Locals Only: : The Upward 'Spiral'

Peter Adams recruits a live band to support his 'one-man-band' album's runaway success

 
Peter Adams


Peter Adams



Acclaim for Peter Adams' debut disc, The Spiral Eyes, has been snowballing since last year, making him a prime candidate to be the "next big thing" to emerge from the Cincinnati music scene. The only problem is that the 22-year-old home recorder has never played a show. That's an issue he'll put to rest on Saturday, when he takes the stage with a newly formed band to perform his blissful Indie Pop publicly for the first time.

"I considered doing a singer/songwriter thing with just guitar, but I don't think the songs would translate that well," Adams says. "There's too much instrumentation and arrangement."

With technology advancing to the point that it is outpacing creativity, one-man-bands are becoming ubiquitous, but Peter is a standout. Despite his modesty — "Neutral Milk Hotel did all of this so much better," he demurs — his ability to single-handedly assemble symphonic, Beatlesque compositions instantly puts him head and shoulders above most bedroom songsmiths. Last year, he was nominated for a Best Singer/Songwriter Cincinnati Entertainment Award, had a song featured on MTV's The Real World, got a bunch of adds in a springtime radio push and garnered some glowing press.

"It's all been really surprising. We have a distribution deal in Scandinavia," Adams relates with a hint of lingering disbelief.

"We got an invitation to play a concert in Norway at a 50,000-seat arena. That would have been some first show."

Adams' career thus far has revolved around his computer. He uses a very basic setup to record and has also done a fine job of getting his music into the ears of appreciative listeners via his own Web site and through iTunes and CDBaby. His music has also been well received on

 
Peter Adams


Peter Adams



Acclaim for Peter Adams' debut disc, The Spiral Eyes, has been snowballing since last year, making him a prime candidate to be the "next big thing" to emerge from the Cincinnati music scene. The only problem is that the 22-year-old home recorder has never played a show. That's an issue he'll put to rest on Saturday, when he takes the stage with a newly formed band to perform his blissful Indie Pop publicly for the first time.

"I considered doing a singer/songwriter thing with just guitar, but I don't think the songs would translate that well," Adams says. "There's too much instrumentation and arrangement."

With technology advancing to the point that it is outpacing creativity, one-man-bands are becoming ubiquitous, but Peter is a standout. Despite his modesty — "Neutral Milk Hotel did all of this so much better," he demurs — his ability to single-handedly assemble symphonic, Beatlesque compositions instantly puts him head and shoulders above most bedroom songsmiths. Last year, he was nominated for a Best Singer/Songwriter Cincinnati Entertainment Award, had a song featured on MTV's The Real World, got a bunch of adds in a springtime radio push and garnered some glowing press.

"It's all been really surprising. We have a distribution deal in Scandinavia," Adams relates with a hint of lingering disbelief.

"We got an invitation to play a concert in Norway at a 50,000-seat arena. That would have been some first show."

Adams' career thus far has revolved around his computer. He uses a very basic setup to record and has also done a fine job of getting his music into the ears of appreciative listeners via his own Web site and through iTunes and CDBaby. His music has also been well received on garageband.com, where he caught the attention of a Toronto-based artist management outfit which now represents him.

He turned to the Internet again to assemble his band late last year after exhausting other avenues, eventually finding all three members via classified ads on cincymusic.com. Adams is a violinist and picked up guitar playing in college bands at Oberlin College, so a drummer and bass player were must-haves.

Drummer Greg Nicholson was his first find. A veteran of bands from Hardcore to Classic Rock and a CCM electronic media grad, he's also a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, giving him the perspective to provide an appropriate foundation. "Peter's been pretty generous letting us go in our own direction with the parts," Nicholson says. "We want to sound like one entity and make the parts blend and not like we're just trying to get through the songs."

Next came keyboardist Brandon Hollihan, who came Cincinnati to secure Classical voice work. Although he's never been in a band, he's played piano since childhood. The last addition was bassist Brian Bruemmer, formerly of local Rock band Langus. He had perhaps the largest stylistic bridge to cross. "It's a big change after playing in Langus for five years, where it was pretty much jump around and follow the guitar player. With all of the parts going on in [Peter's] music, I have to lay back and groove with the drums. I never thought playing fewer notes would be more fun."

Finally, what the band jokingly refers to as the "fifth member" will be a sequencer loaded with the violin and other string parts so integral to Adams' lush sound.

"We investigated a lot of different techniques, and this was the only feasible option," Adams says, although they have their sights set on a bringing on a live string section eventually. "That's the plan for later this year, we hope."

In the near term, the as-yet-unnamed band is trying to get 10 shows or so under their belts before heading to Austin, Tex., for the South By Southwest festival in March. For now, the coliseums in Lapland will have to wait.



PETER ADAMS (peteradamsmusic.com) plays Saturday at Baba Budan's in Clifton.