Peter Presta – Biography
Peter Presta – chances are that even if you've never heard the New Yorker on the decks, you'll have certainly heard one of his records tearin' up the dancefloor. In fact, with Peter it's almost a case of just who hasn't he worked with – Masters At Work, Danny Tenaglia, Moby, Joey Beltram, Robbie Rivera, Cevin Fisher, Ray Roc, StoneBridge, Peter Rauhofer and DJ Chus are just a few of the artists he's collaborated with or remixed. This is a man with almost 400 productions and remixes to his name already and 2007 looks like being his best year yet.
Whether behind the decks or in the studio, Peter Presta is all about energy – tough tribal house and pumpin' filtered grooves packed with drama and excitement that leave you begging for more. The past few years has seen his international DJ career flourish with trips to Italy, Switzerland, Japan, Russia and the UK as well as regularly rockin' the finer clubs in New York and throughout the USA and Canada.
Following the international success of 'We Got Him' and a string of other high profile releases in 2004, Peter has gone from strength to strength as a producer too with his profile in Europe going sky high. 'We Got Him' first came out on Swiss label Houseworks and went on to be a big international club smash and one of the biggest tribal records of the year with nearly 30 licensing deals including three Ministry of Sound compilations. It's follow-up, 'Where is Osama?' went on to achieve similar success too.
Such was the buzz around 'We Got Him', in fact, that the remix work started coming in thick and fast for the likes of Darren Hayes, Sade, Anastacia, Usher and many more. Peter also remixed '(Reach Up For The) Sunrise' by Duran Duran which went on to become a chart-topping record in the UK and his remix of Cindy Mizelle's 'Shine On' was used for the video. With a pedigree like that it's no wonder that his production skills are more and more in demand, but how did Peter's career get started?
Growing up in Brooklyn, he knew that he wanted to be making music from day one. By lucky chance an elder cousin owned The Funhouse, the legendary club where John 'Jellybean' Benitez and Madonna started out. Despite being so young, Peter was able to sneak in courtesy of his cousin and quickly became enraptured by the whole experience.
This was the early days of hip hop and the film 'Beat Street' with every kid getting into breakdancing, graffiti and DJing. It was Jellybean who proved the greater inspiration, however, and Peter would steal his school lunch so he could keep the money his mother gave him and spend it on vinyl.
'Right after I would come home from school,' he recalls, 'I would shut my door and practice DJing. In fact, I didn't do too well in school because music was on my mind constantly. If I got into trouble I didn't mind being sent to my room – I used to love getting punished!'
After leaving high school Peter set up his own record shop, Unreel Records, stocking early house and freestyle. This proved to be the perfect tool for getting DJ dates as he would offer to promote their nights in the store in exchange for a chance to play. Not surprisingly, they took up his offer and Peter was soon playing in just about every club in town six nights a week. We're talking legendary venues like The Tunnel, Club USA and The Limelight.
He would also sell his own mix tapes at Unreel and one of these found its way into the hands of the Aleem brothers who invited him to put his mixing style onto vinyl. Creating these medley mixes was fine but what Peter really wanted to do was make his own music and he released his first record, 'Dancing on the Fire', under the name A New Trend in 1991. He was also making techno at the time and ea chance meeting with Joey Beltram soon followed with the two became close friends and Joey releasing Peter's tracks on his Rhythmatic Rage label.
Since Peter was recording for Rhythmatic Rage he would end up hanging around the Nu Groove offices and hearing all the latest house records by people like Todd Terry and Masters At Work. Soon Peter was making his own house tracks and it was 'Who Could Dance' as Mix of Trixx on Cutting Records that put him firmly on the map.
When Nu Groove closed down Peter was without a permanent label for around a year. In fact, he would haunt the doors of Maxi Records hassling them to take his tracks. In the end, someone said, 'Let's just sign this kid already!' and 'Car Alarm' was released under the name Viper in 1996. It ended up giving him his biggest break and selling close to 60,000 copies. Peter stayed with Maxi for the next four years, while, ever the hustler, he also released records on all the big New York labels like Strictly Rhythm, Nervous and Emotive.
Following the success of 'Car Alarm' remix work came flooding in with Danny Tenaglia, Moby, Crystal Waters, E-Smoove and the Jungle Brothers among those getting the Peter Presta treatment. He also began collaborating with fellow New Yorker Ray Roc as Roc & Presta and their track 'Everybody Over There (Getting Robbed)' was picked up by Masters At Work for their label in 1997. It went on to sell nearly 10,000 copies in the first week.
Spurred on by Joey Beltram, Peter began to find a home for his tracks on various labels in the UK, Spain, Holland and Germany. Subversive Records released 'Nu Chant' and 'Changes' featuring vocals by Ron Carroll. There was also a highly acclaimed remix of Cevin Fisher's 'Somebody' which was a massive record for Tall Paul. Meanwhile, techno imprint Bush has long championed his sound with singles like 'New Style', a favourite with Carl Cox, 'Say Goodbye' and 'Krash Kourse'.
2004 saw the release of O'Rox Drums' on Honchos Music which became a big club hit and was played by all the top DJs. Peter also launched his own label in the UK, Apple Jaxx Recordings distributed by Amato, which always features either an original track or a remix by Peter himself. There have been releases on a vast array of other labels including Royal Drums in France, Sound Division in Italy, Houseworks in Switzerland and Peter Rauhofer's Star 69.
Not surprisingly many of the top DJs have been playing his tracks out including Erick Morillo, Pete Tong, Roger Sanchez, Seb Fontaine and many more. Peter's tough tribal sound soon became so big in Europe that it found its way back into the US where it has become a huge hit on the gay club scene and championed by all the top circuit DJs like Manny Lehman, Tracy Young, Barry Harris of Thunderpuss and Junior Vasquez to name a few.
All of which brings us up-to-date and 2006 has seen Peter working harder than ever with plenty of tricks up his sleeve. As well as DJing more than ever, he has produced some of his finest work in the studio thus far. His remix of Heather Smalls' 'Proud' is part of the soundtrack in the last ever episode of 'Queer As Folk' where it plays for over five minutes. It's also slated to be the official anthem of the London 2012 Olympics.
In 2006, Peter's hit single, 'Totally Hooked' featuring Bonse which samples Boston's classic 'More Than a Feeling', exploded on the charts. It became the most requested song across the USA and a chart topping hit throughout the world. First released by Egoiste in Switzerland and a full UK release on AATW including a video. Look out for the follow up 'You're Not Guilty' with David Hasselhoff on vocals too – that's right, Peter has teamed up with the Knightrider man and this dancefloor bomb is set to drop in early 2007.
There's also the debut Peter Presta album which is coming along very well with a superb selection of guest vocalists lined-up along with a few surprises. His very best is yet to come, in other words, from the man they call the Mix of Trix.
'I have a lot of good things up my sleeve,' he promises. 'I want everybody to hear the best of me; I'm a package that's ready to be ripped open!'
Visit the Peter Presta website at www.peterpresta.com