After being the driving force behind the drums in the heroic metalcore band I Killed The Prom Queen JJ Peters left to pursue a career as a vocalist. He is best known for his work in the Hardcore Punk band Deez Nuts, but this year he has truly turned his creative attention to making his own distictive solo work. JJ is a creative force that can't slow down and is always propelling his ideas to their full potential, regardless of the genre. JJ Peters is a long-standing, gifted and imaginative figure that knows no limits.
Firstly, how did the idea for champagne as merchandise come about?
The idea came from my friends Trad and Tyla who own the Crowbar in Sydney. They do a lot of wine collaborations with artists and I wanted to do a sparkling natural wine so we decided to call it street-champagne.
Prom Queen, Deez Nuts, and your solo work have all been very successful, why do you think that is? What is it about your ideas that make it possible for you to see constant success and interest year after year?
I mean they’re not hugely successful, I’ve needed to do all three as well as clothing brands on the side working all year round since I was 21 just to make a relatively normal wage. I just work hard and I love creating, it’s all I know how to do… so I do it. If I had invested the same time working for a company I would be the CEO by now.
What is your biggest problem with the music indsutry?
If there is one element I would change about the music industry it would be to increase how much Spotify and other streaming services pay the artists, as it is much lower than people think.
What was the inspiration to start your solo career? Has the music you are making always been a desire to produce?
It’s not really new as I did a “rap duo” with Louie knuxx in the late 2000s, but then Deez Nuts became so busy I didn’t have time to continue it. So as soon as I had a little downtime I picked that passion up again on my own just for my own enjoyment and people seem to like it so far! I have absolutely found the balance now between Deez Nuts and my solo work.
Do you feel the digital age has held back or allowed bands to put themselves on the map more? What are the advantages and negatives of releasing and promoting music in the modern-day?
There are so many positives and so many negatives that I would have to a do whole separate interview! But having experienced both I do love streaming as opposed to physical. My solo career wouldn’t have been possible if I had to get signed, but digital distribution has made it possible for me to get on all the same platforms a label can get me on by myself. Also, I have complete control of my releases and I love that.
Do you feel this day and age is the ideal time for your solo music to come alive? I feel the majority of your listeners are hardcore kids and I can’t think of a time in musical history where this would have been possible. So why you think your solo work has been so successful and accepted by fans of hardcore?
No idea man, you would have to ask the listeners, but a lot of people hate it and me because I make this and not just hardcore which is bizarre. I lose a lot of fans and followers, but whatever, I make the music I love. Although I wish I could branch out to a wider audience because I feel I have a glass roof selling pop and rap music to hardcore, metal, and punk fans.
How do you practice your vocal technique? Have you had lessons as such? How have you learned to master your craft throughout the years?
In all honesty, I don’t practice at all. I have just evolved over time and got more confident. If you listen to the Deez Nuts releases in chronological order you can hear the natural progression in my voice.
Coming from Adelaide, how was the scene there growing up, and when Prom Queen was starting out, was it tough to establish yourselves, or was the local scene always good to the band?
Adelaide’s scene was amazing and incredibly supportive. It was small but strong and faithful to its bands. Prom Queen wouldn’t have made it any further without that initial home town support.
Do you feel international bands have ever struggled or neglected touring Australia over the past twenty years? With flights and costs of a tour being one of the highest countries to tour in, was there ever a period of unsuccessful shows or bands not bothering to visit on an album cycle?
Yeah all the time, it still happens today. The costs for the flights and visas and ground travel are enormous, if you are not big and your band can’t cover those costs it’s just not doable. Deez Nuts has three international members and it’s not really profitable for us to tour here at our size, but I do it because I love it.
Do you feel some Australian bands struggle to push their music outside the country? With the number of places to play shows in being very limited in their home nation, do you feel once they have established themselves in their home nation it is harder to take the next step as compared to American and UK bands?
Yeah, that’s natural progression anywhere, it’s just harder in Australia because cities are so far apart and the big step up is huge. Other countries such as the USA and UK, in particular, have a definite leg up. But then smaller countries than Australia have it even harder to carve a name than we do.
Do you feel the hardcore genres’ growth and development boils down to the genres of further acceptance decade by decade?
Once again I think it comes down to natural evolution, but yeah the fact the genre is traditionally based on acceptance it gives it room to grow.
Vocally, who are your main influences and idols?
In the beginning, skinhead Rob and Freddy from Madball are the two I was trying to emulate and combine. But I realized a long time ago I don’t really sound like anyone, so I just try and embrace my own voice.
Finally, what is your favourite record of this year so far, and why?
There have been so many great albums this year, so I will just go with my most recent favourite which is Savage Mode 2 by 21 Savage and Metro Boomin.
Interview by Rob Kent