I had the pleasure of interviewing Curtis Peoples before his show here in Atlanta, GA at Eddie’s Attic. He spoke about his album, the possibility of acting in his future, his favorite TV shows, and more. Check it out:
Tell me a little bit about how you got started in the business.
C. Peoples: I started when I was a kid. I used to do choir, and then I started a band when I was 12 in school with my friends. At first it was a joke, but then we got really serious about it. By the time we were 15, we were really serious about it, and that’s when I committed to it, and you could tell ’cause that’s when my grades started dropping [Laughs]. But that’s kinda how I got started.
I lived in San Diego, and I had a band. We were called Three Simple Words. We were like the popular high school band around San Diego. Then when college happened a couple guys left, we got a couple extra guys, and that was kinda the way it was. We were doing well, and then my guitar player had a punk band and punk is, like, huge in San Diego… and that band ended up getting signed. So, the band broke up.
So I started doing the solo thing. About three months later, I was doing a show in San Diego, just started doing solo, with Tyler Hilton, and we became really fast friends. Tyler was doing exactly what I wanted to do, he was just a couple steps ahead of me. He had a record deal with Maverick. We had so much in common, we were the same age… I met him and he ended up taking me on tour about 6 months after that we became friends, got this Beatles tattoo, and everything changed; I met everybody that I am now close with in that 3-4 month period. It’s like this whole world fate it was the craziest thing. And I moved to LA and I’ve been living there, and that’s kinda how the whole thing got started.
Now, I know Tyler Hilton has done a decent amount of acting. Is that something you would ever do, or want to do?
C. Peoples: You know, it’s funny, I’m such a big film fan. I have always wanted to get into directing, get into that side of it. But I’m not opposed to acting cause it’s so helpful. There are actually some opportunities coming up for me to try out for some stuff, and I’m gonna do it. I’m open to it, but it’s definitely never been first on my list of things to do.
Right. Well that’s cool.
C. Peoples: Yeah, I don’t want to suck at it [Laughs].
Yeah, that’s understandable [Laughs]. In another interview, you said that you like taking chances with your music. What song do you think you took the most chances on?
C. Peoples: On this record?
C. Peoples: There is a track on the record called “Hold Me down” which is the second track. I’ve been trying to still be in the singer/songwriter genre, but still be what I want to be, more of a rock sound. I even came up with that coffee shop arena rock name. “Hold Me Down” is like a rock song with a rock riff; it’s just got a good beat to it. I had to push for it cause the producer thought it was pushing it too far. But I just bugged him and was like, “Please let’s put this on the record. I promise you, it’s going to be awesome.” And he had a couple songs that he was trying to convince me on that I wasn’t really sold on, but it ended up working both ways. But I fought hard on this one, and the day we were tracking it he was like “This is awesome!”
I’m playing it live tonight. The way we’re setting it up on this tour is the two other artists are playing guitar on my set but I get to play guitar and do the solo. So that’s pretty fun.
Do you have a song that you’ve done that you’re most proud of? Or perhaps one that is the most personal?
C. Peoples: Yeah , it’s funny because that has two different answers. “All I Want,” the fourth track on the record, it’s the song I look at and think, “That’s a song I’ve professionally written.” Like, I could look back on it in 20 years and be like “Wow.” It’s put in the U2 model where it starts really quiet and ends really big, with a steady climb in the lyrics. It’s really powerful and I’m really proud. And that’s the one that I play if I’m losing the crowd. And people shut up.
Very cool. Now what is a song writing classic for you? Is it lyrics, chords?
C. Peoples: You know, it’s never been lyrics, because it puts me in a little trap that I can’t get out of. The way I always write songs is I usually start writing by myself. We get basic chords going but it’s all about melody. I believe you can put stupid lyrics with a great melody and it still works. I come up with the melody and usually the lyrics come out of that. Like, I’ll sing some jibberish thing. Back when I started with “Falling In Love,” I was just filling in a blank line, but I’d go back and I’d listen about what I was actually blabbering about and be like, “Wait, that’s a good line.” Sometimes I build a song around a line that popped out of my head. So that’s usually the process.
How would you say that you’ve grown musically since you’ve entered the business?
C. Peoples: My voice mainly. When my voice changed I got this rocker voice, so I really tried to sound like them. That was really cool in the last few years, people tell me my voice is unique, for me that’s huge ’cause I worked really hard to break all those influences out of my voice so that I had something that was more me. So that’s where I feel like I’ve grown the most, you know, cause my range has grown. But also just learning to be myself. If something is fun and sounds cool, it doesn’t have to sound like X song, it doesn’t have to sound like me. If it’s a great song, I can make it sound like me. And that’s been really important and freeing.
What would you say the hardest aspect has been as establishing yourself as an artist?
C. Peoples: You know what, the hardest thing is that it takes so long, and people think that it happens really fast, including myself, but it doesn’t. Once you realize that you’re in it for the long haul, you start to see things happen faster, because you’re not worried about the giant change that’s happening. You start to notice all the small things that add up to great things. And that’s been the thing for me, as far as continuing on and moving forward. Ever since then, I came to the realization, a few years ago, that it’s always been a forward motion. You realize that every tour, every show, every whatever is a step forward. Sometime they’re gonna be bigger, sometimes smaller, but as long as you’re moving forward and making opportunities, eventually some opportunity is going to open up.
So that mentality has been very calming.
What is in your CD player now? Or I guess your iPod?
C. Peoples: I still buy CDs, but I listen to them for a week, and then put them on my iPod. I’m one of those in-between-people. Lately, Coldplay‘s record is the last one I’ve gotten in to in a big way, I’m so happy they didn’t disappoint me. It’s good to see bands from my generation that are going to last and I see that in them. They have the big ideas, big goals. I’ve been downloading a lot of singles lately, a lot of people have been teasing me lately, my arena rock 80’s session is at a mountain high right now. Van Halen is my ultimate right now, I always have a band that I get into every year that was too old for me when they were out. What that band was, is so pure rock. I love pop music. Anything new Madonna, I download it all. Because it’s all important to appreciate. Some is terrible, some is really cool. Good records come in waves, U2 is coming out soon which I love. A lot of my friends have records coming out, which is nice.
What TV shows do you love?
C. Peoples: I don’t watch a ton of shows, but what I watch I watch big time. House, the first drama I’ve gotten into, House and Lost are the two more dramatic ones. But, um, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage I love. Living in LA, that ‘s one is cool cause you see them shooting pretty much anywhere you go. I have been watching a lot of King Of Queens reruns. That show has really grown on me, incredibly lame but really fun. But my favs are the Seinfeld, Friends, The Office, British and American, I love them both. Those are all my big ones.
I could have named like nine more but I stopped.
You’ve got good taste. I know you’ve got more touring ahead of you, but is that pretty much it for now?
C. Peoples: We’re doing a lot of touring, we’re really working on the TV placement stuff. But mainly it’s touring and getting bigger tours, we got a lot of online stuff which is great. We’re AOL streaming our entire record this week, which is huge. And Amazon has featured my record on their homepage. So there’s a lot of cool stuff like that happening. I’m just trying to figure it all out. There’s a video that I did, we’re pushing that. We’re just trying to knock on every door. Radio is in our plan, but we’d rather have a foundation, that core fan base. And then radio. So we’re just really concentrating on getting me to the next level. I just want to record to elevate me to the next one.
I love those t-shirts (referring to the FanBolt Logo Tee) by the way.
Thanks. I designed the logo.
C. Peoples: You don’t have any extras, do you?
No, I should have brought you one.
C. Peoples: I would have totally taken one.
I’ll send you one!
Interview By: Emma Loggins