I'm very lucky to have a group of extremely talented, unique and interesting long time friends of which Peter Hoffman is a part of. Pete is always good for some strong debate, laughter and some thought provoking conversation. One of those recent conversations centered around the bad cd's we spent money on in our youth while being pretty oblivious to Sleater-Kinney. Pete's also an unbelievable dancer and once you have seen it, you'll never be the same. With an ability to mesmerize using his lightning quick feet, impressive stamina and flair which I attribute mostly to his semi-paleo diet and love for trail running, he can turn any gathering into a ridiculous dance party.
Pete makes his living as a photographer, and a darn good one at that. It might seems like it would be tough to connect dots from photography to music, but Pete and I seem to have little issue in relating the mediums or at least our views on how we approach our work or that of others. He has really made think a lot about what art is, what the value of it is, and why anyone would make it. Pete has been a huge inspiration to me in that he has a style that is his own, framing the world through influences past and present. He is unafraid to strive and possibly fail and because of that it's rare that he does.
Always being a good friend and a huge supporter of my music I asked if he might be interested in contributing a photograph for the album art. The idea was that once I finished tracking Ilsa, I'd give Pete the rough mixes, let him sit with them and then he'd go out and shoot whatever he felt like fit the songs. I was curious to see what he translated from sound to sight through his camera and after a couple weeks he returned about twenty to thirty photo's he'd either shot before that he felt fit the work or he had shot with his perceived mood of the record specifically in mind. I didn't know which was which, but I was pretty instantly drawn to the photo that became the cover and it turns out that he shot it with the music in mind. Somehow, he had captured the feeling and emotion of what I was trying to express with this photograph. Pete's good like that.
So how did we miss Sleater-Kinney? Well neither of us had older siblings, so we were left to our own devices and therefore, give ourselves passes. But more seriously, we failed in identifying lasting value and we must have known that somehow back then because we were not content and kept on searching. I am not going to speak for Pete, but I suppose that is what I am trying to do. Keep pushing a little further in search of creating something better. I have no idea what the means or where that takes me but I suppose the finish line is not the really the point. Pete helps to continuously remind me of that, keeps me honest and inspires me to keep reaching a little further.
I suggest you check out some of Pete's work here. I particularly love the Fox River Derivatives and Untitled: Loop Pt. 2