Peanut Butter Wolf

I enjoy the DJing and I enjoy putting out other peoples music. It keeps it fresh.

Chris Manak AKA Peanut Butter Wolf is the man behind Stones Throw Records and a special kind of DJ. His eye for selection extends from his eclectic DJ sets into his label, where he is able to release the music he loves and give support to some incredible artists.

"I was never a good rapper. I couldn't do graffiti to save my life, you know. I'm awkward in interviews, but I do like to share my story.

"I was always the shy kid. That's why I was always behind the turntables.

"When I was in second grade, I had a teacher named Mr Bowman. He taught me about disco, soul and funk, and this was right before Saturday night fever came out. Ironically my house actually, the previous owner was one of the actors in Saturday night fever. He was John Travolta's right hand man in the movie.

"That was the movie that really got me into dance music, you know. I should have asked him to teach me how to dance. I've never been a good dancer, so thats kind of why I'm a DJ."

Chris had been making music and DJing from an early age. It was from playing in a band through his high school years that he found his name.

"I started making music and DJing at the same time when I was like 14.

"I was in one band in High school called 'Oliver and his Fellow Musicians'. We just started singing songs about this Peanut Butter Wolf character and then we changed the name of the band to Peanut Butter Wolf. At the same time I was DJing for this rapper Charizma and I showed him the Peanut Butter Wolf tapes, the band, you know and he was like, 'Yo that should be your DJ name!'

"I hate that name. I've shortened it to PB Wolf or PBW or Wolf, but you know, I embrace it at the same time."

Chris's label Stones Throw is another avenue for him to express his ever widening tastes.

"Stones Throw is a happy accident. I was in a group with Charizma and we were signed to Walt Disney. Our cheques had Mickey Mouses face on them. Charizma looked like fresh prince of Bel Air, and I looked like 90210.

"That label kind of folded and then Charizma and I started recording on our own, and then Charizma passed away. He was 20 years old.

"I started the label to put out his music.

"It's tough because it's the art versus the commerce thing, you know. I mean, with all of them I know it's not ever going to be as big as Justin Bieber.

"Everything that has a stones throw logo on, the vinyl or the cd or you know whatever, is something I'm really proud of."

Collecting is at the core of what Peanut Butter Wolf is about. His collections are obsessive and are what he draws from for his DJ sets, production and his style.

"What do I love about collecting? It's just always been a hobby since I was a kid. I have a huge collection of 8 x 10 photos, of course the vinyl, the albums, 7 inches, laserdiscs, VHSs.

"I watched the show hoarders, it made me really awkward because it was like the pink elephant in the room.

"DJs love nostalgia."

Playing video now means that Chris also hunts down old VHS tapes, laser discs and DVDs for old music videos and footage. This is an attempt to re-create the moment and the feel of the music visually as well as sonically. It's his way of transporting the dance floor to another time or place.

"That's what I like about DJing with videos. When you hear the songs it kind of takes you back to a time, but then when you see the video, it's so much more of a reality you know.

"When you have 6000 videos and 20,000 songs, no two sets are, you know, even close to being the same.

"People expect me to play a certain thing and I don't really wanna do that anymore.

"Thats where Folerio comes in. Folerio isn't for everybody. He's just kind of a creepy guy."

Being a label owner gives Chris a great outlet to be creative and experimental with the music he releases but also to run a business and support his artists. It's always a balance with DJing but at the end of the day, it's being able to switch between the two and keep it fresh that keeps Peanut Butter Wolf hungry and inspired.

"Im not sure what kind of scene I fit into anymore you know. I enjoy the DJing and I also enjoy putting out other peoples music. It keeps it fresh for me that I can kind of go back and forward between those two things."

Serato Icon Peanut Butter Wolf