For our first Truancy Volume of the year we welcome Peverelist, a producer and DJ whose long ties with Bristol have given him the means to document a thriving and visionary community over the last thirteen years. Genres have held almost no relevancy to him throughout his career, and he’s described his vision and role as a label owner as simply being able to forge and create new narratives in dance music while simultaneously showcasing the talent the city of Bristol regularly had to offer. Whilst a large part of his story harks back to breaking down the framework of what the-then emerging sound of dubstep could be, it’s the genre diversifying nature of his three labels, Punch Drunk, Livity Sound and sister label Dnuos Ytivil that have made him such an important figure in UK dance music. As a producer himself, it’s almost too easy to recall to mind any of the classics or the one-day-to be in his discography – the now Drake sampled “Roll With The Punches“, “Over Here” with Appleblim, “Aztec Chant“, “Infinity Is Now“, “Under Clearing Skies” from his most recent album Tessellations and his numerous collaborations with Kowton, Asusu and Hodge have made him revered by fans and his peers.
Where many young producers from Bristol will cite Peverelist as an influence, he in turn will say Smith & Mighty paved the way for artists such as himself and and fellow DJ and friend, Pinch. Ashley Road Sessions 88-94, a collaborative label release via Punch Drunk and Tectonic that came out in November, marks the 30th anniversary of Rob Smith and Ray Mighty’s first single as a duo. As well as kickstarting our 2019 Truancy Volumes, we caught up with Peverelist to discuss the landmark compilation, his working relationship with Rob Smith, producing IDLE50 and the element of learning as you go when running a label.
To start off, I’d like to ask you about the Ashley Road Sessions 88-94 by Smith & Mighty that you put out along with Pinch. Being a collaborative label effort between Punch Drunk and Tectonic I imagine the conversation for getting this in motion, collated and finalised may go back a while – especially it being the 30th anniversary of their first release. Can you tell us about the early stages of putting this all together? “It all came together quickly. Rob Smith and Pinch were in the pub and Rob mentioned that he wanted to mark the anniversary of the first Smith & Mighty record and that he had a lot of archive material that hadn’t been released before. Pinch suggested working towards a collaborative release between Punch Drunk and Tectonic, which made sense considering our shared history’s releasing Rob’s music under his RSD alias. Rob was up for it and a week later after he’d spent time going through his DATs, we were sat in Pinch’s studio checking all these tunes that I didn’t even know existed, which was a real buzz. That was May 2018 and the record was in the shops by early November. The hardest bit was deciding which tunes were going to make the cut. Really pleased with how it turned out.”
Did you gain any particular info or history on any of tracks, were there any discussions or anecdotes with Rob and Ray about them? “I know Rob definitely has very strong memories connected to each track, it was a special time for music in Bristol and their studio was central to that in a lot of ways. Ashley Road is one of the main roads in the St Pauls area of Bristol where they had their studio during that era. That 80s scene in St Pauls of after hours, blues clubs and carnival was the foundation of a lot that was to come.”
How far back does your working relationship go back with Rob and Ray just out of curiosity? You’ve regularly mentioned them being massive influences to you so I was wondering when that possibly crossed over into putting out records by Rob. That first RSD record came out around 11 years ago now! “I met Rob I guess around 2002/2003 when I worked at Rooted Records, he’d come in every week to buy music. I was pushing a lot of the new music coming out of London, what became grime and proto dubstep and I was giving Rob tracks to check out, I think we shared similar interests in what he might call ‘dub related’ tracks. A bit later on, when I told him I was starting a label to represent Bristol artists he brought in a CD of tracks he had and it went from there really. I was a big fan of More Rockers and Smith & Mighty so I was made up. I think that first RSD record came out in 2006.”
Thought I’d bring up that you’ve also recently contributed a track to a compilation Rob has put together in order to raise money for Bristol’s homeless. Can you tell us a little bit about the track? “Sure, every year Rob does something to raise money for charity. This year he put together a compilation of tracks from Bristol artists from across the spectrum called All Kinda Styles to raise money for a Bristol Homeless charity called Caring In Bristol that provide support for rough sleepers in the city. I was happy to be able to donate a track.”
In terms of 2018 releases what was it like to do Idle Hand’s landmark 50th release? Must be an almost nostalgic feeling to contribute to a label’s first release with IDLE001 back in 2009 and follow it up almost 10 years later with IDLE50. When did Chris ask you and how did you approaching making those two tracks? “I’ve known Chris for a long time, he used to work with me at Rooted for a few years before it closed. During that time I’d encouraged him to start a label and it seems mad that almost a decade has gone by since that first record. After Rooted closed, Chris started Idle Hands the shop and it’s become a bit of a local institution, so it was cool to be asked back to record the release. I just hoped to be able to make something that represented a bit of what Chris and the shop are all about.”
With Livity going into its 8th year do you feel you’ve accomplished what you set out to do when you all started it? Have there been early mistakes be it with Punch Drunk or the first few years of Livity that have been instructive to how you run a label now? “I didn’t have a plan as such, I wanted to start something new that represented my interests musically and see where it went. I was making a bit of music with Joe at the time and he has played a supportive role in the label at the start and ever since. It’s still evolving and I’ll keep doing it for as long as I feel it’s the right vehicle. With running a label, I think there’s an element of learning as you go and remembering to keep an eye on moving forwards all the time. If you believe in what you’re doing, I don’t think you can make mistakes. The independent end of the ‘industry’ is still in a huge upheaval and transition, I’m not really sure where it’s going, so the biggest challenge is just trying to navigate that and stay focussed on what you want to achieve. For me that’s releasing music that I believe in, in a way that supports the artists and delivers for the fans.”
With you and Kowton both having released albums on the label, Apparitions by Forest Drive West was the first LP on Livity, outside of the trio of you, Joe and Craig. With him having released two EPs prior would you say your role in fostering talent as being one of the more enjoyable aspects of the label? How much input did you have in the track selection of the album too? “It’s been a pleasure working with Joe and helping him get his music out there, I’m such a big fan. I’ve always worked with new artists on Punch Drunk and Livity Sound and it’s always great to see them grow, reach a larger audiences and embark on bigger projects. When working towards a release I try and put my trust in the artist and let them have as much control as I can whilst giving guidance and feedback when they need it.”
I was recently listening to that live recording of newnumbertwo on your Livity Sound NTS show. How did yours and Pinch’s US Tour go by the way? It’s not too often you and Pinch get to play together like that am I right? Any stops or clubs in particular you two thoroughly enjoyed that you hadn’t played at before? “Yeah for sure, we spent almost three weeks out in the states in the autumn. I don’t often play with Pinch so it was good to hang out, travel and play some back to back sets. Playing in Denver is always a highlight, hanging out with the Sorted crew, which newnumbertwo is a part of, who throw the best events and are super cool people.”
Can you shout out any lesser known DJs that have really impressed you on your travels at the moment? “I always like to shout out two people, the super talented Anina and Danielle, both from Bristol, who are regular guests at our events and always represent to the fullest, look out for them.”
Livity has found a regular home at the Love Inn in Bristol the last few years, can you tell us a little bit about the venue and why it suits you so well? “Me and Hodge have been doing a regular weeknight monthly there for almost a couple of years. It’s a low stress venue, relaxed vibe, kind of a cross between and club and a bar, decent system and cool staff. It’s a good excuse to catch up with people, have a drink and a dance. We’ve definitely built up a regular crowd, which is really cool. We’re looking to do some bigger parties in Bristol in 2019 too.”
What can you tell us about the mix you’ve recorded for us? Any particular direction or approach you decided to go for? ” I wanted to go for a club orientated mix for this one, I do a monthly NTS radio show where I usually play a lot of deeper and more wide ranging stuff, so for this mix I thought I’d play something more typical of a club set I might play and have included a lot of the tracks I’ve been feeling through last few months.”
What else can we expect from Peverelist, Livity Sound and Punch Drunk in 2019? “Definitely some more Livity Sound releases, maybe even a fresh Pev 12” if I can get some time in the studio.”