Peter118 Punk in the UK
Peter118 caused quite a stir in the UK not too long ago. We caught up with frontman/namesake Peter Field to give us the skinny on his punk in the UK.
So, tell me about what’s been going on. Please give us a recap and rundown of what’s been going on, the attention you’ve been getting, how you got it, etc.
My band Peter118 has recently signed to Raven Faith Records and in the last week (end of February) has had over 20,000 views on Facebook and social media due to an article that was published in a Canadian magazine. The article was titled 'Can a Christian band make it in the world of Punk rock?' I shared this article on a number secular forums, which led to a whole lot of abusive comments from the secular punk community, telling us to 'burn on a cross', 'crucify yourselves' and to 'drown in the English channel'. This also opened up debates on social media around Christianity and Punk rock music and resulted in more magazines to develop articles and numerous debates. It led to one article comparing us to the Sex Pistols. Another secular magazine also compared me to Joe Strummer from the Clash.
It got way bigger with the secular UK pop punk community. A facebook group called uk pop punk, consisting of 15k members, changed their name to peter118 uk. They did this as a joke to make peter118 a meme. However it exposed peter118 to 15k pop punk kids. Now we've become nationally recognised. People recognise me at gigs, shows and night clubs. People ask for selfie pictures, etc. and peter118 stickers. We now have an agent who books our shows. We recently played London's largest rock night at facedown at the scala. We're getting gigs all over the country.
Friends of UK pop punk also created another facebook group called peter118 sticker collectors. Currently standing at 1.2k members. I get alot of peter118 sticker requests from the pop punk community and when people get their peter118 stickers they post to the fb group. Our songs have also been played in a night club in Manchester and in the space of three days our youtube video had an increase of 3000 views.
We've been added to the slam dunk fest and UK pop punk group has used the peter118 logo as their background. Again exposing us to 15k people again.At slam dunk this year is Jimmy Eat World and Good Charlotte. It is Europe's largest pop punk fest.
What’s the worst criticism you’ve received? How have you responded?
We have received so many criticisms that I cannot remember all of them. I think that 'burn on a cross' and 'go crucify yourselves' stand out, but we have also been called various abusive names which I cannot repeat. Their have been plenty of attacks on our personal appearance, which were quite comical. We have brushed these criticisms off, reminding ourselves that we didn’t start a ministry to be universally liked. We have a purpose to share the Gospel with the punk community, and at the moment we are feeling the Holy Spirit telling us to be bolder compared to a 'softer approach'.
What has this led to in terms of gigs and recordings (explain the re-packaged double length that’s coming out)?
We continue to play gigs wherever we can. At the recent gig in the North Bar in Rhyl, Wales, there was only about 20 people present in the pub, however we had over 3000 people watching via live Facebook. This has been a huge increase in social media response as we usually get no more than 200 viewers on social media for our gigs and Facebook live streams. We are also about to release a Peter118 Anthology and Live Album as a double CD, which we are incredibly excited about. The album will be released on the 26th March on Raven Faith Records and we are doing an album release show in Sweden at Rainbow Rock. The Double cd features a Live show recorded in USA at 'Harvey's House of Rebellion'. We had the live album mixed and mastered in a studio in California.
What are your gigs like? What’s been the response?
We play mainly to the secular crowd, but we have played to a really wide variety of audiences including Satanists, Nazi's and also church folk. From the live shows we have had a mixed response which has been both positive and negative, sometimes we get heckled for being Christians, but also plenty of people tell us that they appreciate our honesty. One gig in Conway, Wales, we told everyone we were a Christian band and everyone in the pub applauded following our set. We have been building relationships with people in the bars and clubs to show the love of Jesus.
What sort of responsibility and unique opportunity do you think God’s given you? Why?
I am from the secular punk scene so I can relate to the non-Christian punks, knowing their culture which opens up doors to sharing the gospel. I have used my experience of being in a secular punk band to reach people, but there is currently a lack of Christian punk bands in the Uk. I am an evangelist and God sent me back into punk rock scene for His glory.
I’m excited to see so many things happen and “break” for you guys. Now let’s back up and talk about your origins:
How did you start together as a band? Please share early musical experiences if relevant – especially if this is your first or second band (if you’ve already played in a million bands, you might skip that).
I am from a secular band called Senseless and played in that band for about 10 years supporting the likes of old school punk bands such as The Damned, Stiff Little Fingers, Uk subs, and Sham 69. In 2005 the band ended and I became a Christian. God then called me back into punk rock in 2012 and I formed a band called the Ambassadors of Shalom who signed to Thumper Punk Records in 2012. Peter118 was a side project which involved me playing the acoustic guitar in bars in clubs. However in 2014 I recorded a song called 'Radio' which was picked up by a DJ in Tokyo called Mike Rogers who played my song to 60 million people in Japan. Mike Rogers then sent the track to DJ Rodney Bingenheimer in LA who started playing our songs. In 2015 Sam Critchley joined me on drums when he was aged 15 after we met at an acoustic night at a museum in Hanley, Stoke On Trent. In 2015 I was living Walsall, West Midlands which is where I met my wife Janine. The bass player at the time was Andrew Derbidge, however he moved to London and Janine joined the band on the bass. She only had a couple of weeks to learn the bass before her first gig at a youth event, which she nailed! In 2017 Alisha Hope Palmer, who played in the worship band at my church, then joined the band on guitars and vocals. We now continue as a 4 piece.
What bands have inspired you from the past (any genre)? How?
I grew up listening to 90s punk rock such as Green Day, Rancid and Offspring. My home town of Stoke on Trent has a strong hardcore and Oi scene such has Discharge, Broken Bones, Skeptix and Section 5. So I also listened to that style growing up.
I’m curious about the name. I can’t figure out which chapter 1 verse 18 book you took it from – 1 Peter or 2nd. Ha! Please elaborate.
Peter118 actually comes from Psalm 118. Verse 8 stood out to me - 'It is better to trust in in the Lord than put confidence in man'.
Who writes the songs and what inspired you to tackle the subjects you have?
I write the majority of the songs and a lot of the songs talk about my personal testimony. For example, we have song called 'We don't need it', talks about my vow I made to God to give up alcohol and not needing to get drunk.
Do you feel like you have a message for now (today) for the people in the UK that listen to punk rock?
Yes. Punk rock is about challenging views and offering an alternative. Peter118 has a different message to most UK bands, we can offer a message of hope and truth and challenge the way people think. Jesus changed my life and can change yours also.
You have a husband/wife team in your band. What is that dynamic like? What are the strengths this brings to the band? What are some unique challenges it brings?
Yes, my wife playing bass is certainly an interesting dynamic. It’s really great, as we can write new songs together and spend time together doing the same ministry. The challenge is that we need also to spend time as a married couple - not just do ministry all the time. We make sure that we go on frequent holidays and have breaks not involving music.
What do you see for the future of the JCHC movement in the UK? Has it been born yet? How is this different than what happened in the hardcore scene in the USA back in the ‘90s?
The JCHC movement in the UK is small, there are maybe less than 8 alternative Christian bands in the whole country. In the UK. We lack support of the church, however ministries such as Meltdown, The Metal Onslaught, Punk for the Homeless and InPresence Records support the existing scene. The UK scene is very small but there are plenty of people optimistic for its future. The Extreme Tour also comes to the UK which has really helped our scene. The scene in the USA in the 90's was huge, more bands, labels and wider church support. The church culture in the UK needs to change which will support the growth of the UK JCHC movement.
Do you have a message for the Christian members of your audience?
Look at my testimony. I was healed of tinnitus and through Peter118, God has given me some amazing opportunities. Be open to spiritual growth and see what God does.
What’s your message for the punks that are railing against you in the scene?
Despite the negative comments, we hope that the articles about our faith have inspired you to re-evaluate faith. We want you to know that a creator exists, loves you and wants a personal relationship with you.
How urgent do you feel about what your doing right now at this time in general (2018)?
Very urgent as God has told us to put Him first. Time is short and people need a saviour. The world cannot offer you satisfaction.
How can the readers of Heaven’s Metal Magazine pray for you?
Pray for an increase in opportunities to share the Gospel.
Speaking of metal – what connections do you see between the metal and punk scenes? What sort of walls do you sense between each scene?
In the UK the scene is that small there is no difference between punk and metal scenes. We are one alternative Christian scene and work together to expand the Kingdom.
Out of all your songs, what is your favorite chorus? Why? How does the audience respond?
The song 'Break em out'. It starts with: “Take em out, break em out, wake em out, shake em out, what we do, what we live for.” It's catchy and makes people think what they are living for. It's a testimony song.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for the interview! We love what you folks at HM are doing.
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