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What's up?

Polyend Records: 6 Questions with Pete Cannon

Artists | What's up Jun 27, 2023

Pete Cannon is known for his use of classic hardware to create legendary Jungle productions. Created on the Polyend Tracker, Pete's EP Crinkled Poetry was released in conjunction with his custom Artist Edition Tracker.  With the launch of Polyend Records, Crinkled Poetry is available for purchase for the first time if you didn't snag Pete's limited edition Tracker.  Here are 6 questions for Pete! 

Hi Pete!  Can you share some of the music, live shows, or raves that deeply inspired you while growing up?

Hiya, right, let’s get straight into it then. I remember the first ever rave tape I got at the age of 11 was an Easygroove Obsession tape from Westpoint at the end of 92. A lot of tapes were getting traded round secondary school. It started as soon as I got there because I had been waiting to get my hands on more underground electronic music since hearing compilations like Rave 92 and loving bands like The Shaman.
I’m from Blackpool, a small town in the North of England where there was only one real independent dance/record shop back in the day. Melody House changed my life just like that Easygroove tape. At first, I thought Easygroove was playing all this music live, kind of like The Shaman, but he was actually doing something called DJing. Sounds silly now but with no internet and DJing being fairly new, especially in a place like Blackpool and to an 11-year-old, I just wasn’t aware. Once I figured out he was playing records, that was it, I needed a set of decks. I got some cheap, all-in-one Citronics and I was off. I was collecting records before that too but mostly pop and the odd bit of Dance i could pick up from a car boot sale, but from the age of 11 with that tape, a life of digging began: be that tapes, radio shows, or records.
My first rave was at the age of 14 at a place called The Baby Bash in Preston (the next town down from Blackpool) where I saw DJ Sy. It smashed my head off and I loved it. Dancing with mates, seeing the DJs in action, and enjoying the bass properly for the first time. That rave cemented the idea that I was going to do music forever. I already had a studio and had produced loads of tracks. All terrible but part of the journey early on…

Was there a particular show or album that had a profound impact on your life? If so, could you tell us about that transformative experience?

I guess it wasn’t all rave and hardcore when I was young: I used to listen to a lot of Beatles with my dad. We’d sing them together. He plays guitar and had records out in the 70s so music was everywhere when I was little. He had a little recording studio and I started playing piano when I was 5. I wanted to be able to play with him. I had a cheap dx7 from the local junk shop and my dad’s studio bits including a little mixing desk with a tape recorder and a drum machine with a sequencer. Once I understood you could link the dx7 with midi to the drum machine I was off. Using the sequencer on the drum machine and having the outputs plugged into his little desk. Then, I added the amiga at the age of 12, it was game over 😉
Who played a significant role in introducing you to the most influential music in your life? How did their introduction shape your musical journey?

Of course, my dad but also a lad called Raving Reedy. He was the cool older kid on the school bus with all the hardcore and Jungle tapes. He would lend them to me for the night so I could make a copy. His brother was a DJ I think and he got loads of tapes from him. In fact, there was a little community at school, all swopping tapes and tape packs. My dad would get pissed off with me using his big hi-fi in the front room, recording tapes on hi-speed dub, haha. 10 tapes a night sometimes…

Throughout your career, you have developed a distinct and consistent style.  Can you elaborate on whether this was a conscious choice or something that naturally evolved? If it was an intentional decision, were there specific sounds, samples, or gear you actively sought out to achieve your signature sound?
I feel like you can try your best to hone a sound or push yourself in a certain direction but the nuts and bolts of it is to be yourself. People know when you’re reaching or emulating, it’s easy, when you’re creating, it’s just you and your ideas, fuck what anyone else is doing. Be bold, go for it, pull the trigger, and be true to your ideas. We should never let the technology dictate an idea but certain bits of equipment do push us in particular directions. I love trackers for chopping, I still use the Amiga for its sound and the nostalgia it gives me. I enjoy modular as it makes me concentrate on crafting sounds…it goes on. However, as I say, just give me a mic and a tape recorder and I’ll make something. I have to make music every day just for the state of flow, which is the most important part of production/writing for me, just doing it. You can’t exist in the past, you can’t exist in the future so elevate the now with flow via the medium that is music.

When you start working on a new track, how do you typically begin the creative process? Is there a specific workflow, concept, or idea that serves as a catalyst for your music-making?
Turn your phone off and disconnect the door bell. Dig new sounds, play with the synths for hours. Try and have an idea before hand, then achieve it. Once you start and you’re about 2 hours in, the flow can begin and all of a sudden you’re bouncing around. Think of an idea and just do it, pull the trigger instantly, be bold, next, next, next…BUT ALWAYS TURN YOUR PHONE OFF!

Turing your phone off is sage advice.  Do you have any rituals or routines that you follow when starting a new track or album?

Get sleep, eat well, try to do some exercise. Obvious stuff and Im not always the best at it, but these simple practices can help. My partner is always telling me to have breaks, leave the studio, go to the park, stroke a dog, hug a tree etc However, again, get stuck in…just make sure you have a deadline and know how much you’re getting paid.

Find Pete’s EP Crinkled Poetry at Polyend Records.

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