In a recent interview, violinist Kristen Peters readily described herself "as Type A as they get," detailing a reliance on daily to-do lists and a running obsession with keeping things organized.
In a recent interview, violinist Kristen Peters readily described herself “as Type A as they get,” detailing a reliance on daily to-do lists and a running obsession with keeping things organized.
But while the recording of her debut EP Journey to Somewhere incorporated a modicum of structure (the musician kept up-to-the-minute spreadsheets mapping out each song), a large part of Peters’ development stemmed from an increased willingness to let go and allow the songs take shape naturally. It’s a decision informed at least in part by a series of life events that found her diverting from a long-prescribed path.
“I started playing violin when I was 5 … and I thought I was going to go to a conservatory and then audition for the Cleveland Orchestra someday,” said Peters, 23, who headlines a record release show at Spacebar on Saturday, April 25. “I was going to be a classical performer, and that took a turn. I was a business major in college, and that didn’t work out.
“The EP is sort of about this journey to somewhere, and how you can work as hard as you can, but [life] still might take you in another direction. The only constant in this life is change.”
The largely instrumental music on Peters’ debut follows a similarly winding road, moving from the hypnotic pluck of “Simple Equations” to “(Nightfall) Crow Pose,” a rich, two-part suite designed to evoke the feel of a solitary late-night trek on the Olentangy Greenway Trail.
Peters started work on the album in September 2014 following a series of collaborations that found her stretching far outside the classical realm, including stints with Joey Hendrickson and the Sleepless Nights (which remains an active concern), Kelly Zullo, and Derek DuPont and the Wild.
“It opened me up to a lot of things … and made me realize I wanted to pursue something other than classical,” she said.
However, it wasn’t until Peters encountered a video of singer/violinist Andrew Bird performing solo, utilizing a series of loops to craft an intricate, layered soundtrack, that the concept entered into full bloom.
“It started with trial and error. I’d go to open mikes and take a riff and try to construct a song out of it [using a loop pedal],” said Peters, who was born in Cheshire, Connecticut and grew up raised by a social worker mother and a father who worked at Excel Logistics. “It was nice to be thrown up there just to see what people thought of it. I really just wanted my music to be heard.”
Photo by Meghan Ralston