Author Archives: Fusicology

Amazon Music Produced By: Adrian Younge feat. Estelle, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Terrace Martin, Gallant and Black Thought



Gallant: Strobe Lights

“Produced By” pairs producers with a collection of some of today’s top artists across various genres to create exclusive, new recordings for Amazon Music listeners. Throughout the month of February, Amazon Original songs from artists including Estelle, Gallant, and Black Thought as a part of Produced by Adrian Younge. From Adrian’s perspective, conceptually, these songs collectively celebrate the spectrum of black music, and are intentionally releasing in February to coincide with Black History Month.

The obsession with race is disturbing to those that wish to divert attention away from the unyielding attributes that have plagued black America. However, we all must realize how such disenfranchisement has negatively affected us all. We are all equal and we are all human; we all have something to say and something to contribute; essentially, we all deserve to be heard, recognized and respected. That being said, our celebration of black history month brings us closer to understanding the struggles and contributions African Americans have made in making America what it is.

There was a time in America when Blacks weren’t free to pursue their creative endeavors. Such cultural tension led to blacks creating the first American musical art form: Jazz. This music, the antithesis of western idealism, is what continues to inspire black music today. My work embraces this perspective, but furthermore, it serves as a reminder of how music can lay the groundwork for self-expression and cultural awareness. Embrace Black History Month and take the time to realize how black music has shaped the cultural narrative of America.



Black Thought“Noir”


Estelle “Home”

Watch the Teaser Video:



Georgia Anne Muldrow & Terrace Martin



Adrian Younge has carved out an incomparable niche in the music community. He’s served as a producer, composer, studio head of Linear Labs, and owner of The Artform Studio in Highland Park, CA. Adrian, along with his production partner Ali Shaheed Muhammad (A Tribe Called Quest), is best known of late for work on the stellar score to the Netflix/Marvel series Luke Cage. Over the years, the versatile Younge has collaborated with artists including Jay-Z, Wu Tang Clan, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Ceelo, Raphael Saadiq, and more.


“Adrian has a very strong sense of vision; he’s completely sure about what he wants to create,” Georgia Anne Muldrow says. “So he built this song like lattice; sturdy and precise with plans for organic lines to wrap around it. The wisdom he imparted? A-1. It has been a great honor to work and learn at Linear Labs. There’s a character attached to every item in there that makes it a palace of creativity. Mr. Younge is filming music in there.”


“Adrian Younge has a very special ability to see the future with using traces from the past which to me is the total package of a true record producer,” Terrace Martin adds.


Previous Amazon Originals include Produced by Matt Ross-Spang and Produced by Simone Felice. The September 2018 Matt Ross-Spang release featured new Amazon Original songs from Margo Price, John Prine, Al Green, and William Bell. The November 2018 Simone Felice release featured new Amazon Original songs from Conor Oberst, The Felice Brothers, Phoebe Bridgers, and Wesley Schultz of the Lumineers.


Amazon Music listeners can simply ask, “Alexa, play the song ‘February’ by Georgia Anne Muldrow and Terrace Martin” in the Amazon Music app for iOS and Android and on Alexa-enabled devices, or find the track on the global playlist “The Pocket,” celebrating the best music of the moment in jazz. In addition to the new track, Amazon Music listeners can access hundreds of  songs and numerous albums featuring both emerging and established artists across numerous genres, available to stream and purchase on Amazon Music.


Questlove Supreme | Wednesdays Exclusively on Pandora | This Week: Al B. Sure! Pt. 1 of 2


Like a trip to your favorite independent record store or as the iconic founder once described it, “a black nerd version of NPRQuestlove Supreme has enlightened, enriched, and engaged millions with smart, slick, and sharp commentary on all things music, pop culture, and beyond since it launched on Pandora in 2016. The format spans personal musical selections courtesy of the show’s namesake, provocative conversations, and in-depth and intimate interviews.

In part 1 of 2, Al B. Sure!  talks about his time growing up in “money earnin’” Mount Vernon, coming up with music heavy-hitters, his relationship with the late Kim Porter and why music is “his wife.



To date, more than 5 million Pandora listeners have added the Questlove Supreme station. Listeners can access the program in a chapter format, allowing them to revisit and pause favorite segments on 



March 22 & 23, 2019: Salute the Troops Music and Comedy Festival feat. Snoop Dogg, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Prince’s New Power Generation & more


Multi Day, Multi Genre event with talent interacting with the troops, participating in military activities, and creating memorable moments. Family friendly live music and entertainment including celebrations for the 100th year anniversary of the historic military base, March Air Base. Craft beverages, great food and experiential activities! 

March 22 – 23, 2019 

For every full price ticket sold, an Active Service Member will receive a free ticket, Veterans and Retirees will receive discounted ticket price.

West Coast Weekender May 2-6 2019



West Coast Weekender returns for its fourth year on May 2-6 2019, in the new, luxurious setting of the Viejas Casino & Resort, located in the Cuyamaca Mountains of San Diego County.


West Coast Weekender began life in 2016, and it’s a festival with a mission. While there are no shortage of dance music/EDM festivals in California, only West Coast Weekender has business and educational programs running alongside the partying, making the event the Golden State’s answer to the likes of Miami’s Winter Music Conference, Amsterdam Dance Event or Ibiza’s International Music Summit – all key destinations for dance music professionals, aspiring amateurs and straight-up music lovers alike.


It is also California’s only dance music festival and conference to take place at a Four Diamond destination complete with a 24- hour casino.


The line- up for this year’s Weekender includes Claptone, Carl Craig, Lee Foss, The Pharcyde, Purple Disco Machine, Doc Martin, Gene Farris, J.Phlip, Mark Farina, Miguel Migs, Osunlade, Rich Medina, Oscar P, Eric Medina and Cris Herrera.


By day, the Weekender offers keynote Q&A’s, panels, workshops and technology showcases where experienced industry figures can stay abreast of the latest trends in the dance music business, while sharing their knowledge with younger attendees who are trying to break into the game. But when the sun goes down, it’s time to party – and of course, if you feel like starting early, there’s plenty of musical entertainment on offer during the daytime, too!


Media Partners this year include:


Roland - A leading manufacturer of electronic musical instruments with over 40 years of innovation.

Traxsource - One of the top digital music sites giving you access to your artists, labels and charts. 

DJ Times - America’s first magazine for professional DJs, now celebrating its 30th anniversary.

IDJ Magazine - One of London’s leading sources for DJs, and clubland.

BPM Supreme - A leading music delivery website for professional DJs, producers, and artists. 

Fusicology - A local and national source (site, mobile app) for venues, artists, and events.


In short, West Coast Weekender 2019 will bring you a multi-day underground music festival and conference experience, rooted in the culture, comfort, love, and hospitality to which we’ve come accustomed. Weekend tickets start at $139.99 and a limited number of VIP passes are available while supplies last. Rooms range from $149-$399 per night. Book early to avoid disappointment!


India.Arie’s New Album WORTHY


Four-time GRAMMY® winning artist/songwriter India.Arie releases her eighth studio album WORTHY (SoulBird/BMG) today, her first full-length in five years. An epic opportunity for fans to get reacquainted with the influential superstar and her new collection of uplifting songs, WORTHY resonates as a work of overlapping purpose, soaring as the iconic star’s most textured and lively offering to date; an intuitive, multi-layered effort from a mature artist at the top of her creative powers.


Along with the inspiring “What If” honoring iconic trailblazers including Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, is the Caribbean-tinged “That Magic,” a current Top Ten R&B hit with video featuring award-winning actor Lyriq Bent and cameo from Reggae Superstar Gramps Morgan. Other songs on the album drawing praise include “Hour Of Love,” “Steady Love,” “We Are,” “Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda” and the title track “Worthy.”  India has gathered previous acclaimed producers/collaborators for the new effort; among them are the album’s executive producer Aaron Lindsey, longtime collaborators Shannon Sanders and Branden Burch, as well as new collaborator Chuck Butler.


Says India about the new album: “My favorite definition of the word ‘worthy’ is deserving of regard and respect. The songs on this album implicitly or explicitly carry the message and the energy of the word.  I set out with the title even before I had the song, which is unusual for me, but I wanted to remind people that even though the world ordains that you have to ‘do’ or ‘be’ something to be ‘worthy,’ that’s not true.  There is nothing special we have to do or be, we all are worthy once we arrive at that realization.  A person who feels empowered in that way is a much more powerful force in this world.”


Her upcoming North American WORTHY TOUR kicks off April 30 at the Florida Theatre in Jacksonville, with marquee cities announced so far including Atlanta, New Orleans, Austin, Detroit, Boston and New York City.


After more than 10 million albums sold and 10 world tours, including with icon Stevie Wonder, India.Arie is recognized as a global difference maker. She has been embraced by a new generation of artists such as Janelle Monáe and Ariana Grande, amplifying the resilient singer/songwriter’s signature themes of personal and spiritual growth, and self-knowledge. Her willingness early on to challenge preconceived notions of beauty and sexuality coupled with her courage to defy broad racial and gender categorizations have helped empower current culturally-conscious movements.


Among her accomplishments; five Top Ten albums, 22 GRAMMY nominations, numerous NAACP Image Awards, BET Awards, MTV Awards, and command performances for three US Presidents. She has met with the Dalai Lama, touring the National Civil Rights Museum with him in Memphis. Inducted into the 2009 Georgia Music Hall of Fame, India has joined Oprah Winfrey on multiple projects, a featured ‘Change Makers and Wisdom Teachers’ on Winfrey’s OWN Network and shared with Oprah her trademark blend of performance/spiritual teaching via SongVersation.

Jamaica Frenzy – Negril, March 26-31 2019 | V-Day 15% special discount | Body & Soul DJs + The Ritual with Anané & Louie Vega & many more


Jamaica Frenzy is the exciting new House Music Festival for 2019 set to take place at the breathtaking resort of Negril in sunny Jamaica, brought to you by a collective of some of New York’s top club promoters. Offering a unique 6 day all inclusive holiday experience between March 25-31st, Jamaica Frenzy will host some of the best dance music talent the world has to offer in Negril’s magical paradise!

It is nearly impossible to put into words the natural beauty of Negril with its turquoise sea, 7 miles of powder white sandy beach that’s bound by lush tropical foliage – the perfect setting to dance in sun or under the stars at the daily pool and beach parties Jamaica Frenzy have lined up. There will also be daily catamaran parties and excursions on offer for those who want to explore the treasures of the island, or you can simply kick back, relax and soak up the amazing laid back vibe of Negril.






Body & Soul with Danny Krivit, Joaquin ‘Joe’ Claussell and François K

The Ritual with Anané & Louie Vega :: David Morales :: Timmy Regisford

DJ Spen :: DJ Spinna :: Karizma  :: Jamie 3:26 :: Manoo :: David Harness

Ultra Nate :: Kai Alce ::  Salah Ananse :: Gigi Testa :: DEL from Philly  

Mark Francis :: Donna Edwards & liL Ray :: DJ Ameer :: Kemit  

DJ Beloved :: Tommie Allen 


Plus more DJ’s and live acts to be announced!


Promo video teaser:


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“Jamaica Frenzy’s vision is to create a clubbers paradise by bringing some of best DJ talent we know to a luxurious resort in the exotic setting of Jamaica. We want to create a 5 star feel-good festival experience and Negril has it all! We’re so excited by the great response we’ve received from everybody so far – March can’t come soon enough! ” - DJ liL Ray (Founder)


“Jamaica Frenzy is destined to be the creme of the crop of dance festivals across the globe. An experience for the people, at a time when it’s most needed!” - DJ Spinna 


“Jamaica Frenzy…Finally, a breath of fresh air with a festival lineup that’s giving soulful house music the place it deserves, and which so many people have been waiting for” - Francois K 




This is an all inclusive event only and does not include flights. 

Prices per person start from $1,899.00

Tickets include – all Inclusive accommodation :: gourmet dining and premium cocktails :: airport transfers :: admission and round trip transportation to all parties.

There are a choice of 2 luxurious all inclusive accommodation resorts for the festival, including the family-friendly Royalton Spa & Resort and the liberating ‘clothing optional’ resort of Hedonism II.


For more information on resorts and how to book please visit



Pandora V-Day Streaming Data + Playlists for Every Relationship Status


With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, ‘tis the season for bouquets, extravagant displays of affection, and queueing up one of Pandora’s lovey-dovey stations like R&B Love SongsReggaeton Romantico and Beats Between the Sheets. But for the romantically untethered, February 14 can be just another day or, for some, just plain sad.


No matter what your romantic state, Pandora’s bound to have the playlist for you. And every February 14, people take their pick. Who tends to feel the most romantic on Valentine’s Day? Where, and at what age, are people most likely to feel the love?


To figure it out, we looked at the people who, last year on Valentine’s Day, listened to love-themed stations, and compared them to listeners of stations like Country Breakup Songs and Love Stinks.


First, let’s take a look at the states most likely to listen to love songs over breakup songs.



The state feeling the most love is Hawaii, where people spend 73 hours listened to love stations for every one hour listened to breakup stations. Connecticut is second, followed by Georgia, Florida and New Jersey. South Dakota, meanwhile, is the state that gravitate most toward breakup music, though it’s all relative: South Dakotans are still 17 times more likely to listen to love music than breakup music. …. Maybe love is found in good weather?


How do different age groups differ in this trend? At what points in our life do we need breakup songs, and when do we listen to love songs? The graphic below shows a clear trend: People are more likely to listen to a breakup station in their teenage years and early twenties, gravitating more and more toward love music the older they get. And on the whole, women are more likely to spend time listening to breakup music than men are.



Let’s see what happens when we zoom in on specific artists. Which artists do people go to for love, and which do people queue up in heartbreak? Using the ratio of thumbs up to spins on Pandora over the past year, they have looked at which songs get the most love for certain artists — their big love song, or their big breakup song.


34th Annual Winter Music Conference at Faena District Announces First Industry Panelists

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>WMC 2019 March 25-28 at the Faena Forum, Miami Beach. Confirmed Panelists Include Armin van Buuren, Carl Cox,

Erick Morillo, NGHTMRE, Nicole Moudaber, Richie Hawtin, Slande + more to be announced soon.

Tier 1 WMC // Industry Badges Now Sold Out

Registration is open exclusively at

Representing the many facets of electronic music culture, these esteemed participants will join previously announced keynote speakers Douglas Rushkoff, Armin van Buuren, Irvine Welsh x DJ Pierre, Sam Feldt and Laidback Luke – with so much more to come!


WMC programming is spread across two distinct segments targeted at industry professionals (WMC // Industry – upgrade) as well as music consumers, college students and aspiring DJs/producers (WMC // Access) looking to learn more about this exciting industry and the music, technology and culture that powers it. Due to popular demand the first tier of WMC // Industry badges are now sold out. Visit to get your badge before prices go up.


Confirmed WMC Panelists


Alec Stern – DDB Chicago / We Are Unlimited

Alex Jukes – Jukebox PR

Andre Willem – The Nations

Andrew Neill – Circus Records / MB Management

Armin van Buuren – DJ/Producer

Aundy Crenshaw – Dirtybird

Carl Cox – DJ/Producer

Carl Loben – DJ Mag

Charlie Shrem –

Chris Clark – Leo Burnett USA / HKX

Chris White – Merlin Collective

Christian Smith – DJ/Producer

Dan Petruzzi – Mixcloud

Daniela Paez – dmusicMarketing

Declan Ee – DJ/Producer

Deron Delgado – Dirtybird/Paradise Distribution

DJ Pierre – DJ/Producer

Douglas Rushkoff

Erick Morillo – DJ/Producer

Ethan Baer – || Artist Intelligence Agency

Greg Marshall – Association For Electronic Music (AFEM)

Harrison Williams – Mixmag

Harry Romero – DJ/Producer

Harry Willis – I Am Pop

Heiko Hoffman – Beatport

Irvine Welsh

Jakub Alexander – Symphonic Distribution

Janette Berrios – Symphonic Distribution

Jeremy Waks – Debris Free Oceans

Jesse Grushack – UJO

Jorge Brea -Symphonic Distribution

Jorn Heringa – Spinnin Records

Josh Carr-Hilton – The District

Juan Pablo Salcedo – David Lewis Productions

Junior Sanchez – DJ/Producer

Kayzo – DJ/Producer

Kevin Lewandowski – Discogs

Laidback Luke – DJ/Producer

Luis Estrada – Aftercluv/Universal

Matt Colon – Deckstar

Max Weinberg – Geffen

Maykel Piron – Armada Music

Michael Weiss – Nervous Records

Mike Darlington – Monstercat

Mike Ladman – Drogas

NGHTMRE – DJ/Producer

Nick Gordon – Symphonic Distribution

Nicole Moudaber – DJ/Producer

Nik Kinloch – Discogs

Olga Heijns – Unmanageable Artists

Pete Kalamoutsos – Echostage

Posey Collis – Orca Sound Project

Richie Hawtin – DJ/Producer

Roger de Graaf – Spinnin Records

Salo Sterental – Sostereo

Sam Baum – Red Bull Music / Red Bull Radio

Sander van Doorn – DJ/Producer

Sam Feldt – DJ/Producer

Seth Combs – Beat Fever

Slander – DJ/Producer

Stephanie LaFera – Little Empire Music

Tim Heineke – I Am Pop

Travis Rogers – Humans Alike

Valerie Lee – Mixmag

Vasja Veber – Viberate

Vivian Belzaguy – Ultra Music Festival

Whipped Cream – DJ/Producer

William Morris – Esports Expert

Yuri Dokter – DJ Monitor


More keynote speakers and panelists to be announced soon

WMC // Access Panels:

  • Breaking In: How To Get Your Start In The Electronic Music Industry
  • Signing With The Future: How Labels Utilize New Technologies For Sustained Growth
  • Surviving Indie: Innovation and Brand Building As An Independent Label
  • Spinnin’ Records Panel w/ special surprise guests
  • Daily artist panels including Bass, House, Techno, Drum & Bass genres
  • Digital Collision: The Convergence of Esports, Gaming And Electronic Music Culture
  • The Bleeding Edge: Shaping The Next Wave Of Electronic Music Culture


WMC // Industry Badge (upgrade) Exclusive Panels:

  • The Death of The Newsfeed: Using FB Messenger To Effectively Reach Your Followers
  • The Data Solution: Viberate Presents Current Market Trends And Analytics Strategy
  • Music Placement – How To Get Your Music Synced With Brands, Films, TV, and Advertising
  • Brands x Artists x Culture: How To Create An Authentic Music Strategy
  • AFEM Presents – Get Played Get Paid: How the rise of Music Recognition Technology at DJ Events could put money in your pocket
  • Practically Green: Environmental Solutions for the Music Industry
  • Presentation by Academy/MusiCares with a very special guest


(The current WMC panel is updated regularly and available for viewing here)  

Be on the lookout for a big announcement regarding the 2019 International Dance Music Awards (IDMA). This year’s awards are powered by Viberate – the world’s biggest crowdsourced platform for listing and mapping the live music industry. Viberate’s metrics based platform will help to make the IDMA’s the most diverse and eclectic awards presentation in the dance music world.


Industry and Access badges are now available and registration is open exclusively at


The Verge, The Recording Academy/ and MusiCares, Mixmag,

Billboard Dance, Attack Magazine, Data Transmission, Decoded, Earmilk,,

DJ Mag Asia, Belgium, France, Latin America, Switzerland, North America and UK,

Magnetic Magazine



Akai, Anjunabeats, Anjunadeep, Armada Music, Astralwerks, Beatport, Big Beat Records,

Circus Records, Counter Records, Deadbeats, Deckstar, Denon DJ, Dirtybird, Discogs, Enhanced Music, Fusicology, Geffen Records, Gud Vibrations, Echostage, Hooke Audio,

I AM POP, Involved Management, IO Music Academy, Jamstik, Little Empire Music,

Lowly Palace, MB Management, Metapop, Mixcloud, Monstercat, Native Instruments,

Nervous Records, Pioneer DJ, Point Blank Music School, Proximity, Rane, RAM Records,

RCA Records, Red Light Management, Rumpl, Russell Athletic, SAE School of Audio Engineering, Scratch DJ Academy, SoStereo, Spinnin Records, Splice, Sunski, Symphonic Distribution, The District, The Nations, TOPO Designs, Traxsource, Ujo Music,



2019 marks the first fully-programmed WMC since it was announced in March 2018 that the organizers behind Ultra Worldwide, the world’s most successful independent, international music festival brand, had acquired the Winter Music Conference (founded in 1985) and International Dance Music Awards (IDMA) properties. The Ultra Worldwide acquisition aims to restore WMC’s status as the must-attend dance music industry and networking conference in the world. A property unlike any other, WMC’s exclusive hotel partner, The Faena, was named by Conde Nast Traveler as the #1 hotel in Miami Beach for two consecutive years (2017 & 2018) via their prestigious readers poll.



Faena Forum is a pioneering public venue dedicated to presenting and showcasing the ambitious, the innovative and the groundbreaking in fields ranging from art and entertainment to business and beyond.  Faena Forum, evocative of the ancient civic and architectural concept of a forum, aims to offer Miami a dynamic setting, allowing for ongoing programming under the direction of Faena Art, as well as use by private companies, institutions, and individuals.

Alan Faena worked closely with OMA, the firm founded by Rem Koolhaas and Shohei Shigematsu, partner at OMA and Director of the New York office, who served as the lead architect for the three buildings, to ensure the 43,000 square-foot Forum is designed for ultimate flexibility. The space accommodates everything from a temporary culinary pop up to an acoustically optimal concert.  Two volumes, a cylinder and a cube that are similar in size, can be combined or subdivided to support any type of production, from projects and commissions to performances, exhibitions and events. The building has two main levels. The lobby amphitheater features pink marble floors and technical capabilities for surround projections. The upper floor assembly hall features a 40-foot-high dome with a central glazed oculus and a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking Indian Creek.  A walkway that spirals up the interior wall of the Forum from street level to the top of the dome which provides visitors with a range of perspectives on the space.


Miami is a city that has experienced the transformative power of the arts. With this conviction in mind, Alan Faena and Len Blavatnik debuted Faena Hotel Miami Beach in December 2015, marking the first phase of openings in the Faena District Miami Beach. A new neighborhood rooted in the arts, Faena District will help catalyze a cultural renaissance in Miami and further enhance its reputation as a vital link between North and South.

Located in the heart of Miami Beach, Faena District stretches north from 32nd Street to 36th Street, between the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Creek. Every single one of its elements defies convention while promoting cultural inclusiveness that will benefit the entire community.

Faena District is the result of a collaboration between some of the most talented and creative minds who continue to challenge existing concepts of culture, entertainment and community. By integrating art, architecture, nature and technology, Faena District has changed the physical and cultural landscape of Miami Beach forever.


For more information about WMC please visit

WINTER PROMO PACKAGES: Online Marketing for Events, Music, Media & Brands


Our tailored Promo Campaigns guarantee to Reach Your People - Marketing for Events, New Music Releases, TV, Film and Brands.  


Fusicology offers affordable & targeted Email, Social & Online Marketing Packages from just $100 




INQUIRE TO ADVERTISE CONTACT - new music releases, brands & agencies


FEATURE AN EVENT - get extra exposure for your event listing


SUBMIT A VIDEO / SONG / ALBUM - we love new music & content – always free to submit


MEDIA KIT / COMPANY DECK - view our subscribers, stats & info


SUBSCRIBE - get our blasts on featured events & new music each Thursday


GENERAL FAQ CONTACT - form/email/phone/address


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Interview: Gilles Peterson | San Jose Jazz Winter Fest 2019

It can be hard to pinpoint Gilles Peterson’s contributions to modern music because they’re so wide-ranging.

Since the 1980’s, he’s run three record labels (Acid Jazz, Talkin’ Loud, and currently Brownswood) and helped curate over 100 compilations; toured the world as a DJ; pioneered a musical movement (acid jazz, a term he comically coined, only for the tag to be widely misconstrued); and carved out a highly respected broadcasting career that includes a weekend spot on BBC (and, more recently, his own radio station, Worldwide FM).

Yet above all else, what seems to still drive him is an insatiable passion and curiosity for music yet discovered, and the subsequent responsibility to use his many platforms to help expose those sounds, whether they’re from rising talents or unsung legends. As he shared over coffee, “The art, if there is an art to it, is just never to allow it to become work.”

Given his 30-plus years behind the decks and the breadth of music he’s introduced audiences to on stage and over the airwaves, there’s truly no telling where this music obsessive and certified legend may take listeners on February 14, when he performs a DJ set inside the Continental for San Jose Jazz Winter Fest, co-presented by Universal Grammar.

Learn more about this artist’s upcoming performance at Winter Fest 2019!

VIDEO: Gilles Peterson live at Singapore Jazz 2017

There’s plenty to dive into with your relationship with jazz, but do you recall a first memory with the art form?

I think my entry point was certainly jazz funk. As a young boy growing up in South London, listening to pirate radio stations and catching whatever I could, it would have been coming from Brit Funk groups, jazz funk groups that were basically groups inspired by Earth, Wind and Fire and Cameo. There was a whole movement of groups like that in the UK, groups like Incognito and Light of the World.

The first time I heard a proper jazz track would’ve been [John Coltrane’s] “Giant Steps” in a club. That was at a soul weekender. You’d get a few thousand kids going to these holiday resorts that were empty in the non-summer months in England. The majority would be in the main room listening to Candido “Jingo” and Fatback Band “Do the Bus Stop.” But then around the back, there’d be a little room and there’d be DJs playing more complicated music.

It was in that room, at the age of 16, on the North Sea coastline, that I walked in and a DJ called Bob Jones was playing “Giant Steps” by John Coltrane on a loud sound system with maybe 15, 20 people dancing to it, battling.

Dancing to Coltrane?

Yeah. The back room would’ve been the jazz room, and that’s where the heavyweights would play to small amounts of people. That’s when I heard that music in an environment that struck with me. That’s how I got into proper jazz, when I heard it in that essence.

Suddenly, I found this scene where they were playing Latin jazz and heavy jazz and Afro-Cuban music and fusion, and there’d be these kids dancing, battling off to it. You’d have to go and travel to listen to [these DJs], so I’d go to places like Manchester or Nottingham or Birmingham.

People talk about Northern Soul as very much a British youth DJ culture. They talk of punks and mods and rockers, but one of the subcultures of Britain was the backroom jazz room, and that was something that didn’t happen anywhere [else] in the world. I went on to make that a part of my DNA as a DJ.

What did your five-year residency at Dingwalls in London in the late 80s and early 90s, where you helped pioneer what became known as acid jazz, teach you about DJing? Did it mean a lot to share the magic you found in jazz with others?

Of course. As somebody who was going through my own personal voyage of musical discovery, it was a phenomenal period of time.

I talk about it as a jazz thing, but equally, you wouldn’t be able to play a track like Roy Haynes “Dorian” without playing maybe a Rotary Connection or a track like “Destiny” by Rufus. It wasn’t about just jazz; it was about the light and the shade, and how you got from one place to another to get the most out of a song.

In an editorial for The Guardian, you said, referring to London, “for me as a DJ, it’s especially exciting to see the new connection being made between club culture and live jazz. It’s a link I’ve been trying to make for the last 30 years. Now more than ever, it feels as if that boundary’s finally being broken down.” Why are you as excited as you’ve ever been about that wall coming down?

Because it’s coming down. [Smiles] And it’s come down. It’s being realized, and people are appreciating it on all levels.

What’s really exciting for me is that the DJs are more interested in the live approach, and the live musicians are very aware of the DJs. Back then, I was forcing the jazz guys to listen to what we were playing. And the DJs were like “Oh god, not a band.”

So when you were programming these six hour shows, you would have DJs and live programming, but you’re trying to wrangle people from one space to the next? They didn’t fully co-exist in the exact same space?

Yeah. And even back then, at Dingwalls and the Wag Club, where I put a lot of live bands, we’d have all the British jazz musicians play there: Steve Williamson, Courtney Pine, Julian Joseph. There was a strong movement back in the late 80s and early 90s, but they were so in their art that they weren’t really listening to our point of view.

It was only really when I started working with Courtney on releasing his records that I introduced him to non-jazz music and how it could work. I put him in together with 4hero. I put him in together with Attica Blues, opening up his mind to the possibilities. Whereas this generation, it’s in their DNA. They go to a rave. They know what bassline is. They know what drill is. They know what grime is, and they can incorporate that into what they do as performers, which allows this to be a fresh music in a way, because there are contemporary reference points to draw from to create something which is special.

You’ve basically made a career, in many different forms, out of your incessant pursuit of discovering new music. I want to invert that concept for a second – are there any key musicians you still find yourself revisiting?

I think for me, the artist I always discover something new with is Sun Ra. I can always put on a Sun Ra record and hear something that’s going to make me go “Wow.” Records I never thought I would ever have got into before – some of his more open, free stuff, which would’ve been noisy back then – I’m finding that [now] I get it.

Throughout your many endeavors – Future Bubblers, Brownswood, Worldwide FM, Havana Cultura – there’s a through-line to the idea of exposure and mentorship. Why continually choose to help guide young creatives, whether it’s through music or broadcasting?

I think I come from a generation where it wasn’t so easy. Until my mid 20’s I still thought I was going to have to get a normal job, and it’s still a bit of a dream that I was able to somehow survive within music. I feel that I owe the new generation because I was given these opportunities by my mentors.

In the UK, we’re the first ones really to be able to go “Look, we did well out of this. This is the way. We now need to guide you.” I think the jazz world here has always had that. All the great jazz musicians, most of them became professors. That’s part of their responsibility, and I see it the same way. I’m very aware that with the BBC, it’s a platform to a world that wouldn’t know my music or the music I support.

The main thing for people like myself is: how do you find a window for normal people to get inside? How can you open the door for people who would never find that door to come in? That’s what any culture needs, and any art needs. Art needs the door openers, and I’m a door opener. Just like someone opened the door to me when I was 16 and they played me “Giant Steps” by John Coltrane very loud, and it had a very deep impact on me.

Musical evangelism, almost.

People say to me “Why do you play in Ibiza?” I’ll go and do that gig because in that 2000 people who are out on that dance floor, if I flip it out 25 minutes into my set, I might lose a lot of people, but some of them might have the most amazing moment.

It’s very easy for me to preach to the converted all day long. The difficult thing is finding yourself out of your comfort zone and in a situation where you can create some agitation, but out of that, some people will have discovered something. That’s what happened to me, and I continue to push that.

WORDS: Brandon Roos, for San Jose Jazz