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: The Auras

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The Auras hail from the suburban areas of Toronto where they exist as part of the expansive family of bands who wave the¬†Optical Sounds flag. Steeped in the shoegazy side of the psych world, The Auras recall a brighter MBV meets BJM meets Spacemen 3 kind of a sound. Call it what you will. These guys are one of Toronto’s most exciting acts right now and they’ve just recently released an EP which you can pick up via Bandcamp. Listen to album track “Desert Dream (Nothing Is Real)” below.¬†