July 01, 2015

Peter Bibby

We had a chat after his performance at The Garage about Aussie accents, touring and his one true passion, music.



Photo cover: Mollie Ruck



On a chilly London-ian night, we had the pleasure to meet our dear Peter Bibby. Newbie in the Spinning Top family, he recently released his first LP Butcher, Hairstylist, Beautician where he unveiled a raw sincerity, carried by his singular and marvelous voice.

It’s your first row of gigs in Europe ever and tomorrow you’re also playing Field Day. It’s a pretty big festival, how do you feel about it? Are you nervous, excited?
I’m pretty excited, I’m not nervous.

Never?
Sometimes I get nervous for gigs. Maybe tomorrow before I play I’ll be nervous. Right now I’m not nervous. The UK has been really fun, but it’s kind of just like a bigger version of Australia.

How?
I mean, England is a different place, but it’s all sort of a very similar culture. Britain just invaded Australia and they killed all the poor indigenous. And they took over that land. So like the culture that is in Australia is very British-born.
But it's all very much the same. White English speaking cunts (laughs). No offense.

Sometimes your accent is really British and sometimes it's really American.
Sometimes certain words are better expressed - if you pronounce them differently and sometimes it might sound a bit more American and sometimes it sound a bit more British, but generally I like to think that I just sound like an Australian person.

In which other European countries would you have liked to play?
I would have liked to go to France, and Berlin, and Italy, and - basically all over Europe. I was pretty disappointed that all I got to do was all around London.

As if it was nothing!
I mean, I wasn’t disappointed, I was so excited to come here and I'm so happy to be here, but I don’t have the money to go wherever I please. I go where I’m sort of told to go, you know? Which is great, but I would have loved to go all through Europe and everywhere. I guess I just have to wait a little while to get to do that.

When would that be?
I don’t know. I guess the thing is that somebody asks me to come and play. That’s basically it. When someone is like, 'you can come and we'll pay you this much money that we'll cover your flight,' or whatever. That's when I go to places. A lot of people seem to think that I just get to do whatever I want or something - people are like 'why don’t you come to this country?' because I don’t have any money (laughs).

You’ve been touring Australia for one or two years right?
I’ve been playing in Australia for about 10 years. In various bands, only about 2 1/2 years I’ve been playing under my own name. Under Peter Bibby. I had other bands before that.

Dan Murphy & His Bottles of Confidence, how is it different from Peter Bibby?
That’s the same thing. I was calling it Dan Murphy & His Bottles of Confidence. Dan Murphy is a massive chain bottle shop in Australia, so it’s just a bit of a joke. When I'm playing with a band, I don’t like it being behind my name, it makes me feel like a wanker.

Why?
You know, there’s other people contributing to the music and why should it just be my name, you know? Even if I’ve written all the songs and shown them how to play the songs - there’s still other people in the band. And I like to have a band name. But I was doing the Dan Murphy thing for a bit and then people were just like ‘that’s bullshit’ and started just calling it Peter Bibby & His Bottles of Confidence and it wasn’t even my choice, really. And then it was just Peter Bibby. Which is the name on my birth certificate and my passport. I never really wanted to do it because it made me feel like a wanker. It makes me feel like the other boys on the band are unappreciated, you know.

You're not happy when you see your name instead?
I’m fine with it now, I’ve gotten used to it. It’s been a little while now. But I’ve always preferred to just have a band. But I guess they’re all my songs, I wrote all the songs, so I guess it’s just me at the end of the day. And I played so many shows just by myself. So when someone just decided to call my band Peter Bibby & His Bottles of Confidence it helped with my solo shows because people liked that Dan Murphy band, but they didn’t know who I was if I played a solo show. So once my name was on that, then people came to my other shows. It was just easier (laughs).

Why Dan Murphy?
Dan Murphy is like the Walmart of liquor in Australia. They’re in every city in Australia, there’s multiple of them. We were on our way before the first ever Dan Murphy’s gig - Cam Avery was on drums and Nick Allbrook was on guitar and my friend Steve the Magician was on bass.

Steve 'the Magician'.
Steve the Magician (laughs). Recently he's stopped being so magic and now we call him Steve the Cockroach. Because he’s a bit shit (laughs).
But, we just had our first ever rehearsal, and we had a gig that night, it was Christmas Eve a few years ago. We didn’t have a band name for the show and we were on our way to Dan Murphy's to get some booze and we were calling the booze Bottles of Confidence, like 'we need to get bottles of confidence' and then we just named the band Dan Murphy & His Bottles of Confidence. And that’s where that came from. It was on the way to Dan Murphy's to buy bottles of confidence.

Peter Bibby's mixtape

Listen / download his mixtape here.

When will your record be available worldwide?
Right now. (Hands out his CDs, and a vinyl especially to a fan from South America.) I don't know how it all works, this thing is only licensed in Australia with copyright and shit.

Why don't you put everything on Bandcamp or something?
I'd like to do that, personally. But with the label that I'm assigned to, it just breaks the rules, you know.

You're assigned to Warner?
I'm assigned to Spinning Top which is like, subsidized by fucking Warner, with all of this weird shit that I don't really understand. But yeah basically - there's always these people in all these different countries like 'when can I get your album?' and I just don't know. (Laughs) I really don't know! I'm always just like can't we just like put it on the internet and just let everyone have it for free or something and it's like 'no, you can't do that, not allowed!' And there's all these bullshit rules in the music industry. I fucking hate it.

It's impossible to find. I'm so happy.
Upload it to the internet! Put it on the fucking PirateBay or some shit! Make it available to everyone! I don't care at all (laughs). Please. Then I can just send a link to everyone...
But I don't actually know how to do that (laughs).

What’s your favorite stage setting? Atmosphere? Like The Garage?
I like a small, packed room. Maybe even a little bit smaller than that, but more full. Maybe 100 people crammed into a room. Maybe like half the size of that room. A lot of the time I like to just play by myself because I can do whatever I want, I really enjoy playing by myself.

Rather than playing with your band?
I like playing with the band and playing by myself equally as much as each other for different reasons. By myself I can do whatever I want. And you know, the boys in my band, Nick and Johnny are the main guys in my band and they’re both in other bands. So everyone is kind of busy and we don’t get to rehearse very often, so there’s a lot of songs I have that they don’t know how to play. So when I play solo I can just play whatever I want to play, whereas with the band we have to play the things that we’ve learned how to play, that I've taught them how to play. And you know that’s really great having drums behind me and bass and we can do big ridiculous guitar solos. Even for a while we had my friend Lindon, who was playing violin, for a bit we had Jimmy Island playing keys. The band is really fun to just like carry everything, I can just stop playing the guitar and just sing for a bit and then do whatever I want.

Who would you want to collaborate with?
I guess just whoever I’m feeling at the time. You know who Nick Allbrook is. The guy is like my best friend, and also just the best person I’ve ever made music with that knows so much shit about all the shit. So it’s basically just Nick (laughs). But then, there’s heaps of people, I love so many different people. But it all depends on what feels comfortable - you can’t just be playing music with someone because you admire the way they play, and if you don’t have any kind of connection, it’s just not gonna work. I just want to collaborate with people that I can relax with, and make some fucking music and have a good time. That’s basically it (laughs). There’s no big names, it's just whoever is gonna be chill, and have a beer and a smoke. Not necessarily a smoke (laughs).

How do you like this solo tour so far?
Yeah, it’s been great fun. I love doing solos, I get to experience the city by myself, I get to play by myself and just put forth what I’m doing. And then if people wanna come and talk to me after then they can and they know exactly what’s going on, there’s nothing else, it’s just me on a stage. And besides that I get to just go wherever I want outside of the shows. Like there's nothing stopping me from doing what I want.

What’s your recording and writing process?
Basically I just write a bunch of words. I always write a lot of words. And then if I like a chunk of the words I will try and fit them into some music. And then if it feels good I’ll just record it. Generally speaking, I’ve got the words before. Just blahblahblahblahblah, just words.



Does it happen while you're on the road?
I’ve recorded a few songs while I’ve been in the UK. Written a lot. Yeah, I’ve recorded some shit. But I just did it in the flat that I’m in, using my iPhone with the drum machine app to play along to. And then I've got my little 4-track recorder thing. And yeah, just record it to that and put down some demos.

Will these songs be on your next record?
Maybe not the next one. Maybe the third or fourth or the fifth… I’ve got a lot of songs (laughs). I’ll record a proper album very soon. Another one. I’m really itching to get into the studio and record another one.

Photos: Aminata Diallo

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