Sibling trio Wake Low is comprised of Christian music artist Andrew Peterson’s kids, Aedan, Skye and Asher Peterson. After working on several different projects separately, the siblings finally found time during quarantine to work on a project together. CCMmagazine.com is pleased to present this interview with them. We hope you like their project…check it out with the link below.
by Mark Geil
“What’s stopping you from making music together, right now?”
That was the question that Jamie Peterson posed to her three talented children over dinner one evening. It was unusual to have the family all together for any extended period, but the quarantine of a pandemic had forced the proximity. Aedan, Asher, and Skye Peterson have already amassed music-making experience far beyond their years. They’d watched their father Andrew make albums, and as little kids they’d tagged along on annual tours. They’d worked with friends on collaborative projects as NAMO. Asher has played drums on a host of records and is already an accomplished producer. Besides being a visual artist, Aedan is a songwriter and musician as well. And Skye released two solo EPs and toured while finishing high school. But they’d never made their own album, just the three of them. Enter Mom.
“Well, it’s complicated. There’s a lot that goes into it,” came the cautious reply. But then they started thinking, and they realized that, yes, it’s complicated, but no, there was nothing really stopping them from making music together, right now.
The result is Wake Low, an outstanding eponymous full-length album. CCM spoke with Aedan and Skye to learn what happened after their mom implored them to make music together.
CCM: Tell us more about how you decided to form your own band and make an album together.
Skye Peterson: We had been wanting to do something like this for a really long time, but Aedan was at school, Asher was doing a lot of producing, and I was still in high school so the timing never really worked out for us. We all have similar styles of music and really love making music in general, but the timing just never worked out. Whenever Covid hit, that was one of the only times when we were all actually free and didn’t have other commitments, and so we just took advantage of it and blocked off three weeks on the calendar. I think we realized this was our only chance to do this, at least for the foreseeable future.
Aedan Peterson: And it’s funny to say this, but our Mom was a huge factor. She’s one of the most encouraging people, to us especially, and so part of it was just doing what our mom told us to do!
CCM: We talk about all the bad things that have come out of the pandemic, and there are a ton of them, but it’s good to remember and celebrate them the good things too! How about your father Andrew? What role did he play?
Aedan: Our dad was a huge part. He was the one who suggested the name Wake Low, which we loved. And while he wasn’t in the studio with us at all, we wanted his input and his ear. So, towards the end of recording, we sat him down and played him the album. He gave us so much good advice and encouragement, and has been hugely supportive with sharing our work with his fanbase too.
CCM: So, how did the writing process work? Did you all have ideas in the hopper that you brought to the table, or did you bring finished songs?
Aedan: Asher had tons of “song starts,” just things he’s been messing around with for production ideas. We had a solid three days of us listening to those song ideas and then picking the ones that we liked, and then we spent two days just jamming together and trying to demo some ideas. Before we really started writing the lyrics, we had almost all the song tracks started, and then we went from there.
Skye: In the first week of the recording process, we had separated the record into three sections. We went through each of the track ideas and decided what would work in which section. That way, whenever we were actually writing the songs themselves, we were imagining each one as part of a bigger story, so we knew which direction to write about.
CCM: So you were sequencing songs before you even had tracks completed?
Aedan: Yeah, so I guess normally you decide the order of tracks at the end, but we knew we wanted the whole album to follow a narrative arc, so we arranged them all at the very beginning. That helped us figure out what kind emotion or idea we wanted to convey in that song.
Skye: It’s funny, Asher’s a pretty quiet guy, and he doesn’t really share his emotions very much, except that for some reason his music, the tracks that he’s created, just evoke so much feeling. It’s almost like it’s a part of his heart. I don’t know if you felt like this, Aedan, but I felt like I knew that the record was going to be something about hope just because of the music that he made.
CCM: The album has some strong thematic threads, and you mentioned a narrative arc. How much of that was intentional, or did it evolve on its own?
Aedan: So much of it was influenced by the time the place we were writing in. There was the pandemic, plus the tornado that happened in Nashville. And then the wake low—the weather event that we got the name from–also happened, so it just felt like everything was crazy. We wanted to make a signpost to the ways that God is working in the world throughout all the pain and chaos that’s happening.
Skye: “How Did We Get Here,” which is one of the middle tracks, starts with the line, “How did we get here? It’s easy to forget. On the field that I knew lies like cheap cement.” I almost imagine the state of ruin that once was good, and it’s really hard to find the hope. But there’s this steady heartbeat of beautiful things that were coming out the pandemic. You would see churches gathering in parks, you would hear a song… this beauty and hope is everywhere because God is speaking and moving, but we have to look for it. It’s hard to find but I think this record was trying to be one of those pictures of hope.
CCM: I’m a youngest child. I have two older brothers, and I’m wondering how three siblings got along and interacted through this process.
Skye: We might have different answers to this! Honestly, I think my brothers are the coolest. I know that’s a rare thing because I have so many friends who have bad relationships with their siblings, but I don’t know that we had any actual arguments. Which is pretty huge. I think I laughed harder those three weeks than I have probably ever laughed.
Aedan: I feel the same way. Especially, since we all had such specific roles, it felt like we each knew what we could bring to the table. So it didn’t feel like those clashed at all. And I like hanging out with both of them.
CCM: I know Asher’s in the studio today, but I’m really impressed with the production. I’ve heard young producers who want to use every tool in the tool chest on every song, and you hear the production and not the song. But the way you put these songs together, although it’s widely varied, it’s restrained. You’ll go from trumpets to acoustic guitar to even a little song vignette.
Aedan: That’s all Asher. He’s really good at serving the work, paying attention to what the song is asking for. He would thread the same type of narratives musically throughout the whole album without us even talking about it, which I just loved so.
Skye: Honestly, I feel like you and I didn’t even talk about it that much, but I feel like somehow we both knew which direction we wanted to go.
CCM: There’s a song called “Shift in Shade” that feels like a thematic centerpiece to the album. Where did that song come from?
Skye: That one came super quickly. I think I wrote all of that in one sitting. I had just finished reading the story about how God told Elijah to go and tell Elisha that he was going to be the new prophet. The way that Elijah showed him was by putting a cloak on him and walking away. But then Elisha hesitates. I was thinking about that idea of accepting what it is that you’re called to do. The song says, “Take the cloak, Elisha, and accept what you can’t change,” which is from the Serenity Prayer. And then the song turns to the curtain torn in two, so you can look for the shift in shade, and you can see changes happening and it’s all because of what Jesus has done.
I needed the song to remind myself to accept that truth. You can’t escape God’s love. Because of what Jesus did, you can find the hope in wherever you are.
I think that Asher once again did his thing and had the big booming bass come in and the trumpets and all this stuff happening and you can almost see it in your head, the reality of Christ’s resurrection transforming everything.
Aedan: And that’s the turning point of the record. Throughout the album, I was picturing a character living in a world of isolation which keeps them from pain and the hardship of the world, but they also can’t experience the way that God works through that. The album moves from closing the curtains and not looking out to then accepting that going out into the world and seeing the hardship of it—but also the beauty through the hardship—the character finally lets light in and experiences hope. There are a couple songs that we ended abruptly, which are question songs from that character’s perspective, like doubting and not being sure. We didn’t want to end those songs conclusively because that’s not the conclusion that I think is true, that you should stay in the room and hide from the hardship of the world. “Shift in Shade” is the moment where it shifts for the character and the narrative.
CCM: You’re also bringing literal hope to people through your monetary donation with the release of the album.
Aedan: Because we made it and Kickstarted it in a season that’s really hard, we wanted to not only give hope through the music, but also financially too, so for the first year we’re giving all the proceeds to International Justice Mission. We wanted a very tangible way to serve.
CCM: That’s great. Even though this record was made under unusual circumstances, will we get another Wake Low album in the future?
Skye: I don’t think this is a one-time project. I don’t know how you feel about this Aedan,—don’t you love how much we haven’t talked about this!—I imagine that next time we have a free three weeks, I would love to keep producing music.
Wake Low YouTube Playlist:
Stream Wake Low’s Self-titled Album: