Igloo Magazine sat down with Keith Downey, label owner and operator of the now decade young Psychonavigation Records outfit to discuss, via hyperspace, a few key points regarding its start-up, progress and future. Catch a glimpse of Psychonavigation’s history and stay tuned for their latest collection of tracks compiled on the July 29th release of Mindfield (featuring Scanner, The Future Sound Of London, Sense, Norken, Spacetime Continuum, Anodyne, The Black Dog and many others).
Igloo Magazine :: When did Psychonavigation start up and what was your inspiration?
Keith Downey / Psychonavigation :: Simple answer is Pirate radio & Fax Records! We started up the label in 2000. On Sunday nights myself and my close friend Colm Duff presented a weekly ambient show on a local pirate radio station called Kiss FM. We played a lot of Fax records CD’s and during one of our shows as the Psychonavigation CD by Pete Namlook & Bill Laswell was playing we both decided that would be a great name for a record label!
Igloo:: Who were some of your initial artist relations and did your physical location hinder any progress?
KD :: The radio was a great medium for us to received demo material from local artists and foreign visitors who came across the show so in turn we had an easy route to unreleased music. We managed to license tracks from some up and coming musicans who passed through Dublin City (Buckminster Fuzeboard (Boulder, USA), Khanspiracy (Saskatoon, Canada).
On our Psychokinesis compilation (psy003) we scoured the internet blogs for interesting artists to work with and ended up signing individual tracks from acts such as Metronomy, Mr. Projectile, PP.Roy, Lackluster, Felix Laband etc. This compilation managed to get our name out to the UK and to other small areas of Europe which was very satisfying at the time.
Igloo :: What were some of the challenges (if any) starting up a label? How did you envision the label to stand apart?
KD :: Well, getting the money for our first CD was a big problem as I was on the dole so a friend helped out… thank God :) …all we wanted to do was to get the music out there to people whatever way necessary and having radio exposure was a big help. Our first compilation came about directly from our weekly radio show. We simply asked the listeners to send in their music or pass the details to friends and in the space of four months we had over 50 demo tracks. We also managed to secure a monthly label mix on our national radio station 2fm so there was a little wage to help with some promotional costs.
Igloo :: What is your motivation in keeping the label moving forward into the next decade?
KD :: It really is the best feeling in the world to receive a demo of material and to be in the position to release the music worldwide and help the artist build up their profile. When we first started this was not so easy due to a lack of proper distribution but thankfully in the past five years we have managed to secure many more territories so more people will have a chance to experience a Psychonavigation release. This was a big motivation to keep doing what we wanted to achieve.
Igloo :: Tell us more about how you (and your staff?) take the label’s “sound” to the listeners and fans. Distribution, campaigns, word of mouth etc.
KD :: We are only a small company and hence our budget is extremely small but we are very lucky to have a small group of friends who provide their skills be it design, website or press help. The A&R side of things is entirely my role and one that I adore. Our releases are distributed by Indi Entertainment (Ireland), Arabesque (UK), Cargo (UK) and Darla (USA).