- Film by Mr Leon St-Amour, Creative Director, MR PORTER
Mr Gilles Peterson found out he had a "problem" regarding vinyl when he was a teenager growing up in London. And like all true addicts, he attempted to conceal his vice. "I'd have to hide my records from my mum behind a tree at the end of the road," he says. He can be a bit more brazen these days, but his fondness for vinyl has failed to diminish. Thankfully, he found a way to turn a weakness into a profession.
A DJ with roots in jazz and soul, Mr Peterson presents a BBC Radio 6 show in the UK, plays genre-spanning sets the world over and has set up music labels Talkin' Loud, Acid Jazz and Brownswood. His job certainly feeds the act of collecting, but others in his line of work increasingly choose to subsist solely on CDs and MP3s. Mr Peterson is partial to the practicality of a set with a USB stick - but electronic files, he says, lose some "essence". With vinyl, there is, "an invisible depth... soul".
The "physicality, ownership and artwork" of records inspires the Swiss-French producer - who is fresh from completing his latest album in Brazil - to offer hefty sums for certain gems, such as the £1,000 he's prepared to pay for Mr José Prates' Tam Tam Tam! (and may yet ask Polydor to reissue). As he shows us around his collection, he digs out a Sun Ra sleeve and describes it as a "Matisse". Another - a record made especially for Pope Jean Paul II - "should be in a bank".
To get to grips with Mr Peterson and his 40,000-strong collection, we accompanied him for a day - from his north London HQ, to a Paris DJ set at La Bellevilloise, via a trip to his favourite record store. Press play on the film, above, to find out more - and click on the Spotify link, below, to hear the the tracks he's currently listening to. His latest album, Sonzeira: Brasil Bam Bam Bam, is out now.
Words by Mr Tom M Ford, Features Writer, MR PORTER
Produced in Rio and released on Talkin' Loud / Virgin EMI - Sonzeira: Brasil Bam Bam Bam showcases the many different flavours of authentic Brazilian music culture