‘Nostalgic Dream Tunneling’ | Interview with Furrows

Maybe you were never here.

Mildly trippy and delicately nostalgic, Peter Wagner’s (aka Furrows) new song tugs at your heartstrings. Read our discussion with the Brooklyn-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist below!

Describe your sound in 3 words

Nostalgic Dream Tunneling

Tell us a few things about Never Here. What is the main idea behind it?

I feel like my relationship to myself was strongly affected by the pandemic, particularly in the early days. Spending so much time alone, I really became aware of how much of my identity was shaped by my relationships with other people. I’ve spoken with a lot of people who had similar experiences from their pandemic isolation. Never Here is about what isolation does to us. It’s about our inherent need for other people, but it’s also about claiming full ownership over yourself, perhaps embracing the idea that there’s a value to disappearing inwards, at least for awhile. There’s a lot to discover in that inner world.

You spend a period in your life living out of a suitcase. Was there a best lesson learnt during that time?

I learned that the world is full of kind, interesting, and peculiar people, who each have their own story. I also learned that it can be easy to confuse a feeling of ‘yearning for adventure’ with the feeling of ‘wanting to run away’ from something.

Which of the cities you have previously lived reflects you the most and why?

My heart is pretty much equally torn between New York City and Baltimore. New York is one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been to, full of this vast, diverse range of humans and cultures, all of whom have adapted in their own peculiar ways to the relentless logic of New York City. On the other hand, Baltimore is an outwardly humble city that has very deep roots, historically, culturally, and spiritually. It has a sort of gothic feeling to it, and the people living there are open and genuine in a way that is extremely uplifting. Both cities are filled with beautiful architecture and the ghosts of history.

Which decade(s) do you find most interesting in terms of music production? And how do you think the present period will be remembered?

I’m pretty partial to the 70s, the heyday of multi-track tape recording. Working within the limits of the mechanical processes of the time meant people had to get creative, often in very interesting ways, in order to find new sounds. The Brian Eno ‘studio as instrument’ concept from the time has always been really appealing to me. I have complicated feelings about our present period. On the one hand, there’s so many incredibly creative people all over the world that are able to create these new and exciting sounds without having to spend much money, through the miracle of digital recording. On the other, the precision and control inherent to the digital space seems to be steamrolling all the happy accidents that are so important to making art with texture and real human feeling. I think it’s possible our present period will be remembered as exciting but neurotic when it comes to music production.

Favourite album of the past year?

I was obsessed with Cate Le Bon’s record Pompeii when it came out. I admire her so much. Her songwriting is so unconventional, and she’s able to transition so fluidly between those gorgeous, angular melodies, and a swaggering, almost punk attitude. And the production on that album is jaw dropping. It’s so intricate and yet loose. I guess in a nutshell, she seems able to bridge all these contradictions in her art. Plus her lyrics are wonderful, all those oblique little riddles.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Embrace rebellion more, and don’t take yourself so seriously

What is the story behind your name?

Ever since I was little, I’ve had kind of a bitchy resting face. It seems like my eyebrows are set in a permanent frown. Everyone used to always come up to me and ask me if I was okay. I was always like “Yeah sorry my face just does that.” Anyway, Furrows, furrowed eye brows, it just felt right. Plus the double meaning with the furrows in fields appealed to me. There’s a bucolic vibe to it, but it also relates to metaphors of creation and birth etc. There was just a lot of symbolism around the word that appealed to me.

Thank you!

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