Peanut Butter Wolf

Peanut Butter Wolf
Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton — Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton documents indie label Stones Throw Records' incredible journey.

You can’t tell the tale of idolised LA independent label Stones Throw Records, without getting into the story of its founder, Peanut Butter Wolf. Born Chris Manak, Wolf grew up fascinated by music but made his first steps as an artist with rapper Charizma (pictured). In the early 90’s they were quickly signed to a major label, who rather than appreciating their music wanted to market them as an interracial, middle-America-friendly rap group in the mould of Will Smith. Disillusioned by his experience of the music industry, and devastated by Charizma’s death in a car-jacking, Wolf eventually started Stones Throw to get the music they made together released in the way they had envisioned.

Two decades later, after putting out era-defining alternative hip hop from Madlib, MF Doom and J Dilla, jump starting neo-soul by discovering Mayer Hawthorne and Aloe Blacc, and releasing music along the way from an array of independent artists who defy easy categorisation, documentary Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton pieces together the colourful history of Wolf and Stones Throw. We’ve got five copies of the film to give away, all you have to do is share this interview with Wolf on Facebook or Twitter and make sure you tag Huck Magazine before Tuesday, May 27.

What does counter culture mean to you and what attracts you to it?
It means experimenting and not over thinking when you make music. Don’t be afraid of being criticised or ridiculed or compared to someone else when you create something ’cause that’s just stifling.

Why is it important to act against the mainstream?
Not sure it is. I don’t do that purposefully. I just don’t have a mainstream ear. Even when I was nine years old, I was playing the B-side to my 45s and in some instances, liking them better than the A-side (like “Morning Star” by Kool & The Gang which was on the back of “Celebration”).

Are there any labels from previous eras that inspired you as you built Stones Throw own or that you particularly admire for sharing its progressive ethos?
There’s a lot. Definitely Factory, 4AD, Def Jam in the early years, Tommy Boy for their electro, Wild Pitch had some good stuff. Ralph Records. I have tons of records and tons of inspirations.

When you start working with new artists, are you attracted by their current abilities or are you more interested in their potential to become something greater?
When I hear someone, I always in the back of my head think, “wow, that’s great and they’re only gonna get better”. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. Some of my artists just keep cranking great music out and some get writers block for a while, then get back into it. But when I first meet someone, it’s usually early in their career so there’s never really any telling what will happen to them in the future.

What’s the future for Stones Throw?
One day it will end.

Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton is out on DVD, Blu-Ray and iTunes on Monday, May 26.

We’ve got five copies to give away (3 DVD and 2 Blu-Ray), to be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is share this article on Facebook or Twitter and make sure you tag Huck Magazine before Tuesday, May 27.

Enjoyed this article? Like Huck on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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