Pete: Yeah, all three projects are entirely written myself. There are stylistic differences, for sure, but there's also a time factor. All my Surface Area material is from many years ago, from like 2001-5 when I was in high school and tabbing songs for fun that wouldn't necessarily ever be recorded. I did eventually record them probably in like 2004 (i.e. the ones I had written thus far, which is the same as the album I just re-released in 2011) but the quality was very very poor lolol. I only re-released it a few years ago because I felt like by now my recording ability had gotten someplace I was comfortable with. Getting electric guitars to sound right was a very tricky thing for me, and it ultimately led me to pursue my solo acoustic-based music more thoroughly throughout the years before Invalids. I figured having all three projects linked to "petedavismusic" should suffice enough.
2. On that note, can we expect another album in the style of either your "solo" album or the Surface Area album?
Pete: I say it often and have yet to mobilize, but I do still plan to re-record all of my old solo albums from scratch. Some day, when I live in a larger house and can store all my instruments, I will get started on that. Surface Area will likely not get more material written, but there are a few tabs still floating around that are a bit more advanced than anything on the album, and I feel like it would be fun to some day attempt those as well. There are probably like four or five, written in like 2004-5, that could make for a nice short EP.
3. On Strengths I actually feel like you took in some of the Surface Area and Pottsville Conglomerate sounds a bit more than on Eunoia is this something you did consciously or am I imagining things?
Pete: Definitely. When I wrote Eunoia, it was my first outlet to write this sort of aggressive, melodic, technical music that I had wanted to write forever. Like I wanted to play punk rock for years when I was younger lolol. I dreamed of playing stuff like NoFX when I was in middle school and high school. I sort of always had that in me, and I used Invalids to kind of channel that. Compared to Pottsville, which came out only a half year prior, Eunoia is much much more light-hearted and uplifting. I felt like it was a good counterpoint to the soul-crushing sorrow of Pottsville. As of late, since I've really only been writing Invalids music, I've really started incorporating those other elements into the music and make Strengths itself a total culmination of what I want to express. This led to more uses of darker and weirder chord progressions, key changes, sadder elements, and bigger vocal harmonies. I'm pretty happy with the balance and I think this is now getting into the Invalids is really all about.
Pete: My most relevant system right now is an XBOX360, but I still play lots of old games/systems via emulator. I've got a Nintendo DS stocked with an emulator card with every NES, SNES, GB/GBA, and Sega Genesis game. I'm mostly into RPGs and Metroidvania games. For me, the absolute bar-none greatest game of all time is Final Fantasy VII. Nothing has ever come close to matching the beauty of the music with the dark themes and gorgeously bleak depiction of the world. Of course a lot of this is likely nostalgia, but I get goosebumps every time I hear the swell in the main theme. Next would be the Mass Effect trilogy as a whole, but perfectly concluded with Mass Effect 3. The music was fantastic and cinematic, and I love just how desperate the entire story is; I can't think of any other game I've played where the odds were so impossible, and you had to overcome being so thoroughly decimated. Plus the ending scene with Admiral Anderson had me literally welling up all throughout work the next day.
5. I know your bassist is also in Black Crown Initiate (who've been featured on the page before) does their music appeal to you personally?
Pete: I've never really gotten into metal myself, but I've listened to their first EP all the way through and I can definitely appreciate it. They have some sweet stuff going on throughout and it seems like they're getting hella recognition so I'm totally psyched for him.
6. Also, I remember you talking about never actually meeting him when Eunoia came out, have you met him since then?
Pete: Still have never met. I've contemplated going to a BCI show; might still do it. :333
Pete: lololol actually no; I don't really use working titles anymore. Often I'll be writing a song and know where on the album I want it to go so I'll name it by its predestined track number. Other times there are things like [tap idea 1] and stuff like that. Or I will try to describe what's going on, like a riff tab called "5/4 two-hand" turned into the intro to Antimetabole. I have an idea called "quintuplet change-over" where there's a polyrhythm playing quintuplets over 4/4, then the outside 4/4 changes tempo so that the quintuplets become the new quarter notes. I haven't done anything with that yet; I'm not sure if I can get it to sound right.
8. When I first came across Eunoia when it came out I described it on a forum as a mix between Tera Melos and Maps & Atlases which someone found to be strikingly accurate. Are those bands influences of yours? What other artists have influenced you through the years?
Pete: Maps & Atlases was the first band I heard that did tapping in this way and they were my initial inspiration. Soon after I discovered Tera Melos and that helped shape the sound as well. I also drew inspiration from my punk-rock roots and other things like Mouse on the Keys (e.g. Ursine Valor) or toe (e.g. Jobriath). Another major influence in overall composition is Anathallo, my favorite band of all time.
9. You choose to include tabs with your albums and you have everything on Bandcamp, therefor you are my wet dream when it comes to music marketing, do you think there is a future for physical media or do you think Bandcamp, Spotify and iTunes will take over soon?
Pete: I'm not really sure. I mean, inarguably physical media has dropped off substantially, but I feel like it could still last for a lot of listeners, especially through vinyl. As for me, though, I'm all about the digital. I remember fond days of buying CDs and looking at the liner notes and being able to physically touch and experience everything, but lately I'm far more concerned with having as little clutter as possible.
Pete: As always, I gotta plug A.M. Overcast - Lexicon Palace which just came out this year, and in the same vein (and containing the same artist), Grand Beach - s/t, both of which are pretty great.
11. Nerd moment three: Igor Stravinsky once said "My freedom will be so much the greater and more meaningful the more narrowly I limit my field of action and the more I surround myself with obstacles…The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self of the chains that shackle the spirit.”
I love the idea of the Two-hundred-second EP and the entire concept of creative limitations really intrigues me. I know you note on your Bandcamp page that "no picks are allowed" but have you got any other limitation concepts you'd like to try?
Pete: Though not for Invalids, I am actually starting another acoustic project based on the idea of limiting everything to be played entirely only by the people playing it. What I mean by that is, unlike my PD solo stuff that is based on layers upon layers of overdubbed tracks and lots of instruments, I want to create a project with two people that consists only of two guitars and two voices. I have been talking to a girl about doing this with me, and I have been amassing some ideas, but we've yet to mobilize on it. I think it will be pretty cool.
For Invalids, I've been toying around with an idea of writing a song where one guitar is played entirely with the left hand (via hammer-ons and such) and the other guitar is played entirely with the right hand (via tapping/fingerpicking). I don't know if it will read as anything special on recording, so best done with video :333333
12. If you'd like to add anything else feel free to:
Pete: Just the endless thanks and appreciation for everyone supporting Invalids and checking out/purchasing Strengths thus far! Invalids loves you
You now, hopefully, have a deeper understanding of the three fantastic projects this man has worked on and the means to purchase all of it. That's a job well done in my book so I'll pat myself on the back when I'm done.
I'd like to thank Pete Davis for not only giving these excellent, in depth answers but for allowing us all to enjoy his music through the magic of Bandcamp.