On June 11, Peter Bark released “Nightwalk” on Bandcamp. The hip-hop sound designer and beatmaker already filled the dozen with his newest album. While Peter likes to keep his music alias separated from his real life, he gives some insight on his musical travels in this interview executed by email.
Peter Bark is working in a recording studio (not really surprising) in Manhattan and lives in Brooklyn while growing up in central Jersey. Peter is a really productive dude. Twelve albums in less than eight years speak for itself. Same in this interview: To every question, he replied within minutes.
Peter, you released your first album on Bandcamp in December 2012. Did you play music before that? And how did you get into playing music in the first place?
I started producing music in 2010, because I was really into dubstep and wanted to learn how to make it, haha. I didn’t play any instruments before that but always had an interest. The stuff I have out is only a fraction of what I’ve made. I’ve got hundreds of beats in my back catalog. I’ve released probably 15 other albums that I’ve taken down for one reason or another. People who’ve been following me since the beginning might have them downloaded though.
On Bandcamp, you released only albums, on SoundCloud you have mostly single tracks. Do you have an album in mind when you are recording? What meaning has the concept of albums to you? What importance has SoundCloud to you?
I mainly use SoundCloud for loosies or tracks that I don’t think fit into the album I’m working on. My albums usually represent a period in my life. I make music almost every day, and I’ll get a feeling that a track is the start of a new album, or fits with the album I’m working on. I get a feeling when I feel the project is done, too. Hard to explain haha.
Do you have visuals / a story in mind when you record a song? From the beginning, or does it evolve?
Not really to be honest. It happens unconsciously. When I finish the song, it will remind me of events or places though.
On Bandcamp, you “sell” your albums for “name your price.” How are your experiences with that?
I prefer to do it that way. I want as many people to have access to my music as possible. If someone wants it bad enough they’re going to find a way to rip it off of soundcloud or whatever anyway! I’m super thankful for all the people who pay, it’s nice to know that they care enough to go above and beyond.
Do you also sell or share your beats with a rapper/singer, or are they meant to be as they are?
I’m always happy to let people use my beats. There are a bunch of tracks on SoundCloud and YouTube that are people rapping over my stuff. I’ve produced a bunch of beats for one of my best friends who goes by Crown Stark over the last eight years. Recently I’ve been working with a few artists, so there will be some collaborations coming out shortly.
Do we find your music on other platforms, too?
Only Bandcamp, SoundCloud and YouTube in the past. This new project will be on all streaming services though.
What gear and tools do you use for recording, mixing and mastering?
I make most of my beats in Maschine. I love the workflow. As far as outboard gear goes, I use a couple of sp-404s, a kaoss pad, a bolsa bass, and few of the Roland boutique synths. As far as softsynths… I love massive, omnisphere, and FM8. Plugins – I’m really into fabfilter’s eq, multiband compressor, limiter, and saturator, native instrument’s guitar rig and replika. I like recording my own percussion and ambiance too, which I use a Tascam handheld recorder for.
How did you learn the techniques of what you’re doing? And how much did you spend on equipment?
A lot of trial and error to be honest haha. Since I’ve started making music, probably spent a few grand on equipment.
Did you ever play live? Any plans to do so?
I actually never have. I’m open to the idea though.
To finish off: Do you have any plans for the new future you want to share with us?
Working on my next project, working with a few artists, and trying to break into doing more sound design work.