05 October 2010

Scottish DIY Labels #10 - SL Records

Would you care to introduce yourself?

My name's Ed and I run a DIY/indie/mirco record label called SL Records. Based in Edinburgh for the first 12 years of it's existance I'm now based on the sunny fife coast.

What inspired you to start your own label?

Good music, Bob Milles ( a maverick promoter/deejay who ran a label in Edinburgh in the 1990's), Fresh Air FM and the desire to do something 'cool' whilst being a maths and philosophy student.

&ampamp;amp;amp;lt;a href="http://slrecords.bandcamp.com/track/frankensteins-liquorice-castle"&ampamp;amp;amp;gt;Frankenstein's Liquorice Castle by SL Records&ampamp;amp;amp;lt;/a&ampamp;amp;amp;gt;

Who do you have signed to your label?

Like most small labels we don't really 'sign' people like major labels do, we work on a release by release basis. I've work with a load of bands including Withered Hand, Enfant Bastard, Lords of Bastard, Thomas Truax, Paul Vickers and The Leg (and 'Paul Vickers' and 'The Leg' as seperate entities), Wowl!, Misty's Big Adventure, The Blue Wicked Spasm Band, Dawn of the Replicants, The Aphrodisiacs, The Starlets, ballboy, Khaya, Degrassi, The 55's, Barricello....well it has been 13 years...I think that's most of them.

Being based in Scotland do you only sign Scottish artists?

Nope, Misty's Big adventure are brummies, Thomas Truax is from NYC (via wowtown and London), Wowl! from Berlin.... But at this level it's a very personal thing so I like to know the people I'm working with so I'm more likely to work with Scottish based musicians.

&ampamp;amp;amp;lt;a href="http://slrecords.bandcamp.com/track/blood"&ampamp;amp;amp;gt;Blood by SL Records&ampamp;amp;amp;lt;/a&ampamp;amp;amp;gt;

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

I hesitate in calling it a hobby - but nor do I make a living out of it. Some years it turns a profit - most years it makes a loss. Over the last 13 years overall I've probably broken even. I certainly do it because I love what I do.

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

Nope. It's just me running the label and these days I choose to work with people that I like who make music that I like. Since I have a rather eclectic music taste that's pretty wide ranging. Listen to Lords of Bastard, Withered Hand and Enfant Bastard all in a row-that kinda covers the label's sound.

&ampamp;amp;amp;lt;a href="http://slrecords.bandcamp.com/track/religious-songs-2"&ampamp;amp;amp;gt;Religious Songs by SL Records&ampamp;amp;amp;lt;/a&ampamp;amp;amp;gt;

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

It's usually that I know someone already and like what they're doing - it can be very incestous (for example Paul Vickers, lead singer with Dawn of the Replicants, is working with Dan Mutch, formerly of Khaya but is now in The Leg with Pete Harvey, who was in Khaya and The 55's with Greg Dodgson (who is now in the Blue Wicked Spasm Band with Dan), and has worked with Thomas Truax, ballboy, Degrassi and The Starlets and recorded Withered Hand who's worked with Enfant Bastard and Alun Thomas who drums with pretty much every band on the label, sometimes on the same night, and introduced me to Wowl!)

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

In some senses the biggest success was out first 7" - Khaya's 'Summer/Winter Song'. When I started the label I was involved with Fresh Air FM (Edinburgh student station). I went to some kinda radio conference where the head of music from radio 1 was giving a talk. I collared him afterwards and gave him a copy of the single. Next week steve lamacq was playing it, then John Peel then Jo Wiley on her afternoon show...we thought it was a piece of piss running a label....we've never had that kind of exposure again.

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

People are always getting touch asking how to start a label -there's no trick to starting a label (or being a promoter/manager/band) just call your self one and then do whatever it is you want to do. Anyone can do it.

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

Enfant Bastard's new record "Master Dude", Thomas Truax "Sonic Dreamer" album and a whole series of releases celebrating the music of Moondog starting with Justin Robertson, Max Tundra, Kid Carpet and FOUND's versions of the Moondog track "Enought About Human Rights".

SL Records

&ampamp;amp;amp;lt;a href="http://slrecords.bandcamp.com/album/sl-records-sampler"&ampamp;amp;amp;gt;Wowl! - The Black Ark by SL Records&ampamp;amp;amp;lt;/a&ampamp;amp;amp;gt;

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