Chatting with singer-songwriter Pete Muller: “Spaces” album

Pete Muller. Photo courtesy of Gus Black

Pete Muller, a Santa Barbara-based songwriter and innovator, chatted with Digital Journal’s Markos Papadatos about his new music.

He will be releasing his new album “Spaces” in May and will be touring nationally, though he continues to run his highly successful business (PDT Partners) and prominent roles with hard-hitting music organizations.

Your latest video for ‘Tin Palace’ sounds very quiet and sunny. What do you hope listeners will take away?

The video was shot on a cold day in New York (where I was) and also at tin palace (I’m not allowed to tell you where it is, but it’s definitely a sunny spot) – in both locations by my good friend and cinematographer Chris Morgan.

Video is all about remembering a moving experience and letting the memory lift you up when you need it. I imagine most listeners have memories of at least one place like this – where the cares of the world are gone and you feel acceptance, peace and joy. the tin palace it’s a real place, but it’s more a state of mind.

Why did you choose to name your next album “Spaces”?

The spaces is the title track of the album – a song I wrote about my relationship with my son and wanted to make sure I spent enough time with him. “I’ll put more spaces in my days / Run less ragged, act less crazy / Take more time just to be amazed / I’ll put more spaces in my days.”

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I thought those song lyrics captured the spirit of the album – trying as much as possible to perceive the world and my experience through wonder – being connected instead of trying to control.

How does ‘Spaces’ compare to your last album, ‘Dissolve’? Did you take a different approach to writing and recording these new songs?

When I’m ready to write songs for a new album, I get some of my songwriting buddies together and we commit to writing a new song every week for five or seven weeks.

The discipline of having to show up with something new and share it with people I respect really helps me (and them I think!). Most of the songs on the album are from these sessions. Four of the songs on the record were co-written with my Kindred Souls bandmates John Whooley and Missy Soltero. Writing with them is always a pleasure!

The process for Dissolve was similar, and I worked with the great Rob Mathes (Sting, Panic at the Disco!) on both. We recorded both albums at Power Station in New York. For Dissolvewe added strings to Abbey Road, and for The spaces we went to Capitol Records in Los Angeles – both amazing experiences.

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Tell me a bit about your work with the Live Music Society. How are venue owners dealing with the current post-covid landscape, after two years?

When I started touring across the country (just before the pandemic) I played with my band in many small venues. Through this experience, we have developed a deep appreciation for these beloved spaces and their owners – true music lovers who are tirelessly dedicated to their community, their staff and their artists. Without small music clubs, so many up-and-coming artists wouldn’t have a place to share their work, hone their craft, and grow their following.

With the help of some talented friends, I decided to start a charity that would give small venues the support they need to thrive – extending financial and technical assistance in areas such as public awareness, sound design, fundraising, etc. this effort would be when a few months later the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the live music industry.

Since 2019, we’ve invested (in a philanthropic sense) over $2 million, and we’re just getting started! As we reach the other side of the pandemic, many of these clubs are reopening and gearing up to meet the pent-up demand for great live music. There are a few that probably wouldn’t have succeeded without the help of the LMS, and I’m grateful to have been a part of that.

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If you could play alongside any musician, living or dead, who would it be?

Wow – how unfair to ask me to name just one! I would love to have Emmylou Harris sing next to me. I would love to jam on stage with The Boss (Bruce Springsteen). Sharing a stage with Brandi Carlile would be the experience of a lifetime.

To learn more about Pete Muller, visit his official website.

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