TF Archives

Gilles Peterson - The Collector

Author: Scott Henderson
Monday, November 17, 2008

3D’s Scott Henderson chats with British radio and club DJing legend Gilles Peterson, heading to Oz for the inaugural Days Like This festival.

Your music career really started in pirate radio, but can you tell us what drew you to music in the very beginning – where did the obsession come from-
I had a friend whose sister was cute and had loads of great records by people like Cameo, Marvin Gaye, etc. She went to these places where they played that music and I was hooked – I was probably around 15.

Do you ever feel like Gilles Peterson the club DJ is an alter ego to the guy who plays records on the radio and interviews other musicians- Is it easy to marry those two sides of your profession or are they quite distinct from one another-
It’s a good balance – it keeps me on the straight and narrow. If I’d have been just a club DJ I would have lost it years ago!

As a radio DJ who has been your most memorable interview and if you could score that one dream interview who would it be with-
Roy Ayers is always great value; Pharrell was cool. I still want to do a big thing with Herbie Hancock – the old guys have so many stories!

After 20-something years collecting you’ve amassed a record collection so big that they’re stored in a house of their own – what would be some of albums that define that collection and how do you have them organised- Alphabetically/by genre-
It’s like an ever-growing organism. I am the only one who knows where stuff might be – it’s total chaos though!

What was it like being a part of the Dingwalls club and acid house scene in the ’80s and ’90s and how that evolved- Is there anything comparable today in London, or anywhere in the world for that matter-
It’s difficult to say – times have changed. It was amazing though; there’s nothing really like that in London right now. Tokyo comes closest to retaining that vibe – I love it there.

As one of the world’s top spotters of new musical trends, what are some of the regional genres or styles you see coming to the fore in the West in 2009-
I can’t tell you that – it’s my secret!

You’ve talked before about this idea of ‘joining the dots’ as a DJ – what does this mean and is this how you would define the art of DJing-
It’s how I do my thing: joining the different styles and generations of music – if it works, it sounds lovely; if it doesn’t, it sucks.

After all your tours and years working as a DJ you must have a bank vault full of great stories, could you tell us about one of your most daunting experiences as a DJ and one of your all-time high points playing music-

Carl Cox at Space Terrace in 1998 was pretty rough; Carl Cox at Space Terrace in 2008 was pretty magic.

What keeps you inspired about working in the music industry after so many years and could you see yourself ever hanging up your decks-
I love it more than ever. While I can hear I will continue to spin I’m sure!

Finally, what are some of the dusty selections you’ll be packing from that enormous collection for your set at Days Like This-

You’ll just have to wait and see!

WHO: Gilles Peterson
WHAT: Plays Days Like This at Entertainment Quarter
WHEN: Sunday 4 January