Interview: The Psychonauts

The Psychonauts are Pablo Clement and Paul Mogg who originally met each other way back in Somerset, UK while digging through crates at the local record store, chasing some quality Hip Hop and Pop Samples… A lot have changed since then. Today   Pablo is one half of the UNKLE (formerly also Dj Shadow, Kudo and Tim Goldsworthy) together with James Lavelle, while Paul is now living in Berlin currently launching a project of his own.

January 2010 saw the re-release of Psychonauts full length album Songs for Creatures on Dj Hell‘s own International Gigolo Records. We decided to catch up with Pablo and Paul to ask a few question about the album proclaimed many times to be the decades most influential peace of electronic music.

<HMWL> A closer listen to your début album Songs for Creatures makes one think – damn this guys work with a huge library of rare samples – how did you manage to dig out all the screams, claps, chants, drills and other weird noises?

<Psychonauts (Paul)>I think we started collecting musical samples when we were at school, I think we must have been 14 at the time. Hip Hop was just one type of music that we both grew up with and we were always obsessed with finding out where the original samples in our favourite songs came from. Samples aside we were just always searching for new and old musical gems, digging into obscurity. The first stop after arriving in a new town or country was the second hand record shops and then if we got lucky we might find a local private record dealer. Its something we have always done and through finding obscure music you cant help but find interesting samples and ideas.

<HMWL> Back in the nineties, before moving to International Gigolo, you released two tracks and a mix album on James Lavelle’s legendary trip hop label Mo Wax. How did working alongside people like Dj Shadow and Dj Krush affect your later production path.

<Psychonauts (Paul)>Being involved with Mo Wax was certainly a big influence on our development as producers. For me the influence did not come so much from DJ Shadow or DJ Krush but more from Tim Goldsworthy and KUDO. We found our selfs in quite an unusual situation where we had signed a record deal and yet we had never written or produced a single song. James was so convinced buy our musical tastes and our dj sets, he pushed the deal through… Then we found ourselves working in the studio with KUDO & Tim. This is when we really started learning about making music. Good times.

<HMWL> The track World Keeps Turning have been recieving huge attention during the last few years mainly thanks to a bunch of quality club remixes. Yet the orignal is an experimental story with an old-school drum machine and a cosmic synthesiser. Is there any other particular tracks from Sounds for Creatures you would love to see remixed?

<Psychonauts (Paul)> Take Control is the new single from the album and we have 2 great remix’s. A Psychatron mix and Naum Gabo Remix. Also a bonus track will be a very nice remix of ‘Dream Chaser’ from a new Brighton duo called ‘More than Numbers’, its a great cosmic workout.

<HMWL>Finally, what does the future looks like for Psychonauts?

<Psychonauts (Paul) >Although we are both busy, Pablo with ‘UNKLE’ and myself with ‘Boy of Girl’ we are going to record a new single in the spring… If all goes well then the follow up album is on the way.

<HMWL> Thanks a bunch!

Take control is the first track Songs For Creatures to be released and remixed on it’s own, already getting massive support from Llorca, Gregor Tresher, Timo Maas and Tiger Stripes.
Naum Gabo remix is a fine blend of industrial techno beats making love to a cosmic synthesiser and Sam Lynham’s hypnotic voice. While the B-side remix of Dream Chaser is an excelent sofa surfing tool. Pure magic after the filter drops at 7:25.  Enjoy!

Psychonauts – Take Control [Gigolo266]

1. Psychonauts – Take Control (Original Mix)

2. Psychonauts – Take Control (Naum Gabo Remix)

3. Psychonauts – Take Control (Psycatron Remix)

4. Psychonauts – Dream Catcher (More then Numbers Remix)

Get the full lengt Songs For Creatures at Beatport


About Alex Esser:

DJ, surfer and entrepreneur residing in Malmö, Sweden. HMWL label daddy. My music network is always open. Holler at