Feature: A Conversation with Richard Gibson of Optical Sounds

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Since 2008, Richard Gibson and his brother Robert have quietly been operating the underground Toronto-based psych label Optical Sounds. A genuine individual who’s passion for music seeps from his pores, Richard has forged a scene–largely centered around the Kensington Market bar The Embassy–that recalls the prime of the psychedelic heyday.

Home to many of the city’s finest psych and shoegaze bands, Optical Sounds brings together the kind of artists who self release their material, but wave a collective flag and gig constantly around town with one another. A musical collective in its truest sense.

Earlier this week, Optical Sounds released Psych Pop Vol. 2, a compilation featuring songs from artists on the label along with some that are part of its extended family. You can hear the compilation for free via Bandcamp or streaming below. You can also see many of these bands performing live this Saturday night at the compilation release party taking place at The Great Hall.

Richard was kind enough to take a bit of time to chat with us about the label, himself and the new compilation. Read on for the full conversation after the jump.

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NEW MUSIC: Sun Stone Revolvers

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Before moving back to Toronto earlier this year, I remember scoping out the local music scene and coming across Optical Sounds—a independent Toronto label fixated on the burgeoning Great Northern psych community. It was here that I first discovered the Sun Stone Revolvers (formerly The Revolvers), a band that took little time to make their way to the top of my “list of bands to see” once I got back to my hometown. Not long after my return, I was lucky enough to catch a show put together by the good folks at Exhale Presents and to say it was a nice welcoming would be an understatement. A true rock band at the core, Sun Stone Revolvers venture through a range of sounds from spaced-out, dark-psych territory to blissed-out tribal chants to motorik, kraut-inspired grooves. And they look fucking cool doing it too. You can stream their most recent album, Spaceship X, below or purchase it on vinyl/CD via Optical Sounds.