Peter Kasen was born in Miami, FL and is a Guitarist, Singer and Songwriter. He began his solo music career in 2005 in Berkeley, California under the moniker of “Propel“. Not wanting to be lumped in as just another man with a guitar, and giving the music an option to form a band if needed down the line, he chose this name for several reasons and remained using this name publicly until 2008. Having studied music theory and arranging at Berklee College of Music in Boston, the study and use of complex, odd time arrangements became apparent during his formidable years. Dynamic shifts and changes in a single piece of music, and the time signatures that accompanied those shifts, became a minor obsession, to later take form in Peter’s songwriting in use currently. A style was formed and born, one that leads more to a band or group of musicians playing, as opposed to just a single acoustic guitar speaking. It is a delivery that is far from standard and remains a niche style of music within a greater independent alternative larger genre.
In May of 2005, Peter self released the ep, “A Year Worth Forgetting“, in the bay area of California. A four song ep, featuring two songs with a full band accompanying the songs, “Never – Ending” and “Every Wrong Turn”. The release coupled with later online entrances into web sites such as Myspace music became quick attention grabbers and landed Peter on several long tours of the west coast of America. In theory marketing became just as easy and as much as a focus as the music Peter created in these years, spending long hours gaining new fans in areas of the world he had never thought possible. The first several tours were self funded, and became much needed learning experiences for the future. His music drew him to play from Los Angeles to Seattle, consistently leveraging headline spots and bigger venues. In 2006 off the heels of the first release and culminating success of a year of consistent touring, Peter was asked to come to Los Angeles to headline, The Viper Room on the ever critical sunset strip in Hollywood, California. Coincidentally or by chance, at about this time attention rose in Los Angeles in both management/labels and agencies pressuring Peter to relocate his career to Los Angeles that same year. The song, “Collapse & Fade” from the first ep, was used in four independent movies, and was to be placed in a major motion picture which never took place. The song also placed in the top five in the folk category in 2006 out of thousands of entries in an international songwriting competition. This song has remained a main stay in Peters live shows and as a fan favorite to this day.
Currently Peters songs have been included in nine compilations, about half of which have been on record label releases. The original songs, “Exhale” and “Looking Glass” which are unreleased to date, were only recorded for the specific compilations in which they appear on.
In late 2006, Peter than released a three song ep entitled, “Antique Scars“. This ep, was without a band and allowed a raw, less intrusive feel to the songs, giving them a chance to breathe. From this ep, launched more touring now into the midwest of the United States. Peter toured to Nebraska and Colorado, as well as the entire west coast yet again, and Arizona plus New Mexico. The ep was quietly released by Muted Records in Los Angeles, California in 2006 with little to no promotion or funding. Peter carried the weight of this release as he resided in Los Angeles from 2006 – 2007 and toured into early 2008 to support, “Antique Scars” and help it gain airplay on radio in Europe, as well as more critically positive music reviews in America.
The second half of 2007 began with Peter taking a much needed rest from touring for the first time in two years. He began writing songs that were far different from his first two previous offerings. Around this time the influences of (Nick Drake, John Martyn, Jeff Buckley and Jose Gonzalez) became more prevalent. He became influenced and taken over by alternate tunings used in England in the formative 1960 folk years. The confidence became less subdued, there was a voice emerging, and a new album was being formed. Attention from websites, and touring had grown into a buzz. Much work had been done online to gain Europe’s ears at the time, as Peter understood that the sound he was creating, was more representative of Europe at that time. Radio play in half of America had taken place on both records consistently, including FM and Online radio stations. Each release also gained positive reviews in independent publications, as well as his fan base had grown exponentially via websites like Myspace, Last.FM, Reverb Nation and many more. In fact from 2005 – 2007 Peters music was placed on and featured by over fifty music websites in total.
All this attention caught Record Label/Production company, Smoking Frog Productions ears all the way in Wales, United Kingdom. After conversations across the pond on the telephone and in emails, and much discussion Peter agreed to come to Wales in January of 2008, to begin recording his Debut Full Length record, “Dust, Doors, and Debt“. The album was a ten song record, Engineered by Dave Whitelock (James Taylor, Michael Chapman), with more than half of the album having guest appearances by renowned Welsh Bassist, Taif Ball (John Martyn). Much of this recording was influenced by alternate tunings again used by the folk legends of the 60′s of England. Peter began using Mountain Minor and variations of tunings on the premise of DADGAD, an alternate tuning derived from Africa and brought to England in the early 1960′s by Davy Graham. The recording was an intensive six week process, both emotionally and physically, this albums subject matter deals very much with personal over-comings and family differences which were not easy for the artist to recreate. The album was officially released on April 1st of 2008 by Smoking Frog Productions for the UK only.
A tour was to follow in the United Kingdom which was never booked or fulfilled by the record label, and had been planned for the spring of 2008. Disillusioned by the lack of promotions, or attention given to the release of the album by the record label, and having no tour booked to promote the album in Europe, Peter saw no other chose but to return back to America. He parted ways with the record label soon there after.
With only six months in between the release of “Dust, Doors, and Debt” and the entering of the studio for what became his next release, “VEER“, it goes without saying that Peter was focused to shake off the hard work of the previous album in the UK with songs that were not only better, but written as a direct result of the regret faced with the prior release. In 2009, Peter began recording his forth release, “VEER” and he wanted a studio/producer that had an experience level for the sound and quality he was looking for on this next record. Something that would be more aggressive and put his vocals out front on top of the mix and music, a personal struggle he had been publicly sighting as a earmark on his previous releases. He chose the studio, Tiny Telephone in San Francisco, California after speaking to Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie about working with him, Unfortunately Chris was booked solid, and referred Peter to John Vanderslices Studio, Tiny Telephone in San Francisco. John Vanderslice (Barsuk Records), owned this studio which was the home of where Death Cab for Cutie did much of their record, “Transatlanticism”, thus it was a natural choice. Laura Dean (St. Vincent/Matador Records)Engineer, was hired to be the Engineer/Producer of “VEER“. The ep, of four songs of new material was recorded in twelve hours in total, including mixing and mastering. In Peter’s words, “It is my most complete release to date, and the one I feel most proud of as a songwriter“.
“VEER” was released in the United States/Europe in January of 2009. To date the album has been re released six times by various Record labels internationally. It has been released in the following countries of America, France, Brazil, Russia, Austria, Sweden and the United Kingdom. It is also sold in retail music stores in the United Kingdom and Sweden. With its release, than came a tour of Europe naturally to support “VEER“. Dates included the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Germany and Denmark for most of 2009 and 2010. The United Kingdom tour dates were twenty shows of headlining and mid size venues as well as theaters.
European press of “VEER” with examples are sited below:
“Kasen can put together a fine folk-song that one can easily imagine echoing out over the heads of an attentive folk-festival crowd.”
God is in the tv zine (England)
“Peter Matthew Kasen moves on that entirely in the minimalistic tradition of American Singer/Songwriter such as Dylan or Guthrie, but also pertinent to Drake or José Gonazlez.”
Blueprint fanzine (Germany)
At the culmination of the last European Tour Peter returned back to America from 2010 – 2011. For the first time in his very busy career, he stopped moving, rested and took a break from Music. Upon closer examination it appears that this break was a needed rest from four years of non stop releases and touring in both America and Europe.
Currently Peter is on a Summer/Fall European Tour from July through November, this time focused on Sweden and Scandinavia where he has gained attention from Company you keep, a new record label started in Malmo, Sweden. After seeing Peter perform live, they decided to support and release Peters next record, “This House, is not a Home“ which is due out in June of 2012 for the territory of Scandinavia, and than subsequently a full length in December of 2012.
Peter will return to the United States in late March, to complete the writing of his next ep, This House, is not a Home. He will be on tour in both the East Coast, and Midwest in April, May, and June preparing for the recording of his next album. “This House, is not a Home” will be Peters fifth studio release to date since 2005 when he began as a solo artist, and fourth ep release. Planned releases in both America on record label TBA and in Scandinavia by Swedish record label, Company You Keep are scheduled for June of 2012, once the album has been recorded and pressed.
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