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Gilles Peterson Interview

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Gilles Peterson

Gilles Peterson

Emm: I’m sure it’s the same here, yes.
Gilles: The money side is good, but the real the truth is I love DJing. I still love going out and meeting people, and it’s when I’m in clubs that I hear the other DJs playing and that keeps me in the scene. Part of what I do is upfront and I’ve got to be upfront. You’ve got to be on it. Maybe there will be a time when I’ll just stop and find a new role. I mean, I want to do a jazz show, really, that’s what I’d like.

Emm: Yes, I’m sure you do.
Gilles: I get into trouble if I play too much jazz on Radio 1.

Emm: Really?
Gilles: Well I don’t really get into trouble; they don’t dare say anything to me. They’re very cool with me actually. But I hear “if you play too much of that jazz, you don’t get a better show”, (laughs) and I want a better show so it’s a fine line. So I think, again, the whole thing about what I do, you know, if I can play “Impressions” by John Coltrane next to new tunes. That’s what it’s about for me. The show I loved recently was-- I don’t know if you heard the Roy Ayres show? That was a great show.

Emm: Yes, definitely. That was one of the best shows I’ve heard, honestly.
Gilles: If you can just spend time with people and let them talk. I mean the thing is with these legends you’ve just got to set it up right. You can’t just go up to them at the end of the gig and say can we do an interview. That’s really one of the most fantastic things about this job, the fact that you can listen to these people talking. They’ve got so much to say. I want to get more with them because there’s not that many of them left and they’re going to fade.

Emm: Right.
Gilles: I wish I had interviewed Miles Davis, and big people like that. I interviewed Q-Tip last week though, and that was good. It was over the phone. I really want to meet him.

Emm: You’ve never met him?
Gilles: No, no. I mean, I know a lot of those people but I’ve never met him. I don’t think Q-Tip likes Europe. He’s a New Yorker. He’s very New York. Whereas people like Madlib or Jazzy Jeff, those guys, they see what the UK has and what it can do for them.

Emm: Right.
Gilles: Q-Tip’s just a home boy from Brooklyn or whatever, but yes, he’s my hero actually.

Emm: Yeah?
Gilles: Yes, I think he’s my hero. Because when he put out that first album, that freaked me out.

Emm: The one that got shelved?
Gilles: No, the very first, the first…

Emm: The first Tribe album?
Gilles: Yeah, you know with “Push It Along” and all that stuff, that was just amazing. It blew De la Soul apart, which, I mean I like De la Soul, so that was just like spot on. That was spot on because it was hip-hop and it was a bit dark. I like it that way. You need that record in every record collection. And then he went off and did “Low End Theory”, and he got Ron Carter to play bass and I was like you’ve got it going more than anyone. And now he's just done this film, he’s acting and he’s good. The thing is, I didn’t realize that his house burnt down, you know?

Emm: I heard that, yes.
Gilles: With all his records.

Emm: Yeah, that’s crazy, very unfortunate. Actually, speaking of record collections, tell me about yours.
Gilles: Well my record collection took my life over and I had to leave my house. I truly had to leave my house.

Emm: (laughs) I believe you.
Gilles: So I had a house in Finsbury Park, which is near Arsenal in north London, a flat, a four bed roomed flat actually. And I had my wife and we had the kids there. And then by the time the baby was one, the records had--there wasn’t any room for any adults or children. So either we had to move out and buy a big house for everything or—then,I thought actually no. What I’ll do is I’ll buy a house down the road. So I live down the road now and my records are in the house. I’ve got like, I’ve got six bedrooms worth of records. Big rooms, big rooms. I’ve got a lot of records. I’ve got some good records though. And that’s very important as long as you’ve got quality, that’s very key.

Emm: Right. Quality is number one, right. There’s a lot of music out there and a lot of crap.
Gilles: Yes. I’ve spent a lot of money on records, a lot. I mean I’m really bad. I mean I’ll spend all my fee. I’ll do a gig and it will go that way. I’ve done that all my life. If I’d have saved all that money…

Emm: What does your wife say about that? I mean clearly she deals with it but…
Gilles: There are no records in our new house, so it’s fine. We don’t have a record player in our house. We’ve got a CD and that’s it. And I think it’s important also to have my other space. We have a really lovely house, a lovely family and I’m very much in love, and my wife kind of accepts my job. Not really in January, February or March though.

Emm: Yeah?
Gilles: Because I go to Australia in January, it really fucks her up. Because it’s cold she’s got to take the kids to school.

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