Chris Manak, better known as Peanut Butter Wolf, needs to be in two places at once.
He’s in Leeds to attend a showing of the new Stones Throw film, Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton, after which he will conduct a Q&A session. This should then be followed by a VJ set, at the nearby HiFi Club. The problem is that the timing of the events conflict. After making arrangements to push back the DJ set and intro the film instead, we head across the road from the club to a BBQ joint so he can grab something to eat before his hectic night begins.
The film documents the journey of Wolf’s LA-based independent record label, Stones Throw, which is known for its leftfield approach and has released records by the likes of Madlib, J Dilla, MF DOOM, Aloe Blacc, Mayer Hawthorne, Dam-Funk, Gary Wilson and James Pants. Initially conceived as a one-hour special for French TV that was later abandoned, the project was picked up by Los Angeles director Jeff Broadway, who planned to put together a feature-length film.
“I told him about the French footage, put them in touch with each other, and then they figured it out from there,” explains Wolf of the final project. “So probably like 30% of the footage is stuff that the French guys shot, and then there was a lot of archival footage and a lot of stuff that the guys in LA shot, and then the guys in LA edited it.”
Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton cleverly conveys the complex history of the label, its diverse range of projects and its ethos, in a way that appeals to audiences of both die-hard fans and newcomers alike.
“I wanted it to be a film where people who had never heard of Stones Throw could be like, ‘Wow, this seems interesting’,” says Wolf as he picks at his food. “There’s a movie called The Devil And Daniel Johnston, and I’d never heard of Daniel Johnston at the time, but I saw the movie and was really touched by it and went and bought a lot of his records. That’s how I envisioned this film to be.”