Photographs by WORLDWIDE FM
DJ, producer, radio host and festival organizer, Gilles Peterson has traveled the music world for over the last 30 years.
At 53 years of age, this life time trip seems to have had the effect of a delightful elixir and the man just likes to keep himself busy! Gilles took his first steps on pirate radio stations and also on the London club scene as the resident DJ at the Dingwalls club in Camden where he led the emerging movement of Acid Jazz.
After having co-founded the Acid Jazz record label in 1987, Peterson went on to launch Talkin’ Loud in 1990, a very influential label that released music from; Urban Species, 4Hero, Roni Size Reprazent, MJ Cole and The Roots, amongst others. In 2009, Gilles created, Havana Cultura, a global platform parading emerging Cuban talents. His most recent label project, Brownswood Recordings, reflects Peterson's diverse musical taste. We find artists such as; Ben Westbeech, Ghostpoet, José James, Mala with, ‘Mala in Cuba’, The Heritage Orchestra, Anushka, Gang Colours, Daymé Arocena, Yussef Kamaal, Shabaka and the Ancestors, and Zara McFarlane.
From London radio station Kiss FM, Peterson then moved onto BBC Radio 1 in 1998, and then BBC Radio 6 Music in 2011 where he hosted his own eclectic show. Gilles then launched WOLRDWIDE FM in September 2016, a music radio platform broadcasting in Europe, the US and across Asia, showcasing some of the finest DJs across the globe. The station is powered by WeTransfer, a cloud-based computer file transfer service where Gilles Peterson is head creative director. Worldwide is also the name of his very own music festival based in the South of France, a festival taking place every July, giving rise to live music performances and unique collaborations.
We had an opportunity to squeeze in an interview and share his story and unique path.
. What was the trigger that led you into this lifestyle and career in music?
A: Getting twin decks at the age of 15 and realizing that if I could pull in a dozen or so people into the bar and I was playing records, I could get paid more than I was getting in the fruit and veg store I worked at on Saturday mornings.
. Acid Jazz, funk, Latin fusions and electro; How would you describe your musical style and how has it evolved over the last 30 years ?
A: It started with 3 words, jazz, funk and soul and has just grown from there with those 3 words still being the critical base.
. Radio host, DJ, producer, record label, festival organizer, fundraiser for your foundation, so many different roles, is it important for you to be constantly on your toes? Why?
A: You can’t really sleep in this game if you want to move forward. I need to play out to bring that energy to the radio, its an addiction that I love.
. What was the idea behind the Worldwide festival and how do you see it evolving in the next editions?
A: To create my radio show as a festival presenting the diverse music that I play on one stage and to prove that you don’t have to box different styles into separate zones. I love discovering music that I didn’t think I’d like in my imagination. I wanted great sound for both DJs and bands as well as a crowd that understands the etiquette of club culture.
. What are essential items that you like to carry with you whilst on your travels abroad?
A: As little as possible, there always needs to be room in the bag to bring stuff back in! And in Japan you always need an extra bag!
. If there were to be only one disc, one song, one experience, one stage, or one collaboration to choose from over the last 30 years, which would it be?
Dayme / Roy Ayers / Ed Motta at Wordlwide Festival in Sete…
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