Couldn’t think of a better start to embark on this new year than welcomin’ one of the most (worldwide) acurate observers by the likes of… Gilles Peterson. Always rushin’ from an occupation to another, he’s graced us while answerin’ our Q’s almost more quickly than the light speed, currently promoting his In The House comp on Defected without losin’ a single eye on what’s next to come on his busy schedule. Music never stops, our man neither!

Hey Gilles, thank you for accepting our invite… So one first Q going straight to the point: Always There (I guess this will remind you of something)… What’s then your secret? And what keeps your motivation so alive after all these years???
Music is my sanctuary and my drug of choice – addicted!

Would you consider music as the reason of your living, I mean professionally speakin’???
It all merges into one… Put it this way, if I didn’t do music I’d be an absolutely useless member of society!!!

Could this be like a drug? Images that it suggests you, etc…

As I said ‘addictive’ yes!!!

How did it all started? What brought you into this… house? Who???
Bad influences the lot of em! Chris Bangs was a big early influence and my mate Andrew who’s sister had loads of really good Maze and Earth, Wind & Fire records!

One souvenir of your very first experience in the music spectrum?
Going to an alldayer in Purley where I saw the Hudson People perform ‘Trip To Your Mind’ and I caught one of the 12′s they threw at the crowd. Still got it! Priceless…

Your first show on air???
Civic Radio Sutton, 1986!

You lucky ones on the other side of the Channel have always had the chance being surrounded by a whole bunch of incredible taste makers along the years. From Tony Prince and Al Matthews for instance to Jeff Young, Robbie Vincent, the late Guy Hamilton presswise or Straight No Chaser. Can you think of anyone who might have been a sort of guide, not to say model???
My biggest inspiration has always been Paul Bradshaw of Straight No Chaser. A true don to a lot of us from James Lavelle to Ross Allen!

Anything you would have liked to achieve without succeeding so far???
A full recorded album of original music…

One piece of music you’ve never been able to get your hands on? Ooooh I know by answering this, you could add quite some value to it?
The 12 inch version of Janet Lawson’s ‘Dindi’.

What is the physical place taken by music in your environment? I guess you must be surrounded by countless shelves of records, aren’t you???
Nothing in my house but too much at Brownswood. All about extremes in my life!

 

Those bein’ passionated clearly know how this may take space on our existences. How do you manage, if not undiscret, to have a family life?
I just do. It’s all about the balance. Stay healthy and sleep as much as you can. Fucking hard though!!!

Let us know about a typical workin’ day for you, from the morning til nite… Then the organization of your week planning speakin’ of which I guess this means a minimum of self discipline!!!
Today up at 7.30 for bike ride and kick about with my 10 year old before school. Then take boys to school. Haircut in town. Photoshoot in London Fields. Back to Brownswood for A&R meeting. Record radio show for international syndication. (+ Answer our questions inbetween!). Have dinner at home then go to Momo’s for Jose James show.

As long time observers, we both know how the volume of new releases is extremely high which makes it hard to pay attention to everything around. And even surely more as far as havin’ like you a wide angle coverage… I’ve occasionally heard people here or there sayin’ that you was surrounded by a team makin’ a pre-selection for you. One reaction?
Have an assistant who filters out a lot of the crap!

Pic by Chinstrap PenguinHavin’ crossed your path for the very first time at Paris Sheherazzade almost 20 years ago, then reviewed a whole bunch of choons you’ve put out along the years, most notoriously while A&Ring the Talkin’ Loud label, I guess I may say that I’m aware of your versatility. This said, you also know how people as usually may react here or there and how we all tend to be put in a specific niche. So what do you respond to those who might be surprised seing you… In The House in the driver’s seat for this new comp of yours for Defected???
Don’t know really. I’m honored to be asked and hope I did a good job…

 

Let’s talk about the concept of the aforementioned. Its starting point? Some stuff, as its unfortunately the case on most occasions, that you haven’t managed to embark on this venture???
That’s all for another volume. There’s so much music to bring back. Defected did really well getting the tracks though. Got almost everything I asked for!

I guess you and I should have the same view as far as a compilation is concerned, considering it as a supposedly prescription, not to say educational tool without bein’ too pretentious. So what’s your current view of house music and who are those you consider as the most promising people at the mo’?
The most exciting stuff is coming from Germany and Detroit. London is great for dubstep and breaks right now…

House music is already 20 years old and never reached the recognition of other genres such as hip hop, R&B and eventually techno. Any specific reason?
Too much into the niche disco corner. I like it staying slightly left. Look at hip hop… It died badly… but coming back now!

Your view of our current environment, musicwise, mediawise, etc…
Fascinating times. All about the true hustlers right now. The fakers jumped off and they can fuck off too!

Progressively agonizin’ vinyl industry. Unceasing bootleg releases. Dematerialization of the said product. Disappearance of the paper format as far as the specialized press is concerned. And as if it wasn’t enuff, illegal downloads, the so called dance music spectrum most likely reduced to a DIY DJ to DJ thing… What do all these elements of the current disorder we’re livin’ suggest you? How long can this last again?
It’s hard right now but music is music and that’s what its all about. There’s less money around but that ain’t such a bad thing for creativity.

Any sign of hope? And where will this all supposedly lead?
Don’t ask me about the future. ‘Music is the healing force of the universe…’ (Albert Ayler 1968)

One a more positive note, house music with all its varieties has never seemed so interesting for a long time… How do you perceive this new year? What can we reasonably expect from it?
Keep them tunes coming. Love the new Omar S. As to what to expect this year, less record shops!

Anyone we should check carefully???
My mix into Keni Burke on CD2!!!

Forthcoming projects…
Gilles Peterson In Japan CD Brownswood Bubblers Vol 3

Miami???
No!

One Xtra… word/comment ?
Don’t sleep!!!

Thank you, as usual, and keep up the good work. We need people like you!!!

Words by Frederic ‘MFSB’ Messent