Playlist: God Unknown Records

Mésange, Gypsy Moth

The first of a series of interviews and playlists looking at new and independent labels, Mike Pinnington speaks to musician and founder of God Unknown Records, Jason Stoll, about the acts he’s cherry-picked and what we can expect from future releases…

Founded in 2013 by Jason Stoll of Mugstar and Sex Swing fame, to “champion artists in and beyond the psychedelic rock scene”, experimental label God Unknown brings together artists representing folk, jazz and punk from around the globe. Specialising in releasing series of 7″ split singles and full-length LPs, Stoll says he was inspired by the celebrated Sub Pop Singles Club (which ran from 1988-93). In the case of God Unknown, subscribers can expect to receive 10 split 7″s over the course of a year. To date, the imprint has released more than 40 records since its inception.

The Double Negative: Tell us about the label, Jason.

Jason Stoll: [We’ve] released records by relatively unknown artists to very well-known musicians [such as] ex-Soundgarden members in Wellwater Conspiracy. Current LPs in the pipeline are from Sneers, an Italian duo, whose latest LP dropped in September; Mésange, an English/French duo, which includes Liverpool based musician Luke Mawdsley, and in the new year Rainbow Grave, a heavy slow death crawl featuring original Napalm Death members.

What inspired you to launch? I know you mentioned it was influenced by the Sub Pop Singles Club, but can you say a little about the thinking behind starting a vinyl imprint now?

I wanted to champion a lot of great music out there. I think the split 7” format is such a great way to do that. God Unknown records is the third label I have been involved in, but the first one where I have picked all the artists myself. So, having some creative control over the whole process has allowed me to cultivate it in a way I wanted to. I loved the Sub Pop Singles Club idea as you never really know who or what the next single was going to be. I liked the element of surprise.

“Getting to release records by bands and artists such as Bardo Pond and Acid Mothers Temple, amongst others, has been quite a special thing”

Where’s the name from?

It’s from the John Steinbeck book To A God Unknown.

Your releases have a really crisp, distinct style to them, visually. Who works on that for you?

Sleeves are designed by Sam Wiehl, giving the label an instantly recognisable and strong visual identity.

Did you know straight away the bands you wanted to put out? Has it been exciting adding new names to the list of releases?

I had an idea of certain bands I wanted to put out at the very beginning but it has grown massively beyond that. Getting to release records by bands and artists such as Bardo Pond, Acid Mothers Temple, Charles Hayward and Rainbow Grave, amongst others, has been quite a special thing.

“The guitarist, Nic Bullen, played on one of my most influential albums of all time: Napalm Death’s Scum”

Anything on the horizon for the label you can tell us about?

Really excited about the LP by Rainbow Grave coming next year. The guitarist, Nic Bullen, played on one of my most influential albums of all time: Napalm Death’s Scum. It is such a privilege to be able to work with him on this release. I also have a record from another very influential band, some heavy psych from America. Again, so excited by this.

When can we next see bands, and can we buy the records in stores, or all online?

Mésange released new record Gypsy Moth earlier this month, and are doing a series of dates accumulating at Cafe Oto, London on Saturday. You can buy online, and obviously in all good record stores!

Mike Pinnington

Keep up-to-date on twitter @GODUNKNOWNRECS

Any hot tips on the labels we should be looking at for future playlists? Get in touch: mike [at] 

Images from top: detail from Mésange’s album sleeve, Gypsy Moth; Mésange, courtesy Steve Gullick

Posted on 09/11/2018 by thedoublenegative