Wild Planet kingpin Dave Henderson makes himself comfy in front of the quick-fire question machine
Hello Dave, where are you right now and what can you see?
“I’m in the back room of our house, which doubles as HQ for several low art related enterprises.”
So we have a peg to hang a hat on, what is it you do these days?
“… cover mounted CDs for MOJO, special projects at Fire and subsidiary Earth, label manager of Righteous via Cherry Red, business affairs manager for the Deptford Northern Soul Club label via PIAS. I also publish the hauntologically challenged new music paper Mercurial Times and I’m the proprietor of the Wild Planet cassette label…”
Ah Wild Planet. Your 1980s column in Sounds…
“I did a feature gathering together the likes of SPK, DDAA and Merzbow, Nurse With Wound and Nocturnal Emissions, then mail started arriving from all over the place. The Sounds office became a stopping off point for all these strange people who found it hard to talk about what they were doing.”
High time Wild Planet was a label then?
“A lot of people have emailed me over the years asking about this or that. In lockdown, I started playing the vast piles of vinyl, CDs and cassettes I had and was thinking, ‘Wow, this is pretty amazing, people should have a chance to hear this’. My son heard artists like Blistering Moments and thought they were very ‘now’. He has a friend who has a show on Resonance, ‘Sonic Tapestries’. Some of these releases would fit right in there. I thought there must still be people out there who might be into some of it.”
You’ve run cassette labels before, right?
“In 1978 I ran a post-punk singles label called Dining Out. We wanted to do albums, but couldn’t afford it so we did short-run cassettes, some of which have been resurrected for this project and still sound pretty out there today.”
It’s a medium that’s held its own over the years, how come?
“I think originally it was because people were freed of limitations and could do different things without incurring the expense of pressing lots of albums. Some of that certainly still remains.”
The releases are coming thick and fast. Any favourites?
“I’ve put out some public domain material for context, so the likes of Blistering Moments sitting alongside electronic pioneers appealed to me. I also wanted a few curveballs, so you have Kenyon Hopkins’ weird stuff too. So far, I love the Soylent Green record. I once played with them when their bass player was ill. They were an oddball outfit, post-punk with a Stylophone.”
We love Kid Baltan and Tom Dissevelt. Hard to believe it was made in 1959!
“It’s an amazing record, they have another one they did in 1963 which a mate gave me in a pile of stuff he thought was junk.”
There’s so much smoke and mirrors with releases these days, this is a dream come true label for fans of esoterica…
“I’m well into that. I’ve always had a soft spot for anything that sounds out of place on a song – noise, sound effects, lack of ability. It drew me to the dark side, from Spike Jones to Kim Fowley, Peanuts Wilson to Raymond Scott.”
It’s not just all you making this in your backroom is it?
“I wish it was, if only I had more time, I could really confuse people.”