Remembering Joshua Peters

by SaskMusic

July 14, 2022 in SaskMusic News

Joshua Peters

With sadness we share the news of the untimely passing of Joshua Peters on July 8/22. Josh was a multi-talented musician and songwriter who was well-loved and respected in the music community. We offer our heartfelt condolences to his family, many friends, and all who knew him.  

A Celebration of his Life will be held at Lakeview Church, 19 Glazier Rd, Saskatoon SK on Friday, July 15, 2022 at 2:00 PM. All are welcome.

The obituary can be found here.

A tribute from his band, Elephant Seal, can be found here.

They note, "We share this pain with his family, his friends, and really anybody who ever met him - Josh made you feel known whether you knew him 10 minutes or 10 years. This loss is incomprehensible but the beautiful echoes of his presence will be with us forever."

For those wishing to donate in his memory, the family has asked that funds be directed to another family's fundraiser:

Photo by Taylor Summach.

Josh Peters’ Musical Bio

Josh began taking piano lessons at the age of 5 in 1989 and played to the age of 14, working through Level 6 in The Royal Conservatory of Music and has enjoyed cultivating a love for rhythm, music and writing throughout his life. At 14 years old, he self-taught the fundamentals of guitar and effectively switched instruments, starting to write original music and forming the band Unreal, which enjoyed a robust performing schedule throughout Saskatchewan. At 16 he finally gained consistent access to a drum kit and began self-teaching there as well, moving almost exclusively over to drumming and percussion for the next two decades over a broad range of musical groups and projects.

Josh wrote his first song on acoustic guitar at the age of 14, an “experiment in lyrical disaster” (according to then-critic and co-author, his cousin), and he was hooked from that moment. He continued writing music and lyrics and began practicing and performing with his band Unreal, who took creative cues from 90’s alt/hard rock groups such as Finger Eleven, Our Lady Peace, Deftones, Tool, Smashing Pumpkins and The Matthew Good Band to name a few. They began performing regularly at Amigos, Rehearsals, Wash ‘n’ Slosh and playing on cards with the likes of Saskatoon groups Leonard, Jordan Cook Band, Hawaii 5-0, and The Goats Next Door. Unreal recorded their debut EP Heroes on Parade in 2001 with the help of sound engineer and local guitar dynamo Steve Dodd, which was released to critical acclaim by columnist Cam Fuller of the Saskatoon Star Phoenix (June 7, 2001), and they released two subsequent self-produced, self-recorded EP’s. They can also be found on 2001’s Flatland Festival compilation, a festival in which they played alongside Saskatchewan darlings Jack Semple and Breach of Trust.

Josh found himself back in the studio in 2010, playing drums, guitar, mandolin and doing vocals as a member of the folk group JJ Atrio - a full-length LP recorded and produced at Starlab Studios by Efren Pereira Jr. (Wide Mouth Mason). JJ Atrio went on tour throughout Ontario and performed with Abigail Lapell on the tail end of her Greyhound Tour.

There is no shortage of session work Josh has undertaken as a drummer, guitarist, bassist and vocalist and this has provided an indelible list of opportunities to perform with some amazing musicians, from weekly paying performances to appearing as a contributor on recordings in a variety of his musical capacities. It was his work through providing drums and percussion at Emmanuel Baptist Church that he met friend Jordan Reimer, who invited him to drum for him and his cousin Seth Peters, which led to the formation of Elephant Seal.

When Elephant Seal began undergoing the recording process for their debut album, The Elephant Seal Song Company, an unfortunate scheduling conflict with the original studio led the band to Rainy Day Recording Co. in Saskatoon, owned and operated by Matt Stinn (Dump Babes, Friends of Foes, Saul the Singer). Matt made the executive call to re-record the drum tracks so he had a solid foundation of his own tracks/mic setup to work with and Josh, calling upon years of studio work as well as self-recorded projects, tackled the 10-song reset in a single 10-hour session.

In addition to providing drums and backing vocals for Elephant Seal, Josh also contributes lyrically and musically to song development as well as providing graphic design for the group’s debut album, recent single and the logo the band uses for merchandising.

When not performing or writing with Elephant Seal, Josh is often busy writing and recording his own songs where he acts as studio engineer, producer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. Although these songs are not currently distributed or circulated, he has amassed quite a collection of solo work which has at times been available on YouTube, SoundCloud and SoundTrap. Josh has enjoyed the privilege of growing up around musicians and a life filled with music that entails and expresses deep gratitude for those who have educated, supported and encouraged him along his journey.