Bird Peterson: Bangers and Mash-Ups
- Words: Tony Ware
Producer Bird Peterson–not a jazzman, but he takes his pseudonym from heroes Charlie “Yardbird” Parker and Oscar Peterson–works a USB MIDI keyboard like his tracks do subwoofers: pushing air like jump-man Jordans. And in the last couple years, the 24-year-old native Texan has ridden the internet equally hard and high, using blogs like Discobelle and Gorilla vs. Bear to spread a bevy of remixes influenced equally by B-more club, nu-skool breaks, jump-up, and screwed-down mixtapes.
Before moving to Austin, Peterson (born Andrew Hoke) had started producing in his native Houston, making hip-hop beats for local and South American MCs. But he found his true calling through the Hollerboard, where DJs and producers, including Cosmo Baker, Tittsworth, and Dirty South Joe, helped Peterson learn how to build to the breakdown and go to town on a vocal line without blowing out the energy early.
“People have misconceived B-more–[they think] you can take anything on the planet, throw the ‘Sing Sing’ loop [a sample of Salsoul recording artist Gaz] under it, and make it stutter. But that’s not the case at all,” says Peterson. “There is a real art behind making a really good Baltimore club track.”
The names that have gone under Bird Peterson’s bootleggin’ knife include remix favorites and whodathunkits: Future Sound of London, Nelly Furtado, Wu-Tang Clan, Wale, The Who, Naughty by Nature, Bobby Womack, Yung Joc, Spank Rock, Lil Wayne (mashed with Black Sabbath), and Big Country. Originally, his tracks were very funk- and soul-based, but over time Peterson developed a taste for Plump DJs, Fatboy Slim, and Switch, and entered a “more synth-y bass-type zone.” The avian also takes cues from the noticeably fierce late ’90s Houston drum & bass scene and British bassline house, whose influence can be heard on tracks like “Twurk Central” (on last year’s Hot Noise LP), an homage to 4x4 garage and Conga Squad. “I’m a big fan of basslines that reflect absolutely nothing from the rest of the track,” he offers.
Peterson’s aesthetic also looks out for DJs, offering up four mix-friendly bars on the front and back ends of tracks, just like he’d like them prepped for his Serato-assisted mixes, which often blend My Morning Jacket, Queen, Iron & Wine, and Feist into the same set as Daft Punk, Ludacris, vintage DJ Zinc, and Devin the Dude.
As for what’s next, there is an EP with 215: The Freshest Kidz, production on albums from rappers Mugsy Flowz and Praddaman, remixes for Grecco Roman and Cadence Weapon, and Peterson’s own third album. “It’s going to be hotter and noisier than two flaming skeletons in a cat fight on a tin roof in July,” he says.
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