The Secret Life of MTV’s Peter Kay

August 20, 2009 — 5

Peter Kay is this rocket scientist here at work. They keep him chained in the basement developing digital whatchamacallits. I’m light years away from understanding what Peter actually does, but I’m smart enough to know he is figuring out shit that somebody really needs to figure out.


At night, when they let him out to go home, he has this whole other Thomas Edison meets John Cage meets Brian Eno vibe life, presumably in his basement. That’s where Peter tinkers with sound, inventing new music by synthesizing real instruments and found objects into momentary measures with math, science, soul and intuition, usually inspired by people or old images.

Not only does it make sense when you hear it, but it’s extraordinarily personal. His songs are as much about Peter as they are about the people in his heart when he creates each piece, or the bricked castles in the photos he’s staring at. Who stares at photos of bricked castles? Peter Kay, that’s who.

One day, Peter surprised me. I was in my office, he was in his. He called me up and told me he had written a “sound tag” for me. A short piece he might one day expand into a longer one. He chose a photo of me playing drums in college, which accompanies and perhaps informs the song. If you click the play button under the photo, you can hear Peter’s new song…

College Ross playing drums

Sound Tag for Ross, By Peter Kay

What an amazing gift. To me, the song really feels like me, or a few sides of me, at least. Maybe no one else will hear that, but I do. And I don’t know how Peter captured who I am in this way without knowing much about me, but it’s pretty generous and humbling.

Peter’s made many sound tags, inspired by friends and co-workers. You can check out the entire “Sound Tag Poject” here. MacArthur committee, are you listening?

Peter has two awesome blogs, both of which I hang out on regularly and have inspired Something Burning. One is “Music For Pervasive Connections” called Twitch. That’s where you’ll find Peter’s original compositions, including the Sound Tag Project. It’s also where you’ll find original songs with titles like “After The Explosions,” “Failure Is Endorphin,” “Girls Doing Bulgarian Split Squats,” and “Steel Mesh Baby,” to name a few.

The other is a collection of culutural awesomeness he calls Oedipal Beatdown. You never know what Peter will put there, so I always check it for new stuff I’ll find nowhere else. Like Peter himself, there’s nothing like it.


  • @jasonrzepka

    August 21, 2009 at 4:17 am

    this post and both of Peter's blogs just totally reprogrammed my shit. let's listen to Tribe breaks sometime! i'm on 29 @1515.

  • Siriusly Acted

    August 21, 2009 at 3:05 am

    Peter Kay is just plain awesome. I checked out his sound tags and never seen anything like those.

  • Siriusly Acted

    August 21, 2009 at 9:23 am

    He is talented it would be cool to if he made songs that are longer too

  • @twofones

    August 24, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    wow. courtney & ty's are PERFECT as well.

  • @pkay225

    August 25, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Thanks @rossmartin1 for the wonderful writeup. @twofones – the courtney fishing picture perfects his retro-catskills street vibe. @jasonrzepka – it's on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *