Not many musicians can say they’ve sold out venues. Then again, not many musicians can say they’ve co-founded a record label that’s achieved cult status and was the cultural springboard for a world-renowned psych festival (Austin, anyone?). Scott Causer, however, can tick Box C, “All of the above”.
A musician and co-founder of Northern Star Records, Causer is intensely passionate about psychedelic music.
“[Psychedelic] music has always been with me so I guess it’s inevitable its influence would reach me later when making music and starting a record label,” Causer says.
This influence shows through his band (The Electric Mainline), his label, and everything that’s evolved from it – including The Northern Star Weekender, a “3 day celebration of psychedelia, shoegaze and the beautiful noise”, this year taking place from Friday the 22nd of March.
On the inspiration behind Northern Star Records, Causer explains that, “At the time no-one was putting out the music I like. It was pretty much as simple as that.”
It is this logical reasoning that prompted Northern Star Records’ Psychedelica series: compilation albums exposing the best new psychedelia bands to a wider audience. The series has launched many bands including The Black Angels and The December Sound, and has featured The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Telescopes and Kim Deal. After cult success with the four last editions of Psychedelica, this year the label is launching Psychedlica 5 at The Northern Star Weekender.
But launching the series’ first edition wasn’t so simple, as Causer recalls:
“When we started we couldn’t get a gig in the UK to launch the compilation, so, being the majority of the bands on the compilation, we thought ‘fuck them’ and set up our first three shows in America. We had two shows set up in New York with The December Sound, The Hiss, HeadQuarters, Dedelectric and The Vandelles.
“However this wasn’t enough and we wanted to do something at SXSW. We knew a number of bands on Psychedelica were heading there so we started asking around… The show was set up very last minute with the help of Jason from The Vandelles and featured Anton Newcombe, The Black Angels, The High Dials, The Lovetones, HeadQuarters, The Vandelles and The Quarter After.
“It was our ultimate dream – a compilation and accompanying festival, so the following year we looked to do the same again, but make it bigger and started putting things into place to make this happen. However certain people involved saw dollar signs and were asking for crazy amounts of money we didn’t have, to make the event happen. We of course refused and then it was taken over to become Austin Psych Fest.
“I’m very disappointed it turned out that way and it saddens me as it was our dream, but the original idea was a beautiful thing that arose directly out of Northern Star and although we may never get the credit, the people involved know what happened. Success may have many fathers but without Psychedelica and without Northern Star’s first ever SXSW show, Austin Psych Fest would simply not exist.”
Despite the disappointment of the takeover by Austin Psych Fest and the lack of acknowledgement they received, Northern Star Records battled on. The label took their triumphing idea back home to the UK where they finally got a gig and the festival finally came into fruition in London as The Northern Star Weekender.
This year The Northern Star Weekender is headlined by The Lost Rivers, The Telescopes and 93MillionMilesFromTheSun. Taking place from the 22nd to the 24th of March, it will be held at The Windmill in Brixton, which, as Causer notes, “has been the scene of many of Northern Star Records’ legendary shows.”
Ever enthusiastic, he’s quick to add:
“If it’s one thing we know how to do at Northern Star, it’s how to party!”
Full details on the Northern Star Weekender are available here: http://www.northernstarrecords.com/blog/northern-star-weekender-full-line-up-and-ticket-details