Masterful music has mood changing powers and Gilles Peterson has the ability to make the sun shine on a rainy day.
After attending a nappy night disco for underages at his local church hall, music oracle and superstar DJ Gilles Peterson began harbouring burning ambitions to become Lord of the Dance. Today he is the wildly acclaimed private eye of prefect beats, broadcasting ground breaking radio shows and pod-casts, DJ’ing and event organising internationally, on a one man mission to keep every genre of music, no matter how bizarre, unusual or outrageous, current and heard. Gilles’ only criteria is that his turntables represent hench talent from all four corners of the planet. i-D got five on it with the Michael Flatley of the new music sphere to chat MC’s, Facebook and Southern Freeze.
Do you remember the first cassette you ever brought? ELO – Out of the blue.
What music do you remember your parents listening to when you were growing up? Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot.
What is your most treasured vinyl? Terry Callier – What colour is Love (original acetate double album version that never came out).
Where is your favourite record shop in the world? Cosmos – Toronto.
How has the world of new music changed since Twitter, Facebook and Soundcloud have become so popular? Are you open to all the new avenues or do you think it makes things a bit too complicated? I love it – you now have a choice of how you want your music – quick time or old school physical with heavy vinyl and thick cardboard sleeve notes and booklets – I’ll be sad when there is no physical whatsoever… tip to future collectors – buy the vinyls being made today – they’ll soon be very rare.
What elements of working with music do you enjoy the most: scouting, presenting, mixing or DJ’ing? DJ’ing probably – nothing better than an 8 hour set on a great sound system.
Which person, artist or band has had the biggest influence upon your taste in music? Earl Zinger aka my mate from across the road has constant left turns to take me down and is a pretty mad MC too. I’ve been listening to a lot of doo wop recently.
I read your first radio show was broadcast between a tree and a phone box, what was that like? Do you remember what you played? I remember playing ‘souther freeze’ by freeze a lot – it was freezing too – I remember the first phone call that came through to the phone box – someone was listening in Croydon and I thought I’d invented the internet!
What are your creative processes when piecing together a mix? Don’t spend too much time on it – allow the natural momentum to carry you through – if you over think you pay for it – and mixing takes many different variations – doesn’t always have to be beat perfect – nothing better than a short gap every now and then!
To date, what achievement are you the most proud of? Finishing the London marathon in 2011!
What ambitions do you have yet to fulfil? Finishing Tokyo marathon and then doing a 5 hour set at Air in 2012.
What was the last great party or gig you went to? The Block in Tel Aviv was unreal recently, what a venue.
What was the class talent of 2011? Sbtrkt, Kiwanuka, Thundercat, Julio Bashmore, Liz Green and Objekt.
And who are your ones to watch for 2012? You’ll just have to listen to my radio show for that!
What exciting projects have you got lined up over the next few months? WW awards Jan 21st, Japan Feb, Philippines, Vietnam, Martinique March, WW Festival July.
What do you get up to when you aren’t working? I stalk footballers.
Where are you off to now? Searching for truffles in London Fields.
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