Sean Brosnan, head of Needwant, the London based record label has compiled the second volume of his ambient collection ‘Journeys’. Needwant is a renowned imprint that has released music from the likes of Maxxi Soundsystem, Ashworth and Bonar Bradberry as well curating the celebrated Future Disco CDs.
‘Journeys Season 2: Escape. Sleep. Relax. Repeat.’ turns to more mellow sounds from artists including Nils Frahm & Olafur Arnalds, Christian Loffler and Howling. The CD drops in February, but before that Sean had a chance to speak to us here at I Voice about the inspirations behind this CD Mix and what’s going on at Needwant.
It’s also quite reflective music, so I think the start of the year is a good time for it to arrive...The last ‘Journeys’ compilation came out almost exactly a year ago. Are you making this an annual thing? Or did it just happen to be the right time for the release?
It may be an annual release, but this time it just worked out that it was a year on from the last release. I think there’s something about the darker months in the UK that inspires me to start compiling the albums, so as autumn hits I usually get started ready for release in the New Year. It’s also quite reflective music, so I think the start of the year is a good time for it to arrive.
So the Journeys albums are the like the ultimate collection of these tracks I’m finding from all corners of the musical universe..There are some really great tracks in here, especially the addition of Happyness’s Montreal Rock Band. How did you approach the compilation? Despite being current they aren’t all new releases this year so how did the tracks make the cut?
I’ve been creating a mix for British Airways flights for the past five years that have a similar vibe and I’m often digging deep for tracks, as they give me complete creative freedom. Then I’m often on blogs or searching out for something different.
So the Journeys albums are the like the ultimate collection of these tracks I’m finding from all corners of the musical universe – bandcamp, blogs, soundcloud, spotify, shazam etc....
I came across Happyness really early in their career when I saw a live YouTube video for this track and fell in love with it. I’m glad you pulled it out as it’s one of my favourites also. Can imagine in a few years they could be really something special.
It’s brilliantly curated and mixed with a really nice flow to it, nothing feels out of place. Was it your intention to make it feel like Mix CD rather than a collection of songs?
It’s nice of you to say so. I definitely like to keep the mood continuous and flowing. I’m always searching for a complete journey where the listener never wants to flick forward. That’s always my aim with any compilation.
I definitely like to keep the mood continuous and flowing. I’m always searching for a complete journey where the listener never wants to flick forward...I love the concept of mixes and compilations and that they represent a snap shot in music for that curator. However if one track is out of place, it can ruin the experience, so I take a lot of care and it goes through many versions to get to the end product. I’m not sure too many people take that much care with mixes these days. But it can be so powerful when done right and something people want to listen to too forever to soundtrack their right mood.
There has been a steady rise in support for ambient electronic music over recent years, exemplified by labels such as Erased Tapes Records and Sacred Ground coming to the fore. Is this a direction that Needwant might be taking? With these compilations it would appear that way?
I love this kind of music and have done for many years. I used to think I was the only person enjoying this music or finding it. But then you see how big Nils Frahm has become and you think everyone was thinking exactly the same thing. It’s more introverted music so you don’t hear it on radio or in a club or even with friends. It’s more personal.
Needwant will stay more electronic but we will start a sub label to concentrate on this sound this year...I found through doing the mixes on flights, other people loved it too and as the requests for tracks and mixes came in I thought we need a collection to go some way to define it. I think often with music, people just don’t know where to find it so hopefully Journeys can help people interested in this kind of sound to find some of the artists making this kind of music. Needwant will stay more electronic but we will start a sub label to concentrate on this sound this year. It all links together for me. I don’t see too much difference between a House and an Ambient track, it’s just about great music. But we want to develop a label with a new philosophy to join the family.
I love to be involved with record labels, they really are the lifeblood of all music...As well as running the label you also DJ. How do you enjoy it? Do you find it easy to balance the running of the label with gigging?
I love to DJ; I think it’s all part of the same job and what I love about electronic music. You can be doing a radio show, playing clubs, running a record label or doing parties, and they all sit together, you can focus on one at any one time. It’s never boring that’s for sure. I love to be involved with record labels, they really are the lifeblood of all music and quite often taking the risk to get the music out there to people.
What other news is there for the near future at Needwant?
We will release the ninth volume of Future Disco also in February and more albums in 2016. In terms of singles, we have the second single from Vimes, an EP from Few Nolder and lots of other great music in the pipeline.
Finally, which is your favourite song in the comp? What’s the story behind that selection?
My favourite song is Mutual Benefit – Advanced Falconry, I’m not sure how many times I have listened to this track but it’s too many. I love this song for the epic feeling and layering of vocals and sounds.
As for the story of the album, it’s one of discovery (of new artists) and also reflection. I like to listen to these mixes when travelling when my mind is open to new places and I hope it will somehow soundtrack someone else’s deep thoughts. I like that idea.
Journeys Season 2: Escape. Sleep. Relax. Repeat. is out the 26th February 2016 on Needwant