Since exploding onto the scene in 2012, _Mantra Collective have curated some of the finest underground parties in Sydney and are now gearing up for the launch of their record label. We dropped in on founders Telly, Tim and Jack for a chat before this weekend’s milestone party…_
RR: Hey guys, great to chat. David Gtronic will be joining you and the team for the launch of Mantra Collective Records on Saturday. What can we all expect from the night?
Mantra Collective: Well it’s shaping up to be quite massive… we have a fully stacked local line-up including Mike Watts, Venda and Charles and us three supporting underground weapon David Gtronic at the Civic - without a doubt the venue with Sydney’s best sound system. It will be a true celebration with the launch of our label, and should be a real highlight this long weekend.
RR: We’re looking forward to it! Can you tell us how the idea to start the label come about and what the ethos will be?
Mantra Collective: We’ve been throwing boutique events and DJing for over 5 years and have had the immense pleasure of hosting the very best local and international talent. Music of course has been front and centre… our desire to contribute our sound around the world has made us seek out artists from both Australia and abroad to release on Mantra Collective Records. It’ll be vinyl only and strictly limited press… we’re passionate vinyl collectors! We think that art can help tell a story in addition to the tracks on a release, so we’ve recruited Cote - one of Romania’s most respected visual artists, who 3D maps insane venues and festivals with beautiful textures and stunning imagery. He's been blowing minds at Sunwaves Festival annually and at our own Mantra Collective x SASH Vivid Music showcase at Arthouse a few years back… it’s an honour to have him as the artistic mastermind for our upcoming releases with Tyson Bruun.
RR: Mantra Collective have achieved a lot over the years - how did the you first get together?
Mantra Collective: We were brought together by mutual friends and a strong passion for music. We wanted to bring something unique to the table, so we decided to kick things off with a boat party at the height of summer in 2012 and have never looked back! Since then, we’ve had a whole range of underground talent headline our parties including a label showcase from Fuse and individual acts like East End Dubs, Barac, Subb-an, Andrey Pushkarev, Dana Ruh, Molly, Diego Krause and Varhat to name a few...
RR: Stellar list! What is the origin of the name Mantra Collective and how would you describe your sound?
Mantra Collective: It took weeks of brainstorming and lots of heated meetings before we finally agreed on the name. We loved bringing two words that are significant to the 3 of us together - “Mantra” which originates from Hinduism and Buddhism, meaning ‘a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation’… and “Collective” which means ‘done or shared by all members of a group of people’. So in a way the name “Mantra Collective” represents a shared consciousness that we strive to achieve through music and experiences at our events.
RR: Of the many Mantra parties hosted, which one stands out in your memories?
Mantra Collective: Last year’s ‘Reconstructed’ party with the Bare Essentials team stands out as the crown jewel in our history. It was probably our most ambitious and creative project… a proper 900 person rave in a carpark with 2 of the world’s leading underground acts - Barac and East End Dubs. It was ambitious in terms of location and line-up, and we also enlisted the very best Sydney has to offer in terms of Funktion-One Sound and a world class lighting system. There was also an unexpected heatwave! So we had to use all our combined experience to pull together an impromptu cooling system to keep the crowd cool and happy…
RR: It was one hell of a party. You guys have played in Japan a couple of times - how were those experiences?
Mantra Collective: Japan was, and continues to be, one of the most amazing places to tour and visit. Nothing screams passion, respect, precision, and integrity like Japanese culture – it’s reflected in every aspect of their society. This might sound crazy but every experience from convenience store egg sandwiches, to record shopping, to clubbing is bathed in so much care and love… you can sense the obsession with quality and attention to detail.
RR: Your Black Gold, all vinyl affairs, have been a big hit. What do you like about playing and curating vinyl sets?
Mantra Collective: There’s something very special about playing vinyl. Firstly, in a world of disposable and readily available digital music, a similarity has filled the music scene for quite some time. It’s particularly common in more commercial sounds and is something we aren’t really drawn to. Many records tend to be “vinyl only” which means that no two collections will be the same and many DJs out and about are able to express themselves creatively with records not discovered or played by others. We also think that the vinyl culture of collecting and collaborating, and the challenge of mixing physical records is absolutely intoxicating. Once you get started, it’s truly addictive and becomes a very expensive habit haha!
RR: Now it will be the 6th birthday of Mantra Collective in November. If you could bring in any DJ as a special guest, who would it to be?
Mantra Collective: When we blow out the candles for the 6th time, it will have to be someone special but can’t give away any clues… Our wish-list is top secret!
RR: Fair play. Finally - what’s in the pipeline for Mantra Collective?
Mantra Collective: We have exciting plans in the pipeline! Another 3 EPs on Mantra Collective Records are in the works and a string of our infamous warehouse parties are being pieced together as we speak. We also have a number of huge internationals that will be gracing our shores and a new and exciting collaboration with Bare Essentials that we’re about to announce. We have just made our new Mantra Collective Resident DJ public and have one more to announce… watch this space!
RR: Thanks for the chat and enjoy Saturday’s launch!