Culture

Psychemagik

DJs, producers and record collectors Danny McLewin and TomCoveney, aka Psychemagik, have a reputation ‘as the go to guys’ for unearthing ultra-rare records. And it’s these hard-to-find records that you can expect to hear in a Psychemagik DJ set, alongside their own varied productions which take in everything from psychedelic funk to cosmic disco, Balearica, Middle Eastern beats and beyond. We catch up with the Canterbury duo fresh off the back of a series of well-received releases including their Summer Of Love edit of Fleetwood Mac’s Everywhere and their latest compilation Magik Cyrkles.

Question: First of all, you've prepared a mix for Coggles, full of unheralded gems and off-kilter jams. Is this typical of the music you're checking right now?
Answer:

Yeah definitely. Every day I discover yet another life changing piece of music that will become something precious to share and experience. With old records it’s just a bottomless pit which is a blessing and a curse.

Question: You're renowned record collectors, which isn?t something than can be said for all DJs. Are you music fans first and DJs second, or does it go hand in hand?
Answer:

It’s all integrated. I think our mutual passion goes into everything we do.

Question: Some people think that the best DJs are curators and educators. Do you see yourselves in that role, or is it just about making people dance?
Answer:

Our intention is always to make people dance from a DJ perspective but also to take some risks and throw the occasional curve-ball out there. With our mellow mixes there is an element of wanting to create a journey and take people on a euphonious trip. Our DJ sets also have that intention but in reality it depends on what context and mental state you are in whether you achieve that or not.

Question: Dance music culture can be quite vacuous and shallow. Does your success and that of other crate-digging DJs demonstrate that there?s a market for something with a bit more depth?
Answer:

It’s really inspiring to see people getting it and digging the art of digging! The problem with major labels is they always underestimate the public. People are so much more intuitive and intelligent than the drivel that is churned out before them. One of the things that drives us is to try and balance that out by putting some alternative fodder out there.

Question: Do you still get a buzz from digging for dusty old records in odd shops and flea markets?
Answer:

When you pull out a dusty crate in a basement of an old bookshop in the middle of nowhere and there’s a record you’ve been searching for forever hiding there waiting just for you, there’s a romance there that will never die.

Question: What's the most interesting find you've come across lately?
Answer:

That’s a hard question cause there’s stuff being found every day. I’ve been turning up a lot of really good Brazilian and Argentinian stuff recently. I finally got my hands on Li Garattoni’s ‘Find Out What I’m Dreaming’ LP and that scratched a long itch.

Question: Over the last couple of years you've become better known as producers. Your re-edits, in particular, have been a roaring success. When you're picking tracks to re-edit, what do you look for?
Answer:

There’s two of us and we look for different things, but we both look for tracks that we feel an emotional connection to. Emotion tends to be the root of what we do and I think people pick up on that.

Question: There are so many re-edits around these days. Do you think the artform has been tarnished in recent years by the amount of Soundcloud edits from bedroom producers?
Answer:

I  wouldn’t say tarnished but I guess there are a few too many under exuberant offerings out there. I don?’t really get why people whinge so much about it though. If you don’t like it don’t listen to it! It’s like when Mary Whitehouse used to complain about all the sex on TV whilst being glued to the screen!

Question: You've been promising us a debut studio album for some time. When can we see it, and what can we expect?
Answer:

The album has been finished for a while now, we’re just looking for the right home for it. We were fortunate enough to record with a 17-piece orchestra in Lyndhurst Hall in Air Studios, which was a monumental experience. We also recorded in Kate Bush?s old studio, which has remained practically untouched for 30 years. There?s some real magic in there.

Question: Next up from you is a compilation and mix for Leng Records, Magik Crycles. What can we expect from that?
Answer:

That’s a compilation of old disco, prog and electronic records from our collections. There’s 4 new edits from us and one from our friend and digger Albion called Down In California which is an incredible track. It?s a French band singing 70s west coast vocals over a drum machine and arpeggio synths! A truly unique and wonderful record! Artwork is by Luke Insect the guy who did the artwork for the Valley Of paradise picture disc and we?re really happy with it.

Question: There's a lot of talk on your website about 'cosmic forest disco'. Care to explain?
Answer:

Well, we live in Kent and our studio is in the countryside. There’s a lot of cosmic energy here. Canterbury is famous for it. Bands like Soft Machine and Caravan came from here and there is a lot of leyline convergence going on just like Glastonbury. We wouldn’t get that energy if we lived in London.

Visit Psychemagik online at www.psychemagik.com

Words by Matt Anniss. Image by Fiona Freud.



Clare Potts

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