we were looking for and started recording it. At that moment, one of those glorious and fortunate studio mistakes happened. By accident, the keyboard I was playing also triggered a drum machine to play. The drum machine played a hi-hat and percussion part that perfectly accompanied the vibe of the keyboard. Even better, the drum machine “mistake” inspired our drummer, Dave Krusen, to immediately play his two-snare drum part on drums. Very serendipitous!