Littered with crucial dubs and exclusives by all of the Overview collective – Waeys to Wingz, Klinical to Koherent, Operate to Offline – the mix tells the story of the label and hints heavily at an exciting year to come.
It’s a year Peter is feeling particularly inspired about. On a label perspective, he’s inspired by the forthcoming label tour of New Zealand and Australia and initiatives such as the second annual Overview Music mentorship for female-identifying artists, which this year is run in collaboration with Enada’s Dynamics platform.
On a more personal perspective, he’s been working hard on his health and habits to ensure Overview can continue to level up for many years to come. We called him up to find out more. Read on as you enjoy the mix…
Happy New Year man! Reading a post of yours at the end of the year, I think you’ve overcome some challenges?
I guess… I wanted to check myself and not go down that bragging route. I didn’t just want to compile all my achievements. I wanted to be honest about life. I had a very interesting year with highs and lows and the second half of the year was definitely challenging.
I’d come from this incredible 2021 where it felt like nothing could go wrong. Overview was having successful parties and releases, I was travelling around the world. I was living the perceived dream but I think I had too much of a good thing in certain aspects and got a little complacent about certain ways I was living my life and taking people for granted. There were a few turning points along the way, some were very public and divisive, which set in motion a series of mistakes and fall-outs. I didn’t deal with it mentally and turned to things which didn’t help me. Like drink and drugs.
That’s what I was referring to. I felt an empathy and can relate.
Oh okay. Yeah. Addiction is a scary subject, it’s a difficult and confusing topic. I think it’s a spectrum it’s not a black and white situation and we all have different coping strategies don’t we? For me it’s been drink and cocaine which are two drugs that are too prevalent on the drum & bass scene. No one really discusses this, it’s the unspoken side of rave culture and drum & bass culture but it’s unbelievably rife. Especially booze. People don’t see it as a hard drug but it is. Alcohol can destroy people and when you start touring and playing shows it’s so abundant and almost expected of you and it’s so easy to get carried away. That took its toll on me. I went sober for a few months last year, which I really benefited from, and I’m back on that now.
You’ve gone fully t-total?
Yeah 100% at the moment.
I spoke to Dub Phizix about this lately, he’s been sober for six years now and his journey has been inspiring. But we spoke about it and agreed that the reason why most of us get on it is to feel more relaxed to keep the anxieties at bay. Especially when on tour. And he believes a lot of that is down to everyone feeling those anxieties.
Yeah there’s a lot of truth in that. When we last met at Noisia Invites in Amsterdam I was fully sober and had been for a while. That was one of the best nights of my life and an incredible weekend and I hadn’t touched a drop of anything. That was an example I’d set for myself and a reminder that I can do it and have fun and live this life without those trappings. The older you get, the more you tour, the more the type of behaviour will have repercussions on your health so it’s something I want to be really disciplined with.
And something we should probably all talk about more than we do…
Yeah. It’s becoming more openly discussed but I think there’s more of a journey to go on for the scene and spoken about more. Making people aware of certain dangers. And it’s inspiring hearing about guys like Dub Phizix. I think Rockwell is also on that journey. It’s bizarre when you think about it; what other profession in the world does someone go to work and is expected to get pissed?
It’s something Fatboy Slim said in an interview about occupational hazards of the job and that’s exactly what he’s talking about. The stress on your body if you’re touring constantly and putting your body under the physical pressures of flying, travelling, being on the road and drinking heavily, that’s going to take its toll. So I figure as I start to tour and travel more this should be a priority for me.
Salute to that. And moving onto the mix and you as a DJ, I’m definitely seeing progression here from Peter Piper who runs Overview and promotes events to Energy, the DJ, who runs Overview and also promotes events. The DJing side hasn’t been as prominent or happened overnight for you.
It’s interesting to hear that and I feel lucky in that respect. If I had had the success I’m having now at a younger age then I wouldn’t have handled it correctly. It’s certainly taken me longer to get these opportunities and I want to relish and savour them and keep an eye on the future. I’ve got so much responsibility now with the label. Burning out would mean I let a lot of people down with the label. I know what it feels like to lose things overnight, there are no certainties in life, so you have to give yourself the best chances. I can’t run Overview at my best if I’m always hungover or coming down. I have a lot at stake and that drives me to be my best self, set an example and help everyone on the label to achieve what they want to achieve.
Love that. As a label owner – especially when some of your artists are very young and might even still be in school – that’s a huge responsibility for you. I’m really inspired by that in general in the scene. I think the culture of helping each other and being supportive is much more rife and healthy than it was years ago.
I guess so. I’ve not known things any other way. We’ve heard stories about how it used to be, how hard it was to get into the scene and how closely guarded it all was but we’ve always been like this right from the start. Everyone is very open and on a similar wave length to be like that. Being involved in creative lifestyles is really hard. It’s hard to make it. It’s full of challenges. Why make it more unwelcoming? We’re all human, we all start somewhere, we should all respect each other. Is it a generational thing?
I think you’ve touched on it – it’s so damn hard now. It’s always been hard. But for people who came through in the 90s, they came from free art schools and enjoyed youth initiatives, vinyl made money. All that stuff. Creative people need to be so much more flexible and experimental with how they do things now to barely break even.
Yeah you’re right. Plus the volume of people doing things, even in my time, has increased hugely. More people after a slice of the pie. Obviously the size of pie is getting bigger too but it’s very hard, there’s a lot of competition and that’s why the community aspect is so important. We need to help each other and have that sense of support and feel part of something bigger or it would be even harder.
Yeah! Initiatives like EQ50 and your own mentorship are a reflection of that and very inspiring.
Thanks and I’m really inspired by how things are developing. Last year we had three artists – Sequent, Liohness and [IVY] – and it showed what was possible. The problem was a lack of female identifying producers in the scene, so what can we do about it? EQ50 were a huge influence and are the trailblazers on this and our opportunity to develop our own mentorship came about very organically. We can already see the progression in quality in terms of the people applying this year and I think as a scene we’re starting to see the benefits of what EQ50 has done with how far Nia Archives has taken things.
In terms of our own mentorship, again it’s a responsibility. It was really hard to select the successful mentees because everyone who applied was so talented and showed so much promise. We initially planned on four applicants but took on six because of this. I wanted to take them all on but we wouldn’t have done the course justice. I have to shout out Deanna (Enada) from Dynamics. She’s a huge part of this and is way more organized than me and has so many things planned for the year ahead. That’s inspiring for me.
I mean fundamentally my job is to bring people together and connect people, right? Be that as a DJ, a label owner, a promoter. But with this there’s a bigger goal and more poignant idea behind it. I’m really proud of the collective of mentees we’ve got and Deanna has really helped to level this up. It’s looking really good.
Awesome! So let’s chat about the mix. I’ve never actually seen you DJ. Unlike a lot of the DJs in this series so far. But I know it’s going to be sick because of the reputation of Overview. What do you have in store?
It will be 100% Overview. Most mixes I do usually are. We’ve got such a great back catalogue and have so much amazing music coming up, I’d be mad not to. Most sets I play in clubs are too actually. Especially when I’m booked in an Overview capacity. I’ve tried to play Overview sets to other crowds and it’s not always worked.
Oh like a student crowd or more of a mainstream booking?
Yeah and that can be a challenge. There’s a difference between an Overview night and a more general night. Drum & bass can be quite tribal in that way; people who love dancefloor or jump-up might not be aware of what we do, or be into it. Some people want to go absolutely nuts and that’s not what we’re about. But over the years I’ve got a feel for that. I’ve always been a DJ, this isn’t a new thing at all. Before anything else, I was a DJ.
Through Overview I’ve got to DJ around the world. But we are quite niche and with some of the drum & bass trends at the moment, I would say our music isn’t as accessible or as instantly likeable as other styles.
Serum mentions this in an interview about how he found that crowds were reacting the most to big drops or big vocals this summer.
Yeah that combined with social media has meant it’s about getting the big impact as quick as possible and Overview will never be about that. But Boomtown was a great example of how this style of drum & bass can work with big crowds.
YES! Actually… The fact you posted that Boomtown was your first festival blew me away!
Haha. I’m an anomaly. I think it’s because I‘ve been so skint for so many years I’ve never been able to go and it never really appealed to me. Being from Horsham there wasn’t a massive festival culture among the small amount of raving mates. But I did walk around Boomtown thinking ‘why haven’t I done this before?’
Are you just more of a club guy? Overview is a clubby sound. Underground. Low ceilings. Dark rooms.
Hey we can do mainstage!
No doubt. But you’re not necessarily catering for that or pandering to that. There are more subtleties.
Maybe yeah. My whole raving life has revolved around clubs like The Volks in Brighton and putting on my own parties. That’s where my focus has always been. And you’re right; we don’t release big festival bangers. Or haven’t traditionally. And one big ambition for me is to get some Overview presence at festivals. We’re doing well with club shows and having such an international roster of artists definitely helps us spread our wings in clubs around the world. But festivals are the next stage for us for sure. People who are into what we do, love what we do. But at festivals you have a chance to expose people who don’t know what we do to our music.
Only a matter of time. I was chatting to Haden Revan and he said you’ve got this knack of finding future talent – Gyrofield, Operate, Klinical, Waeys. The more artists you support who go onto great things will feedback to the presence and appeal of Overview. Look at other labels in a similar field who’ve been operating for 10 or 15 years longer…
I love Haden haha. I get that logic and I hope that’s true. That’s not why I champion any act – it’s because I really think they’re making outstanding music and I want to help them get their music to people.
All about the connecting again. So, signing out, what do you want to see more of in 2023 in drum & bass?
In terms of Overview we’re in a good place in terms of who we have involved. A few people are in the wings to come and join, which is exciting. I want to carry on the consistent path that we’re on and develop with the artists. We’re all rising together and it’s a case of seeing what happens next. I like being open and receptive and open minded to what the artists are trying to do and it’s exciting hearing how the sound is changing and developing all the time.
One thing I’d love to do is release a proper artist album on the label. Some people aren’t into albums but from a label perspective that would be an exciting creative challenge. So that’s an ambition for us and we do have an artist looking to work on one but I won’t get too ahead of ourselves or put too much pressure on him. An album has to come from the artist doesn’t it.
Absolutely! Any releases to look forward to?
Loads! We’ve got a release from a new guy called Azotix. He’s 17 and ridiculously talented making music way beyond his years and fits well on the label. So keep an eye out for him. Offline is another artist we’re looking to work with later in the year. And of course more from the crew – Klinical has a new single, Koherent have a release, Wingz, Nami, Rueben. All the usual lot!
And more DJing from Energy!
Haha. If anyone wants to book me then I’ll happily do an Overview takeover. I’m playing a lot of the Overview shows and getting out more as myself. My big thing at the moment is tackling this year with a clear mind, taking things seriously, being good to myself and putting myself in the best position possible. I’m so proud of what Overview has achieved but there’s still so much more I want to do and I’m feeling in a good place about that. Watch out world!