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The Universe has been good to us – Interview with PH/Mr. Peter Hayden


Early friday afternoon we had a talk with Lauri Kivelä from Finnish psych-metal band PH/Mr. Peter Hayden, who are playing, along with countrymen Oranssi Pazuzu and Atomikylä tonight at the Gloria stage. 

The rain was falling steadily over Roskilde friday afternoon, and after finding each other outside the press center, we managed to find a roof at a small bar in the backstage area. There were no seats, though, so we chatted standing, a beer in hand, moving from shallow to deeper ground in the conversation. This is how it played out.

This is your first time at Roskilde – did you know about the festival beforehand?

“Our keyboard player has played here earlier with his other band, and all I know about the festival is what he has told us,” says Lauri, “and when I arrived I noticed that the festival is pretty big”. PH/Mr. Peter Hayden was booked as part of a package with two other Finnish psych-metal bands, Atomikylä and Oranssi Pazuzu, and will be playing Saturday evening at the Gloria Stage.

“Saturday night, late, it’s the perfect time for us, and it’s right after Neurosis,“ Lauri continues, and adds that he hopes they will have the time to see Neurosis, who are playing at 20.00. It will be PH/Mr. Peter Haydens second concert in Denmark, as the band played the Copenhagen Psych Festival in 2014.

What can we expect from your concert?

“Heavy psychedelic travel, as usual. The new material we’re playing is going to end up on our next album, and it gets heavier than the one we released this spring. There will be one old song blended into the set, that in itself is one big song. That’s the way we do it usually, by playing new stuff live, that’s the way we keep progressing, and how we refine the material,” says Lauri, while the rain is pouring down in the background. “We have lights on stage, to make it a sort of audiovisual experience”, Lauri adds, telling us that a lot can be expected from the bands’ lights guy.

The Roskilde concert is the only summer festival gig the band is playing this year. “We’re preparing to record the album, and then we have two gigs in Finland in August and October, and that’s it for this year,” Lauri says, adding that the band’s main reason to play live is to offer people the chance to experience the heavy psychedelic voyage the band is taking. “Taking the audience on a flight with us”.

Who is Mr. Peter Hayden?

Both PH/Mr Peter Hayden, Atomikylä and Oranssi Pazuzu originate from the Finnish city Tampere (Finlands second largest city), and all originate from the same rehearsal space, and are part of a collective of heavy psychedelic bands named after the rehearsal space – Wastement.

The bandname, Lauri tells us, is now a symbol, where an P and an H are imbedded in each other, “but it’s really nice to have a bandname that people can not write on a computer. Everybody gets a bit confused. But the main thing is to keep the focus on the music, not the name or the band itself”

Lauri elaborates on the Mr. Peter Hayden name – it is not about who or what Mr. Peter Hayden is, it is more an ideal of what any of us could be, “us meaning band members or any people. It represents the ideal mindset. The theme of all the albums is that of spiritual growth, a kind of inner power thing. It is about who one could be,” Lauri says, adding that the idea comes from Kabbalah and the occult.

“First there are individuals and when we progress in a spiritual way, our minds become one, a collective mind. In Kabbalah texts, first there is nothing, then comes something, then comes light that made the world…and this whole thing is about doing it in reverse, so we become one, call it Mr. Peter Hayden or whatever, then the one turns into everything, and everything turns into nothingness, that was before anything was. It’s a rather complicated spiritual thing, that comes up in many religions. For us it is not about religion, but the fundamental truth about how the world is. Rather heavy stuff for a hangover this morning,“ Lauri adds with a smile.

“After our three first albums, that are kind of a trilogy, we stopped using the Mr. Peter Hayden name, and started using the symbol, which by the way has been our symbol for the 15 years we have existed, so it’s not a change of name, it represents the same thing as Mr. Peter Hayden as a name. By stopping using the long name and changing to the symbol it represents the journey. Maybe it will change to no name, we don’t know yet. Like everything about this band, it is not about planning stuff, we are trying to let the universe guide us to where it goes. And now, standing here, it has been good to us,” Lauri says, while looking out at the rainy backstage village.

Getting rid of time and space

“Our recent album is the first album of a new cycle. If people want to follow our journey, I think they should listen to our first albums. We’ve been experimenting with time and space, and getting rid of time and space itself in our music, meaning that we are trying to become free of the three or four dimensions we are in. On the third album we reached the high point of that – it was one song that was over two hours long, divided on two cd’s.

And now, with the new album, it has five songs and clocks in at 40 minutes, so we are going the other way now. It is getting more intense, and not with so long build-ups. These albums have the same elements but they are also very different from each other. But people keep telling me that they hear all the other albums in the new album, blending in in a new way. The new songs are shorter, more intense, different, but still the same as the old material”

It’s a musical journey, but is it a personal journey too?

“Well, it’s a journey for a band, and through the albums and the live shows, we want people to experience that journey too, and on a personal level, in the band, experiencing the same thing as everyone who is listening, it is of course also a growing process as a person. But we don’t like the idea of separating the band and the audience, we are all on the same voyage, and I just happen to play in the band. We are aiming at taking the audience with us on a journey”

The musical journey starts at the Gloria stage at 22.30 this evening. Oranssi Pazuzu will follow at 23.45 and Atomikylä at 1.15. You can find PH/Mr. Peter Hayden on Facebook.

By Jonas Strandholdt Bach

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