Gilles Peterson on the U.K. Scene, Brownswood, Starting a New Festival


Being a curator has become a defining ethos for the 21st century. With digital platforms bombarding us with choice, a curator’s purview—once confined to gallerists and museum professionals—now can cover everything from lunchtime sandwich selections to home interiors. And in the music industry, the art of selection now is applied to the algorithmic churn of daily playlists, removing the necessity of encyclopedic knowledge.

But nowhere is the term better applied than to DJ and record label founder Gilles Peterson.

Beginning his career in 1980s London, Peterson set up a series of DIY labels, including the formative Acid Jazz (which spawned its own eponymous subgenre) and Talkin’ Loud (launching the careers of the band Incognito and neo-soul singer Omar). By 2002, Peterson had established that he possessed an uncanny ability for discovering new talent.

“We were nominated for six Mercury Music Prizes while I was at Talkin’ Loud, which was unheard of for an independent label at the time,” Peterson said. “But after being in the industry for almost two decades, I thought, ‘Fuck it, I’ve had enough of this,’ and I decided to focus on my DJing.”

Read the interview in Downbeat Magazine.

[This piece was published on 25/04/19]