Dublin Psychedelic Club MindFuzz celebrates its tenth birthday next year. Held four times a year in the basement of the Thomas House, Brian McMahon of Brand New Retro met with founder and host Mark Winkelmann to find out more about this unique night.
What is MindFuzz?
It’s a club where we mainly play psychedelic music from the mid to late 60s, but also early garage, mod, freakbeat right through to funky prog and weird glam. New old records are still being found, often in South America or Asia.
The core aesthetic is late 60s music which came out of the youthquake of the beat boom but turbocharged by technology like fuzzboxes and phasers – the sort Jimi Hendrix used – and the psychedelic ideas – freedom and exploration.
Tell me about the music played at MindFuzz.
Up to five DJs play each night. I always play, and we have at least one local and one international guest from the scene, people I’ve seen play elsewhere who are particularly good, who have their own flavour and sound. It’s about balancing different styles.
If someone plays heavy garage I’ll complement that with lighter or funkier stuff. We also invite DJs from other scenes if they are into our sound. François, for example, played in February. It’s good to push the boundaries, to keep it interesting. I don’t want it to be too narrow.
Do you try to emulate the way the music was played in the clubs in the 60s?
No. DJs in the 60s were boring, they would just play a song, stop, play another, maybe talk in-between. The clubs were mainly grim or cheesy. We don’t want to go back to that. Maybe a touch of UFO or Middle Earth but with the intense musical focus of The Loft passed through post-rave continuous mixing. Although it’s all original vinyl, we’re not afraid of modern technology to intensify the experience.
What kind of crowd goes to MindFuzz?
We get a varied and friendly crowd. From the start there was a set of people who were deep into this music and waiting for something like this to happen in Dublin. I’d been to psych events abroad and really love this music so I wanted to do something similar here. Then there’s a younger crowd, some of whom are fans of modern bands, like Tame Impala and Goat, who are into the new psych sound. And there’s hippies, ravers etc.
What do people wear to MindFuzz?
Some people think ‘I can’t go, I don’t have any vintage clothes’. But anyone can come… At the same time it’s a safe space if you do want to wear a kaftan! The only reason I don’t wear one is the big sleeves get caught in the DJ controls. People do turn up in the most outrageous vintage clothing, and I think that’s great, it’s a place to do that. But half the crowd are wearing t-shirts and jeans, and if you’re wearing a white t-shirt and you stand in front of the oilwheel lights, suddenly you look amazing.
Tell me about your lights?
The lights are a big part of the experience: oilwheels which revolve layers of glass containing different colour oils, so the projection is never the same. I use OptiKinetics, who’ve been making them since the 60s, also some LED temple lights I bought in Vietnam.
Finally, what records do you always take in your record bag?
‘Come with the Gentle People’ from Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls soundtrack is always there. I love that movie. And ‘Halo In My Hair’ by Bulldog Breed and Tolpuddle Martyrs ‘Time Will Come’ as well. We often close the night with ‘Optical Sound’ by Human Expression because it sums up the synergy of lights and sounds that is MindFuzz.
Remaining 2023 MindFuzz dates are 13 May, 16 Sep and 18 November.
Words: Brian McMahon, Brand New Retro
Photos from MindFuzz 25/2/23:
Mark Winkelmann & Anne L’Henoret by Teagan-Marie Brucker
Niamh Lynch by Alan Brady 3
Poster for the next MindFuzz on 13 May 2023.