Jamie McCue is a DJ and label head who lives a quiet life in the forests of British Columbia, Canada. He is the creative director and curator of Silent Season, a music label influenced by his natural surroundings. The sounds of Silent Season grew out of the connection between deep ethereal music and the rain forests of Vancouver Island. A soundtrack to some of the most radiant and aural beauty in the world. Jamie’s sound explores the deep, psychedelic nature of techno, saturated with atmospheric ambience and dub sensibilities. MNMT presents label showcase by the illustrious Silent Season, prepared and mixed by Jamie McCue, as well as an interview with the label head.
Hi Jamie, thank you for agreeing to participating in this interview and preparing a label mix for us. Let’s get right to it; how and when did you start the label?
Silent Season started in 2007 wandering the forests of Vancouver Island, hiking and camping, enjoying the mossy forests and pristine views. I’d envision the soundtrack to such radiant and aural beauty. This evoked powerful emotions, a connection between the lush rainforest and deep ethereal music. Back home with an internet connection, I conceptualized the vision and slowly created a music label that evolved from a simple netlabel into a global family of artists, friends and fans.
What was your inspiration to start the label, could you point to one specific moment that made you passionate to start your own label?
At the time, my wife and I moved to a small community to raise our family. Apart from a small group of neighbours it was pretty isolated musically. Online, I was a moderator at mnml.nl where I started to make connections with artists like Rasmus Hedlund, Samuel Van Dijk, and Jordan Sauer, early label artists. I was getting more into netlabels because the music was accessible, deep dub techno and ambient releases, and it was free downloads. I was inspired by these small European netlabels like Thinner and Autoplate. I’m a web designer so I had the ability to create a website and a profile. In retrospect, it was a freer and more experimental time on the web, before social media took over. I’ve always had an interest in music, design, art and underground sound so slowly I started seeking out artists who might be interested in releasing music under this newly formed netlabel called Silent Season. The name was inspired by a compilation release on Thinner called Silent Season Dub.
How would you describe the Silent Season sound?
The sound of Silent Season can vary from season to season. From Purl in the Spring, to ASC in the Winter. For me I want to feel different moods and emotions during the cycles of the seasons. Introspective sounds for rainy days or ambient dub for summer mornings. No matter the season, wet or dry, morning or night, there is a soundtrack to accompany you. Someone told me recently ‘rainy day music’.
I’ve noticed some differences in the style of the artwork per release, how do you decide what kind of artwork fits a certain release?
In the beginning the connection between photography and the music was essential. The cover photograph set the mood of the release. Now years after the seed has been planted i’m able to explore different concepts and focus on storytelling, such as with the Wanderwelle albums. I’d like to continue to evolve the artwork in a way that stays true to the Silent Season ethos but open to experimentation. I’m honoured to work with artists, illustrators and engineers who share in the vision.
As you have said in previous interviews, nature and the way it connects to the music plays a pivotal role for the label. Would you say that in order to get the most out of your listening experience of Silent Season releases, you should hear it in nature?
People should listen to Silent Season releases wherever they find comfort listening to music. Silent Season can take you away into the natural world or you can take it into your special places. There are no rules or expectations to enjoying the music. I’m happy when people form a connection to the music. I love hearing the tracks in people’s mixes.
You played at the first edition of Parallel festival in 2016, which seems to be one of the very few gigs that you have played as a DJ in Europe. Do you feel Parallel Festival and Silent Season have a strong connection? If so, could you explain this connection?
Parallel is a wonderful festival surrounded by the mountains of Spain. It was special to have had the opportunity to play in their woods. I hope to return one day. Our connection is a shared ethos in that deep ethereal music is best experienced in a natural environment.
There has been a Silent Season showcase held in Canada in Vancouver in the past, would you like to hold these more often, perhaps one day a showcase outside of Canada?
Locally we’ve started a summer series called Dub in the Park where I aim to bring label artists to join us in our hometown. A showcase in Europe for me would be a dream opportunity to connect with the label artists and supporters abroad. Living in a remote part of Canada makes travel expensive and logistics challenging. I would be interested in partnering with a group or organization to help make it happen one day. I know it would be a special gathering of the Silent Season family. One day, hopefully.
Have your vision and goals for the label changed over time since you started the label back in 2008?
The vision has always remained the same. To release deep atmospheric music that tells a story and captures a mood. A soundtrack to a moment in time whether in a forest or on a beach or wandering through the countryside. There were not any goals per say other than to release music in a special way. The formats have evolved and changed over time. For example there was no Bandcamp back in 2007 and Soundcloud was in its beginnings. The goal is to move slow, less social media, and focus on sharing the deepest sounds.
Please tell us a bit about the label mix you have prepare for us.
The mix was recorded at home one morning in late November. Playing a few techno tracks from the catalog with my morning coffee.
– Anything else you would like share with us?
Thanks for listening!
VC118A – 25h (Delsin)
Mohlao – Vector [SSV12]
Mohlao – Outline [SSV12]
ASC – Dimension 1010 [SSX10]
Seraphim Rytm – Sumaritma (Edit Select Remix) [SSV10]
Odes Of The Kabatians – Varsovie III [SSX05]
Odes Of The Kabatians – Varsovie IV [SSX05]
Edanticonf – Planet (Abdulla Rashims Inca Edit) [SSV03]
Mosam Howieson – III [SSX03]
Brendon Moeller – Abandon [SSX04]
Sonitus Eco – Chordelia [SSV07]
Mohlao – Anektode [SSV01]
Winter In June – Dearly Beloved [SSX06]