Running a record label is one of those dream jobs that seem to obliterate into tiny pieces in the mind after one faces the realty of the work and logistics necessary just to keep your head above water as the head of X Records. Everything from other labels to internet pirates are seemingly against you.
But speaking to Peanut Butter Wolf via email, he tells us his primary uphill battle is “to find music that I like (regardless of genre) and then find other people to like it.” And as the founder of Stones Throw Records, one of the world’s most acclaimed independent labels, he speaks with authority.
The label head, producer, and DJ, whose real name is Chris Manak, will soon be touching down in Australia (he already has his itinerary figured out) to perform as part of the lineup for Splendour In The Grass, and gave us a glimpse into the inner workings of somebody who has your dream job.
Watch: Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton (This is Stones Throw Records) Teaser
Music Feeds: How is Stones Throw these days?
Peanut Butter Wolf: It’s good.
Music Feeds: What would you attribute the continued success of the label to, particularly in this day and age?
PBW: The success is due to finding talented recording artists who the fans grow to love and having a staff of people who are equally passionate and work both hard and smart. When you have all those things going for you, you can’t be stopped.
MF: What’s something specific that Stones Throw does differently to the big labels that you think has helped its longevity?
PBW: I don’t specifically know what the big labels do so it’s hard to say.
MF: There’s a certain image that follows you – that you’re fighting an uphill battle to keep hip-hop honest/exciting. Have you ever felt that way?
PBW: My battle is to find music that I like (regardless of genre) and then find other people to like it.
MF: You said holding a vinyl with your name on it back in 1990 was the greatest feeling ever. Has there been something in your recent career that’s come close to feeling as great?
PBW: Probably not.
MF: Quote: “I want to give people what they want, but also wanna give them what they need.” What do people need at the moment?
PBW: They need to keep an open mind when they’re out at the club. I’ll throw a few bones, but I also wanna feed you some raw ginger and cayenne pepper as well.
MF: You’ll soon be in the country for Splendour In The Grass, what can Australian punters expect from Peanut Butter Wolf in 2014?
PBW: Raw ginger and cayenne pepper.
MF: What’s your opinion of Australia’s hip-hop scene? Are there any artists you like or are familiar with?
PBW: My favourite almost hip-hop artists from Australia are Jonti. And Kirkis. And Electric Egypt. And Donny Benet. And my favourite almost hip-hop artist almost from Australia is Connan Mockasin from New Zealand.
MF: How would you say your set has evolved over the years? Are there new musical or video elements that you’ve been toying with recently?
PBW: It’s kinda gone full circle. I play music from the ’80s that I discovered in the ’80s, and music from the ’60s that I discovered in the ’90s, and music from now that I discovered now, and music from the ’70s that I discovered in the 2000s, and music from the ’90s that I discovered in the ’90s, and music from the ’90s that I might discover next week.
MF: You touch down in Australia, what’s the first thing you’re gonna do?
PBW: Take a Melatonin and sleep.
Peanut Butter Wolf will appear as part of the lineup at Splendour In The Grass 2014 – more details here.