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Interviews

Sharing the gospel – an interview with Christian punk rock act PETER118

PETER118!
Formed in 2012 in Stoke-on-Trent, UK, British Christian pop punk rock band PETER118 released their debut record Make It or Break IN in 2015 via Thumper Punk Records and made some serious waves not only in the UK, but also in Japan and the USA with their catchy single “Radio”. The band’s vocalist and guitarist Peter Field sat down with IDIOTEQ to introduce his story, talk about his posi pop punk rock energy, his Polish roots, relation with JC, and a lot lot more! Check out his recent message for the fans and

PETER118 has a proud history of playing shows in places that the church feels uncomfortable being in. We have played skateparks and pubs. We have played with atheists and satanists. This is because we believe that every stage we get to play on is another opportunity to share the Gospel.

What we stand for goes far beyond politics. Our message is one of love and hope, instead of hate and fear. Christ shared his message with people from all corners of society, including those who had ideologies and beliefs that differed from His own. He chose to set an example by loving them anyway, and that example is what we try to follow.

Hey Peter! Thanks a lot for taking some time with IDIOTEQ! How are you? What’s up?

Hi! We’re good, we are preparing to tour with the Extreme tour this summer and going to Nashville in May. In addition, we have an exciting announcement soon about a new EP. All very exciting!

Ok, so first off, please tell us a bit about yourself, your musical background and how you ended up singing and playing in punk rock bands. Were you raised around art?

I was in a secular punk band called ‘Senseless’ in 2003- we toured Germany playing with the BOUNCING SOULS and TSOL. We had good exposure in UK magazines such as Kerrang and Rock Sound. This soon ended and I was questioning what life was all about. I joined a church and became a Christian in 2005, however I developed Tinitus (damage to my ear) and I stopped playing music. In 2012 God healed me of Tinitus and not long after that, I formed a Christian Punk band and signed to Thumper Punk Records in USA with ‘AOS –AMBASSADORSS OF SHALOM‘. PETER118118 grew out of AOS.

Who were some of your biggest musical influences growing up?

The 90’s Punk rock movement was a big influence. I was listening to GREEN DAY, RANCID, OFFSPRING.

How did you first get involved with a band? How were your rookie days and how have you developed as a musician since then?

Peter- “Punk rock is three chords! I have played three chords since i was 16 and I still use no more than three chords in my songs.”

Janine- “I have only been playing bass for 6 months and enjoying it. I have been learning new techniques and enjoying the live performances.”

Sam- “I have been with the band for just under 1 year following the album release. It was challenging to fit in following the last drummer but i now have developed my own style and technique.”

PETER118 live!

Can you talk a little bit about your musical endeavors this year, your debut EP on Thumper Punk Records and how people have received your work?

We released ‘Make it or Break it’ in March 2015 on Thumper Punk Records in the USA and In Presence Records in the Uk. We had good reviews both in Europe and America. We achieved a PGMA award in 2015 for Christian Rock and appeared on G Rock Tv in USA. We are also getting support from the USA Extreme tour and also UK ministries such as Meltdown and Cross Rhythms radio. We’re looking forward to releasing a new EP later on this year .

Have you played a lot of shows this year? Tell me a bit about your approach to touring and your recent visit in Poland at Slot Art Fest.

Sam- I really enjoyed the tour, we travelled 6 different countries in 9 days – playing in France, Holland, Uk, Belgium Poland and Germany. It was good to experience different countries during the tour.

Janine- We gave out bikers bibles in 5 different languages during the tour and played with satanist bands in Holland. It was a good experience.

Peter – I enjoyed slot festival in Poland, it was great to see so many punk kids who are non-Christian enjoying the bands.

Being part-Polish, what does our country mean to you and how often do you try to reconnect with the roots of your family?

Peter- I’m 1/4 polish as my name is Peter Szczepanski. My family are from Grudziadz in North Poland. My grandfather came over to the UK during the war but couldn’t go back due to communism.

I have family still in Poland as I go to visit them every two or three years. I also have played in Warsaw and love Poland as it is part of me.

How about the Far East? :) Please tell us your story of winning the Japanese audience and achieving considerable airplay for your hit song “Radio”.

That was an amazing. We recorded the song ‘radio’ for around £300 and sent to a DJ called Mike Rogers from Inter Fm in Tokyo. He does an alternative show called ‘What the Funday’. It turned out that Inter Fm is Japans largest Fm station and play listed our song to 60 million people. We then did a video for the radio show and we got number three in chart for ‘What the Funday’. A big shock for such small budget!

Does this Japanese adventure provide some promising directions for the future for you Peter?

We were excited by the exposure in Japan and would love to go there on tour, hopefully that’s something we can do in the next few years.

PETER118! photo

What did you learn from being in bands and touring? Is your musical activity somehow helpful in your everyday life? Are there any therapeutic or healing aspects of your music-related pursuits and undertakings?

Sam- I gained great experience from touring in different countries meeting different musical styles and meeting people in cool bands.

Peter- at a recent gig on the extreme tour – a young lad was healed of depression. During a particular song ‘We don’t need it’. The song talks about my experience of giving up alcohol and not needing it. The young lad was struggling with issues and Gods healing presence was at the gig. It shows that the music can be a vessel for God’s Presence.

What keeps you going? How do you stay hungry?

Personal relationship with Jesus. I have to keep my relationship right with Jesus and he gives me the desire to play. I think having a passion for people helps me commit to the band so that we can reach people and show Gods Love.

Are there any struggles between being Christian and being a punk rocker? Tell me a little about your approach to faith and how can it links to your musical career.

I think doing Christian Punk can be a challenge in the UK. Not so many churches are open to the idea of playing punk music- we can struggle to get support from churches and it’s about breaking down misconceptions of punk rock. It’s about not putting God in a box, and allowing God to use the music as a tool to reach people- whether it is contemporary worship, punk, rock , hip hop or metal.

Ok Peter, so what’s next for you? What are you working on?

Our new EP featuring a friend of mine Lisa Cox. She will be bringing female vocals into some songs and you will get a different feel to the last EP. The band’s sound is constantly evolving, and we’re really excited for what is coming next!

Thanks so much for your time, buddy! Feel free to add your final words and take care!

You’re welcome! Thanks for having us!!!

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