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Peter Gunz - Hired Gunz

Author: Ben Vozzo
Thursday, 20 September 2007
Peter Gunz is reppin' the New Zealand Urban scene - but he also has something to say about the urban scene in Australia and the US… 3D's Benjamin Vozzo reports.

Your latest mix Reprezent is comprised of New Zealand artists - why the Kiwi focus for this mix-
New Zealand urban music has been strong for the past 10-15 years, and it has become increasingly popular in the last five years here in Australia with releases from artists like Scribe, Savage, Che-Fu, P-money and Decpeptikonz. Being from New Zealand and based in Sydney also gave myself and Sam Dutch from Central Station Records / Grindin a great concept for this mix. Reprezent is the first mixed CD of its kind of all New Zealand Urban Music, released in both Australia and New Zealand.

You're South Auckland born - was the track selection for this mix a case of giving props to the most talented of your mates-
I guess it looks that way hey, but not all my mates are rappers and singers and there were a lot of tracks that weren't cleared so I used the tracks that were cleared. I'm basically giving props to New Zealand hip hop 'cause at the end of the day I'm a fan of all these artists and their music so I've  laced this mix with a little DJ Peter Gunz Magic, allstar style.
Will you be Reprezenting Australian Urban on a future mix-
I would love to. I think Australian urban music is getting more popular but still has along way to go. Urban music has still not been fully established here in Australia and it's lacking the support of major record labels. Radio plays a huge role in the progression of urban music, but certain radio stations are forced into playing pop music, house and dance to compete with other stations and just to keep listeners, but that is not RnB / Hip Hop / Urban and defies the whole purpose. I know that Central Station Records / Grindin and Dawnraid Entertainment and labels like them are really paying attention to the lack of support shown throughout the industry, so we will see a lot more local artists releases in the near future.

What's exciting you the most in Urban music at the moment-
DJs are still controlling the music that gets played in clubs and on radio, we still hold the power to break certain tracks and artists. So we still play a vital role in the Urban music scene, so that to me is exciting. We all love a bit of power right- It's awesome having the power to control hundreds of drunk clubbers, but it all usually ends in tears or vomiting…

You had to defend yourself against copyright charges, due to production of mixtapes - how vital is the underground mixtape market for the Urban scene in Australia and New Zealand-
That court case clearly hasn't stopped the production of street mixtapes and it obviously hasn't stopped me from releasing mixes, only now I do it legally. And it had to take someone to dob us in, who then got signed, and a court case for me to get here. But I'm here now, making these labels money anyway. I'm so over talking about it, 'cause every time I say something I get phone calls from lawyers and labels telling me to be careful with what I say…
Mixtapes are a part of hip hop culture - the Australian music industry wasn't a part of the beginning of hip hop culture so no one in the majors understands that. They're all old Rock and House heads, experienced in those particular genres and assigned to the 'Urban Department' even though they lack an overall knowledge of the Urban culture.
You can walk through downtown New York and downtown LA and on almost every street corner someone is selling mixtapes. When you shop at Footlocker in the US people try and sell you mixtapes. That's the difference. They even have a mixtape awards called The Gusto Mixtape awards. Almost every DJ in Australia signed to a major label has released several street mixtapes but they didn't get hit with court cases… Makes you think why- REPREZENT VOL 1 OUT SEPT 22 GO GET YOU SOME!

Tell us about your new radio program starting on Flava FM, the most popular urban radio station in New Zealand.
It's called 'Gametime', a two-hour mix show featuring myself and DJ Manchoo. Flava has given us the freedom to do whatever we want for one hour each. Flava is the sister radio company to Edge 96.1FM. I'm still doing mixes for the Edge as well.

You also run the All Stars DJ Academy youth development program, tell us a bit about that.

I teach DJing to youth and anyone that wants to learn at Bankstown Multicultural Youth Centre once a month - thanks to my good friend Julie Kapsalides. I've been doing it since 2003 in high schools, youth centres and juvenile detention centres around Sydney. It's my way of giving back to the community. I was once young and wanted to learn how to DJ, but nobody took the time out to show me, so that's why I came up with the idea.

We hear you're also getting a set of Grillz for a photoshoot with 3D soon, will you be accessorising with a diamond encrusted Pimp chalice and cane-

Ha ha… Nah not at all… I was lucky to be given the opportunity to get some grillz made up for me by the good people from Rhino grillz. I'll try to wear 'em as much as I can but I probably won't be able to stop laughing at myself.

WHO: DJ Peter Gunz
WHAT: Reprezent out through Hardwax / touring Australia and New Zealand
WHEN: Out now / multiple dates