Peter Peter looks inside on Noir Éden

We spoke to the Québécois singer-songwriter, who’s been in France working toward his new album for five years.


Peter Peter. Photo by Shayne Laverdière

Across an ocean and five years after Une version améliorée de la tristesse, Peter Peter has returned in top form with Noir Éden. Although he’s spent the last few years in Paris, he doesn’t see the record as a reflection of the city, but of himself instead.

“It’s more introspective now,” says Peter Peter (aka Peter Roy). “When I decided to write, it was 9 to 5 work. I wasn’t meeting new people. I just got lost in my mind for this record, and that’s where I wrote the album.”

While Peter blames his youth for a long break between albums, he’s grown up a lot and has noted the absence. “I’m not young anymore so that gap was pretty huge,” he says. “I signed a record deal in France and Une version améliorée de la tristesse came out two years later.”

All this said, it wasn’t exactly a cakewalk for Peter to start again. “When I was done promoting the album I had to write something new from scratch. I had to learn a lot before I moved to recording.”

Part of his learning involved trying to make his album as “him” as possible by understanding the studio. “I wanted to go further with my producing skills, doing more things by myself, staying at home working with the software,” Peter explains. “I had a big introspective period where I was staying at home learning about my songs and tweaking sounds, not waiting for someone to help me.”

Despite a lot more distortion in his background, Peter didn’t have much trouble switching to synth-pop later on in his career. “I always felt like a stranger to music. I was writing poetry and all my friends around me were musicians, that’s how I ended up in a band. I wanted to do new things that I’m not good at, and I’m no stranger to feeling like a stranger.”

Part of being a stranger has allowed Peter’s location to remain fluid as he never cemented himself into one particular city’s sound. “I don’t belong to a scene, and I never felt like I was in Montreal. Since elementary school I’ve always been a loner and shy. I belong to my apartment.”

The one change his location did influence was his mixing of French and English lyrics. “Cause I’m in France I wanted to play with it. If I was still in Quebec I wouldn’t make a blend of it. A lot of artists in France sing in English without that ‘complexe de francophone.’ It’s more of a game.”

His travelling spirit also took him to Berlin for the long-take video shoot for the album’s title track, “Noir Éden.” “I wanted to go into a city I’d never been to and sing to a camera and I wanted a long-shot so no one could edit.”

His sense of control has brought him a lot of success in his career but near the end of his production he decide to let go on while shooting the video for “Loving Game.” “It was one of my first times not being a control freak and seeing where it went. I was accepting to work with people and not know where it would go.”

Ultimately, though, it seems that this ability to let go is truly in the DNA of a record about self-discovery and enjoying life. “It’s an album about asking yourself questions and doubting yourself. The last song is about embracing those moments of passion and being alive. Accept you won’t answer all the questions and take that pure feeling of being there.” ■

Peter Peter presents Noir Éden with opener Barbagallo at Club Soda (1225 St-Laurent) on Wednesday, March 8, 8 p.m., $25