"We started out with the intention of doing nothing but what felt right at the moment, whenever the moment came , no exotic plan , no targets or development plans just synchronicity leading the way. that’s the way we want to keep it, hidden between the cracks surfacing to stare at the stars"
Interview with Tom Wheeler, Chris Fitzmaurice, founders of the Sinchi Collective.
How did this fantastic adventure start for you? how did the blog come about?
Chris - My own relationship with the creation of Music is a direct result of the introduction of cheap digital equipment which allowed me as a non classical musician the ability to play with sound in my own way. Working in this manner on and off for the last 20 or so years has allowed me some great interactions including a few releases through Weatherall’s Emissions Audio label , and a not insignificant time producing music for / running Drum and Bass label. As is usually the case life happened and I hung up the midi cables for a while. Several years down the road I met Tom through mutual Friends and soon found we had shared interests in Music , Art , Philosophy and after a great deal of persuasion during a long sprawling evening Tom cajoled me into opening the old hard drives for a listen …took a few files one of which peaked the interest of the Lovely Gemini Brothers who passed us into the arms of Night Noise culminating in an unexpected release - after that we’ve been tag teaming ideas since and generally doing what feels to be the right thing at the right moment.
Tom – Later on the blog kind of came about by accident, we thought it would be cool to share various friends music too… it then kind of just escalated from there and here we are.
We’re big admirers of the name ‘Sinchi Collective’ where does it come from?
Tom - Sinchi is a Quechuan word (An Indigenous language from South America). I first heard the Word in an ayahuasca ceremony around 11 years ago. Some years later I was in Amazon working with other plant medicines when it came back to me in a song…. I asked a local guy a few days later and he said it meant strength / courage to stand up for what is right.
In addition to the collective, Sinchi is also the name of our Non Profit www.sinchi-tribe.com, working with indigenous communities.
How did you go about choosing the logo and artwork for the label?
Tom- This is again connected to indigenous culture, I was staying with an aboriginal community in North East Arnhem Land, Australia and came across this symbol there… The lines represent different people & cultures coming together to a meeting place (the round circles) to connect. I thought what a beautiful representation of life and also that this is the very essence of what the music scene should be.
How did you discover electronic music?
Chris - As a child I remember hearing / seeing prophetic synthetic sounds emanating from slabs of beatboxes carried around on the shoulders of proud youths , the Music turned out to be Electro ( Soul Sonic Force , Jonzun Crew , Newcleus , Egyptian Lover …) and from then on I was wanting in on that club.
How have things developed since you started?
We started out with the intention of doing nothing but what felt right at the moment, whenever the moment came , no exotic plan , no targets or development plans just synchronicity leading the way. that’s the way we want to keep it, hidden between the cracks surfacing to stare at the stars.
Who or what influenced you to get into the music industry? What have been the most influential factors on your career so far?
We’ve have been lucky to encounter like minds who have helped us throw some of our music out of the bunker into the battleground , influences are drawn from everyone and everything everywhere all the time , which I know is a cliché … but it’s true.
Who or what was your biggest inspiration for taking things into your own hands?
Vanity / Ego , in the belief we had something equally as special to share but of course also connecting with people in an authentic manner and helping others get the recognition they deserve.
What were the main hurdles you faced from being a startup project to becoming the established project you are now?
It was and still is a passion project. The only hurdle I can think of is time. It is fortunate that there are a number of members of the collective who do different things and can share tasks.
What can you both tell us about the clubs, labels, releases that inspired your interests in dance music?
Chris – All the ones I have forgotten about were probably the best - but here’s a few standouts I half remember :
Derek May at the Eclipse
Weatherall at a Boys own weekender
Laurent Garnier at Breathless
Flying records in Venus
Lovely sit down Techno at a Little club called Oscillate
House of God with legendary Surgeon
Labels such as R&S , Rising High , Direct beat , TRAX , Network …
Tom- In the more recent times - I loved Trouw in Amsterdam, both for how it created such uplifting , euphoric moments in the club to how welcoming it was. Pretty much everyone you met there was open and it was impossible not to walk away with new friends each night.
I love labels which are original and really have a unique style. Offen,, Comeme, Disco Halal are a few current examples., This doesn’t necessarily mean a fixed genre but that they have a very clear artistic direction.
What do you look for when signing a record for Sinchi?
Well Sinchi acts more as an intermediary, and when we like something,, we connect the artist to the label we think is the best fit, in a way its kind of ‘pay it forward’ as thats how we got our break and its really rewarding to see many artists get signed through our introductions.
Having said that, we have recently launched a new vinyl label called Phantasm, the first reléase is Feb 15th and the 2nd reléase will come towards middle of the year with the Pin Up Club.
What is the process when it comes to identifying artists and the labels output? What are you mainly looking for and hoping to achieve with each release?
Talking about Phantasm, we’re looking for rich musicality
The flavour of the first 2 releases could be described as Synthy, Italo, weirdness
Tell us a bit about what’s coming up for the blog.
We have a new writer for the blog and we’ll also be reinvesting and redeveloping the whole website in the coming months. Apart from that we hope to keep sharing lots of great music.
Where next for the independent music industry?
In the short term more of the same, an abundance of incredibly enthusiastic folk doing what they have to and getting by however they can. I think we will see the small label model become a lot slicker and quite possibly see an emergence of some Mid size outfits that can provide a good base for developing talent and perhaps return a little financial reward to keep the hunger at bay.
Can you shed some light on some of the artists you’re listening to at the moment? Any artist(s) you feel are more worthy of recognition?
Tom - DJ wise I ‘m always happy when Solar comes to town. Other selectors I always keep an eye out for are Vladimir Ivkovic, Perel, Gerd Janson, Jennifer Cardini,
In terms of producers – I’m always excited / intrigued to hear new stuff from Khidja, Black Merlin, Christan S, Lena Willikens to name a few
Chris - Late to the Party on this but love all the Pye Corner Audio stuff , Crypt Vapor , Sulk Magic , Rigopolar
If you weren’t both involved in music what would you like to think you would be doing?
Looking for some meaning elsewhere - writing , art , people , places.
What can we expect to hear from you in 2018?
We have a reléase with Night Noise coming up with remixes from Rigopolar & Roliva, which we’re really happy with, out end of Feb.
Of course coming Phantasm vinyl releases.
And also the creation of a new’ non-profit’ vinyl label. Working with aboriginal songlines, this is a really interesting collaboration connecting sacred ceremonial song with modern day dance culture. We have full approval from the communities and some very well known international producers on board . The aim is to launch at ADE this year, All profits &royalties going to the traditional land owners.