I am staying in Toronto…
as I have been investigating Terribly True – the latest single from Canadian star, Deanna Petcoff. She talks about the song’s origins and what comes next; which artists/sounds inspire her drive; how all the elements (to her latest song) came together – and whether it was hard departing from her band, Pins & Needles.
I learn more about her touring plans and whether she is coming to the U.K.; if she has a favourite memory(ies) from music so far; new artists we should give more time to – if there is any chance to detach from a busy music career and relax.
Hi, Deanna. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi! My week has been wonderful. I just put my song out into the world - so I am very happy.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Sure! I am a Canadian musician based out of Toronto and I’ve been playing music for six years professionally. I started this solo project about a year ago with my friend and collaborator, Alex Stavropoulos-Laurie - who really helped shape my sound and vision.
I’m now working on an E.P. and playing shows!
What is the story behind your single, Terribly True?
Terribly True is about the feeling of realizing you’re not really in love with someone you’re seeing and having to come to terms with the fact that you’ll have to hurt them. It’s hard to feel like you’re the antagonist of your own life, but standing by what you really believe rather than what you want to believe is vital in order to be happy.
There are a lot of elements and sounds working away in the song. Did it take a while to get it together?! Do you think you were vibing particular artists when recording and writing it?
My producer Alex and I spoke a lot about influences and inspiration before we did the demo - including Angel Olsen, Alabama Shakes, and mainly, David Bowie - as he’s one of my major influences in general. Alex knows that my favourite vocalists are 1960s Soul singers and we thought a lot about that vintage quality in the tones and arrangement decisions.
Will there be more material soon? What are you working on?
We are working on an E.P.; still planning out arrangements with my band and Alex. We want the record to reflect my style and have the emotional honesty that I strive for in delivery and production.
Your solo career stemmed from the disbandment of Pins & Needles. Was it hard seeing the band break? Was it difficult transitioning to life as a solo artist?
I think, because the band broke up amicably, it has been an easy transition for me. It will always be strange playing without my girls: they’re my best friends and playing shows with them for five years was the best thing anyone could ask for. Having the support of my bandmates has made everything better – and, similarly, I support all of them in their endeavours.
It seems you have eclectic tastes! Which artists did you grow up around? When did music come into your life?
I definitely do have broad tastes: everything from Billie Holiday to Brockhampton influences me. For me; if I can feel authenticity or true honesty in the music, any element of the music, I’m drawn to it. I grew up around a lot of Classic Rock from my dad: major influences like Queen, Prince and The Rolling Stones; as well as music that’s important to my mom like Frank Sinatra, Todd Rundgren and Carole King.
Music was around me for my entire childhood: it felt like a natural progression into creating it myself.
What gigs do you have coming up? Where can we see you play?
I am playing April 2 at The Smiling Buddha in Toronto and there again May 27th. I’m currently solidifying more dates for in between there - and as well for the summer.
Do you think you’ll visit the U.K. at all? Have you ever been over here before?
I have never played in the U.K. but I am itching to! I hope to make it over there in the next year or so!
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
My goal for 2018 is to put out my E.P. and play as many shows as I can - to make sure the set and the record are everything they can be. With the help of my band-mates Callum Maudsley, Julian Psihogios and Dylan Burett, as well as my producer Alex; we’re hoping to push this project as far as we can go in the next year.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Probably one of the best experiences of my life was playing the Canadian festival Field Trip three years ago with my band, Pins & Needles. It really felt like a life goal completed and I hope to play more festivals as time goes on. Honestly, though; all of my experiences with Pins & Needles were memorable - and that time of my life is something I cherish dearly.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Get connected with local artists through going to shows and joining a collective! Keep working with people that can challenge you and help you become a better artist. Working unopposed is unproductive and, especially when you have a community of artists, it’s so important to stay together and help each other.
IN THIS PHOTO: The Beaches/PHOTO CREDIT: Maya Fuhr
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I love hanging out with my friends and my family when I’m not making music. My roommate and I host a lot of parties at our house - and we like to surround ourselves with people we love and admire as much as humanly possible.
Toronto seems to be one of the fastest-growing centres for new music. Do you think there is a reason the Canadian city is so popular and productive?
I think there are some really good collectives and labels making huge efforts in Toronto right now to bring young people into the music scene. Places like Girls Rock Camp Toronto are really trying to inspire the younger generation of women and female-identifying youth to play music and get their voices out there…as well as record labels like Buzz Records and Royal Mountain; as well as Fried Records - who actively cultivate local artists.
The sense of community is really strong here - and it’s only going to get bigger.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Breaking Glass by David Bowie! One of my favourite tracks of all time
Follow Deanna Petcoff
PHOTOS OF DEANNA: