Running an independent record label can be a strange old business, with surreal, life-affirming experiences at every turn. It's even weirder though when you run Rocket Recordings – one of the world's finest psychedelic music labels, uncovering crazy sounds from around the world. On their roster now are Swedish psych-rockers Goat and Hills, Italy's Mamuthones, France's Annapurna Illusion and super-heavy UK acts Hey Colossus and Anthroprophh.
Label chief John O'Carroll is well-placed then to explain what psychedelic music actually is. Covering everything from Krautrock, jazz and heavy metal to funk, trance and electro, "It's music that expands horizons and looks outwards," says John. "I was once asked what 'psychedelic' means to me and I could only describe it in visual terms – expansions in all directions, spirals, spokes, honeycombs and cobwebs."
To celebrate the label's new EP series (and new albums by Josefin Öhrn and Hills), delve deep into the world of Rocket Recordings with John's mammoth exclusive mix. Then scroll down to read about a few of the strangest experiences John has had running the label.
The Heads' Kenneth Anger Tribute Night in Bristol, UK (2001)
Many years ago The Heads were one of those bands that, caught at the right moment, needed health and safety warnings. The Kenneth Anger Tribute Night at the Thekla, Bristol, was no exception. It was a monster of a freakout. We applied the heavy use of strobes, the ones that really mess with your head. It was beyond a multimedia experience.
Goat at Glastonbury (2013)
I hadn't been to Glastonbury for years, but after experiencing Glastonbury's Shangri-La I can see why people think it's one of the best festivals in the world. Shangri-La is a shimmering, ephemeral city of vast interactive installations brought to life and Goat were on the Hell Stage at nightfall. From within the darkness, surrounded by naked flames, Goat let loose their pagan rituals in a ferocious performance.
Goat Surrender at Circomedia, Bristol (2015)
This [RBMA] show was one of those occasions that looked stunning, in an old church with huge stained-glass windows, audience members in Goat masks. Looking into the audience from behind the stage was a very bizarre sight. The only thing missing was some ritual burnings.
SUPERNORMAL Festival in Oxfordshire, UK (2010)
Probably one of the most bizarre days in the label's existence. SUPERNORMAL is a three-day experimental arts and music festival in Oxfordshire. On the Saturday, a possessed druid was flanked by the formidable Tiger Gnome and a restless Rex Nemo And The Psychick Selfdefenders, with a random marching choir followed by dogs and a man in a black outfit tripping over himself for the entire performance. GNOD's Kraut rave was the perfect climax.
Rocket Recordings are on Facebook.
Visit their online shop right here.
Want to discover a world of new music? Like our Facebook page.