Today, PG-13, aka Paul Gaeta, releases his second record into the wild: Panther God (click here for a preview).
Really it should be his fourth , but between his 2007 debut, the humbly titled Seven Songs for my Friends and the beginning of God's creation some thieves broke into his apartment and stole equipment, including a laptop with two records worth of songs.
"Those will never see the light of day. So this record isn't the next logical step in my musical evolution. It's kind of two steps," says PG-13
"The first record was entirely samples. I didn't play a single thing on it. I feel a lot more proud of this new record, because every single bass line and melody was played by hand," he says.
"Since [the recording of Seven Songs in 2003 to 2005] I've basically been learning software and sound design. I've actually become a producer in the last three or four years. I've learned to do everything on the computer. I've learned music theory, how to play keyboard, and have just been basically experimenting ."
In between all of that experimenting, he also managed to put out the debut of Junc Ops, his excellent post-apocalyptic hip-hop collaboration with Kentsoundz (Kent Hernandez) in 2008. That same year also saw Silicon Graffiti, the first compilation from Gaeta and Hernandez's Circuitree label. Both saw success on College Media Journal's airplay charts.
"The Junc Ops record was number three on CMJ's hip-hop charts. Right up there with Gangstarr, Talib Kwali and Del the Funky Homosapian."
Cirucuitree also has two more compilations on the horizon. Universus
PG-13, left, and his partner in Junc Ops crime Kentsoundz.
will feature cuts by big name artists like Caural, Take, and a
collaboration between Luke Vibert and his Warp label mate Jimmy Edgar.
Intro to Circuitree will feature more local talent, including Jacque
Polynice, Eden Gray, Kentsoundz, and a track from a solo project of
occasional Awesome New Republic drummer Bob Ladue.
But, PG and Cirucuitree's forward advance doesn't come without a
price. In an era when a catchy pop song with some stand out blog
attention can lead to a bidding war for a band (Hey, Black Kids, how
you doing?), labels are less and less likely to nourish niche acts that
require time to develop.
"It's kind of this catch 22 with the record industry: with no label
behind you, you're basically shit, but the way the industry is right now
most labels are looking to reduce people on the roster and cut
So, that's how Circuitree came into existence, but the cost of running his own label takes its toll.
"If you don't put money into promotion you don't get out there. The
problem is it's really, really hard to make any money off music,
especially electronic music. Fifty percent of your fan base is going to download the
"Silicon Graffiti took two years to make. That record
cost us $10,000. In the end we couldn't have done it without Catalog
records out of LA. They're now like our sister label, but when you make five percent of that
money back, you've gotta question, 'Why I am doing this? I must be
completely insane.' Because the economy is not doing well, and here I am
still paying people to make music. I wanna get paid to make music, I
wanna make a successful career. And here I am running a label supporting
other artists as well."
Though, the alternative seems almost as crazy.
"The other option is to remain completely anonymous for the rest of my life."
Not to say that PG's bitter, he clearly loves what he does, and willing to make the sacrifices as long as it is logical.
"Miami has been pretty good to me. The whole time it's been like 'Who me?'
My first album, I don't even know how it came out. I think in the end I've realized without other people involved you're basically nothing."
Panther God and other Cirucitree records are available from Amazon, iTunes, and directly from PG. You can catch him in concert with Junc Ops May 6th at Buck 15, and May 29th at PS14.