Interview with Peder from The Prunes
[Conducted in July 2006]
He has done work for Grand Royal, MoWax and Ninja Tune. Remixed the Beastie Boys, DJ Krush and DJ Vadim (amongst others) and in turn had the Latch Brothers do remixes for one of his tracks. He is one third of The Prunes, one third of Pelding and half of LSD. We thought it was about time we talked to DJ Peder.
Why the name "The Prunes"?
When I hooked up with Simon and Christian (the 2 other members of The Prunes) they had these stickers with the image of an orange and a prune on them which they put up everywhere. Danish producer Phase 5 then gave us the name "Tha Prunes Brothers" when we did our record with him (Al Agami "Who Got Tha Loot"). We later changed it to "The Prunes", which we thought was more timeless I guess.
You have been quoted in saying that you guys did the Sure Shot remix as a "learning process" and that you never thought the Beastie Boys would be into it. How did you even get into the position to send them the remix?
I can't exactly recall the facts about what happened, but it was something like this. EMI A&R Jeppe Biisgaard wanted to give us a publishing deal but we needed to show what we could do with vocals and not only instrumental beats which was all we had at that moment. He had some contact at Capitol USA and as a stroke of luck the Beastie Boys where looking for remixers at the same time. So we got some Beastie vocals and Jeppe made sure they heard what we came up with. They like it and used it for 12".
The remix is sometimes titled the "European B-Boy Remix" and other times simply the "Prunes Remix". What is the official title? Do you have any idea why the title changed on the different releases?
I think Jeppe gave it the title "European B-Boy Remix" and we wanted it to always be called "Prunes Remix". You know to brand our name.
What's the meaning behing the title of your Root Down remix (the "Freezone Remix")?
Once again I think Jeppe came up with that title. The Freezone is a place in Copenhagen called Christiania which used to military grounds but was "taken" by some hippie type progressive folks in 1977 to create a society within the society. The have always (until very recently) had a liberal weed policy (meaning it was sold on the main street "pusher street"). Hence the Freezone.
The "Putting Shame In Your Game" Remix was released on the Negotiation Limerick File single as well as the first Blow Up Factor 12" but with different titles again (Prunes Remix vs Prunes RMX2). Both remixes are the same as far as we can tell but the fact that one was called "RMX2" insinuates there was also a "RMX1" - is that true?
Usually when we did remixes for the Beastie Boys we gave them 2 or 3 different ones to choose from. I think we gave them 3 "Putting Shame In Your Game" remixes.
Your remix was the only remix officially released for this song. Was it hard to mix? It's rare to even find unofficial remixes of this track.
As I recall, what we thought was hard about remixing this one was that the original beat was exceptionally good and therefore "hard to beat". We used to turn down remixes if we couldn't either do it better or take it to some other level.
With the copies we have seen of the Blow Up Factor 12" - the vinyl labels are on the wrong sides. Is your copy like this? We were curious if all copies are like this.
I'm pretty sure that all the labels are on the wrong side plus the track called Scorpio is named Scorpio/Steel. That's cause we wanted to use either Steel or Scorpio for the extra cut and therefore wrote that as the title on the early tracklists. Apparently the label didn't doublecheck this.
Was your remix of Pass The Mic done specifically for the DVD or was it created before that?
It was done specifically for the DVD which Adam Yauch was responsible for.
We heard you did a remix of the Negotiation Limerick File. Was this pressed onto any records or CDs? Was the remix sent to the band? Does it have an official title?
Yes we did a remix of that song, but it was never used. I don't know why though. I guess the official title was The Prunes remix after we learned to stick with that.
Three of the 5 remixes appear on the DVD. The only reason the others went included is because there was no video clips for them. That's a huge achivement for a bunch of guys who's first remix for the band was doing a remix as a learning project.
Yeah and we were proud of that DVD.
In February of 1995, the Beastie Boys played in Denmark. Did you guys meet up? Was it your first meeting?
We met them and went beatshopping with Mike and Mario. They were very cool and down to earth and it was a great feeling to go around shopping in your hometown with some of your heroes. That was our first meeting since then we met them a couple of times in Copenhagen, and I met Yauch in New York in 2000.
Your 12" for the Blow Up Factor series was one of the last Grand Royal releases (GR095), was there any plans for a followup single or album?
Yes we talked with Mike about doing an album and that was our main thing cause we had done a lot of 12"s and EPs and we wanted to do an album. Unfortunately it never happened.
How did you hear about Grand Royal closing? Did they call you up?
No they didn't call us. I talked a lot with Felicia Villareal from Gas Entertainment and she sent us a big ol' stack of records and was very nice.
Is it true that after James Lavelle heard your Sure Shot remix he contacted you to do some work for MoWax?
I think that was one of his reasons, yes. But I never talked to him about it.
Tell us the whole story about the Headz Headz Headz 7". Why did it not get past Test Pressing stage? Was artwork designed? How were they going to distribute it?
James' idea was to press up an acetate of the track including artwork (I think by Futura2000) and then use it as an invitation. All I know is that they only made a couple of test pressings. We never got one, which is a complete downer. For what I heard its worth a lot of money.
Apparently only 5 copies were pressed and yes, if any did come up for sale, they would be worth a small fortune. Actually, I noticed you were buying some of your own records on ebay recently. Did the labels not give you each a copy of everything you released? (beisdes the above example)
Actually no. We never received many copies; I think I got one Plot EP and one DJ Krush remix 12" and at the moment you can get those for a decent price. I'm parting with a lot of my records these days (I have a lot of crap jazz and other records that don't mean anything to me) but I know I'll treasure the ones I have had something to do with. Not that they're necessarily better but that do have some sort of sentimental value. So yes I'm shopping for my own records which is kinda bizarre.
Grand Royal and MoWax both shut down. Are you a jinx? ;)
I hope not. We weren't really high profile signings for any of those labels, so I dont think we had a part to play in their bankrupcy.
A collection of your earlier work was released in Japan ("Odd Jobs"). Are there any plans to re-release other obscure tracks? (like the elusive test pressing or the Headz 2B interludes maybe?)
Actually we are contemplating on doing a "real" The Prunes compilation with new exclusive songs and a lot of unreleased stuff (like the Negotiation remix). However its a project that needs a lot of clearing and therefore it's on hold for a little while.
Speaking of unreleased stuff, did you guys do a remix of Elbow Room for DJ Hurricane?
Yes we did. I think we did 2 or 3 versions. Do you have them, cause I have lost them myself. I remember one of them was really dope. I think they had already released the song as a single and they never rereleased it. We thought that was a little weird. If anyone out there has the remixes please hit me up on myspace.com/djpeder
No we don't them either. I just remember seeing a DAT tape with the title of "Elbow Room Prunes Remix" in the list of assets when Grand Royal went up for auction. So this is even more stuff that would be brilliant to see uncovered and finally released.
Are you still based in Denmark? What is the hiphop/breaks scene like over there these days?
Christian recently moved to Norway, but me and Simon are still based in Copenhagen. Danish music is really on a roll these days, but especially rock and electronic is leading the way. Actually I think there's way too many bands to fit our small country. The hip hop scene is also doing very good but as usual I could need some groundbreaking sounds here and not just your typical Dre/Neptune/Timbaland sound.
Are The Prunes the same lineup/respsonsibilities as they were ten years ago?
It has always been the 3 of us. But I guess you can say that The Prunes are on hold at the moment.
What are the other guys doing at the moment?
Christian works for a marketing firm in Norway and still DJs occasionally. Simon writes and directs TV Commercials and music videos.
You have some amazing photos on your website. Do you prefer photography to creating music these days? Have any of the photos been published in books or for music artwork?
Thank you. Actually I haven't really shot in about a year and half except for a fashion spread for my girlfriend's clothing company (deanpenn.com). I started taking pictures around 1999 and have made a lot of record covers and such. I really like it and will get back to it someday.
What are your priorities these days? The Prunes, Pelding, Photography? something else?
At this moment my priorities are: becoming a father in August, working on my solo downer record project, trying to learn to finish my music projects in time, doing a bunch of hiphop beats again with my buddy Asger, becoming a better actor and do some documentary photography.
In an interview with Tick years ago, it was mentioned that the group would all "love to be full time b-boy musicians". Has this happened?
It has never happened and times have changed. But I still try to make a living of music.