Monday, April 8, 2013

Art X Detroit: Catching up With Kresge Fellow Terry Peake

This week, all 38 of the 2012 award winning Kresge Fellows will descend upon the City of Detroit to present the work that they have created over the last year. The festival is called Art X Detroit and will feature 38 fellows, 70 artists and 15 venues, including an exhibit at MOCAD that will run throughout April.
Local artist Terry Peake from Bahamut, Fireloom and Junecast was one of last year's talented winners. He is presenting three features throughout the weekend including both bands and a piano piece he wrote that will be played by Robert Conway. We sat down with Terry Peake to reflect on this last year as a Kresge Fellow and the release of his new band, Fireloom, teamed with a performance of his award winning project Bahamut.

Terry- "First off let me start by talking about Art X Detroit. It is a festival put on by Midtown Detroit Inc, it is supported by the Kresge Foundation and features only the work of the Kresge fellowship winners from the two most recent years. Art X Detroit 2013 goes from April 10th through the 14th, and will feature the visual arts fellows from 2011, as well as the literary and performing arts fellows from 2012. There are 36 fellows in this group, and the festival boasts over 80 events including everything from exhibitions, installment pieces, readings, musical performances and more. I am putting on three concerts for the festival:

The debut of Fireloom with Junecast at the DIA Lecture Hall, Friday April 12th, 7:30 p.m.

Bahamut with Alaya and The Armed at The Scarab Club (outdoor tent stage), Saturday April 13th, 8:30 p.m.

Robert Conway piano recital, Shaver Music Recital Hall, Old Main, Wayne State University, Sunday April 14th, 3 p.m.

Fireloom, Junecast, and Bahamut are all bands in which I compose all of the material and perform in. For the piano recital Dr. Conway will be performing a new piano piece of mine, as well as a piece I wrote ten years ago. He will also be performing a new work from a former classmate of mine, James Bunch, who is currently finishing his doctorate in composition."

HipinDetroit- What have you learned this last year as a Kresge Fellow?

Terry- "I have learned so much, and in more ways than one. First off, the fellowship winners are offered various workshop opportunities throughout the year. I have attended every one of them, including an entire weekend retreat hosted by Creative Capital. The workshops tend to focus on the business side of being an artist; covering topics such as strategic planning, time management, grant writing, crowd funding, copyright, licensing, artist residencies etc etc.

On the other hand, the fact that I had the opportunity to put work aside to focus on composition has allowed me to learn a lot about myself as an artist. I perhaps took on too much in setting my goals for Art X Detroit, but I pushed through and accomplished everything, which is a lot for me. In doing so I have become more in tune with my processes, I have sharpened my production skills and revisited other things I haven’t done since I was in college."

HipinDetroit- What was the best part about winning the fellowship? Was there any downside to it?

Terry- "It’s hard to decide just because I’m still astounded that they are giving people this much money. It was amazing to be able to absolutely remove financial stress from my life. I must say though, that the distinction of receiving this title and the fact that I was considered among such amazing people is definitely the best part. I am excited to see what all of my “fellows” are doing for Art X."

There is no downside to the fellowship. I put myself in a world of stress preparing for these Art X projects, but participating was my option, as was every workshop. The only stipulation of being a fellow is that you have to live in the Detroit area for a year. Again, these are generous, generous people who care about fueling the arts in Detroit."

HipinDetroit- Tell us about your new band, Fireloom. How would you descibe them? How are they different from Bahamut?

Terry- "This is what I have been most excited about, as this is something brand new for me. This is a project that was basically made possible for me because of the fellowship. I have composed an entire album and formed the band within the last six months. The band is instrumental and combines styles from my other projects Junecast and Bahamut. It is heavy but I wouldn’t call it metal, maybe some would. It’s more delicate and melodic. I think that fans of bands like Pelican, Russian Circles, Isis, Cave In (space rock years), and Mastodon will find Fireloom to be right up their alley. Another cool thing about this project is that it has allowed me to utilize a seven-string guitar and in a way that’s not very common to how other bands use them."

HipinDetroit-  Tell us about your piano piece. How long did it take you to write it? Was it difficult to write?

Terry- "In September I decided that for one of my Art X concerts I would revisit my skills in writing a “modern classical” piece; something I haven’t done in about ten years, since finishing my degree program in music. After graduating I remained in contact with my piano professor Robert Conway, who is also the pianist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He had played my final composition for my degree in 2004, and for years he and I have talked about performing it again and for me to also write a new one for him. Most of my work on the new piece was done in the last three months, and in that time I have easily put in over 100 hours of writing. Relearning the notation software Finale was not fun. I am really happy with what I wrote, but the overall process was difficult as my brain has been out of that kind of thinking for quite some time now. The fact that I pushed through and still did it is great, because I now have the skill set to continue writing pieces like this when opportunities come my way."

HipinDetroit- Where do you see yourself and these projects in the next year?

Terry- "I am super excited to be playing regularly with Bahamut and Fireloom starting with these Art X shows. Bahamut has been less active in recent years for various reasons, and especially since I’ve been focusing on composition since winning the fellowship. But both bands have new releases just around the corner and will be playing regularly. In a year I hope to have a few regional tours under our belts as well as new albums from each band."

HipinDetroit- Is there anything else you want people to know?

Terry- "Just that I have been working extremely hard to achieve all of this. I wanted this to be a year of development and it was. Kresge wants to fuel the arts in Detroit, so I took their generous gift and turned it into art. I can’t wait to show everyone what I have created. It’s going to be crazy showcasing almost everything I do in one weekend, so I hope to see you there!"

Fireloom will perform on Friday, April 12, from 8-9 p.m. in the Detroit Institute of Arts lecture hall. Bahamut will perform on Saturday, April 13 from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. at the Scarab Club tent stage. Finally, on Sunday, April 14, Robert Conway will perform the piano works of Mr. Peake from 3- 4:30 p.m. at Wayne State University in Old Main’s Schaver Music Recital Hall.


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