Shaun Prescott: The new DIY

SEP 19, 2008

Australia’s best known DIY label Music Your Mind Will Love You began in the tiny Northern NSW township of Kyogle, a short drive from the Queensland border.

Founded in 2005, MYMWLY was birthed when label operator Michael Donnelly decided to release his first album as Brothers Of The Occult Sisterhood, Run From Your Honey Mind, into the public domain. He contacted Campbell Kneale of New Zealand micro-label Celebrate Psi Phenomenon and Kneale agreed to release the album. Donnelly grew impatient waiting for Celebrate Psi Phenomenon to release it, however, and so in that interim he birthed MYMWLY, thus unscrewing one of the Australian underground’s most effusive faucets.

A copy of Run From Your Honey Mind was heard by Digitalis and Foxglove founder Brad Rose, who was impressed enough by the record to contact Donnelly, which lead to some of MYMWLYs artists appearing on those imprints and being available (in limited runs) throughout America. Donnelly has also released albums for Rose, such as The North Sea’s Baby Blue Bones, one of Rose’s solo folk-orientated projects.

“Within a few months of the Celebrate Psi Phenomenon album being released I was getting demos sent from all over the place,” Donnelly says of the response to Run From Your Honey Mind. “I never really intended to release other people’s stuff – the label was more just a way of getting my own stuff out there. But when I listened to the demos I thought why not? And it gradually grew from there.”

The MYMWLY sound is becoming increasingly difficult to pin down as the label becomes more prolific. Brothers of the Occult Sisterhood is the best reference point though: initially a two-piece featuring Donnelly and his sister Kristina, the group has morphed into a larger, ever-shifting ensemble, a long-form improvisation incorporating both acoustic and electric textures as well as found sounds and occult-like vocal contortions. Since Kristina left the group BOTOS has become a fluid collective that is defined more by environment than a defined aesthetic or core ensemble.

“It’s evolved,” Donnelly says of the group. “Originally it was myself and my sister, but she pulled out of the process a year ago. So it’s mainly me, but with other people that come and stay here. It centres on this location. It’s the same people that often play in 6majik9, (another MYMWLY group) but when they come here and we record in this setting, it comes out as BOTOS.”

“We live in a little village called Green Pigeon. It’s a great spot because it has a really nice energy, and much of the music comes from the location. It’s not so much about who plays but the fact that it’s here, and the intent that we have when we play.”

It’s very simple music, completely unadulterated, which is why MYMWLY is so prolific: Donnelly’s attitude is in favour of documentation rather than building a solid piece of aural architecture, a conventional album where a band might make a defined ‘statement’. When you buy a MYMWLY album, you’re plunging your wrists into a lucky dip.

Unusually, Music Your Mind Will Love You is insistent on keeping its records in print. If Donnelly is involved in the project the release will be hand crafted on demand. It’s only in cases where he releases something for an overseas artist where limits need to be set for practical purposes.