18 November 2010

Scottish DIY Labels #13 - Olive Grove Records

In case you don't already know, today is a pretty fucking massive week for me, on Monday there Olive Grove Records officially launched. In case you don't already know this is a venture started up by myself and Halina Rifai of Glasgow Podcart infamy. It's always been a dream of both of ours so it made sense for us to team up together as we're both so involved in our local scene.
I think Halina is keen to emphasise that Olive Grove is a totally separate venture from Podcart, personally I have no shame and I kind of think that this blog and the label will almost run hand in hand, i.e. you have been warned that I am going to whore Olive Grove on here, a lot.
When I originally thought up the idea of running a series of posts on Scottish DIY labels, I did have a bit of an ulterior motive which was to try and get a couple of tips off my peers before we launched ourselves into the big bad world. Now that we are officially 'out there' I really wanted to run a wee interview to let know folk a bit more about what we're all about. Seeing as interviewing myself would seem a tad mental, I got my partner in crime, Ms Rifai to do it for me instead.....

Would you care to introduce yourself?

Hi my name is Halina ‘facial hair lover’ Rifai

What inspired you to start your own label?

I have always wanted to do it since my teens. I was heavily influenced by people such as Rough Trade, but also a lot of radio DJ’s such as John Peel and countless musicians. I just felt that sometimes people were not getting heard enough that genuinely deserved it and if I could help then so be it. It was too much for just myself so I asked you to help and you said yes which was nice. Now it is all a bit surreal and very fucking emotional.

Who do you have signed to your label?

It is not so much signed as who we are releasing, The beauty about Olive Grove is the artists have the freedom to release with ourselves and then see what they want to do going forward. Effectively, we are like a platform at the moment and if these artists get some kind of recognition then we have done our job. We cover the costs of production and any profits go to the artists and that’s the way I think it should be.

Being based in Scotland do you only sign Scottish artists?

We have a tremendous wealth of talent in Scotland at the moment and going forward. The community spirit displayed by bloggers, websites, podcasters and even labels has been overwhelming so effectively by all joining together it amplifies what talent we have in this country. We focus on Scottish artists because we know more about them and they are on our doorstep so it makes sense.

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

It isn’t a hobby. It has too much of my passion to be a hobby. Actually, yes it’s a passion. To me this is as important as having a body part. It takes our lives forward because it is something we genuinely love and even though we have to put money into it from our real life jobs or other activities then so be it. Fuck it, I would rather be poor and happy than Simon Cowell and paying for a penis enlargement.

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

Never. There is no pigeon holing, if we listen and love it then we approach the artist and take it from there.

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

How do you go about approaching them?Again, following the previous question it is about the music. It has to be. If there is an artist that is intriguing, that we think deserves a platform and is genuinely passionate and great at what they do then we will take interest. With Randolph’s Leap (debut release) and Esperi (2nd release) both those individuals fit the bill.

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

Well considering we only launched November 15th, then I think that is essentially it. It is one of my dreams come true and going by the press that Randolph's Leap and Olive Grove have received then I think we will be just fine.

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

Think about exactly why you are doing it and what you want out of it. It can be all too easy to say yes to something without thinking about the consequences. You must have commitment, passion and be prepared for a lot of obstacles.

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

Well next is Esperi’s limited edition Christmas release. Chris (Esperi) may say I am biased, but I genuinely think it is a cracking double A Side. The CD’s will be in handmade snowman made by the wonderful I heart… and we have the Christmas Party on December 22ndwith Randolph’s Leap and RM Hubbert (legend) at The 13th Note.After that we need to decide what artist is next! If it is anything like so far then my heart is going to get so big it will burst and I will sound even more gay than I do now.


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