Founding an indie record label is no easy feat, but making that same label thrive over two decades is truly awe-inspiring.Stones Throw Recordsringleader Chris Manak (better known asPeanut Butter Wolf) balances the stress of running a tiny but influential label with a healthy dose of enthusiasm: “When I sign new artists, I feel like I’m living through them,” he says. “When I see stuff that excites them, it excites me!” From record-collecting fifth grader to internationally acclaimed DJ, Wolf maintains a deep love of music that guides him through the valleys and peaks of life.
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Welcome toThe Conduit和公关,播客坦诚的对话ofessional musicians who give listeners the unvarnished truth about being an artist in the music business today. In today’s episode, host and LA-based DJ, producer, and musicianDan Ubick(aka Constantine “Connie” Price) sits down with Peanut Butter Wolf to discuss the DJ’s struggles and successes over the last 20 years at the helm of Stones Throw. Wolf shares his thoughts on making mixtapes, finding positive mentors with eclectic musical tastes, and working with the biggest names in hip-hop, from Madlib and MF Doom to J Dilla and Anderson Paak. He also touches on the ins and outs of running Stones Throw, why streaming services might be good for indie record labels, and which records in his now-massive (and famous) collection came first.
Wolf began collecting records in the late ‘70s, right as hip-hop emerged as an exciting new genre from the Bronx. As a precocious high schooler and “bedroom DJ,” Wolf saved his lunch money for the latest singles from indie labels like Sugarhill and Sunnyview. In 1990, he met 16-year-old Charles Hicks, who would become Wolf’s ride-or-die creative partner as MC and rapper Charizma. Wolf discusses the duo’s origin story, reflecting on their close friendship and creative output over a three-year period in the early ‘90s. He also touches on Charizma’s untimely passing at age 20, the subsequent grief that swallowed his creativity, and what eventually brought him peace: “Making beats and making tracks was what really got me out of [mourning Charizma’s death],” Wolf says. “It was my therapy more than anything.”
If there’s one lesson listeners can learn from Wolf and his 20-plus years of experience in the music industry, it’s how to stay excited about art in the face of adversity. “I’m still really proud and thankful for all of the great music I am able to surround myself with,” he says. Tune in to this month’s episode ofThe Conduitfor a fascinating conversation about stamina and passion with the legendary Peanut Butter Wolf.