Portrait Four - Musician Peter Lyons on a writing trip in Greece
Last week we had a little musical get away in Greece. Along with a few others we were with Singer, song writer - Peter Lyons. Peter has become one of our good friends and is often spotted wearing an item of H&B - he now has quite an extensive collection. He is even sporting our Jazz print shirt on the cover of his new single.
Not quite his usual working surroundings - We thought it would be the perfect opportunity to catch him in some of our past and new pieces.
What do you do in a sentence?
I am primarily a musician, music writer and music producer; my brain thinks about music in every form pretty much constantly.
What is your usual working environment?
I have a studio in south London which I work out of - it is a converted shipping container which me and a friend gutted, filled with acoustic treatment and put lots of lovely instruments and recording equipment in.
New single 'Cold Hugs' out now - featuring Pete in our Jazz print shirt
Tell us a bit about you – Do you remember the moment you discovered your talent? Was it a teachers appreciation for it, or did something suddenly click in your head. What age were you?
I remember singing “I Just Called To Say I Love You” with my mum around the age of 4. My Nan was also an incredible jazz piano player - I would watch her play for hours. I saw a Michael Jackson live concert on TV and fell in love with the whole concept of it. My uncle made me a Beach Boys cassette tape, which I listened to repeatedly. My teacher, Miss Heard, played the acoustic guitar which had a smiley face on the headstock - isn’t it funny what you can remember from childhood. Then when I was 7 my dad taught me ‘Michelle’ by the Beatles on the piano, and around age 9 I started playing my Mum’s old nylon guitar, and that was it. It was just music forever.
What all of these memories show me is that music was always threaded with happiness - it’s important to remember that, with whatever you do in life.
Can you tell us three of the most important places you’ve lived, worked or travelled that have lead to you being where you are today.
I grew up in Southampton - I was a bit of a loner, and there wasn’t much to do there, so it was the obvious thing for a music obsessive to do music all day and night, every day and night. I had a 4-track tape machine from the age of 12 which I recorded tape after tape after tape of awful music with.
As you’d expect, living in London for the last 9 years or so has opened innumerable amounts of doors into so many different aspects of the music world. When I take a step back and think about people I work with now, the path to meeting them was very meandering, but it only would have happened in London.
The most important place I’ve travelled with music was on a European tour that me and my bandmate Kerry did in 2013 - it taught me so much about the power of taking your music anywhere and reaching out to people.
Which bit of the process of making music do you love best?
The inexplicable moment when something travels out through your arms or mouth and gets out into the world. Or the state of flow when you’re really in the moment recording a song alone, or playing a song in front of thousands of people - it’s very freeing. Or reading people’s messages saying a song we wrote helped them through a time in their lives etc - that’s very special and humbling. I do quite a bit of music for film and dance and work with string orchestra’s fairly regularly - hearing something that’s come from your brain played like that with other people’s expression is a feeling that I will always treasure.
If you could work with any artist or producer who would it be?
This could genuinely go on forever! Maybe just my bandmate Kerry, as we have a very special relationship and when we’re clicking, it’s the most natural thing in the world.
I know we both have a passion for some of the same musical legends! Tell us who they are and what influence they have had on your own music.
I guess people like Michael Jackson, he was such a striver - he strived to be the best and the biggest and did whatever it took. Brian Wilson, he wanted to push himself and his music to the limit - there’s a great quote from his collaborator Van Dyke Parks: “Brian wanted to explore his madness, that it might free him from it” which I love. Maybe Philip Glass - he has such a gift for saying so much with seemingly so little musical language. Most importantly, my friends and peers in music have taught me the most.
Have you any exciting projects on the horizon?
There’s way too many to mention but me and my bandmate Kerry writing new music is at the forefront for me personally.
Where did you discover us?
Through my wonderful friend Gabby Sellen and a print shirt that she has.
What do you like about H&B clothing?
The freedom of expression and how unique you feel wearing it. As a teenager I cultivated a love of feeling different in clothing, and the H&B prints still gives me that. The clothing resonates with everything that I said earlier and love about music - it’s threaded with happiness.
Can you describe your dream item of clothing?
I mean, if we could just make everything with the H&B jazz print, that’d be ideal. I’m talking caps, watch straps, underwear, socks, trainers with the print. I’m also a big dungaree lover, so some printed dungaree’s would be the absolute pinnacle.
If people want to follow you and discover more about you where can they go..
Favourite track to listen to at the moment?
Anna Leone’s ‘My Soul I’ and Joey Dosik’s ‘Running Away’ will have to fight this one out!
Peter wears our patchwork Jazz print shirt from our Summer 18 range, our patchwork Tribal print shirt from this Autumn 18 range and our navy cotton flax playsuit from our current Autumn 18.