In December 2016 I travelled to New Plymouth to film an interview with Peter Jefferies. I’d seen him perform three times in the previous eight months, once solo and twice with different versions of the This Kind of Punishment line-up. These were the first times I’d seen him perform since he’d turned his back on making and performing music over a decade earlier, and it was a joy to see him up on stage again, confident, expressive – and looking like he was enjoying it.
I first saw Peter perform in the early 80s, with Nocturnal Projections, and had happily and avidly kept track of his work over the decades, so while I didn’t know Peter personally, I felt like I knew his work pretty well and was greatly looking forward to talking with him about what fed into that music, how his creative practices had changed over the decades, and about the choices he’d made over that time.
Peter was extraordinarily generous and candid during the interview, and the stories that he shared offered fresh insights into his music and deepened my understanding of him and his work. He was insightful, considered, reflective – and funny. We talked about a broad range of things: the music he listened to growing up; his early days making music; Nocturnal Projections and This Kind of Punishment; his solo work and touring the world; working with Bruce Russell together on Xpressway; the decision to stop making music, and then working as a teacher; and Amanda Palmer being the catalyst to start performing again – amongst many other things.
Thanks to AudioCulture, this interview is now available for you to watch. It was filmed on an iPhone (with a decent mic!), and edited very simply and minimally, with the intent of preserving a sense of that afternoon spent in Peter’s lounge. It doesn’t include any music or archive videos or photos or anything like that – it consists solely of Peter talking. So if you’re keen on hanging out with Peter in his lounge for a couple of hours (almost), and hearing him talk about the last four/five decades of his life, then I reckon that watching the full version of this is going to give you a good sense of what that would be like. For those of us who are a bit more pressed for time, we’ve included excerpts from the full interview, so you can check out some the individual stories he shared. Hopefully they may tease you back to the full version.
I’d like to thank Peter for his graciousness in sharing these stories.
Full interview with Peter Jefferies
Part 1 - Early days making music
Part 2 - Starting to write
Part 3 - Nocturnal Projections
Part 4 - This Kind of Punishment
Part 5 - Jono Lonie At Swim 2 Birds
Part 6 - The Last Great Challenge in a Dull World - touring
Part 7 - Electricity, Jean Smith, 2 Foot Flame
Part 8 - Bruce Russell and Xpressway
Part 9 - Returning to New Zealand
Part 10 - Starting to teach
Part 11 - Working with students
Part 12 - Amanda Palmer
Part 13 - Reissues
Part 14 - New work