09 September 2010

Scottish DIY Labels #3 - 45 A-Side Records

Would you care to introduce yourself?

Well I'm Sam and i co-started 45 A-Side Records back in the late summer of 2007 roughly. I also do some work for the band Barn Owl as well as a lot of recording/mixing/mastering and FOH sound.

What inspired you to start your own label?

The idea was conceived to start 45 A-Side during a conversation after a gig I'd put on at the 13th Note. This conversation was largely based around a love of old fashioned music formats and a bit of a dour outlook on the way the digital market was increasing.

Who do you have signed to your label?

This is where we get found out. We don't technically have any signed artists on the label. Our first and technically (not for long) only release was a 16 track cassette compilation that featured bands from all over the UK. This worked on the basis that bands gave us tracks to use and they kept all their own copyright. I don't want to own the copyright to somebody else's songs, that just isn't right. Anyway, that first release featured several bands who are doing well right like Copy Haho, Twin Atlantic and The Xcerts. It also features several bands who unfortunately no longer play music...Hyena, Juliet Kilo, PVH ect. I actually counted today that i have 11 copies left sitting in my flat, so if anybody wants a copy let me know.

Being based in Scotland do you only sign Scottish artists?

Nah, i would never look at it this way. It's more about do i feel passionately enough about a band to the point where i feel i can do them justice in a release and also will it be financially viable. Saying this though, i tend to get more involved with Scottish arts just because it's where i am based and its where my strongest knowledge lies.

Is this something you do as a hobby or can you make a living from it?

This is a hobby really. I can't really see a DIY label being able to make a living for a person. It is possible but I'm a long way from doing that. I certainly am working more at this now and have plans to expand especially as Ii graduate from university soon and have to start thinking about life a bit more. Robert Raths at Erased Tape is a great example of what can be achieved by an independent.

Do you have a certain type of sound that you look for in a band?

No, I've got no real prejudices really when it comes to music. Obviously I've got styles that I don't like but generally i can get into most things. The release I'm working on at the moment has got such variation, as did the original cassette release.

How do you go about deciding which artists you want to work with? How do you go about approaching them?

The decision process really comes from a love of an artists music. It's as simple as that. When it comes to approaching them there are a bunch of ways I've gone about it. This can include e-mails to people you've never met before or quite often it's people you know from being around Glasgow.

What has been you personal highlight from running the label so far? What has been your biggest success?

Well as the release side of the label took a bit of a dive, the promotion side really pushed up. I've put on a whole host of my favourite bands and i am really lucky to have done so. I guess a personal highlight would definitely have to be when i put Meursault/Brother Louis Collective/Barn Owl/Olympic Swimmers on at the 13th Note last year. Sometimes i feel like i don't think i can do any better than that.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone wanting to start up their own label, what would it be and why?

Don't look at mine as an influence! Basically just do it. If you are in it for the love and not the money then the music world is lucky to have you. Pride yourself on your ethics and don't go out there looking to make a quick buck. You won't make many friends doing that.

What can we expect to see and hear from the label in the future?

Well it was fairly convenient that this interview appeared in my inbox just as i am finishing off a release. It's currently 4:50am and im listening to what i was hoping to be the final PQ edit of my new release, unfortunately i've got a couple of things to change. I'm going to keep this release quiet for the meantime but all i can say is that you can expect a nice wee Peenko feature on it in due course. Keep the 30th of September free for what is shaping up to be something really special. I've also got Meursault/Olympic Swimmers and Happy Particles playing Stereo on the 6th of November so you should get involved with that. Tickets can be found here and the tickets are printed on recycled brown paper! Lovely stuff.


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