Interview: Gilles Peterson

WRITER
mari* Kimura

――You apparently have approximately 50,000 records, and the walls of the Brownswood studio are filled with records. Can you please choose three records that have been important to your life?

1. Light of the World “Round Trip”

G: This was the first record I played when I did my first gig. This is my original. It says “3L”. In my collecting, “L” is for Light of the World. And this is my third copy. The difference between me and other DJs is that people are shocked when they see me. They’re like “your records, you don’t even look after them!” For me, I use the records.
I’m a working DJ. That’s my job. When I was 14 or 15, my mum and my dad went out on a wedding anniversary, and when they came back, I had sold my train set, and in place of it, I had 2 turntables, a mixer, a cassette player, a basic sound system. The kind that you hire for weddings and stuff. I paid for it with my friends, but we had to pay every month, on high
purchase. We gave 100 quid or something at first, and then I had to pay monthly. In order to pay the money back , I had to do gigs. Eventually we got booked to do weddings. But we also organized parties. The first party I organized was an under 14 disco at Andrew’s Hall in Belmont, which is near to where I lived. We sold tickets to kids in my school. It was like a church hall, and we filled it up. And the record that came out that day, was a record by Light of the World called “Round Trip”, which is a really brilliant British jazz funk record. Members of Incognito were in Light of the World. I had so few records, that I played the record like 3 or 4 times. The song that I played that night at least 4 times was a song called “Time”. So that was the first record that I played.

2. Supertramp “Crime of the Century”

My brother is eight years older than me, and my sister is 4 years older than me, and all kinds of music would be playing from their rooms. My sister liked Simon & Garfunkel, and she’d be into The Beatles, David Gates, Cat Stevens, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and the
Carpenters. My brother would be into rocky stuff and quite experimental stuff like Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin. So he was into a good period of the British sound. Great stuff isn’t it? My brother had really good taste as well, he had some Weather Report. So that was probably where I was getting my jazziness from. And my sister loved Supertramp, and I loved Supertramp as a result.

3.Mark Murphy “Stolen Moments”

This record is really significant because I stole it from Sutton Library. I used to borrow records from the library, but I obviously I liked this one so I didn’t return it. This record is signed to Jess. I got Mark Murphy to sign it, but he signed it to my friend Jess.

I can only say that records are a beautiful way to discover art, to open doorways into the world beyond music. For me, that was my way in. Personally for me what music did, was something I didn’t do myself because I wasn’t really interested when I was younger…I wasn’t really interested in going to art galleries or finding out more about culture. I was just interested in football, sports, girls, and that was it. Which is what probably most people are like when they are 20 years old. And the thing is, by getting into music and where that took
me to, was it took me to art and culture. The older you get, the more you appreciate that, and the more meaningful it becomes. So for me, picking up a record, picking up a Mark Murphy album, and taking it home and listening to it, and then getting inside the groove. What does that mean, where does that go, what’s it about, why did he do it, where does this music come from? That opens up a doorway, and opens up many many avenues of fascinating conclusions, and new questions. So for me, music totally opened me up to art.

Gilles Peterson

Gilles Peterson
Raised in South London by French/Swiss parents, radio jock, club DJ, and compiler Gilles Peterson grew up speaking French at home and English everywhere else. At 18, Petersonbegan DJing around London, ultimately spinning at the now-famous Dingwalls club in Camden. His sets covered the spectrum of urban music, from jazz to funk to soul and back to hip-hop. Out of this, Peterson co-founded the Acid Jazz label with some colleagues.

mari* Kimura

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