Peanut Butter Wolf will head to Aubagne, France, after SXSW to embark on a European DJ tour to accompany "Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton," a documentary on his label Stones Throw Records.
Of his unique approach to film distribution, Wolf tells Billboard, "I hadn't done a DJ tour in awhile and when this film was finished, the idea came from the distributor (Syndctd Entertainment) for me to do Q&As. I figured I could DJ after-parties; it made more sense for me to go on the road that way."
The UK-based music film production and distribution company Mr Wolf is handling the roll-out that includes screenings, Q&As and performances in Norway, Denmark, Glasgow, Paris and Dublin.
"Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton" features Stones Throw artists such as Madlib, J Rocc, Dam-Funk and Mayer Hawthorne as well as fans of the label including Kanye West, Common, Mike D, ?uestlove, Talib Kweli and Tyler, The Creator. After screenings at SXSW on March 13 and 15, the film plays Los Angeles on March 17 with Peanut Butter Wolf, J Rocc, Jonwayne and Knxwledge performing at the premiere.
The film plays New York on the 19th and will be released digitally and on DVD on April 29.
Madlib, Peanut Butter Wolf, Dam-Funk, J.Rocc, Prince Paul, Jonwayne, Knxwledge and Pyramid Vritra will perform at their SXSW party on March 15 at the North Door.
Director Jeff Broadway, 27, discussed the making of the film, his second following "Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story," which premiered at LA Film Festival in June.
What was your pitch to Peanut Butter Wolf to get him to allow you to do the film?
I was fan of the label and the music. Culturally, Stones Throw had done this amazing thing in creating this mystique through the music they release. There are these layers to the ethos Stones Throw created, mainly Wolf, (creative director/co-founder) Jeff Jank and (former general manager) Egon. It was incredibly inspiring to me and I felt there was so little known and I had a desire to learn more.
As you were learning the story, what information became the turning point for you in terms of shaping the story?
I think learning what the original impetus for starting the label was. I was aware of [MC and Wolf collaborator] Charizma, but I didn't know about Wolf's relationship with him and how he was murdered at a time when they were beginning a promising career together. I learned Wolf couldn't find any takers for the music and took matters into his own hands. He knew the business well enough to start Stones Throw as a vehicle to release music by his friend. It's paramount to understanding what Wolf has done with the label, how he treats his artists and brings people into the fold who might not have much of a chance at other entities. Wolf is all about musicians who have lives before they become recording artists.
How did you raise the funding?
I went to Kickstarter. Stones Throw didn't have money to pay me to make the film nor did they wanted to be seen as commissioning a film about themselves. I respected that. I had had Kickstarter experience with "Cure for Pain" where I raised $20,000 for finishing costs and went back to Kickstarter and raised about $40,000 for production. Kickstarter doubled nicely as a publicity tool as well and that got me another $40,000 in private equity. My working budget was $75,000 to $80,000, but not all of it was always available to me. Some of it was put aside for music clearances for later on and some post production costs.
How did the distribution plan come together?
Syndctd Entertainment has done an amazing job already. They approached me way early in the process right around the time of the Kickstarter launch. One of the principal guys in the Syndctd team, Aaron Turkel, was a Stones Throw fan and saw the Kickstarter. They were the first folks in the door, After the LA Film Festival, we were getting serious about looking into what we wanted to do with distribution and they seemed like the ones who made the most sense. What's necessary for projects like this is everyone has to understand who the audience is and how to best engage that audience. Stones Throw has this relatively niche following international. We know there is a demand, but half the battle is making sure those fans are aware of it.