"EVERY RECORD that we've done has always seemed a little out of time [but] ...Earth to the Dandy Warhols... was our first record that kind of felt dated when it came out." Peter Holmström, the creative force behind Pete International Airport, tells me about his better-known gig as the guitarist of Portland's omnipresent the Dandy Warhols. "It was a weird time for us because it was supposed to be our last record for Capitol Records and that's kind of what we were thinking. Half of the songs were old ideas that had never been completed and it was kind of like, 'Okay, let's clean house.'"
Released in 2008, Earth is the sixth studio album from the Portland foursome. Since that time Holmström has done some housecleaning of his own. Taking song fragments that have been kicking around for up to 13 years, Holmström formed a new group to flesh them out. "It kind of goes to how the Dandy Warhols work as a band. Courtney [Taylor-Taylor] writes most of the songs and if I have a chord change or something that he likes then we turn it into a song. But these are all ideas I played for him that he couldn't latch onto."
With the Upsidedown's Jsun Adams contributing disaffected vocals over Holmström's trademark drone, Pete International Airport's self-titled debut album could easily be mistaken for that other band Holmström plays in. Despite the similarities in end product, the guitarist describes the recording process as a refreshing challenge to the Dandy's method of composing in post. "Part of the reason it took so long is I'm used to just doing my parts and everybody else doing theirs. Instead of waiting for a bass line to show up I had to get in there and do it."
And the product is changing. The latest challenge has been translating PIA's songs to a live context. So far, the results have been surprisingly heavy: "My wife actually thinks I should just can this record and record the heavy version." The creative challenges, Holmström assures me, are not over yet.