Indie-Folk artist, Peter Flaherty, who recently dropped the 14-track album Like A Dog, Baby, opens up about what the record means to him. The up-and-coming talent also reveals how he worked closely with Steven Clark to keep the sound fluid and why he leaned more towards the folk genre.
How do you feel about Like a Dog, Baby finally meeting its audience?
Kind of like how Jenny, in Forrest Gump, felt when she was playing and singing naked at that strip club. I don’t feel like a piece of meat or objectified really, but kind of vulnerable in a way. Song writing is personal, and this is another stripped back project so there’s not much to lean on. Overall, pretty darn stoked to share some of these songs. I was getting tired of playing into the void. I just hope my balls aren’t showing. (Metaphorically Speaking)
How has your sound evolved since the release of your last album, “a way, my love”? Have you adopted new techniques? Do you use the same approach with all your records or does each have its own unique process?
I’ve sort of adopted a strumming technique since then. It’s hard to explain but I use a lot of my fingers while I’m strumming. It adds a bit of percussion and depth to the acoustic sound, but it also helps me keep better timing.
My initial thought was to make this a Part 2 of “a way, my love”; it was going to be named “apart too”, with similar album art. So, my approach going into the studio for this project was the same. Listening back, they are similar, but they both have their own vibe. So, I think it was the right decision.
What does Like a Dog, Baby mean to you on a personal and professional level?
You can take it at face value, I’m like a dog or men are like dogs. But not in the promiscuous sense entirely either. Dogs are loyal, loving, and will lay down their own life for their owner, pack or family. Dogs are the shit. But they also shit on the carpet sometimes, especially if you don’t like them outside.
I wrote the song, Like a Dog, Baby the week before my dog, Forrest died. I was coming to terms with his prognosis and our inevitable good-bye. That dog had love to give and a life to live. It took a while after writing it to realise that it was also a proper name for the album. It’s like a circle… and I’m like a dog.
Was the style and genre of the new album clear before you started working on it? Or did it develop over time? How did it all come together?
Since it’s an acoustic album, I always knew the genre would be leaning in the folk direction, but the style evolved in the studio. Steven Clark, my engineer/producer, did a great job keeping the sound fluid. I think together we’ve created some unique sounding acoustic tracks. Carving our own little path in the annals of folk-ish music.
Who was your biggest musical inspiration while growing up? What kind of music did you listen to when you were younger?
That’s a tough one. I’m a huge consumer of most all genres and have been since I was a kid. To name a few… Sublime, Garth Brooks, Usher, The Offspring, Tool, Eminem, Blink-182, Tim McGraw, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Marley, and Jack Johnson were all in the rotation back then. My parents would always have music playing too. We’d wake up to Enya, eat dinner to Sinatra, and dance to the 80’s. My cousin James introduced me to some of Dallas Green’s earlier solo stuff, before City and Colour. I think I was about fifteen. I remember being very inspired. It opened my eyes-up to the stripped back acoustic genre and to another realm of possibility as a songwriter.
Having in mind that artists and musicians have a huge impact on people’s lives, do you feel obliged to share important messages in your songs? Do you feel the responsibility to carry inspiring thoughts within your tracks?
I don’t have an agenda that I’m trying to push and I’m certainly not riding a high horse. I sometimes write like I’m talking to my younger self. I’ve done a lot of living and learning, so I guess there are messages in some of these songs that could serve as inspiration. But trust me, they weren’t premeditated. I feel zero responsibility or obligation. If my music blows up one day, I may feel differently, but I won’t be running for office.
What are some of the venues and/or festivals you would like to perform at? If you had the chance to give a concert at one big musical event, which one would it be?
Red Rocks would be the dream. Osheaga would be pretty dope too, but that’s my only festival reference. I remember watching Alabama Shakes play “Sound & Color” there and being blown straight to the moon! (Metaphorically Speaking) Montreal is one of my favourite places as well. My sister, Brittany, lives in Gulf Shores, so the Hangout Fest is on the list. Key Western Festival or any festival in Key West. I always thought about bartering for goods and services at a Burning Man one day. If I was a betting man, that’s the more likely of performances!
Listen to Like A Dog, Baby on Spotify: