Just last week ozzie female rapper Sky’high let loose her ‘Your Highness’ EP, produced completely by P-Money. He is the reason most of us know about her, and a big reason why we pay attention. In stark contrast to this sound, we have The Disco 3 project, a collaboration with DJ Dan Aux that was released last year. His straddling of these two genres, first seen over three years ago with his hit song and album of the same name ‘Everything’, doesn’t look to be subsiding. I caught up with Peter Money recently to get the run down on what he’s been up to and what projects he has in the pipeline. We cover a lot of ground, and begin with life after his third album.
How did people connect with the ‘Everything’ album compared to your previous two albums?
The songs that people heard from the record got great responses. The album itself wasn’t a seller. Maybe people just didn’t dig it or maybe people didn’t know it was out there because the marketing was pretty low level. I think the biggest mistake I made with the album was actually titling it ‘Everything.’ The song ‘Everything’ was already a year old by the time the album was released…probably a bad idea because it sounded like it was an old album, when it was a new one.
Because it was mainly a dance album, you’d gone away from the Hip Hop heavy album, were you feeling confused then as to where to go from there?
No, because although the record didn’t ship heaps of numbers, the songs were really well received and my show bookings went up exponentially. I actually had one of my busiest years. I did 50 something shows in the year, where the year prior I may have done 20. So I was booked in a broader variety of venues where I could play dance music and Hip Hop. Instead of just doing Hip Hop nights, I’m now doing raves and dance parties, it just doubled my bookings. In that regard it was a great move because I enjoy making that music and I’m glad that other people enjoy listening to my dance music, and its good for the longevity of my career, being acknowledged as a DJ that can play a multitude of styles.
So, what are you thinking in terms of the music that you want to make now?
Prior to starting the process, I don’t sit there and go, ‘I want to do this, or this kind of song.’ I just start, oftentimes digging through records and finding new samples. Or loading up a bunch of new sounds in my drum machine and sequencer and throwing them together. Sometimes they sound better at different tempos. The sounds influence what the style is going to be. I still make 80 to 90 percent just straight Hip Hop music, but then I make fast stuff, for dance floors.
You said 80 – 90 percent of the beats you make are still hip hop beats?
Yeah, that’s what I make naturally without thinking, most of the time that’s just what comes out.
I was gonna ask before I heard you say that, did you fall out of love with Hip Hop for a little while, were you just sick of it for a bit?
Yeah I did, but that was ages ago now, that was like 07. It was a combination of things that happened that turned me off the music for a while. But you know, it’s found it’s way back into my heart.
So what brought you back?
Some good releases. Some good new emcees. I’ve been in the music industry for 10 to 12 years and the game changed, as everyone knows, but it changed a lot. Around 06, 07, 08 was the big change. As a DJ and as a fan, I kind of lost track of where to keep up with the play. The print magazines were kind of behind the times and covering people I thought were wack, the radio had gone real super wack, so I couldn’t trust the radio, I just wasn’t really up on all the blogs and I would just hear of new acts from friends. You know, I’d been the dude who, I knew where all my sources of music were from and I was the person with the cutting edge music. I used to do a radio show and present new music every week, I was the first guy, it was me and Sirvere and maybe one or two other people in the country who knew what was up. And I lost that position, well that access to the music, I was confused, like what the hell is going on here? Fortunately I had friends that were a bit younger and savvy and they had all the music.
I was like OK, but who are all these artists? I didn’t buy into the artists because it didn’t come about the way I was used to it coming about. So it was actually from travelling, going to SXSW with David Dallas a couple of times and seeing these new artists in the flesh and going, ‘OK, that person’s legit, that one’s legit, that one’s all hype, that dude is just wack, don’t even know why anyone goes on about them’. Just getting your bearings and going, OK, these are some artists that I can champion and I’ll listen to their album and I dig it and I wanna share it with people. Now, I’m in the groove with it again. I think that’s what happened with Hip Hop, it lost me for a bit, and then I found it again.
There was a pretty cool moment actually at SXSW that involved one of your favourite DJs and producers, A-Trak, but I’ll let you tell the story.
We went to the Fools Gold party and I was looking forward to seeing A-Trak, who has always been an influence, I was looking forward to seeing him perform. Either the opening track or the second song he played was ‘The Soul’ which was one of my productions…I’m pretty sure he didn’t know I was there at the time he played it…but that was pretty special and good validation because, still at that point I’d only been doing the disco or house thing for about a year and I was still not as confident as I am in my other pursuits. I was like, am I actually good at this? So for someone like that who was also very much into the dance scene as well as a Hip Hop kid, and a taste-maker, to play that record at that party, at that event, SXSW, was a big deal. So that was really nice, it was a good moment.
You mentioned that was validating because you weren’t so confident. How comfortable are you now with that style of music?
I’m a lot more comfortable, I’ve learnt more about it. At first, it was like, ‘I don’t wanna do house music, but I wanna do my music, and it’ll be fast.’ As basic as that. I was like, ‘I’m just making Hip Hop, but it’s fast.’ (laughs) Then I learnt more and developed even a greater understanding and appreciation for what dudes are doing in those circles. So I thought, let me take on a bit more of that style and make my records really fit in the genre so DJs and fans can listen and enjoy it and it fits in the mix. So, that’s happening now, with the new stuff, the song ‘Kinda Lovin’ that I did with Dan Aux (The Disco 3) is getting lots of support. Once again, A-Trak’s a big fan, he put it on his Fools Gold radio show, which gets listened to all around the world, and there’s interest in the record from France and all over the States and stuff, which hasn’t happened with my stuff in the last 18 months, 2 years.
I suppose you were kind of just catching up to yourself, because your first dance record went to number one, before you’d learnt what it was about right?
Yeah, I guess the song ‘Everything’ with Vince Harder, was a runaway success because it was a hybrid. It wasn’t all the way house music, it definitely wasn’t all the way Hip Hop even though it was sample and beats based and it wasn’t R&B, even though it had an R&B and pop vocal. It was all of those things, it crossed formats, it got played on urban stations, pop stations and underground dance stations. It got all the way to London and we got played over there, and it was great. It was this in between record.
Do you find you’re more productive when you have a specific artist in mind, or a specific artist to work for? Like how you worked with Scribe and PNC quite a bit when they were first coming out? Is it more motivating to have a specific artist in mind that you’re working with?
Truth be told, no. It’s always been a case that artists have come along looking for music, at times when I’ve had music already made. With Scribe, nearly everything was a case of, ‘what beats have you got?’ ‘I’ve done these lately.’ And then he’d pick from what I’d done, whether I thought they suited him, or I didn’t, that was really up to him. If he liked it, he used it. Same for PNC or any of the artists I’ve worked with. I’ve just been fortunate at certain times to have music available when people are looking for it, and if it matches it matches, and we do songs. And then I get on the whole producer side of it and finish the songs and add more stuff to the rough beats. They always end up different to what they start out as.
Do you enjoy that as much as making beats, doing the finishing touches?
Yeah, totally. I really love producing a song, whether I made the beat or not. There’s music I’ve worked on as a producer that I didn’t write. I’m doing a lot of that at the moment for different artists. I’m being brought in as a producer to add my thoughts or help make decisions on how a record should sound and what the mixes should sound like, the arrangement of the song, the vocal performance, all those aspects that make a traditional producer, I guess. I’ve kind of grown into that – starting out as a Hip Hop guy that just does beats and now being a bonafide producer.
Who are you working with now?
Currently I’m midway through an album project for Aaradhna, midway through an album project for Annabel Fay and I’ve just finished an EP, which might turn into an album, with an Australian artist called Sky’high. So all females, three very different female artists.
What attracted you to Sky’high?
I saw a youtube video of her rapping live at a radio station, a friend showed it to me. I was asking who was talented out in Sydney, and he said, ‘there’s this girl.’ I loved it straight away, her attitude; her ability as an emcee, the flow, the lyrics, the voice, the whole package to me was appealing. I immediately asked to line up a meeting for us, and we met up within a day or two of me hearing her stuff, from there we kept communication and then we got working.
Are you perhaps more hands on with her in terms of career guidance, being that she’s a new artist?
Yeah I guess so, we’ve created kind of a co-management scenario with me and my friend Sam Dutch from Grinding in Sydney. So he’s hands on cos’ he’s there every day. As far as direction and trying to build her into a bigger artist, definitely I’m quite involved with her career so far, those early stages.
What is it that you do with Aaradhna?
I heard a conversation from the guys at Dawnraid, they were trying to discuss how to create the record that she wanted, and the sound that she wanted to achieve…So I said hey, give it to me, give me a shot at it, I’ll try and make it work. I was able to play that role, and get in the studio to create the tracks that she wanted, it was a real vintage, soul, late 50’s, 60’s sound. So it needed a delicate touch, someone who had attention to detail and a knowledge of how to get those tones out of instruments and make it sonically sound vintage and like the records that she was referencing. So far, she’s really happy with the sound, and I’m happy with the sound. That’s my role, to oversee it and make it sound as good as it can.
Where does this leave you and your music? Are you working towards another album?
Albums are funny ay, because even when I did the last one, I didn’t think I was gonna do an album, I wanted to just put out songs, single releases on iTunes. I was like, I don’t need to do an album. But then I got to a point where I had a certain body of work, and I thought, this actually works as an album, in my head, so I made an album. Now I’m back to the same point where I just wanna continually be releasing projects and different pieces of work.
I recently did a dance project with Dan Aux called the Disco 3 EP, three Disco House songs, that fit together. Sky High is my little Hip Hop project, that’s putting all my rap beats into that pile, because she was hungry and took them all and rapped to all of them.
After this process I’ll buckle down and make a whole bunch of new beats and I wanna get new vocalists that I’ve found and existing talent and do some more collaborations and put those out under my name.