Editors’ Notes On his last couple of albums, Quebec-born singer-songwriter Peter Peter (né Peter Roy) explored the limits of synthesizer-driven electronic pop. His fourth LP—Super Comédie, an intimate pop odyssey that weaves its way through love, life, and death—finds him going back to his folksy beginnings. “The guitar is my first love, my first instrument,” Peter Peter, now based in Paris, tells Apple Music. “I felt like doing something that didn’t necessarily correspond to people's expectations, something more organic.” Made on both sides of the Atlantic, Super Comédie is steeped in anguish, hope, and nostalgia. “I realize that my life so far has been long, and I’d like it to be even longer still,” he says. “For somebody who’s anxious, the album is nonetheless optimistic. That’s why I named it ‘comedy’ and not ‘tragedy.’ There are unexpected twists; it’s quite a story. I’m aware that I’ve lived several lives and that basically, it’s been one hell of a saga.” Here he tells us more about it through each of the album’s tracks.

Super Comédie
“Each of my albums is a spiritual quest, and this one is no exception. I’ve been searching for spirituality for a long time, because I left it behind as a teenager when I stopped believing in God. And now there aren’t necessarily any alternative options in the world, but I like to think there are greater things than what society has to offer at the moment. I speak of eternity, and there’s that fear of dying. The older I get, the closer I get to that demise, which is an eternity in reality, but also the end of a story. It’s a spiritual search, which I’m not really trying to give too much structure to, but there’s something bigger, and if I talk of eternity, it’s because I believe that there’s more than life down here on earth.”

Conversation
“I remember writing this song within an hour after an appointment with my psychologist. It’s about that moment when I went to see her, when I sat down in the chair and poured out my heart. It talks about learning to be able to function in life, learning to live, that we’re somewhat inconsequential and that sometimes we can no longer make much sense of it all. We look for answers, and anxious people like me always ask themselves lots of questions. Sometimes it’s simply by sitting down with somebody and having a discussion that you manage to feel alive.”

Commun maintenant
“It deals with the imagination that can be triggered by social media. This new seduction, the act of making things up about someone we’ve never met. It’s the false sense of intimacy, the person who starts fantasizing about someone he doesn’t know and who’s under the impression that every ‘like’ means something. It’s a state of madness that revolves around all that.”

Extraordinaire
“It’s a song that speaks of love, passion, sex. To be crazy about someone, to shut yourself away, to feel that you’re protected from everything, even from your own fears, because you forget about them. You have everything you need to start the world all over again when there are two of you, even if it’s a bit chaotic out there. I attended a wedding in Cuba and all I had with me was a sound card and a mic. I recorded the vocals over there, at the resort, and kept them. I have quite an ambivalent relationship with technology, but I find it wonderful and totally insane that you can record vocals with virtually nothing, and they can end up on an album.”

Damnatio Memoriae
“It’s a bit like the flip side of ‘Extraordinaire.’ In other words, that passion will one day come to an end. I found it interesting to talk about damnatio memoriae, a practice in ancient Rome that consisted of purging people from public memory by removing their statues and erasing all traces of their name. When you break up with someone, blocking your ex on social media and deleting their name from your life, it’s like you’re condemning their memory forever. I write love songs, but I also enjoy doing love songs that don’t end well, because that’s just a fact of life.”

C’est une saison sans le temps qui passe
“I hardly ever plan trips, it’s often very improvised. With my girlfriend, when we’ve had enough, we just up and go, we leave Paris, and it’s a sort of escape. This song’s about those adventures, of heading somewhere without planning anything. It’s also about our early days, when we didn’t really know each other and we’d take off on a whim, running from my apartment to hers in the morning to pack our bags together. It’s about escaping and arriving at a place where you can take the time to do what you really want to do. Those kinds of getaways help me cope with life and my anxiety.”

Les mariés ont disparu
“It comes from a phrase I heard at a wedding. The newlyweds were nowhere to be found, they’d left the table, and someone simply said, 'Les mariés ont disparu' (‘The newlyweds have disappeared’). It really struck me. I found it totally crazy, because of everything it implied. I remember already being quite drunk and I wrote it down on my phone. The next day, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, because I think it’s a sentence with a lot of meaning. So the song is about love that gradually dies, about lovers who become ghosts to one another.”

Nature obscène
“This one’s a bit more societal. I think you learn to live with the codes of human nature. When you’re younger, you don’t always express it in words, but you know you live in a competitive world, that if you succeed, it means that someone else has failed. It’s that kind of competitive environment, the fact that we’re taught to be predators towards one another. That obscene nature is, in a way, the social injustice that lives on, that will always be there, that is endemic in mankind.”

Essayer
“It’s about the desire to see life through to the end, even when things aren’t easy. Sometimes, you no longer feel anything, but you’ve got to keep on going, always do your best, and never succumb to cynicism or negativity. It’s called ‘Essayer’ [‘Trying'], but the initial title was ‘Une lettre à moi-même’ ['A letter to myself']. It’s something I was writing to myself, and to other people as well. It’s about trying every day to keep on living and not give up. It’s the optimistic side of me, it’s a message of hope. I tried to encode it so it wouldn’t be too obvious, but I talk a lot about life. There are some criticisms of life on this album, but it’s more of a tribute, and this song fits that mold.”

Résurrection
“This song is again about the fear of death and feeling that when you’re deprived of spirituality, there has to be something else. It’s not accepting that afterwards, it’s all over. We have to reincarnate, we have to live again. Music, for me, is a way of venting this anguish. There is an injustice in the fact that we know we’re programmed to die. It’d be fun to have a second chance.”

Répétition
“It’s the first time I’ve ever co-written a song. I don’t like to impose meetings, and in fact, collaborations aren’t really my thing, but I liked the instrumentation [composed by Aurélien Fradagrada]. The lyrics talk about this demon inside me, where I lock myself in the house and say to myself, ‘I’ve got to release an album’; about working and losing contact with the outside world, then reaching a point where I can’t take it anymore and getting in touch with a friend, and going out until you lose track of time. Going back to some younger age and seeing people through those eyes. It happens often in my life, where I deprive myself of loads of things and then there comes a time when I can’t bear it anymore and I just let go. I put the song at the end because of the concept that everything starts over again, we all have our patterns, our moods.”

1
4:29
 
2
4:54
 
3
4:00
 
4
4:08
 
5
2:02
 
6
3:58
 
7
4:47
 
8
4:06
 
9
3:14
 
10
4:50
 
11
4:44
 

More by Peter Peter

Featured On