The name Pistol Pete might bear associations with Basketball and a notorious gunslinger from the wild west, but in Sweden it’s a name associated with the sound of House. Inspired by a graffiti artist, Peter Eriksson took the name Pistol Pete when he made the move from Hip Hop to House and joined the dub Techno outfit Spektakulära System, his first foray into the world of electronic club music.
From the decks to studio, wasn’t much of a stretch from Eriksson, who had taken that knowledge from Hip Hop into the sample based world of House through an MPC 3000. His releases have been sparse but solid with EPs and 12”s on Lampuka Records, Woodsman & Lady Log and Svedjebruk, focussing on House, but incorporating elements from the broad expanse of electronic club music. His latest 12” sees him join forces Omar Santis in a funky jackin groove called Snowbar.
When he’s not working on his own music he’s also making music for Monochrome, soundtracking some of the best graffiti artists on their Youtube channel. A busy artist, producer and DJ, the name Pistol Pete today is synonymous with a true “underground” House aesthetic out of Sweden and before he joins Tellstrøm in our basement this weekend, we shot over some questions via email and ask him about his transition from Hip Hop to House, Spektakulära System and inspirations in the studio.
You came from the world of Hip Hop. Tell us a bit about earliest musical experiences and how Hip Hop brought you into production?
Well in the 90´s its was almost impossible to not get dragged into Hip Hop. I come from a small village up north in Sweden where you don’t really expect to have a Hip Hop culture, but we were a handful that were really into it. And it was kind of impossible to not connect with the people that were into it. So I started as a dj behind rappers during live shows and then evolved to playing records in clubs. This was around 98/99 ish. A few year later i bought a MPC 3000 and started to make beats.
When and how did you make the transition into electronic club music?
Around the year 2002 Hip Hop had changed its whole sound from boom bap to that jiggy sound, which I hated back then… but now kind of enjoy. Anyway that wasn’t anything I wanted to be a part of and the beats didn’t appeal to me. Around the same time I moved to a different city and met a lot of new people that showed me what they were into and I wanted to try that out as well. I got some gigs at Banken Bar and Brasserie and started buying House records instead of Hip Hop basically.
House is a pretty obvious direction to go into from Hip Hop, because the focus on sampling they share. What did you take from Hip Hop into House with you?
I see it as the same thing really. But yes the sampling part is of course a big part of it. I think that Hip Hop, House, Drum n Bass is the same thing basically. It’s all based on sampling some really great music, flip it and present it with your own touch to it. I started out making beats on a MPC3000 and I still use a MPC in the studio. And that’s usually how my session in the studio starts. Turn on the MPC and take it from there. Unfortunately I sold the 3000, but i still have all the floppys from it somewhere in the studio.
At about the same time you adopted Pistol Pete you joined/created Spektakulära System, which is dub Techno outfit, as far as I understand. What brought you all together and why has it mainly remained a live outfit?
Spektakulära System started out as an alias for Adam Craft but he involved me in it at an early point and we started to make music together. He was a big part in the transition from Hip Hop to electronic music. I was studying sound engineering at university at the time and we had some real fancy studios there and we invited some of our closest friends to jam there and it kind of evolved from there. Later on I moved to Stockholm and joined the studio that they rented there.
And it became kind of natural for us to make tracks together and we really enjoyed the jamming parts of it and I think that’s why it kind of remained as a live constellation. Me and Adam still share a studio, but a different one. And all of us have different constellations and projects. But maybe some day spekta will rise again!
Did you take up DJing at that time too, or had that been with you since Hip Hop?
Djing came first. I Started out with one 1210 and a really crappy belt driven turntable and a mixer that I bought at store that sells stereos for cars. And I think it lasted for a whole month before I destroyed all the faders.
You have quite a reserved musical output. Do you feel DJing should be extension of your work as a producer or are two completely distinguishable for you?
For me that is two different things. Djing to me is for the crowd and the people who want to have a good time at the club/bar. When I make music I do it mainly for myself and can do whatever I want to. But I also make music for commercials and clothing companies. And there is a graffiti series called Monochrome where I make almost all the music. And most of the music I do in the studio I use later on in my live sets. I don’t really want to make the same record twice either so I try quite a lot of different things in the studio and that takes time as well. I never send out demos to labels so maybe that’s why?
How would you describe your sound in the booth for the uninitiated?
I would say it’s based around House, but I always try to mix it up a bit, old stuff with new stuff. Different rhythms and moods. My attention span isn’t that good so I always look for something different than my last gig.
How does that relate to your productions do you think?
I always get really inspired the day after I DJ. And the first thing I’ll do in the morning is to start Ableton and try to capture some of the vibe from the night before.
Your last solo 12” came out via Svedjebruk. Can you tell us a bit about some of the ideas behind that release?
They guys at Svedjebruk heard me playing a live-set before Don Williams here in Stockholm. And they contacted me after that and said that they wanted to release some of the stuff that I had in my set. So “Montana” kind of started it and we took it from there.
This year you followed it up with collaborative work with Omar Santis. What was it like working with another artist and what do you think it brings out in your music?
Most of the time it’s better to work with someone. You get a different flow and don´t sit and tune a hi-hat or watch youtube for 2 hours. So that definitely helps. But if you don’t have the same vision about the track it can get quite complicated. But me and Omar come from the same Hip Hop background and both know when we have something good to keep going on. The downside is that we drink to much wine and have to correct everything the day after.
These releases followed quite quickly on the other while there’s a bigger gap between previous releases. What can we expect from you in the near future?
Omar and I have another track that’s going to be released later on this year and I’m working on a follow up to Stockholmska Ryggdunkarsällkapet. I have some plans with U.E.S and I’im gonna keep on doing music for spraydaily as well.
Can you play us out with a song?