Soft Sounds for Gentle People

Dudes are all into soft psych, sunshine pop, and whatever these days. Those English reissue labels can’t transfer the vinyl to CD fast enough. Of course a lot of that stuff bites and that’s why we’re happy that Pet Records is around to separate the wheat from the chaff. We recently came across this interview with one of the heads behind the Soft Sounds for Gentle People compilations. It was apparently done by some dude for a zine but he never printed it, so we found it laying around and decided to run it here.
If you haven’t heard SSFGP Vols. 1-4 (and the spinoffs He and She and Mystic Males) then you owe it to yourself to head over to Amoeba or Forced Exposure and pick up a few.
Q: How did you guys get the idea for the compilations ?
Pet: That was just the kind of music we liked. Most of these songs on the comps were produced to be hits with top-notch producers in high tit studios, that’s why they’re so good. They’re not just some kids wanking off in the garage, which is fine too, but that scene’s been pretty well documented by now.
Q: Where do you find most of the songs for the comps? 7″s ? Old obscure compilations?
Pet: All of the songs come from original 45s, LPs, or forgotten master tapes.
Q: Any story behind the name of the label? Pet Records?
Pet: Just our appreciation for animals in general. A long time ago Sky Saxon, or Sunlight as he was known by then, hepped me to the importance of animals in the big picture. Of course I’ve always had a nice cat or dog that I loved on the personal level. With my love and his concern, what else could we call it? Besides, our two other top choices, Centaur and Succulent were both taken.
Q: How has the response been so far to the CDs?
Pet: Well they’re for a small audience so that small audience wants them and they find them. We do very small press runs and they go away fast.
Q: What has been the oddest request or response so far?
Pet: We don’t get that many. Some people suggest certain songs or bands, but we pretty much have our own vision.
Q: Has anyone from the bands contacted you yet or vice versa?
Pet: Sure, a couple people. But mostly they’re salesmen or accountants by now and not really shopping for CD comps of young people music.
Q: What band has, in your opinion, been the most obscure one yet?
Pet: I think that Sunshine guy from Texas (on Mystic Males). It’s hard to research somebody named just Sunshine.
Q: What labels or other compilations would you cite as an influence?
Pet: I liked those Aussie comps Ugly Things a lot as a kid. Life is Ugly/Beautiful were real ggod, Flex Your Head, those pre-Krautrock ones. As for labels, Subliminal Frequencies, World Pacific, Narco, Takoma, early Windham Hill, Children’s Village all come to mind.
Q: What, if anything, do you hope to accomplish with the label?
Pet: Accomplishment is too material. We’d like to reach a higher plane.
Q: What’s next for the label?
Pet: Extended meditation and puja performing. Then it’s back to work with Sounds of She, Mystic Males 2, more of the same. Some folks split off and are doing something called Kandel Records. They’re gonna issue the complete Felicity Facility story, and maybe some unreleased stuff from a certain L.A. sitar-based jazz group from the late ‘60s. Top secret stuff. Oh yeah, and the Who Am I? thing, a comp of New Energy related outfits like the Beagulls and the Growth Ring.
Q: Top 10 desert island discs ?
If you asked me today, I’d say…
Da Capo-Little Wing
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh-The Alchemy of Celebration
Serge Franklin-Free Sitar
Malachi-Holy Music
Dennis Ryder-Let Me Take You to the Kingdom
Joakim Skogsberg-Jola Rota
Markley-A Group
Grace Slick/Paul Kantner-Sunfighter
Lee Baggett/Little Wings-Octember Sketches/Harvest Joy
Agitation Free-Malesch