Invisible, Inc. is a Glasgow based record label and party run by GK Machine, aka Gordon Mackinnon. It originally began as a means to release his own music but has since evolved into something bigger very quickly. The label remains relatively low key, with little hype and attention, however in 2015 alone released eight ep / lp's. The sound of the label is vast and varied which could be said to pay homage to those who have adopted a similar style within the city such as Optimo. There is little structured musical policy and each release is different from the last. Invisible, Inc. is on to something which is clear from the way Gordon speaks and this hour and a half mix of diverse, odd, intriguing music. Listen and read the interview below:
Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you?
GK Machine running Invisible Inc from Glasgow.
How would you describe the Glaswegian music scene and what would you regard as of interest at the moment?
Glasgow is well known for having an ultra vibrant music scene, both in the live gigs circuit and in clubland. But it’s one of the few cities where the two often separate subcultures are very much tied together and work together and in parallel in a very symbiotic, non-exclusive way. Take for example the great Green Door Studio. It’s an analogue studio in a little back lane that's helped give birth to literally hundreds of indie bands but has also been where new and upcoming electronic and experimental bands have come to rehearse and record. Ransom Note readers should be familiar with Golden Teacher, Whilst and Mr TC, all of whom have released on the consistently fantastic Optimo Music label. Then there’s also Sordid Sound System who’s in actual fact one of the in-house engineers and who has recorded all these acts I mention and who’s had an EP out on Invisible Inc and with an mini-LP due out in a few months. That’s just one little corner of the city. There’s a whole lot more. To be honest, the scene is so big that my nephew, who’s in an industrial band in Edinburgh plays through in Glasgow four or five times as often as he does through in the capital. It’s relentless.
How did the label come to fruition?
Initially the label was conceived as a means of releasing some of my own productions. Then, as the idea slowly condensed out of the nebulous ether and into reality, the scope widened and I decided to make it a label that would release music by as many of the artists that I respect as possible, many of them fairly obscure but whom I thought deserved further exposure and their talent to reach a wider audience. I decided the label would also be as much about the art and the product as the music. No disco bags and plain labels….each release would be on tactile reverse board, full colour sleeves and labels and with no text on the front, making the image and design the primary focus of the physical product. And that’s before even playing the music.
What is its purpose, its goal so to speak?
The ethos is as hard to pin down as the multitude of genres that have been explored so far. The idea was to release music that was more cosmic than “cosmic”, more oddball than “leftfield” and not really in any particular style. Certainly there’s a strong psychedelic element in all of the music whether listening to the ambient organic textures of Jon Keliehor or the dark twisted dub of Sordid Sound System. It’s all music from the fringes for people on the fringes.
You run parties as well, what dynamic do you hope to create with these parties?
The parties really vary. We’ve had the mutant synthesiser jazz of Paddy Steer, the percussive mushroom house of Wolf Muller. Also Tim Love Lee DJing and Forever Sound playing live…so pretty varied. It needs to be for the feet though regardless of how "out there" it might be. Having a room full of chin strokers is boring. The guests I’ve had a pretty fun-loving and know how to make people dance!
What sound do you look for to release, is there a distinctive sound to Invisible Inc.?
No distinctive sound whatsoever….unless someone can spot it and tell me. Though like I said, it has to have that wonky psychedelic edge regardless of the genre.
What is upcoming on the label? Can you tell us?
INVINC 06 is due out next week. It’s a compilation 12" with Delta Girls, Legion of Light and a rare Claudio Cremonesi live recording from the ‘80s. INVINC 07 is by Secret Circuit and I’m super super happy about that. A lot of interest in this one and everyone and their mother from San Francisco to Paris is asking whether they can premiere tracks from this one. It’s that good. Then we have INVINC 08 which is a 6-tracker from Sordid Sound System and then an amazing ambient LP by veteran multi-instrumentalist Jon Keliehor. After that a Spacerocks 12” and then…who knows?
If you could sign any artist to the label who would you choose?
I already have - it’s Secret Circuit. The man is a legend. A creative polymath. As well as the music, I like all the artists to have as much input with the artwork of each release as possible, thus making it a real expression of themselves. The artwork he’s done is beyond describing here in words. Genius doesn’t cut it. I’ve been following Eddie Ruscha’s music for almost 20 years so it’s really exciting to be able to release something by him. Next on my list would be Tim Love Lee. I’ve already put a track of his out on 12” but a whole EP would be even greater.
Which record do you wish you’d released?
Ha. Too many. I would say I’m hugely inspired by labels such as Emotional Response, Optimo, Golf Channel and ESP Institute and without fail they will come out with something that I wonder how they “discovered” it…but that’s just how it goes in this business….I’m lucky enough to also receive compliments from people saying how great they think then label is so that’s hugely flattering. I do have my eye on reissuing something very rare too….but obviously I can’t tell you what that is.
Where was the mix recorded?
In my home studio.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
The mix tries to capture the various vibes of the label. It heads into dance territory and then around halfway floats off into more esoteric space. I’m inclined to call it a “journey” despite the cheesiness of that term, just because it’s definitely a lot more physical and emotive to begin with before getting increasingly cerebral as it progresses, taking the listener deeper into that space that the label inhabits. I would say though that whether you’re at work or driving or sat in a tree completely out of your mind at 7am talking to new friends of the feathered variety, this mix will have undeniably therapeutic benefits.
What should we be wearing?
A radiation suit, sandals and sombrero.
What would be your dream setting to record a mix? Location, system, format?
Beach party or outdoor festival….usually informal spontaneous outdoor parties are the ones that are best…..I much prefer those to clubs (but don’t get me wrong I like DJing in clubs) and am most "in my element” at these sorts of parties ……gimme decks and vinyl and off we go….and of course the most important thing of all: dancers and good company.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
Probably Tim Love Lee’s “E7000" played at 33 or Secret Circuit’s “Gothic Rainbow”.
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
Not a clue. Don’t think I have one to be honest. Been listening to Prins Thomas’ Paradise Goulash triple CD mix in the car lately which is great.
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
He’s not my favourite DJ but I’d like to play alongside Danielle Baldelli just becaise I love his eclectic taste and he’s obviously been around a long time DJing long before we had even gotten our first record players.
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
Two belt drives and a two channel mixer. Now it’s two Technics and a bigger mixer. I also do edits which I’ll run into a third channel and you’ll hear some of that in this mix along with sounds from my Juno-60 and other bits and bobs.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
They’re both equally important. i guess it depends on the situation and the place. In a club it’s really important to build a as good an atmosphere as possible early on, create a vibe and taster and often what comes in the middle isn’t so important as long as people are dancing. The last track is always important too. I had a DJ partner for a few years who thought it was always best to finish the club on a track that everyone knew. i understood why he thought this but I totally disagreed. I feel as long as it’s a great track then that’s what’s important. You want it to be memorable. After all, a totally obscure but amazing track could become the next pop hit if it goes down well.
What were the first and last records you bought?
1st: Adam & The Ants “Kings Of The Wild Frontier” 7” in 1980. Most recent: Czeslaw Nieman - Idee Fixe 2xLP (ordered 22 hours ago)
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
Preenish gurply zing zing water with a touch of acidity.
If it were an animal what would it be?
The golden monkey hawk.