Q&A with Peter Mcilwain

1. What is something people don’t know about you?

I want to come back in the next life as an otter.

2. When did you first become involved in music and art?

Since I can remember. I once upset my mum because she gave me a toy and I pulled it apart. I wasn’t being naughty I was investigating it, how it works, why does it look and feel like it does, how can it be rearranged to be different. What are the possibilities. I’ve just continued doing that really, at least that is the story I’ve made up from what we call memory.

3. What do you enjoy most about art?

You get to understand things from perspectives you may not have experienced before or that are not normally part of daily life. In experiencing or making art you get to be a different person. Sometimes just for a while but sometimes across your whole life.

4. What has been one of your most memorable moments?

Its not one moment but its that point when you discover a new idea or approach and a whole series of possibilities open up. It’s very exciting.

5. What are your favourite book and/or film?

Randolph Stow’s The Visitants or Torumaline. He’s one of the rare writers that can write about sound.

6. What event, past, present, or future, would you like to witness?

Achieving net zero emissions.

7. Which four guests would you invite to a dinner party?

Robert Hughs, endlessly fascinating and brilliant, Fred Williams who’s painting helped change the way I see Australian landscapes, Bjork who is deeply creative, Olivier Messiaen one of the greatest musicians of any age and opened out so much possibility in music.

8. Who do you admire the most?

I don’t want to give the “snuggle over adversity” name here because everyone has hidden struggles but I suppose its all those people who genuinely question what they believe and who they feel and use what they learn to make things a bit better.

9. What are some of your hobbies?

I like playing Petanque, it’s very relaxing in the summer.