The Dandy Warhols’ Peter Holmström Talks About Side Project Pete International Airport


Pete International Airport is the solo neo psyche rock side project of The Dandy Warhols’ guitarist extraordinaire Peter Holmström. His latest album, ‘Safer With The Wolves’ was recently released on Anton Newcombe’s label ‘A Recordings’ and falls far from short of expectations as it’s more like a carefully crafted extension of what is already so great about The Dandy Warhols.


The 11 track album features a host of talented guest singers and collaborators including Robert Levon Been (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club), Alex Maas (Black Angels), Lisa Elle (Dark Horses), Jason Sebastian Russo (Hopewell, Mercury Rev), Jsun Atoms (The Upside Down, Daydream Machine), Emil Nikolaisen (Sereena-Maneesh) and Jeremy Sherrer (The Dandy Warhols, Modest Mouse, The Shins).


They say all good things are worth waiting for as ‘Safer With The Wolves’ took 6 years instead of the original 6 weeks to complete. The first single ‘Flowers Of Evil’ features the dark and dreamy vocals of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club singer Robert Levon Been.


“I’ve wanted to work on something with Pete for years,” says Levon Been. “And one day he played me this really dreamlike instrumental track I just fell in love with, and I told him that if he ever let anyone else sing over it I’d kill him. All the while this melody starts scratching at the walls in my head ‘…it hides under the bed like a frightened kid’, and the first half of the song was done, but I just couldn’t figure out how to finish the story. So I promised Pete that i’d finish all the lyrics in about six weeks. And about six years later it was done. Thankfully Pete’s not a big stickler for punctuality.”


“I still have the message on my phone from Robert telling me that the song was done,” says Holmström. “It was a pretty important moment… it set the standard for the record. It was so good all the other songs had to try and come up to its level. This song has been an ongoing project since the first PIA record. I had asked Robert to write lyrics and sing on it because it was my favourite piece of music that I’d ever come up with, and he is one of my favourite singers. It took a little longer than planned, but it was so worth the wait I can hardly believe it.” (teamrock)


Torched Magazine is happy to have had the opportunity to talk with Peter Holmström about his latest release ‘Safer With The Wolves’, the difference in the working dynamic with each band and what was it like working with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club singer Robert Levon Been on the lead off single ‘Flowers Of Evil’…plus more!




TM – Is there a difference in your working dynamic between The Dandy Warhols and Pete International Airport? What do you love the most about each?


Pete – With PIA I get to spend all the time I need to develop ideas which is good and bad. I take forever getting songs done, but every little detail is right. With the Dandy’s most times songs already have a shape to them and I just add my parts.


TM – I know people tend to talk about the movie Dig!, but what aspects of the band and music do you think were overlooked?

Pete – The Music was overlooked. We thought that the film was going to be about the process of creating not the made up rivalry between us and BJM.



Pete With The Dandy Warhols 2017 – Photos by Liane Chen


TM – Can you tell us a story about touring with Love And Rockets back in the day? What’s one of the funniest or best memories from this time?

Pete – Funniest memory was giving Daniel an exploding cigarette backstage in Denver. All of those guys were so nice to us. We still see each other when we are in their town or they are in ours.


TM – What was your inspiration behind your latest release ‘Safer With The Wolves’? Could you describe the music-making process?

Pete – Stylistically I wanted to make a different sounding record than the first one. Lyrically I wanted to express my dissatisfaction with the way the world is. Most of the songwriters I worked with did that without me having to say anything.

A lot of the guitars on SWTW don’t sound like guitars. I used a lot of modulation pedals that could be synced up to a clock and I also directed parts and played them string-by-string so I could put different delays and other effects on individual strings.


TM – Do you have any hobbies outside of music that help to rejuvenate your creativity?

Pete – Reading, traveling



Photo by Thomas Baltes



TM – For the gear heads in the house, can you briefly go into some of the technical aspects of your creative process? How has this changed over the years?

Pete – The technical side seems to get a bit better each record. My first record all I had was a 57 and a shitty mic pre. Most of the guitars were direct though an effects processor that was given to me by Vox. (I re-amped everything later in the mixing process). This time I invested in some better mics and pres. The guitars are recorded through amps. Mostly what changes in the pedals. I was given a pedal called a Goatkeeper by Josh at Malekko. It changed my life. All of a sudden I could do a lot of things that were in my head and a lot more that weren’t.


TM – Can you share on great memory from the early days of the Odditorium?

Pete – The best memory from the really early days was CTT walking around the shitty empty warehouse and describing what it was going to look like and then coming back a couple weeks later and seeing his vision taking shape.


TM – What was it like working with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club singer Robert Levon Been on the lead off track ‘Flowers Of Evil’?

Pete – It was a bit frustrating, I gave that track to Robert for the first record. I didn’t want to bug him to much but when I was putting together SWTW I had to get a little devious. After Alex Maas agreed to do a song and turned in a rough idea in about 3 days, I sent that to Robert and got the fire going. Ultimately I can’t believe how incredible both songs came out. I feel very fortunate to have both of them on my record.


TM – Is there anything else that you would like to share that I may have missed?

Pete – I’m sure there is, but my mind always goes blank at this question.


Many thanks to Peter Holmström for taking the time for Torched Magazine! Wishing you all the best! 🙂



Safer With The Wolves- Track Listing:

  1. Even Happier
  2. Señorita
  3. Hurray For The People
  4. Flowers Of Evil
  5. VHS Or Beta Fish
  6. Love In Reverse
  7. Western Shouting
  8. Dance Around The Broken
  9. After All
  10. Happens All The Time
  11. Cloven Hooves


The Dandy Warhols


Pete International Airport Tour Dates For 2018


1/18/18 – Crossroads Garwood NJ ***1/19/18 – BSP Kingston NY***1/20/18 – The Brighton Bar Long Branch NJ***1/24/18 – The Bowery Electric NYC***1/25/18 –Milkboy Philly***1/27/18 Cobra Lounge Brooklyn NY***1/28/18 D.C.

For ticket information go HERE

Feature photo by Lain Reid


Keep up with Pete International Airport

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