By Thomas QuinlanHeadquarters: Vancouver, BC Date of Birth: 1994 number of Releases: 35 Best Seller: mcenroe, Disenfranchised Upcoming Releases: Park-Like Setting (mcenroe, John Smith and Yy) Measure Twice, Cut Once, Birdapres full-length Online:www.peanutsandcorn.com
There are few underground hip-hop labels in Canada as successful as Peanuts & Corn. With a consistent sound and solid roster of artists, P&C have built from their first Farm Fresh cassette and now have a very loyal international fan base. In addition to once dabbling in the distribution game, and helping promote artists through his Breadwinner sideline, label head Rod Bailey (aka mcenroe) produces the lion's share of P&C artists.
The Sum of Peanuts & Corn mcenroe: Part of it is the consistent production style. It's a progressing, evolving style but has continuity to it. Some people are indifferent to it, but those that like it, like it a lot. From there, there is a common attitude among the artists while at the same time having a distinctiveness to each of them. You can pair up any two P&C rappers and have a distinctly different project, but the quality and creativity are a constant. Then there is the design style, the live show, the crappy website: it all adds up to what P&C is.
Can I Be Down? P&C is kind of a crew thing. The Break Bread crew are on the roster: Pip Skid, Gruf, John Smith, Yy, Hunnicutt and myself. Then we have Birdapres, who did a project with me and is working on his solo record. We have a new face or two that we are working with but I am not ready to announce; people I work with fit the vibe of the label and the crew. We respect a lot of people here in Canada and elsewhere but it takes a certain chemistry to want to have them on your label.
Who's Got Next? I try to do a roadmap. Ultimately a record has to be written, and it has to be produced. It can have a lot to do with my workload. When we sketch out the projects that we want to do in the future, it's kind of a collaborative thing. Who is due for a project? Who wants to work with whom these days? If Bird's record is coming out before Pip's, he would get first choice in beats. I have only had to prioritise releases based on promotion budget. The priority really comes from a release's potential sales and appeal. For example, we spent more money and energy promoting Nothing is Cool than the Peanuts & Corn Tape Hiss compilation, because we felt a new record from mcenroe and Birdapres would do better and be of more interest then a reissue of tapes we did in the mid-'90s.
You're Free to Go I don't have an exclusive [contract], per se, however I try to offer the best situation for my artists and a good creative process. As a result, I try to get my artists' best projects, like their solo albums. They may do side projects with other people, drop a mix-tape, that sort of thing, but generally their best stuff will be with me. I would not want to hold any of my artists back; if the deal of a lifetime came for any of my guys, I would not want to stand in the way.
The Distribution Solution The label just starting out always wants distribution, but they have no marketing plan and no advertising budget. And why advertise when you don't have distribution? We were in that situation for a lot of our history (though most of it was in the cassette era) until NO Distribution saw a market for our stuff. Too bad they never paid us. I basically started [doing] distribution to a) get P&C into stores, b) help other labels get into stores and c) supplement my income because I felt that P&C could not support me at that time and I did not want to go and get a full-time job. It went okay and I enjoyed dealing with the stores, however we could never really break through and reach any chains. No HMV, no A&B, no CD Plus, nothing. Plus all of the importing and time spent shipping, cataloguing and dealing with customers made recording my own music almost impossible. My Disenfranchised project was delayed about 18 months because I was so busy with distribution. I came to the conclusion that I needed to get out to save my own label and recording career. We have been with Sonic Unyon ever since, and have been happy with it; it has worked out well for P&C.