Breathe was the debut solo album released by Mike Peters on 10th October 1994. It was released on Crai Records in double Vinyl album, CD and Cassette formats. A Welsh version named AER was also released.
All I Wanted
If I Can’t Have U
Love is a Revolution
Whose Gonna Make the Peace?
What the World Can’t Give Me
Into the 21st Century
This is War
Back into the System (LP and Cassette ony)
It Just Don’t Get Any Better Than This (LP and Cassette only)
Train a Comin’
A New Chapter (Reprise)
Breathe Press Release
October 10, 1994
The debut album from Alarm leader Mike Peters has been available in the U.K. since October 10th 1994 on Crai Records. Featuring 15 songs and a total running time of 76 mins, ‘Breathe’ is available on C.D., Musicassette and limited edition Double Vinyl LP. All formats (including C.D.) retail at the ground-breaking price of £8.99.
‘Breathe’ has been dubbed “the album The Alarm never made” by the NME. At once, a dip into Peters’ past body of work and a stunning leap into his stellar future. From the anthemic rock of ‘Poetic Justice’, through the thematic title track ‘Breathe’ to the gospel tinged ‘Spiritual,’ there is no question that this is Mike Peters at his best.
If I could have led The Alarm in the direction of my choosing this is what might have been. I felt the need to embrace the music technology that was starting to permeate all recordings in the late 80s / early 90s.
From being the most vehement of detractors, (Check out ‘Rescue me’ on ‘Electric Folklore’), I had a ‘Road to Damascus’ experience with the new technology and once I had started working with it I realised it enabled me to portray my sound images in a clearer reality, helping me to communicate my ideas without compromise. I will always be a ‘Live’ musician in the strictest sense but in a way that Pete Townshend of The Who found it worked to his advantage around the time of ‘Who’s Next’, I too have realised the benefit of being able to work at home with the computer as a sort of musician in a box who I can call on at all times. I mean whoever heard of a drum machine answering back.”
Breathe’is an eclectic journey from the road song of ‘Levi’s and Bibles’ through the controlled feedback of ‘Beautiful Thing’ to the hypodermic rock ‘n roll of ‘Into The 21st Century’. The self produced album is definitely in the here and now, veering from state of the art hi-fi ‘If I Can’t Have U’ to the unexpected lo-fi cover of the Grandmaster Flash classic ‘The Message’ (a future slacker soundtrack for the summer of 95’….?).
One of my first major influences as a musician were The Clash who were always a challenge to their audience. They have to take the credit for bringing Rap to the U.K. I remember the hostility when they had Grandmaster Flash open for them on one of their early tours, a hostility which turned to admiration upon the release of ‘The Message’. The production is deliberately lo-fi, in fact the whole track was recorded and mixed in only a few hours, I may have had all the time in the world to record the album but sometimes speed creates an excitement all of it’s own.
Lyrically, the album is both global and personal for the Welsh born singer. A series of contrasting images reflecting a personal struggle towards emotional healing set against a televisual backdrop of an unpredictable world future. ‘Breathe’s songs are powerful and emotionally driven, deriving from hard won experience. The pain of ‘Train a Comin’ is real; The Message takes on new meaning, delivering a prophetic description of our ‘mess’ age.’ Fuelled with recurring images of love, hope and strength, ‘Breathe’ is Mike Peters set free at last.
Beautiful Thing was recorded completely live in the very first take. The only overdubs involved all six members of The Poets brandishing various guitars which created a feedback symphony that creeps in and out of the track. The rap was dubbed with the microphone being fed through a ghetto blaster. The song is a black American blues bastardised by white rock ‘n roll. “If I was to be judged by the colour of my eyes, I’d be a little green man not black and not white”.
Having the freedom to experiment in the studio is essential and in making this, my first record as an ‘independent’ artist, it was a relief not to have the corporate pressure of having to meet a release deadline. Instead, I had the time to stand back and evaluate artistic decisions properly and if I felt I’d made the wrong choice I could then go back and correct my mistake. This is the first time in my recording career that I have been able to do this. You don’t know how good it feels.
Recorded in Wales, London and New York with his new band The Poets, ‘Breathe’ is a shuddering rock album, a merger of primary colour rock ‘n roll, electric/acoustic guitar, bass and drums, with the urban tones of ghetto technology, sound-bytes, samples and loops.
I spent hours listening to sound-board tapes and bootlegs and cross referencing the songs from small gigs such as King Tuts in Glasgow to larger halls like the Empire in Shepherds Bush.
A new album, a new sound, a new chapter. Making the record has allowed me to come to terms with my past and my future. I look forward to the days ahead.
Upon leaving The Alarm, Mike Peters spent two years writing songs in a converted chapel in the Clwyd Vale, N. Wales, a sabbatical which produced the backbone of the fifteen songs presented on ‘Breathe.’
After spending time in self-sentenced studio quarantine I decided to take some breathing space out in the U.S. Ever since arriving in L.A. back in 1983 with The Alarm I had always craved to drive in a kind of ‘solitary confinement’ across America without the obligatory bandwagon and crazy environment which comes from arriving in a new city as part of a band. Almost ten years later as I drove along Route 66 I saw more of the U.S. than I had ever seen before. I carried a Dictaphone to sing into whilst driving and as I drove past the deserted filling stations and abandoned motels I could almost hear the ghost voices singing ‘Levi’s and Bibles’.
January 1994 saw the release of the Top 5 independent single ‘Back Into The System’. A savage raison d’etre, ‘System’ announced Peters’ return in style, forcing many hardened critics and fans alike to reacquaint themselves with an artist whose music has always attracted polarising opinion. A storming nation-wide tour with his band The Poets was followed by the release of a second independent hit single ‘No Better Than This’ which led to an invitation by American songstress Aimee Mann for Mike Peters & The Poets to appear as special guests on her sell out U.K. tour. A full round of Festival appearances in the U.K., (including an appearance at the inaugural ‘T’ in the Park performing alongside the likes of Rage Against The Machine, Crowded House, Bjork and Cypress Hill), has sustained the momentum culminating in a headline appearance at the Amnesty International Festival to an audience of 25,000 fans.
Mike Peters has travelled a long way since the last Alarm album. He has stepped forward on his own with a head full of new ideas and tunes. So it is no surprise that ‘Breathe’ sounds as vibrant as it does. Mike Peters is back. He’s never been away.
Breathe the air.