When all is said and done, whichever role Gilles is performing – DJ, broadcaster, producer, compiler, label boss or plain old record collector – the music is always the bottom line.
Gilles Peterson the creative director of WeTransfer, Peterson gets involved with a number of projects such as The Creative Class film series by returning to Cuba to explore the creative scene over there, as well as embarking on a number of film and music projects.
For his latest endeavour, The Psychology of DJing, Gilles interviews five of his favorite DJs to explore life behind the turntables. Why do they do it? How do they handle the pressure? What’s it like to build a profession out of a passion?
Gilles says, “Having been in the DJ cockpit for more than 30 years, I’ve always been fascinated by what makes other DJs tick. I still love it to bits, but there have been times of doubt. So that’s what I wanted to find out about in this series – chatting to some of my favorite characters on the world circuit about the highs and lows of playing records to people.”
Getting intimate with Seth Troxler, The Black Madonna, Craig Richards, IG Culture and Cassy, Petersons candid discussion with each of his interviewees is a down to earth session bringing about honest dialogue and conversation, offering insight and encouragement as each address the challenges and the jubilation of their musical profession.
“Something happens, the room snaps and it’s almost a supernatural experience.”
The Black Madonna, aka American DJ and producer Marea Vierge-Noire discusses falling out love with her craft, then rediscovering her passion and restarting her career at some of the most famous clubs in the world. They also talk about overcoming nerves, dealing with awful gigs and the parallels between religion and house music.
“I had to take a step back and think about why I’m doing this.”
Gilles Peterson talks to American DJ and producer Seth Troxler. They discuss Seth’s musically-saturated upbringing in Detroit, how he ended up in Berlin and his previous frustration at feeling like a “dancing monkey.” They also talk about the worst gigs they’ve ever done, how DJs try and stay healthy, and the ways in which music can cut through emotional barriers.
“To be in a city at a time when things are going down is extremely important.”
Cassy, aka Catherine Britton talks with Gilles Peterson and they discuss her upbringing in the Austrian countryside and how she wound up in Berlin in the creative heyday of the early 2000s. From the tough German techno scene to playing with your heroes and being a young mother in a very macho environment, Cassy opens up about how she built her career.
“I couldn’t deal with going there, putting on the game face and working the crowd.”
Gilles Peterson interviews pioneering DJ, performer and producer IG Culture, aka Ian Grant. They discuss how his early work helped shape music history and the pressures that brought with it. They also talk about the importance of making sacrifices, the willingness to do things differently and the magical feeling when a dance floor clicks and a set takes on a life of its own.
“I’ve never been scared to go down in flames really.”
Gilles Peterson for his last interview gets intimate with London-based DJ and longtime Fabric resident Craig Richards. They discuss the different challenges of playing to festival crowds versus “chin-strokers” and they compare stories of promoters’ cutting comments. They also talk about how the role of the DJ has changed and the visceral power of a good sound system.