While that particular tactic failed Peanut Butter Wolf still managed to carve out his own niche in hip hop through a vinyl
At the age of nine, when he was simply known as Chris Manak, he was buying funk and soul records before progressing to
hip hop. Founding Stones Throw Records in 1996, he's always pushed the vinyl format, even in the face of changing music technologies.
It's certainly a surprise then to visit the label's website and find its catalogue available through digital download
via Apple's iTunes.
"We're not selling more through iTunes yet, but it is something I see getting more popular every month," says
Manak. "It is a way to get the people who are only after one song, others buy the whole album too. It's one of those
if you can't beat them, join them deals."
What makes the move even more surprising is Manak still has trouble embracing CD technology, despite a decline in vinyl
"Personally I like vinyl the best," he says. "CDs for me are small, they get scratched, I loose them and
can't organise them. I hate them, actually. Vinyl has become one percent of our sales, well not that small - probably 10 percent.
It's not something I like to think about."
Since saving his lunch money for vinyl back in the 1980s, Manak has amassed an impressive record collection. His reputation
for acquiring obscure hip hop, funk and rare groove breaks which litter the outskirts of the genres but are still accessible
on the dance floor has taken him to turntables across the globe.
While he's been lucky to visit some exotic locations, seeing the standard sights hasn't been high on his list. In fact
seeing the sights in his own town hasn't been a priority.
"When I'm travelling I spend all my time off in record stores," says Manak. "For me it's more important
to go to the record stores then see any of the tourist attractions. My friend from New York was over here recently and he
realised he'd never been to the Statue of Liberty, he's lived there all his life. When I was living in San Francisco, it was
the same thing, I'd never been to Alcatraz - but I'd been to every record store."
To get an idea of Manak's far reaching tastes, simply take a look at the Stones Throw back-catalogue. Beginning as a simple
hip hop label, it's since branched into a more experimental area.
Home to hip hop eccentric, Madlib, the label is also famous for its re-issues of abstract jazz, psychedelic and funk records.
There's even a punk release. Largely ignored when they were initially released, Manak finds a similar reaction when he re-issues
"When we release it, it's slept on too," he says. "When we first were doing it we thinking, 'Great this
record only sold 500 copies the first time round; we're going to sell like a million'. But we still have a hard time finding
people who understand it the way we do and appreciate it as much.
"Whether it sells 3,000 or 30,000, we're equally happy working with it."
|peanut butter charmer