These days lots of labels stick to what they know. They tend to have a sound and work into that, putting out record and record of the same thing until they fade into the dark space of discogs never to be seen again. This is not the case with Blank Mind. With a diverse selection of all things be it field recordings, ambient experimentations, bass heavy club anthems, dark dubstep rhythms or the legendary Shake Shakir remixing an underground tribal house and Soca masterpiece this label has defined a way to break the norm and keep us on the edge of our seat until we fall on to the floor.
This curation all comes from the mind of South London native Sam Purcell. Sam has grown up around music being in the world of audio experimentations from his school years. Now with Blank Mind seventeen releases deep and running the incredible Pick A Sound night cementing his firmly well placed spot in the London underground scene it is only time we welcomed Sam to the Off The Record Mix series.
Here we get a deep dive into what his taste is about and what inspires his mind musically in regards to curating his night and label. Recorded live from Pick A Sound at Ormside Projects this mixes brings us on a chuggy and bass heavy journey from the start of the night well deep into the dark hours. We had a quick chat with Sam too about his background and more about what he’s got going on:
Hey Sam Thanks for joining us! Can you tell us about your mix and what the idea behind it was?
Thanks! For this mix I was exploring club music tunes which felt built for systems that wouldn’t necessarily fit in at peak time hours, steady rollers with lots of space. This was recorded while doing the warm-up set at Pick A Sound 03 at Ormside projects on a sunny May evening.
It was good to test out a few forthcoming Blank Mind bits and other dubs. There are unreleased bits by Lack, DJ Ojo, Big Hands, Tammo Hesselink & Two Shell on there.
Could you tell us a little bit about your background, perhaps where you grew up and what first got you interested in music?
I grew up in South London in Putney. Music has always been an obsession – I remember saving money, buying tapes and CDs from Our Price on the high street when in primary school.
I sort of fell into production in high school through my mate Josh, we ended up collaborating as ‘Our Sleepless Forest’ alongside our friend Karl. We were all fascinated just exploring sound, and experimenting. We had an album out on Resonant in 2008, which was kinda psych-ambient type music.
Around sixth form I got into records and started going out to FWD>> and DMZ, and things like that.
This mix was recorded at your party Pick A Sound, can you tell us a little about the night and what the idea behind it was?
Pick a Sound is a night I co-founded this year alongside Abraham Parker and Andrea ‘Big Hands’; built out of a shared desire for an open musical policy, traversing different styles
We all met through Honest Jon’s, which is a big inspiration for us, in terms of ethos and also a certain dubwise sensibility.
MOT and Ormside have been perfect clubs for us – no frills, good sounsystem, also being a bit off the beaten track also means you typically have a good crowd that have come for the music.
What’s your preferred method for finding new music—do you still enjoy digging around in dusty crates, or do you prefer to buy online?
I check a lot of record stores online regularly like Rubadub, Honest Jon’s, Boomkat, DNR, Phonica and a few others. I try and not engage too much with social media, and I’m not a huge radio listener – so record stores are my preferred way of engaging with new music. I like it when shops have their own sound and vibe that you can go to for a specific kind of thing.
I like to dig around in second hand stores too, but don’t do it as much as I should really. I like this feeling of staying connected to the history of things, and making strange discoveries and rediscovering things as well. I especially enjoy it if I’m in a bit of a rut and need to break a habit.
Your label Blank Mind touches off a lot of different styles and concepts, what’s your approach to finding artists and music in general for the label?
In general I’m just following my taste and gut, and trying to keep things interesting. I’m drawn to music I consider idiosyncratic and often a little bit strange. It’s always been important for me not to let myself become too comfortable, and keep things evolving.
A lot of records have occurred through serendipity and curiosity rather than searching for something.
I typically spend a lot of time with the music I receive to ensure each record feels coherent, and will still be something that will sound just as good many years later. I really want everything I put out on Blank Mind to feel timeless, rather than something disposable, derivative or trend-based.
What do you have up your sleeve for 2022?
There should be a new record due on Blank Mind in the next few months.
A mixtape/LP type thing I’ve collaborated on with Jacob Dwyer, should also be coming out sometime in the autumn. I’m really excited about that.
Will hopefully get a couple more Pick A Sound events in before the end of the year too.
Thanks Sam 🙂