Peak formed in the summer of 2016 in New York City. Based around the guitar playing and songwriting of Jeremy Hilliard, the band spent the summer writing what will become its debut album, to be released in the Fall of 2017. In 2016 they played their first shows, including a now legendary residency at American Beauty in NYC, as well as a brief inaugural Northeast Tour.
Their sound is a modern blend of progressive funk and rock, in a variety of moods. The band writes and jams with a language informed by elements of neo-soul and electro-funk as well as traditional forms. Hilliard has always been interested in how timeless songs are created, listing as some of his favorites Dylan, Hunter/ Garcia, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Talking Heads, and Bob Marley to name a few. Hilliard studied the techniques of storytelling, character, and the use of American folklore. He also sought out great modern songwriters like Conor Oberst, Jack White, Ryan Adams, and Thom Yorke. It was through combining all these elements that his own voice emerged.
The other side of the coin is the live show, where the songs become springboards for improvisation. Inspired by Miles Davis, James Brown, Fela Kuti, Phish, The Grateful Dead, John Coltrane and countless others, the goal, in the words of the band, is to “not know where we are going” because that feeling of excitement and adventure translates to the audience. Front and center in the mix is Hilliard’s guitar which is unmistakable in tone. He lists as early inspirations BB King and Jimi Hendrix, and on top of that sonic base he brings jazz concepts to create longer, more complex improvisations that can dig into an extended groove or venture into outer space exploration. These concepts are presented in a package of cutting-edge modern dance sounds and grooves.
The group formed around the core rhythm section of Dale Paddyfote (drums) and Eric Thachuk (bass). Paddyfote provides the pulse of the group, as well as adding his amazing singing voice to the rich vocal harmonies. Thachuk, new to NY via Boston and Toronto, lays down the foundation for the ongoing dance party and is an elegant improviser, shaping the jams as they go. Filling out all the rest is the soulful organist Otis Williams on keys. Williams was brought up in the gospel tradition, like Paddyfote, and is a master of his instrument, but his vocabulary is all modern, incorporating hip-hop and electronic elements in his playing. This is his first featured role playing psychedelic improvised rock, so as Hilliard says, we’re about to “unleash the beast.”