Independent labels

Why the hell would anyone want to start a label? Why would they want to spend their every waking hour wondering whether Spangle Sparklytrousers fanzine was into their latest three chord thrash wonderteens? or whether the boss will notice them running off another 10000 flyers on the photocopier? or if the NME will slag them off in an even vaguely amusing way this week? or if they can squeeze another box of unsold records ("ahead of their time, mate") into the *ahem* back catalogue stored under their bed? Can they go without food three days this week to get a bit more studio time for their latest proteges? Will hiring the Camden Falcon on the same Monday night as the UEFA cup final turn out to be a financial disaster? Can they stomach another trip to the post office to send this record to another 20 journos who'll claim it's shit now but love it in 3 years when the band's huge on Sony?

All will be revealed as we speak to the people behind labels ranging from the might of Beggar's Banquet, through the credibility of Che, the anti-music biz of Org and the fledgling tape-only labels Crash the Luau and Best Kept Secret. The same four questions were put to everybody:

[1] why did you decide to set up a label?
[2] what release have you been most pleased with?
[3] what's your dream release (any band, any song)?
[4] tip for anyone starting their own label (don't just say "don't")?

If you run a label and want to answer the questions yourself, feel free to email your answers to me rebzine@hotmail.com cos this feature is intended to grow over time.


LABELS

A-B, C-D, E-F, G-H, I-K, L-N, O-Q, R-Se, Sf-Sz and T-Z

Dominic, Earworm 29 Deeside Rd, London, SW17 0PH domearworm@coynet.com

1. I started Earworm basically cos I'd always loved good old 7" singles and I'd made a couple of contacts bandwise via buying and selling records. I just figured I'd give it a go, taking things very slowly and being prepared to learn as I went on.

2. I guess Tank, not just cos it's one of the newest/freshest. I've loved everything they've sent me, and the tracks on their 12" I especially wanted to put out asap! The Gerbils LP I'm also really pleased with as I'd long been a fan and to do the vinyl was great as it's a fantastic album.

3. I suppose like a lot of labels, to do something with Belle and Sebastian would be wonderful. My favourite band is Neutral Milk Hotel and although I've done stuff individually in splinter groups, I'd love to do something with Jeff whose songwriting I think is genius.

4. All I'd really say is that there are tons of small labels around at the moment releasing mainly 7" singles with a lot of the same bands. I personally feel it "stales" things just a little, so try and be different: choice of bands, packaging etc. Also not to spend huge sums on advertising---consistently good releases are worth their weight in gold in that area!

Eric, Easy Subcult easysubculture@hotmail.com THE EASY SUBCULT #202 la bellina, 1-2-4 shioyaki, ichikawa-shi, chiba-ken 272 NIPPON

1. I WANTED TO BE COOL LIKE 7 YEARS AGO. I HAD ALL THESE LIVE TAPES (RE: BOOTLEGS) AND TAPES OF FRIENDS BANDS AND i THOUGHT THAT WAS A GOOD THING TO EXPOSE THE PEOPLE TO (IN SETS OF LIKE 23) AND I WAS LIVING IN A REALLY FUCKED UP GROUP HOUSE IN WEST PHILLY AND ALL ANYONE DID WAS GET HIGH AND TALK ABOUT ROCK HISTORY OR SHOPLIFT FOOD...

2. THE REALLY FAR OUT ONES THAT I MADE/PUT OUT WITH NO EXPECTATION THAT ANYONE WOULD WANT ONE. I PUT THEM OUT CUZ I VALUED THEM THAT MUCH. (AND NOT ONE OF 2 OF THOSE 'PRODUCTS' HAS BEEN SOLD)

3. I REALLY WANT TO DO A SPLIT CD ROM/LP WITH TOKYO AREA MASSIVE GUITAR PSYCH DUO hashigo AND ME(planet and beth), EACH ONE HAND MADE ON A STOLEN/TRASH-PICKED CD WRITER. jUST LIKE A HOME TAPER LABEL. AND I WANNA MOVE OUR LITTLE SCENE TO HONG KONG AND THEN MANILA AND THEN THAILAND, AND KEEP PUTTIING OUT WEIRD, LOCAL SHIT ON HOME TAPED FORMATS. ACTUALLY, EVERYTHING I MAKE OR DRAW GETS ASSIGNED A NUMBER. IF ME AND BETH EVER HAVE KIDS I SWEAR WE'RE GONNA ASSIGN THEM NUMERS AS MIDDLE NAMES

4. MAKE CHEAP, HOMEMADE CD ROM RELEASES WITH A CD WRITER IN YR BEDROOM

Wyndham and Jon, Easy!Tiger ww@citslang.demon.co.uk 2 Cairns Road, LONDON SW11 1ES

1. W: I was given a demo by a band called America UK when I was on a trip to Chicago. I thought it was amazing, but as I was starting a new job it kind of got forgotten over the following months. One day I was talking to a friend about how wonderful the first Plush single was, and it reminded me about the demo, as the guys behind it had been involved in Plush very early on. We listened to it, and were totally blown away once again. As we listened to it a second time the phone rang, and it was Kriss Bataille, the guy from America UK who had given me the tape and who I had not spoken to once in the six months since. I decided that was spookily significant, and that this record was meant to come out. When City Slang---my day job---turned it down, I decided to start a label of my own with Jon Jordan, who designs and writes the Easy Pieces fanzine and shares a house with me.
J: because wyndham asked me & I was interested in attempting to create strong artwork for a seven inch label.

2. W: I'm really proud of what we did with Wheat. The band were hardly known outside their home town in Massachusetts when we released their single, but a few weeks later their local paper was writing an article about how they'd got Single Of The Week in the NME. I think they are a really talented band, and I'm pleased we got the opportunity to work with them so early on, and draw attention to them. So much so that there are now a stack of labels looking to sign them. Having said that I'm very excited about our new single by a band called The Webb Brothers. They're fantastic songwriters, and are coming over here in January to play. Everybody who hears it loves it, and I think they're going to do really well. But I should add that we only work with bands or artists that we really love and admire. If you're going to plough money into what is almost guaranteed to be a loss making venture then you might as well make sure that you think it's worth the risk! Each record we've done has meant a lot to me, and I'm really proud of each one.
J: our third release---Wheat---was an nme single of the week, which kind of surprised us. It's also the only one to sell out so far so that's good too. Personally I've been most pleased with the artwork on our last single---Saint Low.

3. W: I would love to work with Mark Hollis (from Talk Talk), and I'd love to find out what happened to a band called Red Guitars, who released a couple of albums in the 80s. The second one, on Virgin, is still one of my favourite records ever. They had loads of guitars all interweaving, and the singer had the most passionate voice.
J: my dream would be a catpower / bob dylan split

4. W: Don't go into it blind. It might seem really easy to press a bunch of records by an amazing band, but you've got to know what you're going to do to sell those records afterwards. You have to plan way ahead, and be patient. And remember that these days, being a great band is not enough. Papers want stories in order to write about bands.
J: don't do things for the sake of it---make sure everything you do is as excellent as you can make it.

Dave, Elastic Fiction 5 Nursery Road, Bedhampton, Havant, Hants, PO9 3BG nicholls@bigship.freeserve.co.uk www.welcome.to/elasticfiction

1. to assist bands from our area (Portsmouth, UK) get heard by a wider audience

2. probably our upcoming release "Original Aspect Ratio" a CD featuring 21 new and exciting bands. Mainly because we've had a bit more money than usual to throw at it.

3. We released the debut single by 16 Bronsons but since then they have written some really killer tracks. Ideally I'd like to release a double a-side 16 Bronsons 7" "Tempertrip/Outcast". Other than that I'd like the Skiffle Orchestra vs. Cuban Boys. Unfortunately the skiffle orchestra don't exist yet but if anyone is willing to part with a washboard...

4. Only do it if you believe in the independent scene, you believe in the music you release, and you believe in yourself to act as a representative to the underground. If you wanna be a major just work in the EMI press dept. Have ambition but remember your roots.

Luis, Elefant PO Box 331, Las Rozas, 28230 Madrid, Spain elefant@get.es www.elefant.com

1. I've always been a music lover, and that?s the main reason, I think. Though it wasn't something planned at all, it was something that started happening little by little, I didn't think "I'm going to start a label", i was just doing a fanzine, and there were a lot of bands I liked and that were unknown in Spain, and that was the beginning...

2. I'm very proud of having released Le Mans' complete discography, but I'm really proud of every release, though I'm aware of the different quality and possibilities of each band and each record.

3. This is pretty complicated, as I could change my mind every day or every minute concerning this. I would have loved to be on A&M some time ago, as it's a truly fascinating label (harpers bizarre, claudine longet, chris montez, burt bacharach, antonio carlos jobin, sergio mendez, roger nichols, we five, herb alpert and the tijuana brass, the sand pipers...)

4. I won't! The key is to believe in what you do and to work with care, as if it were a hobby. This is very important.

Mourice, Elegy P.O. Box 58290, 1040 HG AMSTERDAM, Holland www.elegy.nl mourice@elegy.nl

1. Why, good question. I worked allready a number of years in the business (with Roadrunner Records), and before and during that I've been involved in (marketing & promo) matters of various UK and Ire. bands and I also played for in a band myself. Als these activities in the thing I liked the most, music, brought me after a number of years to a conclusion. A conclusion for myself, not for judging the business, I wanted to release music which gives ME goosbumbs ans shivers, pure emotion, on a friendship base with all my fellow artists. We meet eachother basicly only for one thing to sell as much records as possible. Especially in these kind of scenen (marketingniches) it's very difficult to earn something, escpecially for artist. And there for I wanted my label to be a more supporting label, simple transparant deals, every act or product is priority, very tight cooperation between label (me) and bands, spend a lot of energy and time to artist development and career development, and always aiming at bringing every band at a higher level, even if the band has to switch to a bigger (or even major) record company, elegy still willadvice and support this taction, as long as it is in the benefit of the band.

Elegy provides a frame for My personal favorite music (alternative guitar) were I do everything in my power to take this band higher. Elegy is build on transparancy, respect and a higy collaborative level between the label and the artists

2. mmmmmm, all of them basicly, but I$I$ - Hello Grandmamma! is my favorite record

3. very difficult question, but I think a project put together by Maynard (Tool), Karma To Burn, E. Frazier(Cocteau Twins), keyboard/sampleplayer of Wolfgang Press, Neil Young on guitars playing Hawkwind, and Pink Floyd covers

4. Before you start a small label you have to think WHAT you are going to work with, no it's NOT music, you are going to try to make money with FEELINGS and IDEAS of other people, two very sensitive things money and feelings!!! This implies the responsibility for you as a fellow provider of future for other people (artists), and if you take this responsibility you must do the best you can, otherwise you're simply messing with people. Respect!! for your "product" your artists and your customer.

Blair, Endearing PO Box 69009, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R3P 2G9 blair@endearing.com www.endearing.com

1. basically i had friends in great bands like b'ehl and wanted to get their music out.

2. the new b'ehl cd has been really exciting to work on because the band has been with endearing for 5 years and have sort of defined our label to some extent.

3. magnetic fields, 100,000 fireflies...maybe with an album of cover versions accompanying it so no one will ever be tempted to play that wretched superchunk version at campus radio ever again :)

4. a lot of labels just kinda evolve and react. mine started out as a hobby and has bloomed into addiction. think about what you want to do, how much of a role you want the label to play in your life and what you expect out of the artists you work with and then pick bands accordingly.

Nick, Enslaved enslaved@records333.freeserve.co.uk www.gibboncore.demon.co.uk/enslaved P.O Box 169, Forster Court, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 2UJ

1. cus im stupid, and have some really naive belief in punk!

2. all of em really, but bestest so far, visually/politically is MINUTE MANIFESTO/SHANK 7"

3. anything by GAUZE/DEATHSIDE/MOB 47/PHYSICS/GOD SPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR/DEAD CAN DANCE...which aint gonna happen...!

4. take it easy, dont go nuts and jump in boots and all, work up to it, keep an eye on the finances, and release what you wnat to release, not what is "cool"...support your own scene or friends bands...dont do it to gain "punk points"! But have fun with it, thatll inspire you more to carry on.

Carl, FanMael carl@fanmael.net

1. First reason was to make this fan initiatiative "official", with everybody decently paid etc., not resulting in something "obscure/sneaky", but to produce a "real" tribute to Sparks. While in the process of setting up the label (in fact nothing more than an additional brandname within my already existing company CvB Software), I saw more possibilities, especially for getting some old albums finally out on CD (to be conserved for the future); with the idea that as we have proven to be a decent recordlabel we could also target for the rights of all Sparks obscurities. Another thing is that by doing everything official/decent, it's possible to deduct any losses on this (expensive) hobby on my taxbill - so in fact the taxoffice pays (indirectly) for my hobbies.

We are currently working on a re-release of the 1975 Jet album (with lots of bonusses) and a new record by The Squirrels (Seattle, USA): "The Not So Bright Side Of The Moon".

2. So far, we have only one release out, so that's the one.

3. Sparks - the "woofer" demos.

4. Take care of ALL the copyrights!

Dave, FatCat 348 Old Street, London, EC1V 9NQ fatcat@mcmail.com

1. We had already started the label when Fatcat the shop closed, so it was a very natural progression to start running the label as a full time concern.

2.Its such a hard question for us to answer, all our releases mean something to us, so to pick one record that is our favourite is impossible...........

3.Kraftwerk "Trans Europe Express"

4. Believe in the record you release!!!

Jai Young Kim, Feast or Famine jyk@feastorfamine.com www.feastorfamine.com 675 Tennessee St #2 San Francisco, CA 94107

1. I had invested some amount of money into an infrastructure for creating/producing my own music, like a recording studio, computer, CD burner, Adobe Photoshop, and so on. Plus I had a series of fortunate encounters with other local musicians who were just amazing, and deserved to get their music "out there" as they say. And of course there was some of my own vanity thrown in... but I'm definitely over it at this point.

2. It would have to be FOF011 release, "Party at Ilan's" by Job. The response to it---even from the most skeptical, cheerless listeners I know---has been, "This album is awesome." And as a result of all the positive feedback, I'm taking my sweet time with finding distribution for it.

3. A Fushitsusha live double-CD set. It would have to look like every other Fushitsusha release that's come out, with the black cover, etc., but I could at least take pride in having contributed to the collective body of work of one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century.

4. Well I'd have to say "don't." Or to qualify, don't start a label to expand your ego, and don't start a label with the intention of making any profit. Don't put out any mediocre music---it's a waste of time, money, energy, plastic, trees, and aluminum. And I've personally had a number of disappointments on the musician end, seeing well-known people associated with well-known labels kissing your ass and promising to release your music and not following through and not being straight with you as to the reasons for not following through. Don't be like that. So, if you've passed through all of those filters, then I'd say enjoy yourself and don't forget why you're putting out music in the first place.

Phil, Ferric Mordant ferricmordant@mapy.globalnet.co.uk 44 Malcolm St, Heaton, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE6 5PL UK

1. to release the first Spraydog record, because it needed doing; and because listening to some other record label types conversation made me not want to have anything to do with such types.

2. Spraydog 'Citrus Bitumen' cd, i suppose, cos its the most recent, and the longest. but theyre all most pleasing when theyre freshly released (even more so when theyre all gone)

3. This is an impossibe one. I'd rather not have to release anything because other labels were doing such exellent jobs of it all, and i could just go back to simply buying the dam things. But for the sake of an answer I'll say 'Theres An Angel In Everyone' by AC Temple, final recordings that never saw the light of day.

4. dont mind losing money. have at least some kind of business-type segment to your brain. enjoy the learning curve. always add a couple of months on to any release date.

Ludas, FGZ PO Box 9806, London SE10 9ZD matyi@f-cocks.demon.co.uk www.f-cocks.demon.co.uk

1. COS IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME. no, actually, it was cos no-one would touch our stuff (the old band, Szeki Kurva) with a bargepole, and we didn't particularly want anybody else to put it out. Also, if you deal with music industry scum at any level, it's much more impressive to say "oh yeah, I run a label" than "yeah, I'm in a band".

2. This is a bit egoistic, but since FGZ was started as a label to strictly take care of Szeki Kurva/Fighting Cocks releases and nothing else, I reckon it'd have to be the latest album - by The Fighting Cocks- called Come And See (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).

3. Everything we've ever done on FGZ has been tape cassette, apart from the last promo CD single. So I'm striving at the moment to bring out Come And See on CD, on Artists Against Success. After that, if The Fighting Cocks stay alive long enough (touch and go judging by last night!) we'll be bringing out an album called Chinese Firedrill by them. Other bands- there's a Hungarian Gypsy outfit called Fekete Vanat, raw hip hop and R and B, that it would be natural for us to release. Maybe soon.

4. Easy as pouring piss out of a boot mate! First rent a PO Box, then start duplicating tapes of your friend's bands or something, then sell them at gigs... hey presto, a label! And now, of course, you don't even need any of that, you can just put 'em up on a website in MP3 format. THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT IS- there are gonna be thousands of people telling you you can't do this, can't do that- don't listen, it's easy doing this DIY. Go to the Artists Against Success site, or our band's site, and BE INSPIRED. Free your mind and your ass will follow!

Simon, Fierce Panda mrbongo@fiercepanda.co.uk

1. Because we were utterly thrilled by the flash of magnesium that was New Wave Of New Wave and thought it warranted its very own special release (cf 'Shagging In The Streets' EP, catalogue number NING 01). There was absolutely positively definitely no intention of ever releasing anything else. So quite how we're up to NING 86 is beyond us...

2. We've been extremely happy with all our releases thus far, although with the typically perverse logic of the underground we must say that the most satisfactory releases have been the ones that no bugger has taken any notice of. Stand up Tiny Too, Spy '51 and The Bellringers, you lovely alternative-bands-totally-overlooked-by-the-nation's-tastemakers, you.

3. The two dream releases are 'Bloodrush' by Bark Psychosis which is fantastically tragic and would come out on Livid Meerkat if only Che hadn't got there first. The other is a mad punk version of 'Plastic Palace People' by our brand new incarnation, Snott Walker. Might as well tell you about our other 'secret' - we wanted Belle & Sebastian and Cradle Of Filth to do a split single, both covering eachothers' songs. All for charidee, obviously. Maybe we'll get drunk enough to ask them about it one day...

4. Our tip for anyone starting their own label would be to never listen to other people's advice (like, erm, this!). If we'd bothered to pay attention to what the 'experts' thought we would never have released records by 3 Colours Red, Kenickie, Idlewild or Ultrasound. Let alone Tiny Too, Spy '51 and The Bellringers...

Grant, First Degree First Degree Records c/o Katy Sullivan, Southampton Institute, Media Arts Faculty, East Park Terrace, Southampton, S015 OYN modboy55@hotmail.com aemack.freeserve.co.uk/first

1. As a forum for all of the student talent in Southampton. We now also cover most of the South Coast. By this I am not only talking about the music but also the journalism, marketing, art and design, a&r and engineering talent that was evident in the area.

2. On our label it is the last album - Wrap Up Stroll On as it has everything our label stands for. It is a promo styled sampler of all the best acts that we represent so has everything form punk to bkues to trip hop to acid jazz. It also has some great artwork and marked the first time that we had been sold in Virgin which for a student label was a real honour.

3. Derek and The Dominoes - Anyday (preferably a live cut ) Dont ask me why as there is not enough time !!!!

4. Concentrate firstly on the legalities involved ie PRS MCPS etc etc. Make the music more important than the businees ie have the passion in everything you do as it will breed enthusiasm in those who work with you. I feel that the love of music is missing from some of this countries majors which is a shame.

Leighton, Flitwick PO Box 26, Flitwick, Beds, MK45 12U

1. Someone else from a fanzine asked the same question a few weeks ago and neither Kevin (Burrows - fellow Flitwician) or I could think of an answer. I can't honestly remember the real reason other than to release The Spores album 'Typical'. Then the Gag EP followed, and then we realised independently that this was a really good way to spend our wages. It's a really good discipline to get into, the concept of work suddenly becomes totally justifiable.

2. I don't have a particular preference. Once the things are made we are both by that time excited by what we are going to release next, rather than what the things look or sound like.

3. I would really love to release an LP made by a group who split up ages ago called 'BrittleHip' (from Scotland) but the recording was never mixed properly. When I have spoken to the ex-members they are all too busy with other things and 'BrittleHip' was only really a side project. Kevin wants to release something by 'I Thought I Told You' (from Haverhill) which would be fantastic but getting them to go and record is a bit of a nightmare.........but hopefully they will one day consent! Anyway, releasing the things we do at the moment is good enough for now.

4. Give everything away for free! That way you don't end up with 450 7"s by a band nobody has or never will have heard of, sitting in a cupboard.

Cameron, Forced Evolution Media www.forcedevolution.com camlewis@home.com

1. I felt I need an alternative to the sort of "smoke and mirrors" bullshit that the vast majority of the media industry considers standard operating procedure.

2. Ipecac Loop's "eX"... simply because it's the only thing I have out yet. 8)

3. I would love to be able to offer Black Lung a US partner, and put out music from Thine Eyes.

4. Tenacity is vitally important. Too many labels pop up out of nowhere for 18 months and then disappear without a trace. Try to differentiate yourself through your persistence.

[1] why did you decide to set up a label?
[2] what release have you been most pleased with?
[3] what's your dream release (any band, any song)?
[4] tip for anyone starting their own label (don't just say "don't")?

Sean, Fortuna Pop 4, Well Yard Close, Shepshed, Loughborough, Leics. LE12 9TG. fortuna_pop@bigfoot.com

1. i saw the mary chain on whistle test when i was five years old and jim spoke to me from the tv and told me to sell my soul for rock'n'roll. it was like in 'starman'.....because i'm not like everybody else.

2. the butterflies of love. i heard them on Peel and thought, wow, that's just fucking gorgeous. i wrote to them and asked them to release something on fortuna. i spent the next six months telling myself it wasn't going to happen in case it didn't. it was special because it was like i was a fan before. it's one of the greatest records ever as far as i'm concerned, comparable to "fourth of july" by galaxie 500 or "pale blue eyes" by the velvets.

3. i'd love to get forster and maclennan to record something together again, the go-betweens were the greatest. can i travel back in time then? "never understand" by the mary chain, "that summer feeling" by jonathon richman or "summer babe" by pavement.

4. be prepared not to get anywhere fast, and from that point of view you'd better dig the soundz or you'll be quickly disillusioned. you've got to chill and have a laugh too, even if you're deadly serious about it. and be prepared to make mistakes and learn from them.

Sean, For Us c/o Rough Trade Shop, 130 Talbot Road, London W11 1JA shop@roughtrade.com

1. To release the hopkirk & lee cds on 7", because we all wanted a copy.

2. We all like different ones best - it's a bit of a collective you see.

3. Sean: Blondie, Pete: Willy Deville, Nigel: Bob Dylan, Delia: Lee Hazelwood, Jude: Dan Penn (we're all old too)

4. Read Sean Tyler's "Guide To Releasing Your Own Record" (occassionally available at disreputable record shops.

Ernie, Fortune and Glory Osmond House, 78 Alcester Road, Moseley, Birmingham B16 8DE hendricks@publiconline.co.uk

1. Because I used to play in a band called L.Kage signed to One Little Indian. When the band got dropped I looked around and everyone we had worked with still had their jobs. I had nothing cept good time memories. It was then that i decided to start my own label. And the fact that there is so much going on out there... I wanted to show it all off.

2. My last release is always my favourite. So right now that'd have to be Parachute. I'm working with a new band right now called PVT. They're a mixture of guitar and electronica. Hopefully Fuzz Townsend will produce them. So I guess that will be favourite release, when it's released I guess.

3. I'd like to release something that really well. Something that I liked and a lot of other people too. Something that would establish the label and give it some more cred. Perhaps it could be PVT, who knows.

4. Don't... Unless you like being dissed by London officianardos, prefer to broke than have money and want your relationships to fall by the wayside. (Sorry about the 'don't' but people said it to me, and I didnt listen. Basically it's bloody hard selling records, it's like no one wants to buy em. I mean it's okay if you say you dont like the record, that's fine. But if you're distributor doesn't like the tunes you're putting out you're fucked. There's no way you're gonna get any records into the shops. And your left thinking hold on... my gas bill, my phone bill, my water bill is all in that bloody record....)

Jason, Foundry foundryr@yahoo.com

1. To capture a band a that possibly imperfect but most genuinely creative moment. To offer an honest no ties outlet for a bands initial output.

2. So far i would have to say the compilation because it was as painful as satifying and had the least outside pressure with regards to artwork etc...almost perfect

3. still searching...but as a rule not looking to wow anyone by getting a release by an estabslished act...what's the point, they have an outlet...

4. dont be intimidated...it's really not that difficult...trust your instincts...always do it for the music...never accept no for an answer...

Mike, Full Strength The Wendy House, Fortress, 54-56 Compton St, London, EC1V 0EU

1. To release music which we felt inspired by, and hopefully bring it to a wider audience. This might sound a bit of a cliche but it's the truth.

2. Commercially, the Ricky Spontane/Baxendale release is the best so far as it got some quite mainstream reviews and has all-but sold out, which is far from what we expected. The first release (Diary/Brain of Morbius) is a personal favourite because the bands are so far removed from the general preconceptions of "good" or "acceptable" music. If there is to be a benchmark for the label, then I would hope it was this.

3. Past tense: The Fall "Psycho mafia"/The Tornados "Telstar" split 7" flexi. Does anyone know where you can get flexis done up these days? Present tense: Our next release, obviously. Which I can't tell you about. Yet.

4. Plan how much money you need before you start; you'll need to do more than just make the things or they'll sit under your bed forever, and give yourself time to actually promote the thing. Talk at great length to anyone who has already done it. The pressing plant we use are Gramophone Zavody in the Czech Republic and they're quite cool.

Shack, Fused and Bruised Anglo House, 2-4 Clerkenwell Green, London, EC1R 0DE shack@fab.uk.com

1. Because we were surrounded by musical angels, all plying their trade on the streets without shoes on their feet or any means to disemminate their sonic nectar.

2. We are always most pleased with the one that's about to be released. It's company policy. And it's the law.

3. A remix package of Cliff Richard's "Summer Holiday" featuring Lemmy on guest vocals and remixes by Alec Empire, Percy Faith and the Velvet Underground.

4. You will need some music as your starting point.

[1] why did you decide to set up a label?
[2] what release have you been most pleased with?
[3] what's your dream release (any band, any song)?
[4] tip for anyone starting their own label (don't just say "don't")?

Russell, Future Legend PO Box 727, Kenley, Surrey, CR8 5YF www.netlink.co.uk/users/sonic/flr.htm

1. Many reasons. Although I could have gone with another label there are too many compromises and you end up not being happy with your output. The main purpose of making music for me is to do what you really want to do wether it sells or not. Other people may see it of more of a money making excersice. I don't. (Thats in regard to Box Office Poison) With them in mind and other features related to the label. It can also be fun to be a true Pioneer both in terms of musical output and new promotions and have to pit your wits against the majors whose only real strength is finance.

2. Unlike many people who slag off or disown previous output I'm still proud of everything that has ever come out on Future Legend Records and For that Matter Waterloo Sunset Records as well. I can still play all the stuff today and still get a buzz from it. Most people asked this question tend to always say the latest released. Although I'm pleased with The Lastest Cult themes album where I think I did my best ever Punk Cello Playing and I really like B.O.P's recent Heavy Breathing Decade. One track most people consider to be a masterpiece is the Single 'Mysteries' by Box Office Poison . I would tend to agree with that. It has a magical something about it that has not faded a few years down the line.

3. There have been many great records made, but two that always do the business for me is "For a few Dollars more' By Ennio Morricone (or Hugo Montenegro) and Telstar by the Tornadoes. (Strange that these are both instrumentals since I'm strong on lyrics) But if you were asking of a record that didn't exsist, it would probably be Souxsie and the Bansheess doing a cover of Box Office Poisons 'Think For Yourself'.

4. As if I would. Try and have a few critera. One put out first what you love and belive in. Secondly something else you like alot that will have enough comercial potential to at least keep the record company afloat. If you can't sell thru gigs make sure you get distribution. Too many people start a label and are left with 999 copies of a release in their garage. So give it serious thought first. Its easy to be optomistic and have visions of 'Top of the Pop's and Piles of Money (Sounds more like a nightmare I know) but be realistic. Can you afford to lose the M-#1,000 you might invest in a release if its stiffs but still enjoy the experience. If yes, get your feet wet now. If no make sure there is some sort of market for the band or record before you go to the trouble of making a record. Its easy to get enthusastic about music and bands but there is a downside to it. Most but not all bands will shit on you and be off like a shot at the first oppotunity of another offer. It can leave a nasty taste in your mouth. If its your own band on the Label thats probably different, then the individuals will take off. The goods news is with technology going the way it is via, Computuers and the Internet, Plus C.D writers and so on it will be easy for anyone to run a label and compete (Intenet wise) on almost a level playing field for once.

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