16 Oct Meet The Artist: Peter Shilling
We sat down with Sydney based guitarist and producer, Peter Shilling, to welcome him to Melodie and hear more about his journey as a musician.
With a musical background rooted in jazz & blues, Peter Shilling delivers a mesmerising intersection of beauty and tension through his music. It’s an alchemy of just the right blend of gorgeous guitar and pristine piano that create the moody, atmospheric and cinematic sounds that we are very lucky to showcase and offer within the Melodie library.
Melodie: Peter, we’re so pleased to have you join the Melodie team! Take us back to the beginning. When did you realise you had a talent for music?
My parents had given me piano lessons when I was young, and I hated it! But around 14 I got hold of a guitar and that was it. I used to play along to my (very small) record collection. I pretty much knew how to play the chords to every song I owned!
Was there an instrument that you felt most comfortable with or were you an all-rounder from the start?
For me it’s always been guitar, specifically acoustic guitar. I take one everywhere I go (much to the annoyance of my family!). Even when writing piano or string based music, it will often start on guitar, and I also use guitar to create all my toplines and harmonies.
Tell us about some of your favourite memories from your time performing with the Royal Australian Navy Concert Band and as the bassist and keyboardist for the band, ‘Astral Taxi’.
The concert band was a culture shock to begin with. You had to read everything, even when playing in small groups. It made me sit up and pay attention pretty quickly. At the time my sight reading was not amazing, so it was intense just keeping up with my place!
Astral Taxi was a great, fun period. I played on the first EP and we travelled around Australia, playing all sorts of venues. The guys went on to record a lot more after I left. Here’s the twist though, we are back in the studio this month (October 2023) to record a new song after a long break!
Ooh that’s exciting – so I guess we can consider that a Melodie scoop 👀?! Back to the subject of composing, what considerations do you have to make when working on a piece with the intention of creators later using it to bring their content to life?
I tend to make things overly complicated so I often have to stop and avoid that and keep things a little less “busy”. Some of my best tracks are actually really simple in terms of the instrumentation, but if it creates a feeling and conveys a mood – then my job is done.
What would you say is your secret sauce in being able to convey tension or emotion through a track?
Dynamics. You can create a lot of feeling just by playing a single note, it might begin really softly and build into something.
What is your DAW/production set up like?
I use Logic Pro, and a small selection of really nice sound libraries. Keeping things simple seems to work for me. While I love a new tool or a new library, there is so much I have not done with the sounds I have. I like to record live guitars, both electric and acoustic, and I have some pretty special guitar pedals and effects… I have to keep a lid on this!
I have a dedicated studio space where I work, with some simple acoustic treatments. It’s taken a while to set up but it’s a great space now.
What’s your favourite track in the Melodie library and why?
I think “Rekindled Romance”. It’s performed on a resonator guitar which has a unique sound and then coupled with a cello. A pretty unlikely pairing! Mid-way through the track, these are joined by a bigger string sound. I love it, the cello pours out the emotion in its melody.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have a lot on the go at the moment, there is a group of new tracks that are more orchestrated than my original set. Lots of strings, flutes – ironically not very much guitar. But that will change, I am planning to work on a group of tracks that are very much guitar-centric. Will be hitting record on these before the end of 2023.