DJ/producer/Stones Throw Records founder Peanut Butter Wolf recently obliged us with a brief chat regarding the past, present and future of his celebrated label, just for this blog. Look for an expanded interview in the April 6th edition of the Weekly.
Two decades in to running a label, how do you keep from burning out?
It seems as fresh and new of a job as ever because back then I worked with artists in their 20s and DJed for people in their 20s and now I work with artists in their 20s and DJ for people in their 20s. Only difference is, back then I was also in my 20s. But I still don’t know what works and what doesn’t to make a record sell and still know a good artist when I hear them.
When you started the label, what were your initial goals?
Initial goals were really to sell enough units to quit my day job and still make rent every month and to make records that were good enough to where the artists I looked up to would like them if they heard them. And when I held the test pressing of my first release (Charizma "My World Premiere") and brought it to the KRS-One video shoot for “Step Into A World” and forced his DJ to play it after the video shoot was over and KRS turned around nodding his head and said, “What’s that? That shit is knocking!” and I gave him a copy and he introduced me to Red Alert and I gave him a copy, all my goals were already met and I needed new goals.
What's next for the label? I know there's an lavish Egyptian Lover anthology…..
Yeah, Egyptian Lover was a big inspiration on me when I was around 13-14 so it's great to be involved in his anthology. I also have NX Worries debut album, MNDSGN’s second album, Karriem Riggins’ second album, Mild High Club’s second album, a new Homeboy Sandman album,and some new signings as well.
Any advice for someone wanting to start a record label?
I usually say, “Don’t do it unless you absolutely have to” but I’ll bite my tongue this time. Happy luck.
Catch Peanut Butter Wolf, J-Rocc and Mndsgn live at the Social this Friday night for a show celebrating Stones Throw's anniversary.