The Hotline is Open
August 4, 2021 - By Psychic Hotline
The hotline is open. Today, Sylvan Esso announce the launch of their new record label Psychic Hotline, an artist-run recording company firmly rooted in creative support and innovative marketing approaches that widen the possibilities, and accessibility, of releasing music. Based in the band’s hometown of Durham, NC, the visionary venture was founded by Sylvan Esso’s Amelia Meath, Nick Sanborn, and longtime manager Martin Anderson, in partnership with Secretly Distribution. Kris Chen, the former longtime head of XL Recordings and SVP at Nonesuch Records, will oversee daily operations.
Mirroring the microcosm of collaborators Meath and Sanborn have cultivated over the past decade, Psychic Hotline’s initial slate of releases includes a singles series featuring brand new music and one-off collaborations from Anjimile, Bartees Strange together with Eric Slick and Ohmme, Blake Mills and Amelia Meath, Flock of Dimes, Nick Sanborn’s Made of Oak, Amelia Meath’s Mountain Man trio alongside Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Molly Sarlé, Peach Fuzz, Sam Gendel, The Tallest Man on Earth, Uwade and many more, beginning right now.
“We created Psychic Hotline to be the type of record company we had dreamed of,” explain Meath and Sanborn. “An artist-led enterprise that strives to do right in radical ways by the creators who entrust us with their work; in the deals we make, the way we do business and the way we center the art and the artist. We do not seek to own intellectual property under any circumstance, nor do we subscribe to scarcity-based career approaches. We strive to ever-expand our musical community; to welcome more voices and more perspectives. We believe that the only common denominator in great music is honesty in expression.”
On “Neon Blue,” the inaugural installment of the Psychic Hotline Singles Series out today, mutual admirers Amelia Meath and Blake Mills collaborate for the very first time. Meath wrote the lyrics and melody in one go, on a plane from Durham to Los Angeles; the pair recorded the track in a single session at LA’s Sound City, but it bloomed into something more exploratory as they continued to experiment every few months. The result is an otherworldly and spacious nighttime song, conjuring an enveloping luminescence through sound alone.
On “Neon Blue” and his participation in the Psychic Hotline Singles Series, Blake Mills says, “From the beginning, it was obvious that it was a nighttime song, so the scene that we have to set with this sound has to be nocturnal, and feel like it takes you there without the song having to lyrically set the scene. In trying to steer clear of something that felt terrestrial and American and familiar, it became more about trying to build something that felt more alien, sort of thinking — ‘What’s a combination of things that would feel like part of another world?’”
Following “Neon Blue,” the Psychic Hotline Singles Series will continue to introduce new music from Psychic Hotline artists and friends of the family over the coming months. Meath and Sanborn’s recently-unveiled North Carolina recording studio, Betty’s, will serve as the central hub for collaboration, offering an accessible and inclusive space to create work that may not have otherwise been able to take shape.
Additionally, Sylvan Esso have announced the release of the first two Psychic Hotline Reissues. On October 8th, the label will make Sylvan Esso’s self-titled debut album available for the first time in a wide variety of exclusive vinyl variants. There will also be a special deluxe Mountain Man release coming later this year, with more details to be revealed soon.
On August 14th, Sylvan Esso will celebrate Psychic Hotline’s launch with a day-long Psychic Hotline Block Party at the Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill. The sold-out event includes performances and DJ sets from Sylvan Esso, Mountain Man, Young Bull, Helado Negro, Sam Gendel and a host of Psychic Hotline artists and surprise guests.
We hope to see you there! And we’re so excited to share more of the Psychic Hotline world with you soon.