After learning his trade through a variety of projects including the 7″ focused Plastic Spoon Records and reissue label Mitzvah, Abraham ‘Inferno’ Toledano also known as MOYO took things to another level with Mind Records, the fearless and equally tastefully curated imprint he founded alongside Chihiro Kataoka back in 2014, which they operate between their home cities of Paris and Osaka.
Since its inception, Mind has been largely drawing from Montreal’s effervescent electronic and post-punk scene, which Toledano maintained a close relationship with after living there for a few months. Bernardino Femminielli, Bataille Solaire, Jesse Osborne-Lanthier, Pelada… the list is long, and uniqueness is the key, the impact and singularity of each release being emphasised through neatly thought-out designs and inch-perfect visual set-ups.
After a year marked by yet another choice batch of obscure neo-classics, ranging from hardcore leaning post-punk to twisted synth-pop onto Femminielli’s Gainsbourg’esque filthy lullabies, we thought it was about time to ask Abraham for a mix and he certainly delivered one that reflects his label’s identity to perfection: raw, esoteric and uncompromising to the fullest.
We also had a quick fire Q&A to lift a corner of the veil on Mind’s backdrop as well as his early love for garage rock and personal evolution in the realms of underground music. Lock in!
Interview by Baptiste Girou
"Plastic Spoons was more into post-punk, garage and psych and I wanted to release some electronic music so I started Mind Records."
Hey Abraham, thanks for the mix! How and when was it recorded?
Hi, I did it last week at home when I got back from a party, and I was bit drunk…
How do you generally build up your sets? Is your approach more intuitive, “thematic” or purely rhythmic?
It’s totally intuitive; I don’t give a shit about building something super clean. Most of the time it’s just boring and soulless.
Plastic Spoon Records, Mitzvah… you’ve been involved in a multitude of labels and structures before establishing Mind Records. What was the starting point to this special venture?
I began Plastic Spoons with my friend Yves a long time ago. At this time, we tried to organise post-punk, EBM, experimental parties but nobody really cared about it. It was a total failure! We played a lot of German new music because we had the best shop in Europe called Bimbo Tower. They had all the WSDP and Kernkrach releases.
We also discovered many things with master Jean Leneutre who did the best CDR comps ever. But at the end, Plastic Spoons was more into post-punk, garage and psych and I wanted to release some electronic music so I started Mind Records.
"It took me a year of print test to do the first release. I did maybe 15-20 test prints, put 600 picture sleeves in the garbage."
You operate the label in conjunction with Chihiro Kataoka, who’s based in Osaka. How did you come to collaborate?
It happened 4 years ago when she came to live in Paris. We talked a lot about Japanese experimental music, art and photography… We then decided to build something together.
What memories do you keep from your first visit in Japan?
Like Muslimgauze with Maghreb, I’ve never been there!
Mind has a very sophisticated and carefully thought-out aesthetic. How important is the visual side in the process of releasing a disc?
You’re right, it’s extremely important to me. For example, it took me a year of print tests to do the first release. I did maybe 15-20 test prints, put 600 picture sleeves in the garbage. Nothing worked. I was super obsessed about it and so was my friend Sebastien Thrian, who has always been helping me with artwork. But finally, after being an asshole to everybody, it worked. Now that I know how to do, I’m more relaxed with that.
"It all started when I was 13-14 years old, I tried to be a mod with my shitty haircut, Beatle boots, parka but no Vespa."
What’s next on the label’s menu?
Many things! The next release will be the album of Femminielli Noir, another Bataille Solaire 7″, a really cool and ultra talented Japanese guy called Kazuki Koga (two of his tracks are featured on the mix), the vinyl issue of NV album ‘Binasu‘, Volition Immanent and many other secret releases. 2017 is almost booked.
You’ve earned a solid reputation as a digger, with a sense of open-mindedness and eclecticism that nourishes your various endeavours as a label owner. When did you start collecting wax?
It all started when I was 13-14 years old, I tried to be a mod with my shitty haircut, Beatle boots, parka but no Vespa (I was broke). I collected mostly garage, psych, soundtracks, French freak beat, Japanese group sounds, this kind of stuff.
As I was broke – especially because I had just come back from Montreal (I tried to live there and was ejected really fast), I began to sell part of my ’60s French collection as I didn’t give a shit about it anymore. Instead, I started collecting different types of music like post-punk, kraut, experimental… Today, I buy every kind of stuff, from Gangsta Rap to Arabian tapes.
"There are so many diggers. I hate this word, I just like music and buy music, that's it."
Do you recall the first vinyl you bought?
Yeah, I was lucky. I was pretty new to buying records and my mother told me that there was a charity sale in the church just next to my place. I woke up early and bought all the Gainsbourg LPs and most of the 7″ for 20, 50 cents each. And also a lot of French pressings of garage records. Now it’s dead, forget about it. There are so many diggers. I hate this word, I just like music and buy music, that’s it.
What’s the last gem you copped? What’s so special about it?
There are many of them but I’m especially happy about the Sir Freddi Viadukt tape.
Which release would you be ready to break the bank for?
The Decayes ‘Not Yet‘ LP. I’ve been looking for it for years but there are only 100 copies available.
What’s up next on your schedule? How do you plan to celebrate the end of year?
Hanukah in Osaka!
Featured photo by Daphne Boxer LalondeMOYOMind RecordsExperimentalIndustrialTechno