My favourite thing in the world is to be in a conversation with someone describing their passions. For DJ Perry Carter, if his title hasn’t already given it away, that passion is music. But something I misjudged before meeting him was the depth and authenticity of that passion. As painful as it is to admit, I tend to trap myself within prejudiced thoughts when discussing genres of music that, for me, are unexplored territories. Pair the letters D and J together and I’ve already stopped listening. Well, not anymore.
Newcastle has been home to Peregrine for just over three years, but by speaking with him, his active participation in the community became clear – in particular Newcastle’s music scene, and his eager attitude to become even more involved.
Growing up in a small town in Ontario, Canada (a place called Athens), Peregrine appreciates the similarities he’s discovered between his hometown and the place he now calls home. After leaving Athens, Peregrine spent some time living in Vancouver, before moving to the fast-paced city life in London for four years – which, according to him, has the best scene for house music.
Peregrine began DJing in 2008, with house music at the centre of his focus. After listening to different genres and learning about different sounds while travelling, he expanded his musical tastes and his appreciation for a huge range of genres.
Speaking of his experience living in Brixton, South London, Peregrine admits he was quite lucky because he was able to work in a famous jazz club, Ronnie Scott’s.
‘[Ronnie Scott’s] expanded my palate for music. Anyone who is anyone in the jazz world has played there… Stevie Wonder, Prince,’ Perry explained.
In addition to Perry’s exposure to the jazz community while in London, he hosted a club night, showing his eager attitude and his constant searching for more ways to be involved in the music world.
Strengthening his knowledge of music, Perry completed an Advanced Diploma in Music Business, which he admits was a visa requirement. ‘It was either that or get sponsored, but it’s almost impossible to get sponsored as a musician,’ he added. Perry appeared thankful, as he was able to meet lots of people who are now involved in the music industry. Building on his knowledge and experience, he also completed a Certificate III in Sound Production and a Small Business Management course, again thankful for the ‘great and likeminded people’ he was able to meet through his journey.
When not on stage, Peregrine teaches at the National Music Academy. And when chatting about his life, it becomes obvious quite quickly that Perry surrounds himself with music. He teaches DJing at NMA and has students ranging from nine years old up to around 50. Telling me about his students, he mentioned his eldest.
‘One of my students is a really nice lady, 50 something years old. She bought her son some turntables and he got into it for a little bit but stopped… She didn’t want to waste the equipment, so she’s come in and is spinning vinyl. It’s so cool.’
Chances are you’ve probably seen one of Perry’s DJ sets. On my short walk from my car to the café where I met him, I passed two posters for different events he had played at. While he’s often playing these sets, Perry says he ‘wants to be more involved in the [music] scene in Newcastle, more than just get hired by an agency. I want a couple of nights to call my own.’
Wanting to stray away from playing singles, Perry decided on a music night that will tug at the heartstrings of music lovers and evoke the senses of those that attend.
‘I want to go back to listening to music how it’s meant to be heard – on vinyl and the full-length album,’ Perry explained.
He compared it to a listening party for an album release, but has thought much deeper about the event.
‘I did some research and found that there’s science done in terms of how food tastes when listening to different things,’ Perry added. ‘So I thought, okay, why don’t I get a kitchen to pair food and the bar to pair drinks with the album?’
The album he’s talking about is the 1991 record Blue Lines by Massive Attack. Perry added, ‘A lot of people might know “Unfinished Sympathy” and a couple of other songs from it, but maybe not everyone has listened to the album from beginning to end – and that’s how you should listen to an album.’
He explains that you’ll be receiving the full experience of the album while you’re eating, listening, drinking and watching… ‘Using all of your senses’, as Perry described.
Perry’s favourite thing about Newcastle is that the people who inhabit it are ready for growth. Thankfully, he is adding to this growth as he’s bringing a wonderfully creative and cultural event to our town. The event, appropriately named SoundBite, is taking place at The Edwards – who, according to Perry, are refreshingly supportive of him and his ideas. The first date for Sound Bite is September 8th, and Perry promises to pick influential albums for each event: albums that redefined music but are perhaps a little bit more underground. He wants to take people on a journey with music, food and drink, and after realising how much knowledge, experience and passion he has in regards to music, I want to go on that journey!