Peter Wolf Crier is a duo born out of mutual admiration and the desire to make something new. Singer/songwriter Peter Pisano and drummer Brian Moen traveled in oft-intersecting musical circles in Wisconsin, their separate bands sharing an occasional bill. But when Pisano high-tailed it to Minneapolis and eventually penned the songs that would become the first material for Peter Wolf Crier, he knew there was nobody else but Moen to bring the new project to life. The two have been touring nonstop since the release of Inter-Be, the debut album that’s recently been picked up by indie darling label Jagjaguar. Just before a short break from tour, Peter Pisano caught up with LimeWire Store in this exclusive interview.
Peter Wolf Crier – “Hard As Nails”
You guys are based in Minneapolis, but came together in Wisconsin — are you both originally from there?
Peter Pisano: I’m originally from the Chicago suburbs, and Brian’s originally from Rochester [NY]. But Brian lived in Eau Claire [WI] for a while and played in lots of bands there, and my bass player from my old band is from Eau Claire, so Brian was always kind of a staple of that scene, and I was always on the outside looking in.
And so what brought you to Minneapolis?
Man, you’d have to ask my old band mates that. It wasn’t my decision; I was very much content living in Milwaukee at the time and teaching, I had a girlfriend, and had just finished a record with my band. We all were in Green Bay to rehearse, and one of the guys from my band was like, “I’m going to Minneapolis,” like a Minneapolis-or-bust kind of thing, and I didn’t even know that Minneapolis existed as far as I was concerned — I didn’t know a single person who lived there…but it felt like it was the right time in my life to make one of those decisions.
So how do you find the scene there? Do you feel like it was the right move for you?
Yeah, especially given the context in which I moved out there, the scene probably meant more to me than it did to your average person.
Because it was all you had.
Exactly — these people became the faces I recognized if I went out, so I didn’t always feel like I was living in someone else’s city. In that way, I found that music scene to be home, and it really hasn’t changed much — my deepest friends that I have are people from that life.
And how did you and Brian start working together?
I had seen Brian play four or five times, and his drumming became a spectacle between me and my old keyboard player — every time we shared a bill with Brian’s band, we’d make sure we got ourselves a good spot, just so we could watch Brian drum. So there was a great amount of admiration and enjoyment, just watching the dude play. So when it came time for me to do something else, I didn’t even think about it — I was like, “Fuck, I can have anyone I want play on this record” — and Brian was the guy.
Your minimal setup reminds me of the Dodos, and you guys do it so effectively. Do you think you’ll keep Peter Wolf Crier a two-man outfit, or have you ever considered expanding?
Well, on our last show I actually played bass with my feet, playing organ pedals. So that fills out a lot of space. But you ask yourself, “Are we doing justice to these songs?” Because when we record the songs, we don’t record so that two people can execute them, we record to make them the most beautiful things that we’re capable of doing. And at this point, [the answer is] yes. We very much feel that way in the live show. I’m looking at things I’m writing now, and if that question comes up again, we’ll see what answer the two of us have for it, and if we don’t have a good enough answer, we’ll bring in someone else.
So I read that the songs on Inter-Be came to you in one night, more or less — is that true?
Well, there’s never been a time in my life when you just sit down and decide I’m gonna make a record right now. It’s almost like you have to get so caught up in one writing session or one idea that you’re not even aware of what’s coming out of you and then all the sudden, you stop for a second, and in the stillness you’re like “holy shit, I’m making a record.” And that very clearly happened to me. It wasn’t as if I wrote the entire record in one night — Brian wasn’t even involved at that point, but songs that I’d written previously, like “Crutch and Cane,” [the first song on the record], I’d written that before I even moved to Minneapolis and it had just been sitting there. And writing songs that night, all of a sudden a song like “Crutch and Cane” had a place, and I’d just never known there was actually an album waiting for it.
And now that Jagjaguar’s picked up the album, how is it being with a label, versus doing everything on your own? Was it a big shift?
When Brian and I first released this record, we rented a house in St. Paul, and we had a friend who had his own theatre company, and we performed a 45-minute music video that went throughout the entire house with actors and all kinds of shit, and that was all Brian and I — we were selling tickets online, we were doing our own website, we were paying the rent — everything logistical was going through us at a time when we were trying to do something very creative. There was so much ownership over that product, we were very proud of it, but afterwards there was no more ambition to do something like that again, because it was so exhausting. So at this point the scale has definitely been magnified, and if we didn’t have people we trust to make important decisions for us, we probably wouldn’t be able to maintain as we have.
Are you thinking towards the next PWC album, or just embracing Inter-Be and life on the road right now?
Everything goes on hold when I go on the road, I can’t write while I’m doing this. But we’ll be off the road starting the beginning of the December, and when I am home, I’m sleeping until eleven, then I’m on my porch having some yogurt and writing songs all day long, and that’s my way of living.
That sounds nice!
It is, it’s absolutely incredible. That’s actually been the most incredible thing I’ve gotten to experience, besides the people I’ve met in the other bands that we’ve worked with – just waking up and writing every day.
I understand you’re the main songwriter of the two of you, but does the creative process become more symbiotic , the longer you and Brian work together?
It’s interesting. I wrote [Inter-Be] and brought it to Brian, and I trusted him enough that we took the songs and reinterpreted them, and I felt comfortable with that because I trusted Brian as a thinker and a feeler. But I’m pretty sure what’s gonna end up happening this time around [will be] different than last time, because Brian and I have a different relationship now. So instead of me just coming in and recording guitar and vocals and then Brian putting drums on top of that, I think we might actually sit down and have a few drinks, loosen up, and just play through things. And that’s an outgrowth of communicating live every night.
Like, I totally forgot I had this interview, and I walked out of the bathroom into the hotel room in my underwear, and I thought to myself, I do remember a time when I barely knew Brian and we were traveling together, and I probably wouldn’t have felt comfortable walking out of the bathroom in my underwear, it would’ve been a little weird…but it’s totally funny how that changed, and so much has changed along with it.
So have you been doing this whole interview in your underwear?
No, no, I’m definitely wearing pants and a shirt. I got clothes on.
Fuente: LimeWire Music Blog