Interview by Tobias Carroll
Minneapolis’s Peter Wolf Crier make catch, occasionally (and memorably) fractured pop music. On a recent visit to their city, I saw the group perform a short set for The Current, in which their music further metamorphosed, with vocals electronically tweaked and certain sonic nuances expanded in scope. I checked in with songwriter Peter Pisano with some questions about literature and musical manipulation just after the release of the group’s second album, Garden of Arms.
You’re now touring as a three-piece; has the group’s dynamic shifted as a result?
We have yet to leave. The van has already grown. The budget has already shrunk. Everything feels more like fun.
To what extent do you separate using vocals as a way to disseminate lyrics versus treating vocals in the band as an additional instrument, to be manipulated or altered in the live setting?
I sing like a trumpet. I believe lyrics, most akin to poetry, though altogether not, should not be confused for language. I am not speaking to you when I sing. Samuel Beckett is not writing to you when he says:
Longing the so-said mind long lost to longing. The so-missaid. So far so-missaid. Dint of long longing lost to longing. Long vain longing. And longing still. Faintly longing still. Faintly vainly longing still. For fainter still. For faintest. Faintly vainly longing for the least of longing. Unlessenable least of longing. Unstillable vain last of longing still. Longing that all go. Dim go. Void go. Longing go. Vain longing that vain longing go. Said is missaid. Whenever said said said missaid.
He’s re-appropriating meaning by paying no tribute to their conventions.
How would you describe your songwriting process?
Trying to catch running water in a bucket.
What are you currently reading?
Being Upright [by] Reb Anderson
What are some of the books that have stayed with you over the years?
The Wisdom of Insecurity [by] Alan Watts and Nothing is Wrong with You by Cheri Huber.
(Photo: Cameron Wittig)