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Peter CottonTale Breaks Down ‘Catch,’ Previews New Music on Vocalo

Written by on November 9, 2022

B: Before we get into the music and all the people you worked with and so many more things, I learned you have a rabbit as a pet!

PC: Big shout out to my rabbit, Junior. Yeah. I love him so much, man, it goes crazy. It’s hard having a pet when you’re constantly on the move, but shout out to all my family and friends that have held me down and taken care of my boy.

B: We was off-air speaking about how when you’re on tour it’s just… it can be difficult. And for the last five years, thinking about it, you’ve been moving around, so to have friends come through and take care of Junior. 

PC: Yeah. Shout out my boy Velle, Velle Velle, man. Great producer, also a great caretaker of animals, bro, he’d be walking dogs and he’d walk right past my crib, feed Junior for me. I’m rocking with it. My boy!

B: I mean, speaking of… a lot of people are cat lovers, dog lovers. What made you want to get a rabbit?

PC: I think that speaks for itself. No, for real though, it was a gift, though. So it was a great gift. I just kept him, man. It’s going crazy.

B: Man. That’s interesting to hear, but I know that, I know Junior keeps you moving. Like the Energizer Bunny…

PC: He’s more like a cat, though. He be keeping to himself all the time. Like, he’ll run around. But he got a little condo at the crib. He don’t be doing nothing, bro.

B: He got a condo in the condo! [Laughs] You funny. But let’s talk about some of the production work you’ve done. Man, you’ve worked with so, so, so many artists. 

PC: A blessing. 

B: In a way, it’s almost like, how do you find time for yourself, working with so many people? For instance, Dionne Warwick, of course, Chance the Rapper. I mean, for those that don’t know, Social Experiment, Jamila Woods, Tank and the Bangas, Lil Wayne, J. Cole, one of my favorite artists. I mean, out of all the artists you’ve worked with, who’s one of the most memorable collaborations, outside of Chance?

PC: Aw, man, because I was gonna say Chance, of course. 

B: Outside of Chance. 

PC: First of all, with Chance, I mean literally bro and the movement, what we do as a team, literally his ideas are changing the world, shaping the world. So that’s one of the most memorable moments. I mean, we want to Grammy in 2016. Shout out him. But other than that… one thing that we’ve been able to do as a gang, I can’t just say one person that’s been a favorite to work with. I love Solána, SZA, she’s amazing. Her creativity is amazing. She’s just a great person, overall. But, man, we have been able to be in rooms with people where their creativity was budding. You mentioned [J.] Cole, I haven’t seen Cole since 2014. But I remember him pulling up to the studio with the backpack, saying like, “Yeah, you know, I got these beats,” and us chopping it up about Ableton, or chopping up about Froot Loops. Or my homie Cam O’bi making beats for him and stuff like that, or being in places where we work with guitar players or piano players or instrumentalists or vocalists that are in the process, like I am as a producer. And we’ve been able to build and grow from there. So those are the most memorable times, and those happen a lot.

Making the music with people is amazing, but growing with them, and then being able to have that moment where you was like, “I found that out with you.” Or we was in the studio at the same time when we budded together. That’s been the rawest thing, honestly. And that’s happened with, I mean, maybe besides the legends, like 60% of the artists that I’ve had the chance of coming across… anywhere from, like you said, Cole, Elle Varner to Madison to Yebba to Elia, to Chicago artists like Rachel Robinson and Jabari Johnson, Jack Red, all those other cats. Man, to be able to grow with them, that’s how you keep the community strong. So those are the most memorable moments. I wish I had a big flex moment, where it was like — I do, but I’m not flexing, it’s just like building, growing with these people is a flex, honestly, because it’s a blessing.

B: What? This is a flex! 

PC: Some people are like, “Yeah, I was on a project with DJ Khaled and we recorded this crazy verse.” I don’t got the private plane that records for y’all.

B: Let’s go back to 2016 — you talking about flex moment? I remember watching the Grammys, when Chance won a Grammy, you won a Grammy, as well…. that’s a huge flex moment, worldwide. And, for you, when did you realize, “Oh, man, we could actually do something bigger, and we could win the Grammy.” When did that spark… come about for you?

PC: I think, as a producer, and somebody who loves music for his whole life and have people around me that have grandiose ideas that seem on a larger scale from a lot of artists I work with, it’s always been a possibility to have a bigger impact. So shout out to my community for having that mindset and being able to participate in that mindset. But when we were making Coloring Book… I was sleeping on that CRC and go home at six in the morning, I was on my bike, going to the crib, coming back a couple hours later. I mean, at one point, the work you put in is telling your body that something great is finna happened, no lie! So from that, I think that’s a point where we knew… even before that, people had been putting work in a way before that. But that’s just an example I can give that relates to the Grammy. We knew. It was up, bro. It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of content, context. Specifically speaking with the Chance project, Coloring Book, he does variety music, bro. He’s touching a lot of different cultures. Production, and right now I’m speaking as a producer, he does a lot of music that touches a lot of different facets of what we listen to. You got to dive in and not try to impersonate that, you got to learn about those things. You got to learn about good music, I had to learn about more gospel music, had to learn about those things and how to apply those things to music and soul and things like that.

B: Research on top of research.

PC: Listening on top of listening, for sure. Yeah, for sure, for sure.

Photos by Morgan Ciocca, Vocalo Radio / Chicago Public Media.

B: So you learned a lot amongst… matter of fact, speak on something you’ve learned musically that could help some other artists getting into achievement, as well.

PC: Hey, shout out to Social Experiment, Nico [Segal], Greg [Landfair Jr., AKA Stix], Nate Fox, Chance. One thing we always say: pick a song and finish it. That’s on the whiteboard, on probably a lot of places that we walk into. Pick a song, finish it. That’s it. Just finish your idea. Don’t worry about everything in between. Write some music, man. Get it off your chest.

B: Pick the song… 

PC: Finish it.

B: You know what, we need a whiteboard in here! Definitely need a whiteboard in here. Chicago, we got Peter CottonTale in the building. You got an event coming up. We’re gonna chop it up about this event right after this music break. But I got “Together” loaded up. Gots to break down “Together” for everybody before we get into it, and then we’re gonna pop right back in with some more convo.

PC: Okay, hey, check it out. So “Together,” I am so blessed to have rich music history in tracks that I’ve done. I was able to do a, I guess, a commercial for YouTube and Google. They do a year-end search every year, where they recap the year, and I actually got one of the hardest years, the year of COVID. So I partner with a lot of people. And, just to make a long story kind of short, I was able to get a lot of Black musicians, over 80 Black musicians, to participate in this track to kind of bring a lot of things that were happening to light through our expression of music. It was like a big orchestra. Matt Jones, shout out Matt Jones, man, he’s in LA, he’s an awesome orchestrator and composer, man. I was able to get together with YCSO, the Youth Symphony Orchestra, they were able to participate in the performance that we did on Stephen Colbert. And always, shout out CCC, but also now known as UVC, that was able to participate and bring the kids so I was able to get a lot of arts programs to participate in bringing what happened that year to life through the Google year-end search 2020. And bruh, I could tear up, man. Google, they rocked with us. They donated, I was able to donate, I don’t know, 60K to Merit, I think. Merit Music. And I was able to donate some money as well to UVC and just keeping the arts programs front-forward and front-facing with my music at that time. 

That’s a big breakdown of what happened in this song. When I think about this song, I think about that. I think about the whole city being represented in this year-end search, and Chicago was crazy! From the bridges downtown going up, after riots, to COVID. I mean, I could keep going. 

B: Stuff going on with CPS.

PC: I can just imagine all the flyers for food banks, to protests happening. I can see it in my head, it was crazy. So I had to get my city in on this one. God really blessed me to make those connections, so I’m glad you playing that, man. Shout out to y’all.

B: Shout out to you for making it and bringing everybody together! Y’all keep it locked, we coming right back after this music break.

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