Left of centre dance tracks from an Australian authority.
No stranger to the airwaves, our next guest Michael Kucyk has spent the past decade masterfully presenting Noise In My Head, a much loved Melbourne born radio show that has since entered the hearts and minds of discernible listeners worldwide via its most recent home on London online network NTS. Now based out of Sydney, Noise In My Head’s fortnightly sonic excursions are known to transmit frequencies from every corner of the underground, with recent guest mixes ranging from Vancouver’s blissed out Pender Street Steppers to accomplished Japanese crate diggers like Mori Ra or the legendary DJ and music historian Bill Brewster. With its international reach now well entrenched, bolstering local talent has become NIMH’s latest focus by way of his two new musical babies; NIMH Records and its retrospective sister label, Efficient Space. The former’s early focus being to showcase the music of Australian live techno artists like Lucy Cliché and Dan White, while the latter will soon emerge with its first release, a brilliant re-issue of a little-known 90s house record from Melbourne based producer Braden Schlager.
Unsurprisingly, Michael Kucyk is also a fantastic selector in his own right whose palette extends far beyond most. In addition to turning in a mix featuring street soul, early NYC house and forthcoming breakbeat gear from his label, he’s also helped us gain some insight into the Noise In My Head vision by answering a few of our questions…
You’ve been a constantly active member of the eclectic underground scenes in both Melbourne and Sydney for over 10 years now, but recently your focus has shifted a little with the birth of NIMH Records, an imprint that appears intent on sharing interesting Australian music with the world. Tell us about how the label came about, and where you might like to see it going. Is it something you had been planning to do for a long time?
I think it was in the back of my mind for a while and the Suzanne Kraft compositions really cemented it. Moving forward it’s going to be predominately locally focused, with the occasional appearance from some foreign crew (I’ve just sent an EP off to press from Frak mainstay Villa Åbo).
While the next three records are dancefloor abstractions, I’d like to see the label gradually cover more territory and mirror what we do on the radio show. Maybe an ambient or guitar record? Who knows.
While on the topic, traditionally the only way for up-and-coming Australian artists to ‘make-it’ overseas is to move to cities like London or Berlin. Do you feel like this might be able to change anytime soon, or may it already be changing?
I guess it depends on what you want as an artist. It’s clearly working for the likes of Bell Towers and Tornado Wallace, but then you look at Tuff Sherm/Dro Carey, an artist who has no desire to be a touring DJ, yet he’s continuously stoking overseas interest. András’ short bursts of Euro dates are making a dent without him necessarily needing to make the permanent shift too.
You have also quite recently launched a sister label, Efficient Space, with the first release, a re-issue of a little known EP by 90s producer Braden Schlager not far away. What’s the story behind that record, and the overall philosophy behind this kind of ‘re-issue label with a twist’… I can imagine tracking down Schlager was a bit of a challenge in itself?
As Australian music recorded in 1990/91, Braden’s backroom house tracks are unparallelled. They’re well worthy of documentation and it looks like he’ll finally get the recognition that he missed the first time around. It’s just a shame that he didn’t lay down more than the four tracks.
Braden had set up a soundcloud account for his newer productions so he was easily contactable. I got lucky there. I wish I could say to same for a few of the other projects that are in motion but I guess the chase is half the fun.
Efficient Space’s vision will be a lot broader, working with everything from contemporary classical to new wave.
What can you tell us about this mix that you’ve put together for us?
It was recorded during one of my reclusive episodes at HQ, including some street soul, some breakbeat and the a-side of Dan White’s forthcoming NIMH Rec.
What do you have coming up next, gig wise, label(s) wise and everything else wise?
I’m back in Melbourne on 15 August for Pelvis at the Mercat where we’ll be sending off Steele Bonus in fine style.
Label stuff is looking busy. I’ve spent the last year licensing an Efficient Space compilation curated by the French masters of taste Julien Dechery and DJ Sundae. That’s involved a lot of detective work with now only one track remaining.
As for NIMH Recs, there’s the aforementioned Villa Åbo and Dan White releases, while something exciting is brewing with the Butter Session fellas.
Natural Experience – Don’t Leave Me (I’m With U)
Nice ‘n’ Easy - Better Love (Radio Mix)
Harlem Gem – More Than You Can Wish
Soul Connection – Dance If U Wanna Dance
Push Pull – African (Future Primitive Mix)
Zanzibar Chanel – Big Boned Bitch (Bell Towers Remix)
Dunamis feat. Sahirah – You Can Make It (Love DJ Mix)
House Of Doors - Starcave
Dan White – NIMH004 A1
LNRDCROY – Slam City Jam (Mix Assist Mix)
Morenas – Hazme Soñar (Cutmaster G Techno Trip Mix)
Denis Wize – Anima Manna
Nutcase & Papachubba feat. Petah – Do U