Interviews,  Popular Features

Q&A With Peter Roe, Composer Of Cinematic Electronic Music

The first time I ever listened to a Peter Roe piece was when I was in the early stages of writing Reikai // Threads of Fate. There’s nothing in this world like discovering a new composer or musician who, in turn, fuels your own creativity. But what I love most about Roe’s tracks is their cinematic flair, and the way every song invokes feeling. Literally, I get goosebumps, and chills down my spine with every unexpected beat.

So when he accepted my invitation for an interview, I think my heart exploded into little shreds of confetti. Pretty sure I’m fangirling right now. Please join me in welcoming Peter Roe to Bookish Valhalla, where we’ll be talking inspiration, creative process, and so much more!

Who Is Peter Roe?

Welcome to Bookish Valhalla, Peter! Tell us about yourself. What or who piqued your interest in composing music?

Peter Roe

I’m Peter Roe. 34 years old. Composer of epic orchestral music from Ikaalinen, Finland. I Started composing my own music 1996 (if I remember correctly) with tracker softwares like FastTracker 2. I have always been creative person. I also liked drawing when I was young and I think I was good at it. Then I started playing guitar at the age of 11. Played it 17 years and I think mastering that instrument gave me tools to do composing at this level of melodic quality.

How would you describe your composition style or genre to those unfamiliar with your work?

My music does not contain any lyrics. Epic orchestral music is meant to wake up your imagination and move your feelings. It`s the atmosphere. You might get goosebumps in some parts of the music. This genre is meant to listen with headphones or with good speakers because of its dynamics.

What’s your creative process? How do you go from idea to finished piece?

My composition starts by finding a good melody with piano. Something memorable or emotional enough. I’ve heard that some composers sometimes start composing from the ending, but I always start from the beginning and it evolves to the massive end. Usually, when i start composing I`ll do it like 10 hours straight. Then i`ll continue next day and next day until it`s finished. It takes approximately 4 to 5 days to make a good 4 to 5 minute track.

What does your work space/composition space look like? (If you want, you can attach a photo for us to see or describe it).

My studio is just humble as it gets. There’s only computer, studio monitors, midi piano, and a desk. Everything happens in software, so I don’t need any fancy studio.

What’s the best and most difficult part of composing music?

Best part of composing music is when you have found a great catchy melody and you have good flow. I mean that sometimes everything just goes great by accident and the track comes out fast and really good.

Most difficult part in composing is that when you cant come up with any good melody or you have a major writer’s block. I´ve been sitting on my workstation for like 2 hours just improvising and can`t come up anything good.  I sometimes have long writer’s block. Usually in summertime, because I like nature and hiking. So wintertime is the most productive time for me.

Where do you draw inspiration from? Who are your major influences?

Sometimes, when I watch a good movie with good music, I get inspired by it. I once watched a romantic film called “The Light Between Oceans.” I found it so inspiring of a love story that I composed a single, “Aether.” Other times, the melody comes to me out of nowhere. It just appears in my head and I follow it.

My major influences are all great epic music and film composers like Thomas Bergersen, Ivan Torrent, Two Steps From Hell, John Williams, James Newton Howard etc.

What do you feel is the best song you’ve released and why?

The best song I’ve released? My most listened to song is “Last Reunion”, so I think that’s my best. But there are many other tracks of mine that are listened to as well, such as “Aether”, “Where the Hills Are Green”, and “Ronin.” All of these contain beautiful, memorable melodies and I think that’s why they are so listened.

Ronin by composer Peter Roe

What are some memorable collaborations you’ve done?

Most memorable collaboration I´ve done with vocalist Úyanga Bold. She has been singing on 7 tracks of mine. She has great voice for cinematic ethereal music. Once I composed original soundtrack for a documentary film by Vasile Lupasc. I even visited him in Romania during premiere night of the film. It was a great experience. I have not done many collaborations, but I’m open for any request.

Your Ronin album is one of my absolute favorites! I listen to often when I’m writing my own stories, and to my ears, it has a beautiful mix of old Japan and modernity. What’s the story behind this album?

Well, I’ve always liked Japanese and Chinese mythology, and I’m deeply interested in Samurai culture. That, and I like watching films from those cultures. So I decided to compose an album with a theme based on those interests — and “Ronin” was born. While I was putting the album together, I spent alot of time watching Samurai movies, and listening to old, traditional Chinese and Japanese music for inspiration.

If you didn’t become a musician/composer, what would you be doing?

If I didn’t become a composer, maybe I’d do something else creative, like nature photography or YouTubing. It’s hard to imagine what other career I would have because…I am who I am. And if I don’t do what I’m most passionate about, then I feel I wouldn’t be ME anymore.

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