Today we have DJ extraordinaire, Pete Marriott on our very first interview series episode of Open Mic Presents… I told you all that this interview would be dropping March 2nd, but things came up and I decided to put it out now to get you hyped for the show and our January 25th launch! Pete will be hitting the nationwide radio airwaves March 2nd via Clear Channel. He is a great friend of Potholes In My Blog and it is a true pleasure to have him on the site for an exclusive interview. Check this out for details on the new show, as well as Pete’s insightful take on hip-hop, the radio industry and much more.
Here is a quick preview, click the skip for the full interview…
Reyn: Hey Pete, thanks a lot for joining us, how are things?
Pete: Things are good. It’s like the 80’s all over again for me but this time I’m armed with the knowledge, wisdom, freedom and understanding of who I am as a man and my true purpose within the context of my life as a practitioner of real hip hop music and culture.
Reyn: Who is DJ Pete Marriott?
Pete: DJ Pete Marriott is a guy from Brooklyn that is lucky to have an actual history in the expanding fabric of hip hop music and radio. I started out as a DJ at the age of 8 years old and produced my first record at the age of 15.
I grew up in both the music and radio industries so I understand how both businesses work and I also know real hip hop music is now in the hands of the artists and how the radio industry is beginning to recognize this, so I’m basically a bridge that can speak corporate radio and the language of the streets and of course the jargon of the internet crowd.
I’m a record producer that also happens to be a battle ready DJ so I know how to make sense of it all to someone that is removed from what the people really want to hear and because of this I’m being given a wonderful opportunity to influence a much needed change in hip hop music on the radio. Make no mistake as with all things it’s going to take time for what we’re doing to blow up, but you’ll witness the growth of a new generation of hip hop music through my turntables.
Reyn: Let’s get it started with the radio show premiering March 2nd. How did all the pieces come together to make this dream such a beautiful reality?
Pete: It happened for me because no one else wanted to do it, it a big messy job and most people are afraid to take chances. I’m built differently, I see problems as opportunities for myself and others who can envision solutions. While so many DJ and Producers are on message boards complaining about the lemons in hip hop, I devised a business plan, made a few phone calls, built a team and we’re all working together to make lemonade. It’s as simple as that, no rocket science behind it. I’m the on air talent, my business team handles the heavy stuff and we work together so the listeners who want to feel good about hip hop music again can share this victory with us.
I know for a fact that if you’re around negativity then the result of your life will be just that. New York used to be a great music town but they fell off extremely hard. As someone who cares about the quality of my music this was not a creative environment for the inspiration I needed. That’s why I packed my bags and moved to Hawaii where I got to stay with some good friends that owns a great studio and chillax. I also lived in Silicon Valley down in California and I learned a lot about the tech sector. I lived 4 blocks away from HP’s headquarters and 8 blocks away from Apple and Google was a 15 minute drive from me.
Now I live in Seattle. I love it here because this is a great town for good music and there’s happy hour twice a day at every restaurant. I’ve come in contact with so much creativity and people who embrace music with a genuine love that I feel nothing but good energy here I believe being in such a positive environment gives your life focus. I think Generation Next became a reality due to my being happy about life in general.
Reyn: What made you decide to come back to the radio industry?
Pete: I just wanted to feel passionate about hip hop music again and I knew the timing was right for me get back behind the wheels of steel and do what I love the most. Back in the days, I was on a radio show in New York City called H20 at WNWK (105.9 FM) and we just won the Gavin award for “Best Mix Show”. The music was different back then because it was more competitive.
Artists didn’t sound so much alike, like they do today. Back then everyone had their own sound and 90% of the records that came out sound good, now it’s down to only 5% of what’s on the radio is digestible, so my job is to assist in reversing the mood of the people through my talent as a DJ so I’m changing the game.
Reyn: They call you “The Game Changer;” how do you plan to change the game with this program? What goals do you hope to achieve?
Pete: I’m changing the game by empowering myself as a creative entity and by introducing the music I listen to at home, in the car, and on my mp3 player. While some DJs refuse to let go of their purist policies, I’m embracing technology and new sounds.
I’m proud to be a highly skilled DJ and producer, so for me to reject unsigned artists and producers who submit their music to me for airplay would not only be stupid, but downright selfish if I like what they are doing and don’t show their music some love on my turntables.
Any unsigned artist with a MySpace page can be their own label today so why should I limit my listeners to only signed artists? If you’re a talented artist or producer and you’re really serious about your music you can always submit your songs to me at my website and if I hear something I truly believe I can break to my audience then I will spin it hard on my turntables. There’s a lot of great unsigned talent out here so I’m going to be the DJ that will usher in the new era because I have a great ear for music. You’re not going to hear autotuned rap on Generation Next unless it’s some really amazing hard to ignore material.
Reyn: What can we expect to hear on the show?
Pete: Great music, polished radio production, and you’ll hear more than a few surprises that I can’t give away. I got a few secret weapons in the stash but the key aspect will be my music selection and mixing skills. Some records I’m going to blend and some I’m going to beat juggle and some I’m going to play straight laced, it all depends on the song and the kind of energy there is but I’m not going to go overboard with it because I want my listeners to love these records as much as I do. But it is a show and I’m going to perform for my audience.
It’s going to feel like I’m the 2nd coming of Marley Marl or something because as a producer, I’ve been sampling again and I’m in a very competitive mode on the beats. I’m having so much fun again chopping, layering and flipping samples into some hard beats that really boom bap and I’ve been secretly building my own local crew of MC’s here in Seattle and working with some of my people back in NYC, Cali and Philly via the internet, so what better platform to boost my production status than my own radio show?
Reyn: What makes your show different from all the other shows on the radio right now?
Pete: You’re really going to have to listen in. All I know is we shaped it to be a great show highlighting some incredible music by signed and unsigned artists that most people are sleeping on and a few underground and current favorites. I guess we achieved balance.
Reyn: There was a time when DJ’s on the Radio used to break top artists, but the system is nothing more than a vehicle to sell things for corporations now a day. Its such a programmed format, what is your take on the industry from that standpoint?
Pete: The radio industry has always been programmed with the purpose of selling ads. As long as there is a radio industry this is never going to change because these ads are what keep the lights on. The ads themselves are not the real issue, we need to go back to the 100 songs a day format. There’s no variety on the air anymore so everything sounds the same. I don’t care if an artist is doing McDonald’s ads on the side of their records because that’s not my concern.
I’m a mix show DJ and it’s not my business to program the stations that carry our show. But I have the freedom to program my own show and invite my listeners to interact with us. Use my MySpace comment box and post requests to hear your favorite artists. This way I can listen to them and decide if I like their music or not.
Post your shout outs and give me daily feedback so the good folks at Clear Channel can see evidence that Black Milk, Blu and Pacific Division really do have fans and then the directive can go out to add them to regular rotation. Fans have so much power but they are not using it so it’s up to us mix show DJs to help them find their way.
Reyn: One thing I have taken from your work is your stress on integrity. What does the word ‘integrity’ mean to you?
Pete: I only do what I believe in. Generation Next is my mission because I don’t believe in these freak shows pretending to be artists. I only spin what I would listen to in my spare time so you’re not going hear rumors about me taking bribes to spin songs.
Let me tell you a very true hip hop story about myself. In 2005 I turned down offers from Dr. Dre, Just Blaze, Diddy and Lauryn Hill to join their camps, not because of some kind of arrogance, but because it went against my personal agenda as a producer. I’ve been in situations like this before with other superproducers before them, and I didn’t want to go down that path again because in my most humble opinion it’s not worth it, so I walked away.
I’m not only a DJ and a producer but I’m also a composer, sound designer and a musician that plays several instruments. I don’t need anyone else to help me make dope beats. Most of these cats who call themselves producers don’t understand this school of thought because they are more interested in taking pictures and being on camera with other producers and artists on youtube. I’m not into that stuff, I take my time to make good music and DJ. Some people may not like that about me, because I’m not apart of their agenda, but if it goes against my moral fiber as an artist and as a man then let them be mad.
I’m not interested in stardom, never was and never will. I just want to make great music and be apart of playing great music on the radio. Blu, Pacific Division and Black Milk has an ally in me on the airwaves and I’ve become a big fan of Charles Hamilton, Asher Roth and TiRon, so I’m going to go hard for them like Funkmaster Flex went hard for Jay Z, Diddy, and 50. Flex made these artists superstars through his show and that’s great for his audience, but I’m going to break artists like AB, JimiJames, Peter Hadar, Regan Fykes, J*Davey and PPP to the mainstream because I believe in them and their music.
Reyn: You previously had the Fudge FM site, what happened with that because you had pretty devoted following on there?
Pete: Fudge FM was a social network created by Hassen, John book and myself and it became successful because all three of us wrote good articles and we created a completely positive environment where members of our community could openly participate in providing content that we’d feature on our front page. I think we were the only hip hop site where its participants didn’t bicker because everyone who came through was familiar with us all from another site.
We also developed at a faster pace than any of us anticipate. We had a 24-hour television station that played great music videos, documentaries and live performances. We also had other features like instant messaging so people liked it because it was a really nice place to discuss music related issues.
We shutdown the site for various reasons I’m not going to entertain, but there is no negativity amongst John Book, Hassen or myself. We’re all still cool and as you know, Hassen is apart of Generation Next. Also, I’m playing John’s music on my show. John is a criminally slept on sample based producer that makes great music so he’ll get his overdue exposure and respect through my turntables.
Reyn: How has the blog/on-line community helped or hurt your success?
Pete: The internet has been very helpful to me and my agenda. I’m making good music and doing radio again so I see the web mostly as a beautiful thing.
Reyn:What piece of advice would you give to an up and coming DJ?
Pete: Learn the craft, have a good ear, develop your own style and build a business team that’s dedicated to you and your agenda only.
Reyn: Name some artists that people should be on the lookout for right now.
Pete: There’s way too many to mention. I think it’s best to listen to Generation Next because if I’m playing them on the show then it’s because I’m excited about their music.