SXSW 2012 Tuesday Interview
Peanut Butter Wolf
Stones Throw founder Chris Manak, aka Peanut Butter Wolf, has been putting out albums he thought sounded cool since 1996. That's a feat. His label's presence at South by Southwest reflects its consistent, refined taste.
"There was one time during South by where I was basically marooned with a stack of records and no transportation," he chuckles. "Me and J Rocc were walking blocks and blocks trying to hail a cab. Eventually, we ended up on one of those pedicabs.
"We laugh about it now."
For Manak, SXSW is about business. A place to break newer troops, an attempt to hustle up the same sort of underground profitability his more famous investments in MF Doom and Madlib have been blessed with.
"We haven't had a lot of success with rap recently," he explains. "I stand by what we've put out, but the sales haven't been the same. I'm not going to stop releasing hip-hop because we don't have the same fan base."
Talking with Manak, you get the sense this man is running a label for his own enjoyment. When we talk about Stones Throw's much-touted subscription service, a monthly fee to get the imprint's music delivered directly to your inbox, he says it simply sounded – again – like a cool idea and was thoroughly surprised by all the attention it earned.
"I started this label because I wanted to release records I liked," he reiterates. "I've been a collector of music for a long time, I've got around 10,000 records. I really couldn't see myself doing anything besides this."