Catching up with Peanut Butter Wolf ahead of show at The Reagan

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Live music is back in the Borderland, and El Pasoans are being treated to a live set by LA-based DJ and Stones Throw Records founder, Peanut Butter Wolf.

The show is Thursday, September 9, at The Reagan in downtown El Paso. Admission is free.

Peanut Butter Wolf started his career making hip hop beats in the 1980s, then launched his own label about 10 years later.

Today, Stones Throw has helped launch the careers of artists like Anderson. Paak, Mayer Hawthorne, Madvillain, and more. 

Peanut Butter Wolf’s live sets are known for both dance-worthiness and eclecticism spanning decades of different genres. 

KTSM 9 News caught up with Peanut Butter Wolf ahead of Thursday’s show:

How has the pandemic influenced or reshaped your creativity?

The pandemic really had the whole world soul searching to varying degrees. My partner became pregnant at the end of 2019 so for us to go through that whole pregnancy during lockdown was crazy. Then, in March of 2020, I got really sick for 3 weeks and got tinnitus. After months of doctor visits (with 7 different doctors) and tests and no solution, I told my booking agent I had to retire from DJing. I still have the ear ringing but am learning to live with it. And my daughter was born in October 2020 when covid started getting bad in Los Angeles. That drive from the hospital a week after she was born was so emotional and a 10 minute car ride I’ll never forget. We played the song “Feels So Good” by Chuck Mangione because that song used to come on the radio in the car when I was a kid and my wife and I were holding back our tears the whole time. The song is just under 10 minutes long and the song ended the exact second that we got to the garage of our house and turned off the ignition. But that flirting with death thing that we all went through before there was a vaccine was a major stressor on everyone and made a lot of us step out of our comfort zone and try things they’ve always wanted to do but were too scared to try. For me, that was recording an album of me singing. I sang in a band in high school but never pursued it because I wasn’t a good singer and I was so into hip hop and ultimately went that direction, but it’s been in the back of my mind for years, so I used lockdown to do that. And most everybody I know in music ended up recording an album over lockdown. Nobody had the distractions of touring so there wasn’t shit else to do but create. 

What did you miss the most about playing shows?

I’ve missed that sense of unity that I get to experience with the audience. We all have different backgrounds and beliefs, but the music unites us. 

Stones Throw has launched the careers of some of today’s most influential artists, what sticks out to you about artists on your label? 

Kind of what I was just mentioning. How different we all can be but have that commonality in the music we like. Even though a lot of the artists on my label do different genres from one another, we all have a pretty broad appreciation for different things.

What have you been listening to lately? 

Well this week, I’ve been listening to Lee “Scratch” Perry because he just passed away. What a career he had and I’m very thankful to have been able to record in the studio with him a few years ago and share a drink with him at my bar after we were done.

Can you describe your ideal or “perfect” set or show? 

It’s perfect when I can play songs that I connect with and look out into the audience and see smiling faces. And if they’re dancing, even better.

What can El Pasoans expect from your show at The Reagan? 

I’m not sure because I don’t know what I’m gonna do yet, myself. I definitely wanna play some hip hop, some funk/soul/disco, some electro/minimal/new wave, and some reggae, but I definitely play off the crowd reaction as well as the support DJ. This year is the 25 year anniversary of Stones Throw so I’m planning on doing a Stones Throw set too.

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