Interview took place 13:30 GMT, 22:30 JT. One was about to go for a run, the other was opening a bottle of wine.
Dr Rob (DR) / First question, who are Emotional Rescue & Emotional Response?
Stuart Leath (SL) / Emotional Response & Rescue are me and Chris Galloway. It's just me and Chris. Though we are working with Village Green on our designs and have a photographer involved for the Emotional Response artwork.
DR / How did you meet Chris? I met him through Pure Pleasure Music and buying records.
SL / Yes me too I guess. A bit hazy. It was either that or when Soft Rocks came up for a night or something. I get down to Brighton a bit, so would pop in and he'd open up wherever he was for me. But we actually decided to start the labels when we bumped into each other in Ibiza. Chris was DJing at the Folk festival. The partnership happened really easily. It's a small scene, as you know, and the Soft Rocks guys are such top blokes. They are not too serious, easy to take the piss out of, but they love music and are always looking for something new and a bit different. So, for example, Chris and I both realised that while we loved classic Krautrock we also were still checking new German artists like Kriedler and Harmonius Thelonius, and like you, we were both buying those US lo fi stoner and psychedelic albums. Following new labels etc, without getting too deep and sad about it.
DR / What’s the difference in aims between Rescue and Response?
SL / Emotional Rescue is simply reissues. Emotional Response is going to be new music.
DR / The stuff I have heard coming up on Rescue is pretty varied, how do you go about selecting stuff?
SL / We simply contact artists we love and see what they say. The first who came back with a yes was Bob Chance. We spent a lot of time talking to Bob on email and phone. He’s a super nice guy and we're happy he saw the release as he was seriously ill over the summer.
DR / There’s got to be a little more to it than just stuff you love. That Whitren & Cartwright LP is pretty much un-Google-able. How did you find / hear the International Times LP, and Bob’s record? I didn’t know about Bob until LNCC had one for sale for about 200 quid.
SL / The Bob Chance was through Piers from Soft Rocks. He'll love that! HaHa. But the Test Pressing version only came to light through our man Lexx. Alex sent me a file of the TP version and I thought it was perfect to start the label so I asked if he'd mind if we contacted Bob. Alex has never told me how he found the TP but rumour has it he bought the LP and it when he got it home, the TP was in there too. The LP had already been licensed by Jonny Trunk, but I was always interested in the TP version.
DR / It’s very different to the LP version, which really blew my mind. Bob doesn t sound quite so "nasal" on the test.
SL / Well the TP is 7 years earlier and was done as a demo so recording was more rough and ready. Bob did the TP as a way of going to the majors and getting a deal. He left a copy with them and that is how some TPs were pressed up. He didn't actually make them, someone at the label did. The story is there are 10 out there, but I'm not so sure.
DR / What about Whitren? I had never heard of it, but I am pretty sure I have heard someone play the “Go With The Flow” track somewhere.
SL / I'd heard about the album but never found a copy. This was pre-Discogs having everything.
DR / Are Jaki and John both alive and well?
SL / Yes. Yes. We tracked them down and they are still out in France. Basically they were both fairly successful musicians in the 70s – Jaki sang on Alan Parsons’ “I Robot” - who got disillusioned with the industry so went and lived in the commune in the early 80s.
DR / Is that live track from Glastonbury gonna make it out in some format?
SL / Yes. I hope so as it’s basically a beautiful accapella. We want it to come out on a CD version. We have a few extra tracks including the long and dub of International Times. This LP in particular has been really amazing to do since we managed to use the master tapes and they were baked and re-mastered by their son Joby, who is a producer over in Canada.
DR / Ah, that was a later question, if the labels are going to be vinyl only.
SL / If it's an LP then we would like to do a CD too, if there is demand. Emotional Response we are going to do digital, but for the reissues we won't do digital. There may well be the odd remix EP at some point.
DR / I was going to say that Psychemagick, men of the moment, seem to like that “Inner Fire” track.
SL / Well, when I got the re-mastered tracks back I sent them to Danny to see what he thought and he stuck it on a mix which was cool.
DR / I’m interested in who suggests the tracks for release, who brings them to the table? I have visions of you and Chris, each with a stack of impossible to find vinyl, doing scissors, paper, stone.
SL / We do talk an awful lot about stuff when we meet up. Chris brought in the Ulysses project, for which I am currently working on a remix with Nigel of Cage & Aviary. Chris is coming in this week with a magic hand to guide us. Or so I hope as I need it!
DR / Have you made any suggestions that Chris has knocked back? Or vice versa?
SL / Good question. No, I don't think so. Though I have gone off once or twice and licensed stuff and then gone, “Err Chris, guess what…”
DR / Before we leave Rescue, is there a link between the extremely varied releases? A criteria for their selection other than being good? I’m listening now and the non “Space Disco” side of Cosmic Hoffman is sounds really current.
SL / That Cosmic Hoffman track is over 30 years old. On Rescue, there really is no criteria, except that we want to put it out. We do try and keep it to the original format. A lot of people said to me put the Bob C out on 12", but to me that sort of defeated the point.
DR / I like the Bob on a chunky 7
SL / Yer me too. Not to say we won't change formats later but it's not the aim.
DR / When is the Suns Of Arqa’s “Brujo Magic” due out?
SL / In about 2 weeks I hope. Maybe first week in March.
DR / Any clues to what’s after Hoffman and Whitren?
SL / Well funny you should say that...but we've just about signed something that we'd like to get out for Record Store Day, but it's a bit tight. We have quite a lot of Post Punk Dub style stuff lined up, some early 80s New Wave, and also some Dub LPs are hopefully coming later in the year. I am a huge fan of that dubby British sound and I think a lot of that will come out over time. To be honest, we have too much stuff due and as we are re-mastering and doing updated artwork it's all gonna come when it comes, and is affordable to do. You have to understand that for every one person that says yes, we get quite a few knock backs, but that's fine. The secret is to remain chilled about it and hope people like each release for what it is and not get in to some hype. I was super pleased when Bob C was in my hands. And it sold out in a week. Not sure the others will, but lets see.
DR / Oh the finished product properly licensed must be lovely...
SL / Yer but by the time it arrives you've sort of moved on. And we still have to pay for the re-mastering and the artwork! haha. Slightly stressfull.
DR / I think the stuff that’s up on Soundcloud is enough to get people interested. I have to say that you’ve sent me digital promos, but I will pick up vinyl of everything. Really really great selection of stuff so far. I think I’ve played everything on the radio now. How did you find the Cosmic Hoffman? Cosmic Dudes? A Baldelli tape? Mark Seven?
SL / I found it on a blog! I think it was either Lovefingers or Dream Chimney. Dream Chimney, since I mailed Ryan (Bishop aka The Beat Broker, founder of Dream Chimney) to thank him. There was that period when so much exciting music was coming on-line and people were sharing and the platform was there. I always remembered that track and then contacted Klaus when we started Rescue.
DR / You mentioned that Andrew (Lovefingers) is going to start a reissue label, will you have to sign a gentleman’s agreement?
SL / I'm not sure what A is doing. He mailed to ask what we had planned but we've not heard back about what he is putting out or how!
DR / Lovefingers and Dream Chimney both put up an awful lot of fantastic stuff, real obsessive. Confimed that I knew very little.
SL / Yes those were a great few years, but Chris does also know a lot about some amazing records. Every time I go to his shop I listen to stuff I have never seen or heard of. He's like the dealer's dealer, they buy off him for themselves. A lot of his “discoveries” have ended up on other people’s compilations. Hopefully he has his own outlet now.
DR / I didn’t know the shop was still going. The web site has been down for ages.
SL / Chris has done what loads have and moved Pure Pleasure Music to Discogs. He still has a small shop. He has also been pretty busy with the Soft Rocks LP and his Vibrations and Kinfolk labels.
DR / How do you find the artists for response? Fairplay is obviously Chris’ mate, since he engineered the Soft Rocks LP.
SL / Tim was actually through Sean (Johnston). I mentioned to Sean that so far everyone on Emotional Response seemed to come from Brooklyn and Sean then suggested Tim. Introduction, track selection, deal sorted, all in 24 hours.
DR / Alan Hurst. I know you’re a fan. We’ve talked before about Not Not Fun and 100% Silk, what makes his work stand out for you?
SL / With Emotional Response we want to release more experimental music that fits outside of the 4/4, 120 bpm electronic sound that is so prevalent. It sounds a bit creepy but I’ve followed Jason's music since picking up the early Steve Summers and that Future Times 7" and from those I traced it back to his first Alan Hurst album.
DR / Oh I thought Alan was his real name. What’s his real name? Is it a he?
SL / Jason Letkiewicz. Through William Burnett, who records as Grackle and Willie Burns, I got hold of Jason and simply asked.
DR / Isn’t Willie Burns something to do with Long Island Electrical Systems (L.I.E.S.) or have I got that wrong?
SL / Yer William records for L.I.E.S. They are all close friends in Brooklyn. I got to know William first after being introduced by George Thompson, one of Spectral Empire who also records as Black Merlin. I was talking to George about doing some Black Merlin stuff for us and it went from there.
DR / The Hurst thing is very "cold / minimal wave". I like the one with the African drumming. It reminds me a little of O Yuki Conjugate and that AB sound.
SL / “Waking Dreams”. Jason is remixing that for a remix 12" for us. Alan Hurst is an outlet for Jason to explore his more soundtrack, lo fi sound. I think there are a lot of influences and ideas that he channels in to that project. Jason has Steve Summers for the House side of things and also records with his partner Aurora as Innergaze.
DR / Innergaze is the only 100% Silk record I own.
SL / Haha. Innergaze are currently doing an album for Minimal Wave.
DR / Anybody else you rate, you wanna name check? Or would like to get?
SL / Well when we started the label I name checked 3 artists to Chris; Musiccargo out of Dusseldorf, Peaking Lights, and Valet. We have contacted all of them at one time or other. Valet is a solo project by a lovely lady called Honey Owens. She is over in Portland and made some beautiful lo fi Psychedelia. Really just voice and guitar. She is a friend of Grouper. They own a shop together. And she is also one half of Miracles Club. Valet was like an earlier project. With Response we could of lined a up a bunch of lo fi sounds, but we don't want to trapped in that. That is why we are putting out Timothy Fairplay. Ulysses is the solo project of Elliot Taub, who is also one half of Neurotic Drum Band. Peaking Lights got signed to a subsidiary of Domino, but we’re hoping to put out Aaron's solo project Faceplant. Deep dub. We’ve also got hold of Eddie Rusha’s early works as Secret Circuit. We are just choosing the tracks and what format at the moment. It’s like modern tropical Balearic Psychedelia, if that makes sense. We are hoping to schedule the first Emotional Response release for March. We wanted to see how Emotional Rescue went first. Get that up and running. Two labels launching in one go would be a bit of a stretch!
DR / I have that Faceplant 12. A lot of that "indie dub" stuff takes me back to Weatherall’s Sabresonic. Listening to Fairplay’s “I Do Not Believe” I am back there now. Proper Trance Dance.
SL / Haha good point. You know I never went to any of Weatherall's nights. I sort of had this outsider aversion to the Boys Own, London, thing. It came from living outside until my early 20s I think. I was invariably dancing in a field to some slightly skanky sound system. I actually think it’s a very British thing, that dub influence. Those Scientest LPs, ON-U Sound, The Pop Group, The Slits, Ruts DC, etc. John Peel, of course. We were all listening in and I guess we all soaked it up.
DR / A seminal experience for me but you were probably lucky. I still haven’t recovered. Happy Jax was a real Dickensian lair. Dub? That’s a whole ‘nother essay. Fairplay’s track definitely speaks of the city and the isolation there in.
SL / Yes well that is why we chose those tracks. We wanted to capture the sound of that East London thing, when it's the early hours, streets are empty, lots of empty buildings etc. It's the sounds of Fish Island basically. Haha.
DR / That’s what it sounds like. The sound of the rave in your head as you make your lonely way home.
SL / The ideal, for me, I would say, right now, is at World Unknown, when it's just starting. Joe and Andy playing that slower, dubbed-out New Wave sound.
DR / I still see Burial as a reference point for a lot of this stuff. I’ve been away from the UK for a long time, is Burial a dirty word?
SL / Not sure. I'm not a Dubstep head. Burial is massive. So maybe now viewed as commercial.
DR / I’m a Dubstep-Not-Dubstep head. I really like the Digital Mystikz rework of Lee Perry’s “Like The Way You Should” at the moment.
SL / Haha, I have one Dubstep 12", and it's Digital Mystikz. Quite old I think. I am more in to the odd stuff. I said to Tim that his tracks sound like a mutant of Dubstep and he said that he and Weatherall listen to loads of Digidub in studio, so now we've asked him to do a Digidub tune for Response. I would love to get TAPES to remix this Digidub track. That is my plan.
DR / TAPES? Does he do the wonky digital dub stuff? Kinda like Stanley Unwin doing Jahtari?
SL / Exactly. Jahtari. With the remixes we’ve asked people to take the tracks on at a slightly different angle. So Twitch has remixed Ulysses, Tiago has done a downtempo mix of Ulysses, the kind of thing you might hear on ESP Institute, Jonah Reinhert has remixed Alan Hurst, and Tim Fairplay has also remixed Parallel Sensations by Hurst.
DR / Getting the unexpected?
SL / Well yes, we’re trying! The Optimo mix is like an ambient Psychic Warriors Of Gaia, which is quite different from his usual remixes. That kind of openness is the long term goal.
DR / Why start a label(s) now? There must be very little money in it.
SL / I guess it's to do with age and experience and being a record collector for so long. There is NO money in it. We’re down at the moment because we are doing it properly. Juno press and distribute and then give us a cut, which we then split with the artist! You can make money if you get up to 1000 copies sold. But 300? That is why you have to admire people like Minimal Wave, Finders Keepers and Light In The Attic.
DR / More like an obsessive hobby then? As you dig you try to make stuff available?
SL / Yer exactly that. We have so much stuff that we want to put out. We actually have too much. But it is great to work with the artists, choosing tracks, remastering etc.
DR / Giving something back with care and some creativity?
SL / Yes I guess so. It's about taking it slow too. I'd like it to take some time to evolve and for people follow the label rather than move on to the next big thing if one of the releases wasn't maybe their bag.
DR / Any plans for promotional events? The Bob Chance Band sounds unlikely. An Emotional Response Showcase?
SL / With running 2 new labels I'm not sure how we could currently stretch to live or gigs, but never say never. It's all about working with friends, like with the artwork and Village Green. I mailed Paul to say that “The Orange Place” sounded amazing on the WU system and the next thing I'm in a meeting at their offices.
DR / What about the artwork?
SL / We are trying to use original sources for the Rescue stuff, but in a cut-up style, quite rough and ready. For response we're working on an identity.
DR / I really like that logo. Stu mate, I’ve got to go to bed, lunch box duty starts at 5:30 AM. Anything else you’d like to add?
SL / You know for both Emotional Rescue and Emotional Response I would love to find some proper experimental stuff, but at the same time, right now, it's nice to simply put across great music that will hopefully tempt people out of their comfort zone to check out something just a little bit different.