What do a wrecked university house, Signal’s breakout single Indirect and the next wave of underground D&B talent have in common? Peter Piper Maxted, that’s what. An erstwhile run-of-the-mill D&B fan, he caught the bug after seeing Skibadee for the first time in 2009 in a eureka moment which those committed to 170 sonics will likely recognise from their own experiences. A desire to get involved collided with the south coast scene of the early 2010s and, as we get close to 2020, Peter’s journey as a behind-the-scenes playmaker has come a long way.
Beginning with a Project X style, newsworthy house party back in his university days, Peter has been a regular fixture in the D&B scene as both a music and event promoter who’s worked through multiple channels. Known for a sense of humour that’s either rubbish or hilarious depending on your perspective, Peter has likely had a hand somewhere along the way in at least 1 of your favourite underground bangers from the past 5 years.
After his long-term role in Lifestyle Music came to an unceremonious end last year, he’s now gone on to found Overview Music. A brand-new label with a sharp-edged aesthetic and even sharper tunes that are deeply rooted in a minimalist take on the UK underground, and come from a league of vital new generation artists, Peter’s story has moved into its next chapter.
We caught up with him to try and get the long-term story of his role in D&B so far, to try and understand how he’s gone from barely avoiding legal issues over a house party gone wrong to releasing top-notch music via his very own imprint. It’s an interesting tale and one which illuminates the behind the scenes action we don’t always get to hear…
How did you originally get into D&B?
I went to Skidabdee’s birthday bash in 2009, which was my first real experience of seeing D&B in that environment, in a club and surrounded by people going mental. I was just absolutely blown away and I remember clearly walking back from that gig and wanting to know everything I could about the genre. It was a real eureka-type epiphany and I don’t think I’ve had too many experiences similar really.
You must’ve got stuck in quickly though, because you were then involved in an infamous house party, right? Tell us what happened…
I started my university degree and started listening to D&B more and more, it was the era of Chase & Status More Than A Lot, so I was rinsing that album on repeat. I was living in student accommodation, in this big university house and we started having more people over, until one day having one party with some DJs and a speaker, which was a lot of fun.
Because there were noise complaints we’d broken university rules and they gave us a date to move out the property. So, we basically decided to throw one final party. We got a six stack speaker system installed in one of the bedrooms, a whole load of Brighton’s prominent DJs at the time (including High Maintenance and De:tune) came down and we essentially told everybody and anybody that they could turn up.
I put the postcode on Facebook and essentially half the population of Worthing showed up. Initially everything was okay, but things quickly started to get out of control. People were skateboarding out of windows, dancing on kitchen surfaces, then some idiot decided to turn the broken shower on, so water ended up filling the bathroom up to your ankles and there was a big wet patch on the downstairs ceiling, which then fell through.
It basically descended into complete chaos and the property got really badly damaged by some people that attended and although it was like something you see in a movie, it was also incredibly dangerous and I’m lucky that I didn’t end up in a worse way.
And would I be correct in saying that this made you somewhat infamous within the south coast scene?
The DJs that played on the night were some of the event promoters at The Volks nightclub in Brighton at the time, one of them being Frequency D&B which was run by High Maintenance and De:Tune. So, I ended up getting very friendly with all them because I was ‘the kid who did the party’.
That was then when I went on to start South Coast Vibes, which was sort of a youth media brand, and also started this podcast. I saw an opportunity because it was around the time that UKF was just starting to really kick off, Inspector Dubplate and things like that. The internet and the D&B scene was very different back in 2009 and I guess I saw an opportunity, so we had a podcast, a Youtube channel and I got involved in event photography. And yeah, I had some very high ambitions with it.
This was also the same time that I got into legitimate event promotion in my own town of Horsham. People knew me as the guy who put on parties, so why don’t I try and do events myself?
And doing that channel is how you got to know Lifestyle Music right?
No, that was through Capital Drum and Bass, which I also became involved in. I met Felix in London and he was running the label, so I told him to hit me up with some music and we promoted some releases from the label. I think it’d been going for five years at the time and so it made complete sense for me to come on board. This is about 2014.
Lifestyle was really exciting. It was a great opportunity and it was what I wanted to be doing, so I threw myself wholeheartedly into it. Because then I ended up doing so much, we basically agreed to go into partnership on the project together and we decided that I’d then become a director and a co-owner of the business.
The next couple years after that you worked on some pretty serious projects, right?
It wasn’t too long after that we had a few big tracks and then there was a real turning point where we signed a single from Signal, which ended up being his real breakthrough track and it was Lifestyle’s first big anthem.
Then we followed it up with some very consistent releases and the next big one was the Australian Connection project, which took two years to create. Two years later, finally, we released it and then went and toured Australia, we played three shows in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne and I would still say that that’s the best thing I’ve ever done with my life.
Then these issues came to a head….
Yeah. Although on the face of it we were doing incredibly well, there was a lot going on behind the scenes and things weren’t working out. And unfortunately some of that went public on social media. If you know, you know. If you don’t, then it doesn’t matter. It certainly wasn’t my intention to do what I did and I didn’t see the repercussions of it. It was the final straw between myself and Felix and everything I emotionally invested into Lifestyle for over five years had gone…
Then you came back with Overview…
At first I was fucking distraught. It was one of the most horrible things I’ve had to deal with as a human being on this planet. As I said, I put so much of my life into it and it pushed me to the brink.
But when people face challenges in their life, they have to pick themselves up. As hard as it was, I had a lot of people reach out and offer support, people were contacting me that I hadn’t spoken to in years, old school friends and others I had no idea about. A lot of people were telling me to start my own label and in a way its right, the big issue of not having control, not having control over my own future and not having control over what I was doing. It was like right, this makes sense, maybe this can happen.
Having really talented producers turn around and say, ‘if you do something, I will support you, I’ll give you music to help you’. That’s a very inspiring thing. Although its starting again, it’s far from starting at the bottom. In some respects, it was a very refreshing challenge. I was motivated by what happened, I guess finding a way to challenge my pain and give myself a sense of purpose because that’s what I got taken off of me.
So, what’s your vision for Overview? What’s your vision for what it could become?
I want it to get back to where I was and then push on further. To be releasing top brow music that’s moulding the scene and having a big impact and to be putting on events around the world and to be just doing something really cool and fun. Having a great set of people around me as well.
How did your first release go?
It went really well. The whole thing was just a really smooth process, I couldn’t have asked for the music to be better, I had some really great tracks on there from people that I massively respect and it’s such an honour to be able to release their music, we put some great artwork and animation together and it got really well received.
I couldn’t have done it without key people and I would have to give a special shout out Lockjaw at Sine Sound Mastering for all his work, as well as Sub Antics for being instrumental from the beginning and providing the sick animation and the rest of my new label team. Not the forget the artists themselves EiZO, Ewol, Gran Calavera, Klinical, MISSIN, and Talkre.
In a way, are you glad things have happened in the way they have?
Yeah. I am. I couldn’t see that for a long time, and it’s had a big effect on me and on some of my reputation and there are certainly negative elements to what happened. That’s the thing, it’s taking a negative situation and turning it around and I’m proud of myself, I know I’ve surprised a lot of people out there. It was not easy to go through and then to turn it around and create a record label from scratch in 3 months and launch it and do a really successful launch party at the Volks is an impressive feat.
I don’t know if the Lifestyle thing will be resolved, maybe it will with time but no, doing this and the first release has been the most amount of fun I’ve had within D&B for a long time. It’s now a case of what next and pushing on and keeping the momentum going, I’ve got some really great people around me who want to be involved. But it is still tricky, I don’t have five years of releases behind me and it’s still not a name, but it’s proving to be a lot of fun.
Talk us through the next few months on Overview then…
I’ve got some singles and releases coming up. We just had the debut release from LMB and we’ve got a single from Wingz, which is getting some seriously heavy support, including from Noisia and Enei. Then we have a real standout single from a producer who’s really blown up in the past year or so, the boy wonder himself Klinical. It’s been a real treat to watch and be part of his development, he’s a major talent. Following that Talkre from the first EP is also getting a release together, as well as one of my favourite artists Gamma.
Doing the country series projects on Lifestyle was the most amount of fun I’ve had, and I really enjoyed those albums, they did mean a lot to me. In some respects, I feel like they got taken off of me and so I am in the process of formulating a new LP for a new country and I’m going to do it for Overview. D&B is a worldwide thing now and there are some immensely talented producers out there and I still want to be involved in pushing that and helping the scene grow.
As you can see, a lot is happening. It’s partly surreal. I didn’t think I’d be doing all this 6 months ago, but I’m just going with it. Excited to see what the future holds…