Interview: Gilles Peterson on his return to Mostly Jazz

New music champion and taste-making DJ Gilles Peterson returns to Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival this weekend to compere the opening night, while he will also be whipping the dancefloor into a frenzy at a special pre-festival bank holiday party. We caught up with him to find out what keeps him coming back.

So you’ve been invited back for your second year as Friday night compere at Mostly Jazz, did you enjoy yourself last year then?

Yeah, it was really great to find a new side to Birmingham and to add my support to a great looking mini festival.

You’ve recently moved from BBC Radio 1 to BBC 6Music. Has it been easy adjusting to the switch from a late night show to the Saturday afternoon slot?

It’s been amazing – apart from when Arsenal have Saturday games but I’ll get used to that. Having to be at my best at 2am on a Tuesday night wasn’t always the easiest thing, now I need less coffee and I get the chance to stretch out musically and timewise.

What about your own label, Brownswood, it’s put out some massive releases from the likes of Heritage Orchestra, Ben West- beech, Soil ‘n’ Pimp and newer acts like Simbad and Kutmah, what’s next up?

I’m listening to the Mala Cuba album right now, it’s immense, best thing we’ll have put out on the label … so excited about this one.

You’ve worked with Leftfoot and Hare & Hounds head honcho Adam Regan for many years, what highlights do you have from your shows in Brum?

I’ve had a great relationship with Adam for years now, ever since the classic nights at the Custard Factory, there have been so many sessions: Steve Reid playing on a wet and cold February Tuesday was pretty special. Adam deserves a medal for the work he’s put in for the good music over the years. He’s a fine DJ too, always pulls a surprise or two out the bag.

When you played Birmingham for last year’s Mostly Jazz after-party you played everything from 70s Brazilian through to straight up house and then veering into a more low-end bass direction. Is it easy to keep on top of new music across all the different genres?

I’m always searching for the music that moves me and these days there are far more areas to search. It’s essential to me to be checking the new Addison Groove record as well as a new Omar-S 12ins or a reissued package of african psych from Kenya. It just means that I listen to a lot of music!

Gilles Peterson comperes and DJs at the opening night of the Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival, which runs from June 29 to Jul 1.

This interview first appeared in the June edition of Brum Notes Magazine. Read the latest issue here.

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