A Chat with Josh White from Third Eye Stimuli Records
By James Adams.
I used to see Josh around town, working in cafe’s and retailers. It took a while for me to connect the dots that he was the same guy that plays in The Grease Arrestor, the band I used to see around town as well. I didn’t know Rick until I met him through Stab Mag but he also was one of those curiously handsome faces you’d see everywhere but not actually know. These two about town gentlemen are now behind Third Eye Stimuli Records.
If you’re not familiar I hope you read on and get to know them as it’s crew like this with a tireless work ethic and a "can give a fuck attitude" that keep scenes alive and even birth them where there was no scene. Off the back of their first label showcase, held at the glitter bombed Chippo in Sydney town, I asked Josh some questions about the label. Indulge.
Josh from Third Eye Stimuli.
Where did 3rd eye come from and who is it?
Third Eye Stimuli came from a need to make things happen. The label was born from a time when we were struggling to get our own music projects off the ground - we realised that so many amazing bands go unnoticed and disappear, so we knew that we had to do it all ourselves. Whether it’s vinyl, tape or digital, we want to create artefacts that people can collect and dig forever, and build a community of bands and unique sounds that we believe in. TES is Josh White and Rick Snowden.
Josh getting ready for a set with The Jim Mitchells.
What are you setting out to accomplish in the next year and also what’s the greater goal?
This year we’ll be releasing new music from The Uplifting Bell Ends, Luke Spook, a new artist from New Zealand (sorry that’s all we can say) and hopefully we have some new sounds from The Jim Mitchells. We just wrapped up our first label showcase, 'Strange News Vol. 1' and it was total success for us. We’re super keen to curate another later this year, with more bands and hopefully a mixtape of new music too. The greater goal is to open our own physical space that embodies our vision of music community coming together. Something more than a record store. Investors - hit us up! $$$
The Jim Mitchells at 'Strange News Vol.1'
Being an Australian psych label how much influence do you take from King Gizz and Flightless Records?
Obviously Flightless and King Gizz are a huge influence to so many new and inspired indie labels. Their formula and the way they came to be is flawless but they’ve also worked so hard to get there. While we definitely look up to Flightless and dig bands like Gizz, Babe Rainbow, ORB and Traffic Island - our vision really began when we visited Burger Records and Levitation (Austin Psych Fest) in 2012. We loved the sense of community they had created around the music and the whole tape cassette revival really made an impression on us.
The Uplifting Bell Ends at 'Strange News Vol.1'
Psych music is as mainstream as it has ever been but still runs almost entirely from DIY operations like your own, can you ever see and would you consider being taken on by a large scale label?
We’re open to the idea… It’s a case-by-case situation. If a major label was to get behind TES, we’d want to be sure it’s the right vibe and we maintain creative control. But sure, it happens quite a lot, majors are looking to indies all the time (because we’re cool and know what’s REALLY happening!). Money is hard to come by in the indie label biz, so any help is welcome. For us, it’s about expanding beyond the “Psych” label, we don’t really like labelling things too much these days. We dig on new artists for their unique approach to making music, it’s something you can’t explain that just feels special to your ears.
Outside of music, what/who influences you as a business operator?
Richard Branson of course! Haha, I don’t know. We’re still figuring it out for ourselves really. As the wise words of mum and dad: “there’s nothing better than learning from your own experience and mistakes” - just don’t make any big mistakes! There’s a lot of great brands out there that operate well as an independent business. Anything community focused is influential.
Leroy Francis at 'Strange News Vol.1'
Who is 3rd eye listening to?
Don’t know if you noticed but Aussie bands are killing it: The Uplifting Bell Ends, Luke Spook, The Jim Mitchells, Misty Lanes, Noodle House, Leroy Francis, The Grease Arrestor, Rosa Maria, Traffik Island, Parsnsip, Banana Gun, Babe Rainbow, Arthur Ahbez (NZ but close enough), Tropical Strength, The Pinheads, Straight Arrows, The Dandelion, Los Tones, RVG, New War, Party Dozen, Body Type, Nice Biscuit, Stephen Bailey, Mt Mountain…
There's a new playlist for you, thank me later.
These plus lots more on Third Eye's playlist on our Spotify.
Stay tuned tomorrow for part two with the label's front-runner, Mitch Parry from The Jim Mitchells.
- James Adams