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Elektra Records isn’t your average major, the record label played an important role in the development of folk rock and psychedelic rock during the 60s and 70s. Founded in 1950 by Jac Holzman and Paul Rickolt in their dorm at university, the label explored sounds like folk, rock, jazz and blues and, during those evolutionary years, charted releases from the likes of Queen, Count Five, The Doors, MC5 and Tim Buckley.
Moscow-based duo Simple Symmetry‘s youth was soundtracked by Elektra Records releases, particularly the sounds of The Doors through their father’s record collection. Later they delved further into the major’s discography discovering bands like The Stooges and MC5, who in turn had a huge influence on the Disco Halal affiliates, as well as the sounds that would inspire their own musical path.
Here they pay tribute to the proto-punk and psychedelic side of the label with a mix of some of their firm favourites…
Why does Elektra Records mean so much to you?
Almost from the beginning Elektra records was a bit more than a regular major record label. Even in the early years when it was mostly concentrated on folk music, Elektra signed up some protest artists suffering from McCarthyite blacklisting. In the mid sixties Elektra became one of the first labels to give the green light to American psychedelic rock and later to proto-punk bands. This attitude makes Elektra so unique and means much to us.
When did you first hear an Elektra release and what impact did it have on you?
I think when we were kids, we used to listen to The Doors a lot. Actually, these were our fathers’ records. Later we discovered The Stooges, MC5 etc
What’s your most sacred Elektra release and why?
Hard to say there are a lot of them. Let’s say MC5.
How has Elektra Records impacted you as a producer?
I wouldn’t say it has impacted us as producers much, but we listened to it a lot and the music itself is always inspiring.
How did you approach this mix? What did you want it to say about Elektra Records’ music?
To be honest it’s not a proper mix just a mixtape made from some of Elektra Records’ signings. We tried to concentrate on the psychedelic and proto-punk side of the label; the sound we’ve been always inspired by. It’s not about rarities, just some songs we love.
Buy your copy of Simple Symmetry’s latest Disco Halal release ‘Gilgamesh’.