With its illuminati-friendly logo art and unconcealed appreciation for occult symbols, Mysticisms is the exact incarnation of a label doing serious business without taking itself seriously at all. Snugly seated at the helm of their dancing ship, Stuart Leath (godfather of the whole “Emotional” mafia: Especial, Response and Rescue, co-founder of Sacred Summits and a few well-known ventures bound to remain a secret) and Piers Harrison (better known as one of the leading members of Soft Rocks and Roots Unit) are the exact kind of guys whose purely British wit and absurd humour only equal the limitless dedication they put into their craft. A lesson for all the poseurs out there.
In the wake of a solid string of releases that’s seen Chuggy and Piers be joined by longstanding dubplates don Persian, Vertigo Inc, Brian Bristol, Oslo’s Øyvind Morken and the long asleep Elements Of Life, in the space of just a year, Mysticisms follows up with its fourth 12″ delivery of the season, coming courtesy of Australian-born, Berlin-based producer Lewis Day aka Tornado Wallace under his new moniker of Deep Dean. In the interview below we trace back to the origins of the label and how the pair of them gentlemen envisage its present and future, what makes it a special project and what’s next on the menu. We’re also no short of happy to bring you the exclusive stream of the toasty, summer-scented original version of Deep Dean ‘Ocean Groove‘.
Interview by Baptiste Girou
"Mysticisms is two things. A straight up House/Dance label (with the odd left turn) – and a chance to do something with Piers."
First things first – how did you chaps meet, and what brought you together in the first place?
Stuart : Good question and a smoke-hazed memory jogger. It was maybe about 15 years ago at a party in a basement of Smithfields Market that a mutual friend – Butch “Attai” Gordon stand up – took me along to that Piers and the Soft Rocks guys were playing at. There were a lot of small parties going on then from what was a bit of disparate discoid scene. Disco edits was still growing and pretty good before the masses climbed aboard and I recall we bonded pretty fast, maybe being young Dads in denial of adulthood helped. We also have a similar take on the British sense of humour, slightly surreal, odd with a touch of the perverted.
Piers : Factually incorrect. I first met Stuart when he virtually rugby tackled me in a field at the Big Chill festival to tell me how FUCKING AMAZING my set had been the previous day. I knew then he was either a generous or deluded man. Found out pretty soon after that it’s the latter rather than the former. The subsequent meeting was at that party in the meat pub beneath Smithfields – “The Cock”, I believe it was called.
How did the idea of starting a collaborative label begin? Little has been told on the label yet. What are your aims and hopes for it?
Stuart : I have no recollection of how it exactly started, but Piers was def looking to step out from doing the Kinfolk label within Soft Rocks and also, to release something away from that post-disco sound and do a pretty straight up Dance label. We’d already worked together on a few productions – we “created” (aka spat on) the edit of Suns Of Arqa’s Brujo Magic from Emotional Rescue’s 2nd ever release way back in 2012 – so we have history on that side too. Dabbling.
Piers: I know exactly how it started. Stuart got sent a track that we both adored and we wanted to put out (spoiler: we didn’t end up putting it out (Stuart: but Dixon is currently slaying!!)). We’d already used the name for a one radio session on NTS and night at Brilliant Corners. The stars aligned…
Piers, you’re mainly known for your output as Soft Rocks, which has led you to release on ESP Institutes, of which you’ve become a staple member, as well as Stuart’s [Emotional] Especial. Is it safe to say you essentially release your material on friends’ structures exclusively? Is the ‘family’ approach crucial for you when putting out a record?
Piers : I’m not sure if that’s by accident or design really. Lovefingers was (at that time) a fellow stay at home Dad in NYC so the ESP link up felt very natural. I guess most things start by having long conversations about music over a period of months (or even years) before morphing into some kind of “working” relationship. Music isn’t my job so for me it feels redundant to work with people I can’t have a laugh and kick it with.
Stuart – you’re the man behind the whole Emotional palette of labels (Especial, Response and Rescue). What makes Mysticisms a special project for you?
Stuart: Mysticisms is two things. A straight up House/Dance label (with the odd left turn) – and a chance to do something with Piers. I like collaborating as it brings in something different, like with Lindsey Todd on Sacred Summits and anyone who knows Piers well realises he’s a man child with a sharp wit, so we can have a lot of fun and talk crap while sporadically getting releases together and trying not to bitch about the state of the music industry all day. I’ve always had this mystical, (oc)cult interest so we got the label name pretty easily, even though there is actually quite a lot of thought going in to the symbolism we’ve used and the artwork, but it’s still about keeping it fun and wanting to put out great records.
"I’ve always had this mystical, (oc)cult interest so we got the label name pretty easily, even though there is actually quite a lot of thought going in to the symbolism we’ve used and the artwork, but it’s still about keeping it fun and wanting to put out great records."
We’re premiering the lead track from ‘Ocean Groove’, a new EP by Deep Dean, aka Tornado Wallace, due out soon on the label. Can you tell us more about that record, and Lewie Day’s fresh new moniker?
Stuart: This one is all Piers…
Piers: I’m not entirely sure why or how I’ve been lucky enough to release a couple of Lewie’s side projects now (having done Coober Pedy University Band on Kinfolk). I like to think he views me as a father figure… wise and benevolent and yet firm and masterful. Or it could be a combination of sympathy and us both liking dogs? Regardless I am not complaining. He mailed me for a couple of track IDs on a mix I did, then said he might have something along similar lines – I.E. a homage to “cheap 90s house records” for the label. A couple of weeks later he delivered the finished product – quick and easy.
It’s your fifth release in less than two years. Can we expect the releases to flow at this steady pace in the future? Any new release(s) in the pipeline?
Stuart: We seem to be bringing different releases in and then discuss the merits of each (sometimes endlessly). For example, I suggested the Persian EP, then we both did the Vertigo Inc and Øyvind Morken EPs. Piers is tight with Lewie and found the Brian Bristol. It works as we both input / do A&R on all of it. There is no rush and yep, we have a few releases upcoming – a 2nd Persian EP is just starting and something very different is in the works that is more post-cosmic sound.
The split has ended up being half new productions and half reissues and we’ll see how that goes going forward. It’s fun to shine a light of gems from the past, but great to push new music as that’s the lifeblood. Reissues, for good or bad, are hip and I have “form”, but Piers is def more active in throwing ideas up as I’m busy with the other labels, then I get involved in making them happen. sorting any remixes, the look and production stuff. Plus, Piers is constantly telling me about this or that and I have to act as a quality controller and send him packing until he comes back with something better!!
Piers: I’m definitely the “chuck the ideas” around guy and we have quite different views on A&R’ing tracks (me: not at all, him lots), nonetheless it seems to work quite nicely. Beyond the above mentioned sample-based post-Cosmic release, we are also batting around a second Øyvind EP, another biggish name working undercover, a Canadian experimental techno obscurity and the reissue of possibly the greatest deep house record I’ve ever heard. As I’m learning on the job about 50% of these things seem to go south, we’ve lost some real belters already, so I try not to get too attached until I see a test pressing.
What’s the last record store you visited and what did you bag there?
Stuart: Popped in to Phonica early last week and got the new Drummer From Drummer EP on FIT Sound and the killer A-Team reissue on Seance Centre, then checked in at Born Bad in Paris at end of the week and picked up their second French Boogie comp.
Piers: Not counting embarrassingly constant online forays, it would be Eldica where I bought a demented primitive UK house record with a Soca edge, a disco calypso record with a fucking excellent intro, two US boogie 12″s and a hellfire Trini Reggae 12″. That’s all you’re getting! Shouts to Andy.
"I’m not entirely sure why or how I’ve been lucky enough to release a couple of Lewie’s side projects now...I like to think he views me as a father figure… wise and benevolent and yet firm and masterful. Or it could be a combination of sympathy and us both liking dogs?"
What is it that usually makes you happy?
Stuart: Music, art, family, friends and Piers’ witticisms.
Piers: Not completely fucking up the licensing process and getting told off by Stuart.
What irks you the most?
Stuart: Pressing plant issues and Piers’ witticisms.
Piers: Completely fucking up the licensing process and getting told off by Stuart.
What are your plans for the summer?
Stuart: Playing at Camp Cosmic next week and then looking for somewhere to lie by the Mediterranean in August, as I soooo need a holiday.
Piers: Wondering what I’m going to do with my daughter, having once again failed to plan any adequate childcare provision for six long weeks.
Ocean Groove is out now via Mysticisms, order a copy from Juno.
A1. Ocean Groove
A2. Ocean Groove (Piano Mix)
B1. Ocean Groove (Basement Dub)
B2. The Awakening
Discover more about Mysticisms on Inverted Audio.Deep DeanMysticismsJuly 2018ElectronicHouse