RR: Sonically, the sound of the tape took a massive departure from just a couple years earlier with songs like “Celine Dion”. Duck Duck Goose is perhaps the closest we get, but I am curious, What was the influence in making the shift towards a darker toned, gloomier project?
DJ Hunnicut: The sonic evolution from our earlier stuff we made in 92′ and 93′ and the songs that ultimately ended up on The Space EP was a direct result of the technology available to us. Songs like “Celine Dion,” “Pop Tha Lid” and “Farm Fresh Sucks” were literally produced as pause tapes. All we had at our disposal was an SSM-2100 Realistic mixer from Radio Shack, a CD Player, Rod’s parent’s turntable with maybe a +/- 4% pitch control and a dual cassette deck. We’d find open drums on a rap 12″ and then find the sample we’d wanna use on a CD, layer them together with the mixer and recorded that blend onto a cassette. Then using the dual cassette deck, we would arrange the structure of the song using the “pause tape” method. Because of this process was tricky and our sample sources were limited, we found ourselves using longer, easier-to-find-samples (The Doors sample on “Celine Dion,” for example, is found right at them beginning of the song and is four bars long).
By the end of 93′ we had bought ourselves a Gemini 8-bit sampler. Even this basic sampler was a big leap forward for us. We were still arranging songs with pause tapes, but what we were able to sample was expanded by this sampler. We could pluck one bar out of the middle of a jazz record and pitch it up or down by 50%. That ability instantly resulted in the darker tone (you pitch anything down 50% it’s gonna sound dark). Suddenly we were able to make beats more like the artists we were into at the time – ATCQ, The Beatnuts, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Gang Starr. The beats for “Space Part I and II” were originally made on the Gemini sampler just by grabbing random bars out of “Red Clay” by Freddie Hubbard and looping them and pitching them down to see what sounded good. We were no longer confined by needling linger samples and by the +/- 4% pitch adjustment of our turntable.
The ultimate evolution came, however, when Rod bought the AKAI S0-1 sampler. This was our first real piece of production equipment. The sky was the limit with this device (or so we felt at the time!) We remade the “Space Parts I and II” beats on this sampler, as well as the rest of the Space EP, including “Duck, Duck, Goose.”
RR: Perhaps this is a question better suited for Rod, but did you ever envision P&C becoming the brand that it is, when you first dropped this tape? Did you personally expect to expand at all beyond the Farm Fresh material?
DJ Hunnicut: Peanuts & Corn became a label because, when putting out the Space EP, and designing the label, as record collectors we knew there was supposed to be a label, and there was supposed to be a catalogue number on the spine. So calling the label Peanuts & Corn Records was an eleventh-hour decision, and the name was based on an off-handed joke one of us had made, that the label should be Peanuts & Corn Records, and the slogan should be “Coming out with THE SHIT!”
It was decided shortly after The Space EP came out that Mood Ruff first record, that was going to be produced by Rod, would come out on P&C. So, as soon and a second record comes out on the label, you know, it’s officially a label. So Mood Ruff’s Maxim came out in the late spring, about a half year after The Space EP, and then Farm Fresh’s second EP, Crazy Friction, came out in the fall. We were buying ads in the local music magazine, Stylus, and sending tapes to radio, so all of the sudden, within less than a year, we were acting like a label.
RR: Mood Ruff appears on the tape. Was this the first recordings of Mood Ruff? Their Maxim and Fluid tapes were both released on P&C afterwards. How did you link up with those guys?
DJ Hunnicut: Rod moved to Winnipeg immediately after high school to go to university while Patrick and I stayed in Brandon. He made friends in University who introduced him to Odario (Garfield) and Eli of Mood Ruff. They got along and became pals, but Patrick and I never met them until the summer of 94′. Rod was in back in Brandon because Farm Fresh was headlining the Brandon Folk Festival. Rod had been hanging out with these two rappers from Winnipeg that Patrick and I hadn’t met yet, but invited them out to rap with us that night. The idea was to do a posse cut with Farm Fresh, Mood Ruff and a group I had been helping produce in Brandon called Pheaskoe (Pip name drops this group in “Duck, Duck, Goose.). But the show had begun and we were on stage and Mood Ruff hadn’t arrived yet. Then, about two songs before we were done, an old Chevette comes peeling across the grass of the Keystone Centre fairgrounds to the backstage, and Odario and Eli clamber out. They hop on stage and dance around during our song and then they grab the mics and instantly charm the audience. Shane and Rob from Pheaskoe join us on stage and we do our posse cut “Six Turkeys” and that is the first time I personally met Mood Ruff, on stage, mid-show.
RR: Do you have any stories regarding recording the EP? Or promoting it afterwards?
DJ Hunnicut: Because Patrick and I were still living in Brandon, we drove to Winnipeg and recorded the Space EP over a weekend. “Space Parts I and II” and “Duck Duck Goose” were already songs that had been written and maybe even performed live a few times, but “Space Part III” and “T.A.B.S.” were written together that weekend. I remember Eli laying on the floor of Rod’s apartment in the Lady Adele writing his verse for “T.A.B.S.” That’s probably why Eli and Patrick ended up accidentally using the same simile on the song: Eli says “My man has got you covered like a blanket” and Patrick says “Cover Brandon like a blanket.” I wonder why none of us caught that!
I remember it being very, very late at night on the Sunday when Patrick and I were recording the “Outrolude,” and we knew we still had to do the two-hour drive home. Thats why were sound so giddy and deliriously tired and silly on that track. Just giggling and trying to crack each other up. The “Introlude” and “Outrolude” were of course just improvised over some extra beats that Rod had made.
We released the Space EP on December 8, 1994 – my 20th birthday – at a daytime assembly at Vincent Massey High School In Brandon. I’m not sure how we got the gig – none of were even in high school anymore! But it was the high school Patrick had gone to, where, for a school project two years earlier, he had written and recorded his first rap songs that Rod and I produced, that were essentially the first Farm Fresh songs. So in a way it was apropos, and since Patrick never graduated from there, it was kind a way of coming back and showing the naysayers he had done something interesting. Thats at least how I look back on it.
Regardless, it was a bizarre choice to do our release there. The event was kind of a “We Day”-esque event. I remember a gal opening for us by covering a Disney song on piano. But we were popular with those Brandon kids at this point, having been performing for nearly two years, so I guess we thought it would be the right audience. We put teaser posters around town: “FARM FRESH, THE SPACE EP, 12.08.94”
Rod brought 500 copies of the cassette from Winnipeg the night before. He had dubbed each copy individually and put the labels on each side, scored and folded the covers and put each one in their case. It was a pretty exciting feeling for Patrick and I to open up that cardboard box in our pal Jason’s living room and see all those P&C001 spines all in a row pointing up at us. Rod probably hated the sight of them.
We sold a shitload of those tapes that day for $5 each.