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Interview with Amoeba Hollywood's Mahssa about Finders Keepers Records, Whose Recent Releases Include the Stone Soundtrack

Posted by Billyjam, August 11, 2010 03:40pm | Post a Comment
Mahssa

Although technically only around for the past six years, the UK based record label Finders Keepers has been, according to its owners, in the making for the past 40 years! The rich, diverse and offbeat music in the Finders Keepers catalog (a melange of psychedelic, funk, folk, jazz, avant-garde and "whacked-out movie musak to a lost world of undiscovered vinyl artifacts from the annals of alternative pop history") spans recordings from the last 40 (and more) years, and from all over the globe. For example two, of its recent impressive releases are the CD/2LP Pomegranates compilation of 60's & 70's Persian Pomegranates  Finder Keepersfunk, folk, psych and other pop quirkiness; and the avant-pop meets funk-rock soundtrack to the movie Stone, the 1974 Australian biker psych cult classic that, complete with a glowing Quentin Tarantino endorsement, is being relaunched with a big screening at Lincoln Center in NYC this Friday.
 
Both the label's founder, Andy Votel, and Finders Keepers' US rep (and Amoeba Hollywood employee) Mahssa will be at the NY screening event. I recently caught up with Mahssa at the SoCal Amoeba to talk about Finders Keepers and how she got involved with the eclectic and most unique UK label that accurately describes itself as an "accidental world music label with a punk aesthetic and DJ friendly ethos."  

"2004 was the official inception of Finders Keepers," said Mahssa. "It's a proper reissue label with folk, jazz, psychedelia, funk, anything global from the sixties and seventies." As she told me all this, we were standing below several current vinyl Finders Keepers releases on the wall dispThe BYG Deallay in the Hollywood Amoeba's Rock section -- although the label's releases can be found in other sections of the store too.

Pointing to the Finders Keepers' compilation The BYG Deal (on double vinyl), Mahssa said, "The BYG Deal is a collection of progressive rock and jazz from the BYG label and it's got bands like Gong and Soft Machine and the Art Ensemble of Chicago -- just a lot of cool progressive rock and jazz. It's kind of an honor for Finders Keepers to be associated with the [BYG] label and to put this music out."

Another Finders Keepers vinyl release (also avail on CD) being profiled at the Hollywood Amoeba is Willows Song. Mahssa says, "It's all the music that inspired the movie The Wicker Man -- so it's all kinds of original British folks songs that inspired the newer songs." Then, holding up the vinyl copy of  Science Fiction Dance Party, she said, "This is some weirdness. It is Krautcider music...really bizarre psych rock exploitation music, Kraut rock and library-esque music from the seventies; a sort of fictional soundtrack."

Mahssa calls Finders Keepers "a sincere, relevant, and progressive record label to be working with. I started working with them and helping them out Stateside when I lived in New York around 2006." She said she felt drawn to the label by the obvious passion & knowledge that Finders Keepers' three main orchestrators had towards the music that they compiled and released. "Andy Votel, Doug Shipton, and Dom Thomas are like-minded individuals in that they all understand that there's more to the undiscovered global music scene -- not just an expensive record fashioned to be bought on eBay, or a break ready to be sampled," she said. "The artists and bands that they work with all have a story to tell -- they were all involved with their communities, countries, and culture in a socially and/or politically moving way, and made an impact through their music that is timeless and needs to be shared to be remembered."

Noticing several people stop by the Finders Keepers vinyl display at the Sunset Blvd Amoeba to check out the records, I asked Mahssa what reactions she has gotten from Amoeba shoppers who discovered Finders Keepers' releases. "It's wonderful to be part of a movement (along with solid labels like Soul Jazz and Numero Group) that consistently displays quality and excellence," she said. "And these aspects are simply magnets for music lovers. We strive to build trust with the listeners of the records that the label releases, in that they can always expect the best. Finders Keepers is just as grateful towards the listener as the listener is in finding these records; sharing is the key in forging knowledge and understanding. Nothing is precious!"

Stone movie trailer
The New York screening of Stone is being presented by Finders Keepers in conjunction with Other Music, Stone soundtrack Finders Keepersalong with B-Music & WFMU (the station's Brian Turner will also be spinning) and the Film Society of Lincoln Center as part of their Summer Meltdown Series. The film will screen at the Center at the Walter Reade Theater this Friday, August 13th at 8:45. And Finders Keepers' Andy Votel will travel over from the UK to do a special DJ set both before and after the film. Note that there will be an LA area screening of the film too, but so far no date has been officially announced.

Click on the links for more online information on Finders Keepers, its twin record label Twisted Nerve and their related collective B-Music, which is an independent group of DJs, musicians and music lovers. And as for upcoming Finders Keepers releases, the label's Doug Shipton told me via email to be on the look out for a "Thai psych/funk comp, more Jean Rollin OSTs, an Ilaiyaraaja compilation (Tamil funk), Mass Appeal (more Massiera madness)."

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Amoeba Hollywood (857), Interview (341), Mahssa (2), Finders Keepers (1), Wfmu (34), Stone (1)