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With an eclectic mix of music and literary influences, Among Savages is the fresh solo project from frontman Peter Barbee, he just released his latest album ‘Accounts of Friend and Foe,’ and it is pure sonic goodness. The album delves deep into self discovery, identity and internal struggles that many of us face. It is an inspiring work!
GroundSounds recently caught up with Peter, to talk about his latest project, musical inspirations and more, check out the exclusive interview below.
Thanks for chatting with us Among Savages! For those just discovering your music, can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started?
Hi thank you! I’m from a small town called Sevierville in Tennessee. I grew up with parents that definitely encouraged all of my siblings (there are 6 of us total) to pursue music. We were home schooled and music served partly as a past time and partly as our own connection in the the culture of the world that we felt so far away from. I took it more or less seriously that music was something that I wanted to be good at – and was fortunate to have older brothers and an uncle that were always sharing music with me. There wasn’t a stepping stone to pursue it professionally but there was also no stigma against trying. And I more or less feel that I’m on that same path. Just trying to figure it out.
You’re dropping your album, ‘Accounts of Friend and Foe’, on July 21st. What are you most excited about with the release of this new project?
Yes! I’m very excited to get this out. I’ve been through in the throws of releasing this project for a few years now. It has definitely not been an easy task, but I’m thankful for the support of friends and family through the process. I am most excited to release it because I think that I, myself, have been one of the biggest obstacles to overcome – whether it was insecurity or something as simple as finding the funds to put behind it to get it out “right”. Now, I’m very excited to just go with my gut on this release so that I can finally move on to what is next for me creatively.
I had just come up with the vocal melody over the chords in the chorus, shared the idea with Dan Brigham (producer), he laid down the pulsating bass line in the chorus as I tightened up the words and melody. Before we knew it, two grown men (us) that don’t normally dance (together) were grooving around the room. If you can make yourself dance while still maintaining an impartial ear – maybe you’ve got something good! While the rest of the album has such a more serious tone – this song stands out as pure fun to me.
What has led you to develop this unique, personal sound?
Hmm. I would say I’m still exploring, musically. I don’t feel that I have developed a sound as much as a work ethic.
What genre would you categorize yourself as? What draws you to this type of music?
To put it simply – I tell people that I am a traditional songwriter with less traditional arrangements. My ear is drawn to people more for the story telling in their music than their lyrics. I only have my story to tell really, so if I’m not honest musically, I don’t feel like its my song.
You recently released a music video for your single, “What Goes Around.” Can you talk about what went into the development of that project? Do you have any other music videos on the way?
Yes! Always more on the way. The What Goes Around video came from my running this route through the hills near my house in Los Angeles while checking mixes for the full length. The songs were in alphabetical order so I always seemed to hit the “W’s” nearing the end of my run. I knew I wanted to make videos that had less of a narrative because the song’s story was so dense. I talked through the idea with my friend, Jace Lumley whose childhood buddy, Nathan Osche (DP) had just moved to LA and wanted to make something. We got together a couple of times to do a literal test run from behind Nathan’s car. It seemed simple enough, so we shot it the next weekend at sunrise.
What was the inspiration for the name, “Among Savages?”
I picked it up from all of the talk of ‘savages’ in Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’. It was one of the strangest books I had read at a young age.
What is your favorite thing about Los Angeles?
It’s a toss up between the nature and food. I love living in a city that has so many cultures. I still feel like I’m traveling when I’m in the city I’ve lived for five years.
How does music make you feel? Why is it important for you to pursue this passion?
I genuinely don’t know if it makes me feel any one thing. I humbly pursue it. There are still so many legends that make me feel like I haven’t even started yet. It keeps me sane and makes me crazy all at the same time. I wouldn’t pursue it if I didn’t feel it was the path that made the most sense. It is an extremely difficult way to try to make a living. If I were trying to make a living, though, I probably wouldn’t be doing music. It’s just such a huge part of my life that I don’t see any other option while I have the freedom to chase it or carry the torch for the next generation.
What bands/musicians are you currently listening to?
I listen to people that I believe. Not a fan of smoke and mirrors, really. I need an impact from something for it to become a part of my soundtrack. I still find myself listening to older stuff more than new stuff.
What’s next for Among Savages? What can fans look forward to?
Hopefully touring in the fall. After this album cycle, I’m excited to focus on releasing singles and videos so that I don’t get caught in another 4 year wait. Hopefully people will be excited about this enough to stay checked in with whatever I am up to. I’m more excited to create than I have ever been before, so who knows what that will bring in to the light for me.