2007 saw the long awaited release of Peter's debut album via the UK's inimitable Klone Records. I picked up "Follow Me" late last year but it got lost in the massive pile of CDs littering my bedroom floor until a couple of weeks ago. It hasn't left my stereo since. "Follow Me" picks up exactly where Peter left off in the 90s, delivering a collection of irresistible Hi-NRG dance tunes proudly influenced by the likes of SAW, Modern Talking and Fancy. I'm a huge fan of Klone Records but I have no hesitation in naming "Follow Me" as the best album in their extensive catalogue. Peter has crafted a winning mix of Hi-NRG dance tracks and camp pop delights with just enough cheese thrown into the mix to satiate trash lovers like myself! The quality of the album hasn't gone unnoticed. The project has already scored Peter songwriting duties for the likes of Carol Jiani, Amanda Lear, Gina G and possibly Kate Ryan.
I contacted Peter to let him know how much I love "Follow Me" and, on a whim, asked if we could have a quick chat about the album for Pop Trash Addicts. He kindly obliged and our "quick chat" turned into a marathon MSN session that dragged on well into the early hours of the morning! Peter was a lot of fun to interview. He's funny, brutally honest and like any good queen, enjoys dropping the occasional famous name! We covered Peter's early career as well as his Klone comeback, not to mention his upcoming collaborations with Carol and Amanda. Most of all, I discovered a kindred spirit who lives and breathes pop music.
I'm a huge fan of your early career. How did you get into music?
I started by appearing on an 80s TV show called "The Early Bird Show". I sang a Lionel Richie song, was really terrible. And was even judged by none other than Dannii Minogue, who I went to high school with. AND I LOST!!!
You went to school with Dannii?! I'm not sure if you know but Dannii is my all time favourite singer and I actually have a blog in her honour! Were you in the same year?
LOL I did. She was 1 year ahead of me. I was in awe of her at school. We never talked much at school, but we do have a mutual friend. She is nice though, Kylie was just lovely also.
How fantastic! I can't believe she rejected you though... how rude!
NO believe it, I WAS fucking hideous!
Did that tv appearance lead to "I Wanna Dance"? Or did that come later?
Ok, after that I did a couple years singing lessons, then hounded a DJ on a dance radio show who I knew was producing. Eventually he gave in, we did a demo. Then about 12 months later I met David Wilks in 1991, who produced "I Wanna Dance". We did about 20 songs. "I Wanna Dance" caught the attention of a radio station in Melb called Hitz FM, a local youth radio station. The song took off as an unsigned song. Colossal Records contacted them, we got in touch and they signed me. Then it went to No 40 in Oz in it's 1st week. Don't ask what is charted at in week two though! But yeah it was my first break.
I've always wanted to ask you about the fabulous "I Wanna Dance" B-sides. Was "Bing Bong (Turn Me On)" a piss take?!
It's a classic!
I think Dave wanted to do a 4 track album, like Giorgio Moroder did with Donna Summer. So yeah he needed one more song, and he wanted to rip off "Sugar Sugar". So "Bing Bong" was born. By the way, my vocal is nasty on that song!
Your music was such a breath of fresh air at a time when grunge was taking over the airwaves. Were you always interested in Hi-NRG music? You really did carve out your own niche.
Aww thanks! I grew up on it, since 1984 and the early SAW days, I would listen to a Melbourne dance show (done by the DJ who did my 1st track), and I was introduced at age 11 to Bobby O, Giorgio Moroder and Italo disco. It's MY music and I wanted to make it. NOT to conform to music I hated. And there was a lot of SHITE out at that time.
There sure was! If it wasn't for the likes of you, Girlfriend and the Minogues, I would probably have spent my youth wearing flannel!
That's probably one of the best compliments I have been given, I love that!! You know when you find a style of music that's just YOU, well this was it for me. And flannel can be very sexy on a guy!
Rarely! The follow up to "I Wanna Dance" was probably not your finest moment (sorry!!) but I honestly believe "Into The Night" is an Australian pop classic. Whose idea was it to cover Benny Mardones' classic?
Well first let me talk about "Move" (the 2nd single). I fucking hate that song and It's No Secret as Kylie put it. I didn't want to release it, and in fact had a new David Wilks song ready to go called "Feelin Hot". I co-wrote it and it was awesome! Very "No More Tears" meets Pet Shop Boys. But management didn't want the whole SAW camp sound so they pulled it and went with "Move" and stopped my working with Dave. I may record it for Klone yet. I LOVE IT!
I'd love to hear it! "Move" is just... kind of horrendous but it's still fun.
"Move" was just not me. Everything from song, producer to shitty single cover was decided for me. NEVER AGAIN. No, you're right it's fucking tragic!
But you got everything so right with "Into The Night"!
Ok, "Into The Night". It was chosen by Colossal. Originally they even thought about Stock/Aitken doing it since they were big again with Nicki French. But of course it cost a fortune, then they chose John Springate. Then management stepped in AGAIN and insisted the guy who did "Move" do this but in fairness he did a decent job on it. I liked singing it and we even got Nick Skitz to do the final mixes. I love it and it was my biggest hit.
Can I ask who this mysterious producer was?
His name was Paul Carmody.
I think the whole package is brilliant. Fantastic song, great remixes and THE VIDEO!! What a masterpiece! Please tell me about making it.
The video was over in 4 hours. I rocked up at 8am and what's funny is I had a stylist hired for this single. He gave me some clothing changes, and I mimed the track in a few different outfits and my job was done. What is funny is I was SO scared to perform and very shy, so he was showing me what to do, so what you see me doing is copying him!! It was a lot of fun, I love the whole packaging of ITN.
The dance at the end is hysterical. I remember copying it at a school disco! I believe I also had that haircut at one stage...
The crazy arm movements!
OHHHH GOODDDDD I WANT TO DIE! So embarrassing!
It's not! It's one of my favourite videos ever!
Wow that's quite a statement. That's very cool, thanks! Tell me one thing, you didn't copy my hair did you?
Awww, I love that. THANKS!
Do you ever get embarrassed by your old stuff or do you embrace it?
Nah not embarrassed. Well maybe by the leopard skin print shirt in "Into The Night" but that was 1995!
Can I ask why there was no album? You had 3 fairly solid hits. Was one ever planned?
After "Into The Night" I wanted out with my management. I hated being forced to work with Paul on music, I was not happy with the way they wanted to go. So I wanted out. They didn't let me go so they kept me hanging unable to do anything. An album was planned and tracks were recorded but I am glad it didn't come out cos I didn't like many songs from it.
Were they similar in style to the singles?
Um, honestly they were more like "Move"!! Though there were 2 songs I co-wrote which were closer to what I like. One was a bit Army Of Lovers. AND LET ME TELL YOU, when I walked away, Paul had tried UNSUCCESSFULLY to trick me into the studio to record. He said the songs were only for me and he wouldn't give them to the label. But I didn't believe him and didn't show up. His last words to me were "When you want to be a pop star gimme a call." LOL. As if he was Pete Waterman no less!
Sounds like there were some seriously dodgy dealings. Maybe he was into you! That leads me to my next question. You were quite the teen heart throb. How did that conflict with you being gay? Was it an issue?
Not sure about teen heartthrob LOL. But the gay thing was weird. I was told not to talk about it, not advertise it. Just plain dodge the issue. I understand it and the marketing behind it but it's just not a great message. And I am a very upfront person, when you get told by your manager "don't be seen at this club and don't kiss your friends hello in public" it's a bit fucked. I was asked once at a gig was I gay and I answered no. I shouldn't have but I guess it was a lot harder to be out back then and yeah, let's face it, a fresh faced boy singing songs like "Bing Bong" and "I Wanna Dance". I mean come on!
When did you decide to come out? Was it much later?
I came out in 2006 when my first release on Klone came out. I did an interview on an American podcast and then just openly talked about it on my website. No big deal so I just went with it but, I was away for a lot of years from music remember, so I had a lot of time to get comfortable in my own skin, without the pressure of what not to do or say. To be honest, it's a shame artists and celebrities can't just be themselves.
I want to ask you about that. What happened between "Into The Night" and your reemergence with Klone. I know you released "Mama Told Me" but that was quite a strange little release. What happened in the meantime?
So in between "Into The Night" and "Mama Told Me" then. After "Into The Night" I left Colossal which was a shame, because I loved them. But they knew of management issues and didn't want to be in the middle. Can't blame them either. Anyway, management signed me to a really bad deal with a tiny label. The renamed me as WILSON which I HATED, and released a terrible song from my album sessions with Paul called "Summer Days". Fucking awful. It was a disaster, no promo, no video. That was when they tried to trick me into the studio to make the follow up. So then my management contact finished!!!
You've bounced back from more disasters than Dannii - without even getting your tits out!
LOL, no tits for me haha! So I met John Von Ahlen who had been part of 90s dance group Nova. Loved his work and we started work on a whole new album. From that "Mama Told Me" was released. So we did an album, I wrote or co-wrote most tracks, recorded an unreleased SAW song and 2 they had released already. And a cover of "Born To Be Alive". Was an album I was proud of! But then again the label I signed to did no promo, asked me to pay for my own video! So I walked and at that point decided to get away from it.
Oh wow! Which SAW songs?
Which SAW songs? ok... um, What A Night (which was to be the album title). It was very N Trance "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" and "Ain't No Cure" which I LOVE. It sounds like SAW from 1988, I played ALL keyboards on it and used only SAW sounds and "How Can This Be Real Love".
What amazing choices! "Ain't No Cure" is one of my SAW faves too.
Yeah that's my 2nd fave SAW song ever. There was another song I did for that album called "Angel Eyes". One of my best. Very Modern Talking if you have heard of them.
Is there any chances we'll ever get to hear those tracks? I know Modern Talking well. Dieter Bohlen is a sex god!
I don't have "What A Night" and only a demo of "Real Love" and Dieter Bohlen asked to hear my stuff in 1999, which was amazing.
Shame the record company was so fucking useless. The album sounds terrific. What did you do from 1999 until your Klone comeback?
I didn't do anything until 2001. John Collins who wrote Gina G's "Fresh" was someone I met as a kid and had done a couple demos with before meeting David Wilks. And he was great, he said I should be a superstar - god love him! He talked me into getting into the studio, arranged a meeting with Sam Panetta and we started writing right away. First one we did was "I Love You Unashamed". I loved the result! So when John told me Gina G was coming back to Melbourne, me being a massive fan of her behaved like an OTT school boy with a crush and I convinced him to let me meet her. BUT THEN!! When I met Gina, she was so lovely. She heard "Unashamed" and LOVED it so much. At one point she even wanted to record it. I said no though, and offered to write a new song for her. So we went into the studio and did a track together. With her believing in me, it was all the confidence I needed to get back into it.
You should have recorded a duet! I love that a classy icon like Gina G inspired your comeback. How fantastic!!
LOL, no duets but it was fun doing the song with her. In fact she and I were both in the studio on September 11th 2001 when the terrorist attacks happened at the Twin Towers. We were locked away oblivious to the outside world. We spoke the next day, and it felt weird knowing we were so wrapped up in the music, getting the right vocal and mix, and being unaware that the world was about to change outside.
You said "Ain't No Cure" is your 2nd favourite SAW song, Do you have a top 5?
Top 5 SAW songs? No 1 hands down... "I Don't Wanna Get Hurt" (ALBUM version) by Donna Summer. Sybil's "Make It Easy On Me" is No 3. Dolly Dots "What A Night" No 4. Kylie's "Turn It Into Love" would be No 5.
What, no Kakko?! "Turn It Into Love" is one of my Kylie favourites too.
Kakko is definately not a fave! It's cute though.
I think Kakko is brilliant but I'm sure I'm alone in that view! My list would definitely feature some Lonnie Gordon and probably Princess.
Two very fine SAW albums. Lonnie is a scream, her Oz management worked on my album cover. We've chatted. She rocks! Oops, name dropping loser alert LOL!
The legendary Bobby OSAW seems to have been a huge influence on your work. From the beginning right up to now. Who else has been an influence? Modern Talking? I hear a lot of Moroder and Dead Or Alive in your music too. And a touch of the Berman Bros!
Giorgio Moroder is a legend. So definitely him, I've been buying his back catalogue lately. So ahead of his time. Yeah I'm also VERY influenced by SAW, Dieter Bohlen, Pet Shop Boys, Bobby O. Actually Bobby O story...Bobby O almost did a song for my album, but then the price tag came. I politely declined! So we settled for covering "Whisper To A Scream". Oh and Frank Farian!
Speaking of Frank, didn't he contribute to "Doin' Fine?"
He co-wrote the chorus and approved the sample of "Daddy Cool" for "Doin' Fine". He loves it!
How did that come about? I think "Doin' Fine" is brilliant. A great "fuck you" anthem!
It started as a demo done in the UK. I got hold of it from my UK producers who also co-wrote it. He thought I would hate it. I loved it, begged him to let me do it and we got it! So I wrote music for the bridges, lyrics on bridge 1, Mr Farian contributed lyrics for chorus and it became what it is now. It was a half finished demo sitting on the shelf actually. So glad I got it, and I can't say who but a very well known UK pop singer is recording it for a comeback album!
It went to #1 on the Euro NRG charts, didn't it?
Yeah it hit No 1 on that chart.
I should take a step back and ask how you got involved with Klone. Klone cops a lot of shit from music snobs but I love their stuff. "Follow Me" on Mad About The Boy was your debut with them?
Klone do cop a lot. Even from their own fans! Well here is the deal, in 2004 I signed a German record deal. Deal was I would record 6 songs here and 5 songs with a group called Systems In Blue (who are the real musicians and high voices behind Bohlen and Modern Talking). So I did the 6 songs here, then my manager just hated the whole Modern Talking sound and didn't want to invest in it. So since he pulled out I lost the deal. Shame cos I would love to have worked with them! And in FACT I've just found out these producers have taken 2 of my titles from the project and are using them for 2 other relases. One called "Out Of The Blue" for their own album (which was what my album was going to be called) and "Heartbreak Boulevard" for a German singer called Mark Ashley. I will be looking into that actually!! Anyway I had the left over songs done in Melbourne and I decided to approach Klone. They were great from the start. I submitted initially "Best Love You Never Had" and "Unashamed" and they said YES to signing them to Mad About The Boy 14. In the end we couldnt get a license in time for "Best Love" (as I don't hold the sound rights), so I offered them "Follow Me" as a replacement. Thank god I did cos it hit No 5 on Eurodancehits.
The album turned out so well and really holds up as a great listen from beginning to end. I particularly love "7 Sins". It's one of the best songs I've heard all year! I also love the SAW inspired songs like "Best Years Of My Life" and "Wait By The radio". What are your favourite tracks?
Oh recording the album was a task. But one I wanted to see it through to the end! I knew one thing, I wanted to bring David Wilks back. So we did 3 new songs. We almost did the original follow up to "I Wanna Dance" but ran out of time. Then I used 3 songs that I did with Sam Panetta, (he used to be in group called Among Thieves). "Best Years" is great!! Its got Natalie Miller on backing vox.
Dannii (left) with the fabulous Natalie Miller (right)Natalie Miller! YTT forever!
Then I met Chris Richards who is my songwriting partner to this day. He was a very big part of the album's completion! He did "7 Sins" and was scared to play it to me. Thank god he let me do it. I love it too. Rob Technic did "Rocket To Your Heart" also, I loved his stuff with Alison Limerick so I had to have him. He was lovely.
"7 Sins" is a different sound for you. Dark and edgy. You should explore that more. "7 Sins" has real crossover pop appeal.
Oh trust me we are exploring that sound!
Fantastic! Darkrooms around the world will be pumping you out!
Ok that sounded WRONG...
"Wait By The Radio" is a cover by the way. Done originally by Fancy, who also did "Follow Me" first.
Fancy! I desperately need to invest in some of his albums.
Then get "Contact", "Get Your Kicks" and "Flames Of Love". Those 3. Though "Follow Me" and "Wait By The radio" are not on them.
I had a sneak peek at your myspace and you list your favourite albums. I think we were separated at birth. There are so many brilliant choices - Kylie, Donna Summer, Kym Sims, Shannon, Lonnie AND queen La Toya! I love you for including glorious Toy Toy!
LOL at La Toya. I bought "Heart Dont Lie" on CD from Ebay a few years ago for AU$760. Not kidding!
That's dedication! I spent a fortune on her as well. You should cover "Just Wanna Dance"!
LOL no La Toya covers, sorry babe!
I have to say Dannii is a glaring omission from your list!
I like "Get Into You" the best and "Girl" except for "If It Moves Dub It".
That song is hideous but "Girl" is one of my favourite albums along with "Neon Nights". Oh I love them all. Ok, so no to a La Toya cover. If you could choose one Kylie song to cover, what would you pick?
One Kylie song to cover? "Turn It Into Love" without question. Though I wouldn't dare. Kylie covers are always terrible. As in Steps' "Better The Devil"! Fucking hell!
Speaking of legendary divas - you're working with quite a few at the moment. Carol Jiani and the amazing Amanda Lear. Please spill the beans!
Ok spill the beans...Carol approached Chris and I soon after my name was getting known as a Klone act. She asked if we could possibly do a song for her. It just so happened we had just done "I Don't Wanna Talk About Love" (hear it on Carol's Myspace)
And Amanda? How is s/he to work with? Her disco albums are some of the most cherished recordings in my collection.
Carol has me in fits of laughter, she is very funny, One of a kind! As for Amanda! My god she is a legend to me. "Never Trust A Pretty Face" is one of my fave albums ever! So we wrote a song called "Brand New Love Affair" after I played Chris her stuff. We did it really to see if we could tap into another artist's style. And my god, it sounded like "Follow Me" (hers not mine) No 2!! So we contacted her French label and they loved it. Amanda loved it. So they asked for more songs, one more they have already said yes to. So that's in very early stages. We are still writing and submitting but getting there. Apparently Amanda is singing the song we wrote around the house! What will be a thrill for me is when we do it, I might be talking to her on the phone to co-write lyrics!
You're doing so well for yourself. You also submitted material for the delightful Kate Ryan.
Kate Ryan yes, I love her, but I love the Euro trance sound she hasn't really done since the first album, and re-visited with "Voyage Voyage". So we wrote "C'est La Vie" with a mix of the old sound and new. It's on the short list so far but no guarantees. Fingers crossed. Her people in Belgium love it. If she does it, this will be a very big turning poing for Chris and I.
Kate Ryan... and her camel toeYou're the new Ian Levine (but not crap)!
LOL! God love Ian.
I know but some of the stuff he foisted on Carol is criminal!!
But then you have great tracks like "Vanity". He's done a new one for her too which is really Motown-ish. He's obsessed with Motown.
I love a lot of his stuff but it's wildly uneven. Still, bless him!
Trust me there are a lot worse LOL. There are very few true stars these days and too many media trained jump thru hoop drones who are massive.
So true. I get sick of these personality free bitches like Leona Lewis!
Oh she's ok. Delta Goodrem I can not stomach if I am honest.
Dulta is fucking revolting!
I think with Delta, each album becomes less interesting. The first one was a great pop record. As each follow up came out, the quality kept disappearing, and she was becoming less of herself and I don't really believe the nice as pie act. I remember her yelling "that's fucken bullshit" at the tennis! I think the UK public are onto something with their thoughts on her is all I will say. I actually have her unreleased Sony album with "I Don't Care" on it. MUCH BETTER!
I know this is a bit random but what do you make of Kylie's X?
I like X a lot, a few tracks I don't like but I have replaced them on my own version haha.
What have you gotten rid of? I've ditched "Senshitized" and "Nu-Di-Ty".
The same songs as you!! Added "Rippin' Up The Disco", "Cherry Bomb" and "Fall For You".
Getting back to you - do you see yourself getting more into writing and production?
To be honest yes.
I hope you don't turn your back on performing. I want "Follow Me" part 2!
I might do a few more recordings myself but it's not a priority right now. There are 3 tracks I want to finish. Actually 4. The David track I want to do, a track from Sweden is waiting for me, a song I started with Ian Anthony Stephens (which has an early 90s sample) and MAYBE a duet with Carol Jiani.
A duet with Carol!!! Your voices would sound amazing together.
We joked about it so nothing concrete just whispers. I would produce it with Chris.
An original or cover?
What's the Swedish song you have lined up?
It's called "Together We Are Strong" it's an accoustic pop song, but reminds me of Abba's "When I Kissed The Teacher". I also want to work with Ian, so I want that song to be finished with him.
You should write a hit for Dannii - she needs to scrap the club instrumental turned trashy dance numbers. The woman needs a chorus!
I would probably submit for Kylie but not Dannii. Oh fuck who knows!
Why? Dannii could do with the help!
Actually of course I would. I love them both.
Get Carol to cover "Vibe On"!
GOD!!! No, we have 2 covers that are perfect haha!
It's so exciting that you're getting the chance to help restore so many fabulous divas to their former glory. Next stop La Toya and Millie Jackson please!
LOL I think we are going to target more mainstream people this year.
Do you have anyone in mind?
Not yet will start work for 2008 next Sun so we decide then.
You should help out some local divas - Melissa Tkautz and Deni Hines for example!
Deni is a fucking bitch (Peter then elaborates). I would never work with her. Melissa I would! I can give you a Natalie Imbruglia story.
Oh yes please!
I hate her fucking guts, the bitch! Ok...In 1994 I went to an East 17 concert and afterparty. Peter Andre supported. He was always very nice to me, and hung with me a bit this night. SO. A few of us were waiting to meet with East 17, then like a foul gust of wind, a fresh out of Neighbours Natalie Imbruglia literally barged past knocking people out of her way, nose in the air walked right up to Brian from the group put her hand out as if to be kissed like she was royalty.
Then her track record since, all that star fucking must get really sore. I mean do we need to rattle off the long list of celebrity victims she's targeted? And her voice is barely more capable than Mandy Smith.
She really made an impression on you!
Hey, do you have all SAW albums on CD?
No not all of them. I take it you have a huge collection?
Some freak on Youtube claims they have Brilliant Kiss' "The Lips Of Life"! That is the only one I don't have. Apparently there is a Japanese CD. Yes I have everything. All the singles. A lot of rare CD singles. Paul Lekakis gave me "Fruit Machine" years ago.
Have you ever been to PWL or Love This?
I went to Love This in 1997 for a meeting but they had no record of it and wouldn't let me in! I think my management were lying or fucked something up but I DID go to PWL. Roamed around the studios, went through the Mel and Kim door downstairs. I was there for about an hour in the studio, longer than most acts who recorded there. Oh did you hear the song I did for Tabitha Turlington?
Yes, I love Tabitha! The song's fantastic! Is she a friend?
Yeah from Primary school. He is a Mebourne drag queen. I wrote it for Dusty O, a UK drag queen on Klone. Anyway she disappeared so we got Tabitha in on it. One last thing, are you looking forward to Donna Summer's new album?
"Crayons"!! Yes - understatement of the decade! What do you make of "I'm A Fire" though?
Love one of the mixes and I love how her voice has matured. I have not antipated an album so much since Kylie's 1994 album. I WISH she was doing a couple with Moroder though like she did for "The Journey".
Thank you for giving me so much of your time. Good luck with all your future ventures!
It was a pleasure!
You can listen to clips of several tracks on "Follow Me" from Peter's website. The album can be ordered from Amazon UK or directly from Klone Records. Make sure to add Peter as a friend on Myspace and download "Into The Night" from Australian or UK iTunes.