'Weird around the edges'

Repeat Offender is Peter Elkas’ third album and his first self-produced work

Peter Elkas didn’t have a dog when he started West End Walks because he feared it would be neglected while he toured. Elkas says his current companion, Muffin, is his favourite dog.
Peter Elkas didn’t have a dog when he started West End Walks because he feared it would be neglected while he toured. Elkas says his current companion, Muffin, is his favourite dog.
Credit: 
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Peter Elkas’ Facebook page says at McGill he studied eating cheese danishes. Elkas says he started every day of university with a chocolate milk and a cheese danish from the cafeteria.
Peter Elkas’ Facebook page says at McGill he studied eating cheese danishes. Elkas says he started every day of university with a chocolate milk and a cheese danish from the cafeteria.
Credit: 
Supplied

Peter Elkas has been performing since he was a teenager. But, in his spare time, the 35-year-old walks dogs for his dog walking company, West End Walks.

“It’s an added source of revenue, which is kind of key for the level of artist that I continue to be,” Elkas said. “I’m really happy with the trajectory of my career, but I don’t think I could have the lifestyle that I would want as just a musician.

“It’s benefitted me. I don’t have to take every gig and I’m excited to pick up the guitar at the end of the night.”

Elkas’ realist attitude is noted on his official website, where he is praised for “keeping things real.”

“I know the trials and tribulations of what it takes to have a career,” he said. “And I do it genuinely and try to make it genuine for everyone involved so for the band and the audience.”

Elkas got his start as a vocalist and guitarist in the Montreal band Local Rabbits. After 12 years with the band, he went solo and released his debut album Party of One in 2004.

His new album, Repeat Offenders, offers a host of firsts for the singer-songwriter. It’s his third solo album and his first self-produced work. He split from label MapleMusic Recordings in 2009, and Repeat Offenders is his first recording on friend Joel Plaskett’s label, New Scotland Records.

“For a time I was wondering if I would even have a third album out,” Elkas said. “Not because I didn’t have songs, but because I didn’t have a label or a manager anymore.

“Repeat Offenders more accurately represents my own style, which is a little bit slick, but also a little bit weird around the edges.”

Elkas said working with Plaskett allowed him to bounce ideas off his friend.

“It’s really cool because there’s an unspoken communication you don’t have with other friends and that’s through your music,” he said. “There’s sort of this sense of arrested development because you feel like teenagers forever.”

Like most musicians Elkas has joined the world of Facebook and Twitter, but he didn’t step into social media willingly.

“It’s like homework, I don’t feel like doing it,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s the stuff that’s been added to being a musician that I never had as a kid. I was drawn to writing, recording, performing and touring. I played music in front of people before the internet even existed.”

He said he isn’t the first artist to be thrown off by what technology demands of performers.

“Going back further there was artists who never wanted to make videos,” he said. “As long as I can tour and perform, I feel like those things will always be a part of it and the rest I can deal with.”

Peter Elkas plays the Grad Club on Friday at 9 p.m.

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