British-based DJ luminary Gilles Peterson is renowned for making and curating some of most prolific sounds from the underground.
Having founded global music radio platform Worldwide FM, based in London, and having interviewed some of his contemporaries in his series “The Psychology of DJing,” it was only fitting that we team him up with celebrated Brisbane producer Sampology.
SAMPOLOGY: Having set up Acid Jazz, Talking Loud and Brownswood labels through the years, what key questions are crucial in defining a record label to steer it through all the nitty gritty decision making that follows?
GILLES PETERSON: Running a record label is all about the artists and the music. We see ourselves as a conduit that can help artists get their music to a wider audience. We work with artists who share our principles and who we believe in.
I’m curious what strengths and opportunities you see the Australian Soul/Jazz/Club scene having right now? I feel we might sometimes miss looking inwards as punters, industry and creators. As a label head how might you tell the narrative of what’s good in Oz right now?
I can only see it from the outside, but it seems to me there is a real buzz and excitement around the new Australian music and artists, especially coming from Melbourne which is a real creative hub right now. The difficulty for Australian artists is to translate that scene internationally and so it is important they get to travel and perform internationally.
I’ve always admired your unique, high-energy Gilles enthusiasm and imagined it’s impossible for that to not influence the community around you. When you see a community that’s bubbling but not yet activated, what are best methods to engage those people to get out the door, buy records, buy tickets, get really excited and support amazing projects?
You have to be incredibly motivated and passionate about your music. It is much easier now than in the past due to the digital era giving you the potential access to a worldwide audience, so get your music out there and start spreading the word. There is no magic formula, but if people are feeling your music then you can start to build an audience organically.
Can you talk through what the through-line is for an A&R job in your experience: past, present and future. How do you approach working with creatives & their visions?
The two releases I put out on Middle Name Records this year were my own plus also a collab 12″, but I’ve been considering the responsibility and privilege of eventually releasing other artists complete artistic visions.
It is a responsibility and a privilege as you say and it is important that you listen to what the artist wants to do and understand their vision. You have to appreciate that you are there to help facilitate their music reaching a wider audience, so you can help guide them and suggest things to them.
But ultimately they have to be completely focussed and determined. It is a tough world as there are a lot of people uploading music online, so you have to shine through.
If given an album curation job between one musical icon with a career spanning back say four or five decades and one rising start in 2018, which two artists would you put together to collaborate for that album?
Sampology and Peterson are currently in Sydney, where they’re lined-up for speaking engagements at the Electronic Music Conference this week.