PEACE HARVEST spinning at the HOUSEHOLD NAMES CD release party, Saturday (November 3), at 48 Abell, studio 129. $15. Rating: NNNNN
Play Records head Peter Jarvis (aka DJ Peace Harvest) isn't looking his usual relaxed self. He found out over the weekend that the location for the CD release party of his label's new compilation has fallen through, courtesy of a nervous landlord who didn't want his space on Fraser used for a major party. There's a backup space, but he's been scrambling to find a larger venue.
"I like smaller, more intimate parties, 200 or 300 people, a good-sized sound system that doesn't blow your ears off. It's a warmer vibe. But if you've got more then 500 or 600 people in a small space, it becomes a fairground -- the energy just gets fucked up and everybody feels it."
Jarvis moved to Canada from England in the mid-90s and was first known as an acid jazz and instrumental hiphop DJ. Play Records began licensing songs for television, but has moved into vinyl and mixed-format CDs, releasing its first 12-inch in 1998.
"It started when I was asked to score music for Channel Zero, which was a radical video magazine that ended up getting TV screening. I was just licensing tracks for them from UK labels I had contacts with, but as more money came into the company, they gave me a Pro-Tools system and I started producing for the first time. We made a promo CD of all the music we used for the shows, and that's how Play Records began. When the company went down in 97, I took Play Records as part of my settlement."
His DJ career was born in a small English village where he was attending animation school with 2,000 other art students who just wanted to party.
"When I was at school in 89, I was going to the big raves and acid house parties. I threw a 21st birthday and we had over 1,000 people come to a tiny village in England. The police ended up directing the traffic -- they couldn't shut it down because it was on private land. It was a full-on acid house techno party. I was hooked from then on."
The Play Records compilations feature tracks by local and international artists culled from friends and contacts made through years of DJing. The past year has seen him play sets in Paris, London, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver.
"I want to create a listening experience. That's why the CDs are mixed like a DJ mix -- they have to flow. They're not like albums that are just separate individual tracks, but more like scoring a film. This is the fourth CD, and all of them have been mixed. It's got to be a whole experience.
"I'm trying to have as much Canadian content as possible. There's a lot of good music here. When I first arrived here, people were, like, 'Oh, you're from Europe, they've got the best music blah blah.'
"Well, good music exists here, too, but it just doesn't get the exposure, mainly because of the population and the economy. I think that's a good reason for me to put it out."