Innamind Recordings is a label created and owned by Jeremy Pattinson aka Kursk that focuses with precision on the dark, minimal and often mental side of 140 bpm music. What some may call one of the most progressive imprints in dubstep today, it’s founder calls “just a label of friends who like releasing some pretty sub heavy bass music.” Don't let this modest stance or the label’s super minimal aesthetic fool you; Innamind is making serious movements on the deep, dark end of the dubstep spectrum.
This summer the crew is shredding tiny clubs and big festivals on its fourth North American tour, bringing their foundational yet avant-garde dubstep to some of the largest, most diverse audiences yet to hear it. They’re hitting some of the continent’s mainstay venues for bass music, including the Black Box in Denver, Infrasound in Wisconsin, and Bass Coast in British Columbia, Canada. Tomorrow, they're kicking it off at the BoomRoom in Philadelphia.
To celebrate the start of his fourth trip around the continent, Kursk whipped up a premium guest mix for our Rusted Rhythms series. It exemplifies his ability to flawlessly mix amazing, obscure dubs, and highlights the sound that Innamind pushes; a 140 bpm blend rooted in all the best aspects of traditional dubstep, but not afraid to make huge departures from the familiar.
Kursk is heading up a formidable tour roster that includes big selectors Karma, Headland, and Ago, with the latter two making their U.S debuts. “This time around we are looking forward to getting the music out there and to playing at some of the festivals,” says Jeremy. “I am especially looking forward to two festivals that we have been booked to do label showcases at." It's a positive thing to be able to spread the artists and their music to a wider audience. I think you get more of that with festivals as opposed to clubs.”
Jeremy grew up in Christchurch, New Zealand where he would found Innamind in 2013. As a youth he was initiated on the Subtle Sound System, apparently the biggest custom-built sound system in New Zealand and the featured system at many parties in Christchurch. With small cities spread over a spotted and rugged landscape far removed from Europe or the States, the Kiwis have to work a bit harder to germinate a thriving bass music culture in New Zealand. Still, system music definitely has a home in Christchurch. In 2011 an enormous earthquake incapacitated much of the city’s nightlife, but Subtle Sound System and others are back at it throwing down. Not long after founding Innamind Jeremy moved himself and his label to Los Angeles, CA and become enmeshed in that city’s underground bass community. More recently, he's set up shop in Philadelphia.
Also making a home in Christchurch is Gene Warriner aka Headland, one of Innamind’s lead producers. He and Jeremy never met until a couple years ago, funnily enough, though they’re good mates now. This tour marks not only Headland’s first performances in the US, but his first steps within the country. He’s already performed in the UK, various spots in Europe and “across the ditch” in Australia. “I don't carry records so that's one less thing to deal with, when dealing with the TSA. I really can't wait to meet my fellow producers/friends that i've only talked to on the net for the last three years or so.”
Kursk is a real selector, a true student of the sound system culture. ”Kursk’s access to upfront dubs from leading scene artists is unmatched, and is sure to surprise even the most hardened spotters,” remarks Resident Advisor. He’s a throwback to early days when a soundman might scratch or switch off the labels on his dubs to keep his biggest tunes shrouded in secrecy. (We confirmed that Jeremy does not, in fact, do this). Tracklists, or rather their absence, appear to be a source of humor for some of the Innamind crew.
For his part, Headland is a newer hand behind the decks. “I’ve been listening to dubstep for about eight years or so and have played the drums since I was very young, but never thought about making dubstep. After I went to Outlook Festival in 2014, I said to myself that I would start making music when I got home. So on January 1, 2015 I opened FL Studio and got stuck in.” Three years later and he’s touring the US storming underground clubs and hitting some of our finest festivals. Not bad. His come up did not materialize out of nowhere, of course. He cranked on his production after long days working construction in Christchurch. “The creative process for that was getting home from work in my building gear, grabbing a beer and sitting down for four hours straight and basically getting the whole thing done in that time. It just happened…"
The motivation behind Innamind is relatively simple. Jeremy was listening to righteous producers in the annals of the web who he felt must have been “sitting on mountains of dubs” that were going unreleased. So he began Innamind as a forum to release these deep cuts, and one day perhaps give the producers an opportunity to spin tunes on big systems. His vision continues to manifest itself, as all summer his artists will play on some of the baddest systems in North America.
In 2015, Jeremy conceived Blacklist, a sister label for Innamind which would act as a space for Innamind artists to release their more experimental tracks. Even within a sound that’s rooted in darkness, space and lurching sub frequencies, this dedicated forum for left-field experimentation has helped foster some crazy good records. “It's going really well,” Jeremy says of the sister label. “We just had our eighth release on that series from V.I.V.E.K and we have a number of other things in the pipeline for this year. With Blacklist we never really force anything, we just go with the flow and put something out when it feels right. It's just an outlet for me and Gantz to release music we are feeling together.” Gantz, arguably the most popular producer on Innamind, released the first music on Blacklist.
Innamind is well known for its faithfulness to vinyl, that timeless glossy black medium which is so aesthetically bound up with dubstep. Kursk spins vinyl himself, and he makes sure his label presses every single release. A growing, loyal following gobbles up every last one. “We have mostly used a German pressing plant named Optimal but have used MPO as well. From there the records are shipped to the south of England to our distributor Unearthed Sound's warehouse. From there they get sent around the world to different online shops and stores.” According to Jeremy the cost of pressing records has skyrocketed recently, perhaps due to increased demand. He makes sure to scope suppliers for the fairest rates.
Ultimately Innamind is one of a small group of standout boutique labels that are pushing 140 forward with their creativity. “As far as labels, I am always following V.I.V.E.K's label, System,” Jeremy says. “I think they execute everything perfectly, its a real solid label and I am feeling most of the music they are releasing. I think Chord Marauders have done some cool stuff as well.” Indeed, one can perceive in Chord Marauders some of the same flexibility and freedom within 140 bpm that Innamind advances.
Not that Jeremy has made the connection. Like the crowd when he’s throwing a set, it seems he likes to keep his head down. “To be honest I tend to mainly focus on what we are doing for the most part. I don’t really listen to much dubstep outside of what we are doing, and a very small group of other producers and DJs.” Perhaps this lack of interest in the wider spectrum is what allows Kursk to keep Innamind's output so fresh.
Dubstep continues to regain popularity in the States, only this time around folks seem to be less easily fooled by the carbon copies and more inclined to go out of their way for the genuine sound. On it’s fourth go-round in North America, Innamind is definitely going to gain some traction in this environment. Don’t sleep when they come to a festival or a dark dance floor near you.