- Pete Lawrence
Pete Lawrence in 2008.
Background information Born 29 October 1957 Origin Leamington Spa, England Genres Ambient
Occupations DJ, event organiser, musician, music programmer Years active 1986 – present Labels Big Chill Recordings
Pete Lawrence is a conceptualist, recording artist, DJ, event organiser, music programmer writer and broadcaster based in the UK.
Pete created the concept for The Big Chill in February 1994, originally as a new type of Sunday multimedia club and, with then partner Katrina Larkin, put together an original event where people were able to network and enjoy an experimental, audio-visual environment, as part of a multi-faceted eight hour event. It was the first London club to have its own website and to offer free internet access and was initially noted for its ambient and downtempo soundtrack, arguably paving the way for the chill out’ boom at the turn of the Millennium.
This “festival in a club” concept easily adapted to an outdoors setting and in 1995 Pete and Katrina staged the first prototype Big Chill festival, breaking new ground with their attention to detail, choice of idyllic rural locations, and nurturing of a loyal online community which all created a unique blueprint for an annual event that went way beyond just being a festival and which has in many ways changed the nature of UK festivals, spawning many imitators, with varying degrees of success.
Whilst building to its capacity of 35,000 in 2007, Pete gave early exposure to such (unknown at the time) names as Lily Allen, Goldfrapp, Amy Winehouse, Gotan Project, Mr Scruff, Röyksopp, Zero 7 and Lemon Jelly in the context of the festival, in the process establishing The Big Chill as one of the top half dozen UK festivals, He was also instrumental in taking The Big Chill to many locations worldwide, including Egypt, Hungary, Finland, Italy, France, Japan, Australia and New Zealand - most of these in collaboration with The British Council - and latterly, masterminding a three thousand capacity, two day festival in Goa, India in April 2007.
Pete was also involved in The Big Chill's expansion into opening London venues The Big Chill Bar in Brick Lane, followed in autumn 2006 with the three story Big Chill House in Kings X. He has also produced many mix albums which have captured the essence of The Big Chill sound, for our own and other labels, as well as releasing his own recording project Chilled By Nature, a realisation of an ongoing musical vision that had been distilling since the mid 90s.
Pete describes his work as Chilled By Nature as “spiritual music, that celebrates being alive on earth, with all its beauties and imperfections, joys and sorrows......my personal travelogue - an attempt to capture the bigger picture and through it, to reflect my experiences and emotions.”
Through Chilled by Nature's EPs, one-off tracks and collaborations, live performances at The Big Chill festival, and the debut album ‘Under One Sun’ - which also includes guests The Swingle Singers, members of The Bays and the track 'State of Grace' co-written with Mozez of Zero 7 fame, Pete combines his wide diversity of influences - most notably folk, classical, jazz, electronic, ambient and lounge - to produce cinematic music, perhaps best described as a new kind of electronic chamber music.
Pete became a respected musical tastemaker when he discovered and recorded US folk singer Michelle Shocked on a walkman around a Texas campfire back in the mid 80s for his fledgling Cooking Vinyl label. The album ‘The Texas Campfire Tapes’ went on to top the independent album charts and sell over 250, 000 copies and establish the label at the forefront of the world and roots music scenes. Subsequently, Pete also became a writer, radio DJ and journalist of some renown. Through the 90s he had regular columns in Top, Update and Jockey Slut as well as founding, editing and publishing his own On magazine, and his latest writing was featured in his first publisher book as co-editor ‘Crossfade - a Big Chill Anthology’ (Serpents Tail).
In December 2007, Pete and Katrina were voted into Time Out’s Top 100 ‘movers and shakers’ alongside the likes of Ricky Gervais, Gordon Ramsay, Madonna, Phillip Green, Brian Paddick, Ken Livingstone and Tony Blair.
Stepped down as a Director and Shareholder of Chillfest (The Big Chill) on 6/02/2008.
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