COSMIC ROUNDUP: CHRIS REEDER FROM ROCKET RECORDINGS
Rocket has been one of my favourite labels for a decade and I would say they are in the best form of their life right now. Let's find out what's going on in Chris's brain, who runs the label with a chap called Johnny.
Hi Chris, how are you?
Still in a recovery position after Brave Exhibitions...
Rocket is in spectacular form. Talk us through your releases from 2019 and some of your absolute highlights.
Can't really pick any highlights, as for me each and every release is highlight in it's own right!
But 2019 has seen new records by some good 'ol Rocket faithfuls like Teeth of the Sea, Gnoomes, Julie's Haircut, Mamuthones, Bonnacons of Doom and Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation.
But the year has also brought new acts to the Rocket family like Gum Takes Tooth, PETBRICK, The Utopia Strong, Paisiel, and killer debut releases from GOAT/Hills off shoots Centrum and DJINN.
You can have a listen to a Spotify playlist of one track from each of our main 2019 releases here:
One thing I will say though, at the beginning of the year I never thought we would finish the year having released records by Iggor Cavalera and Steve Davis?!?!
Tell us how 6-time Snooker World Champion Steve Davis found his way into your world.
It was at the Teeth of the Sea album launch where Steve handed us his demo for his new album he had made with Michael J York and Kavus Torabi. John and myself were very skeptical at first and we said to ourselves "we have to say 'no' to this, we would be crazy to do this, it has the feeling of a novelty album! so it has to be beyond amazing for us to put it out.” And what you know, after listening to it we realised it 'was' beyond amazing and we would be crazy not to put it out!
I have been following your label for about 10 years. Back then I considered it a psych label but recently, you seem to be really pushing the sonic boundaries. Is that intentional? What do you think a band needs these days to make it into the Rocket fold?
I think we have always tried to push the sonic boundaries tbh even since when we started in 1998, as that has always been important to us. Plus I would say there is still a psych thread that runs through all our current releases they are just not ‘obvious’ psych, but to my mind all our releases are 'transportive' in their own way which to me is what makes something 'psych'?
As for what makes a Rocket band...one thing we have we have always stated is that a Rocket band has to bring something new to the table, we don't want bands just copy their record collections.
Another very important thing for us for when we decide what to release is that we try not to repeat ourselves, we like every band to have their own identity so we don't want to have similar sounding bands on the label at one time.
Are there any new bands not on the label that you’re keeping an eye on? Come on, tell us.
Ha, well our ears are always open so we hear many great bands out there but also there’s only two of us so we can’t do everything and have to be very choosy with what we pick so what we release is what we actually think is the best bands out there!!! But...if I had to list a couple of bands/releases I would love to work with? I think Deaf Kids are making great music. Tomaga are one of the best bands in London. I think Oren Ambarchi is making some of the most interesting music out there right now. Ugandan band Nihiloxica are an exciting proposition too. And their not new but I would LOVE to release a third collab between Nurse with Wound and Stereolab! ;)
Best gig you attended in 2019?
Very tricky, so many great shows as always
But for a non Rocket related gig it might have to be 'Re-Textured' at 180 The Strand, with Demdike Stare, Lee Gamble and Puce Mary. One of the best sonic treats my ears have ever had as the soundsystem was otherworldly. Some pretty good visuals too!
Best festival you attended?
Nothing comes close.
What are your favourite releases from 2019?
Spent most the year listening to Rocket releases/demos tbh, and if I wasn't I was plugged into the NTS archive. But one album released in 2019 that I have played a lot is a compilation of current Bristol underground sounds called ‘No Sleep to Avon’ on the label Avon Terror Corpse. https://avonterrorcorps.bandcamp.com/album/no-sleep-til-avon
What the hell are you up to next year?
Well as always we have loads of great albums coming out :)
New music from Newcastle, Mexico, Salford, Sweden, London, Greece, Liverpool and of course Bristol to name a few.
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