A Look At A Small Independant Record Label

A Look At A Small Independant Record Label

Following on from last weeks featured interview with the band Firefriend ,I have turned my attention to the other side of the table and interviewed Marco, the man behind Electric Valley Records. The label started as a means of releasing music by his own band Raikinas in 2014. Hailing from the island of Sardinia, Italy, Marco is a true supporter of music not only from the idyllic island, but throughout the world. With help from the also excellent Heavy Psych Sounds , the label has become home to some great bands, latest release is Continuum by Sons Of Alpha Centauri.

So, what makes a band stand out enough for Electric Valley Records to take notice of them, and sign them to the label? I asked Marco and his answer is pretty cool!

Generally I have to be hit by the sound immediately, it must be impactful, I want to hear riffs that make me say: Fuck, I have to contact them immediately!
I’m not obsessed with a genre, Electric Valley is for bands that play Stoner, Psychedelic, Heavy Blues, Doom, Heavy Psych, Acid Rock, Garage Fuzz etc…
An important thing is that the band is united, as a family, I would be very sorry if one of the bands of my label were to split.

So how much work is involved in running a label? I imagine keeping up with 12 bands, whilst playing in your own band is pretty demanding. Marco assures me it is!

They just became 13!

The active bands are only eight at the moment, and it’s not easy at all! Most of the bands keep me updated more or less, concerts, new songs, new projects and new ideas, that sort of thing. The most difficult thing is the promotion, I have to be behind a lot of things, but I do not get discouraged by this, after all it is my job and I love my job. It’s a job that takes a lot of time, and I do not have precise schedules, for example with some bands we have 6/7 hours of difference, so sometimes we talk at indecent hours hahahahah. The relationship I have with the bands is fantastic, we cooperate really well together and in this way we create a very pleasant situation, there is nothing better than working in friendship.

So any of you guys reading this dreaming of the easy life putting out records, be warned!

But obviously Marco is a glutton for punishment. He also puts on the Electric Valley Festival in Ossi, Sardinia as well as gigs for the bands on his label. There is some fantastic music coming out of Italy lately by the likes of New Candys , Julies Haircut & Giobia to name just a few of my personal favourites. Marco describes the music scene in his own words.

There is a beautiful scene here in Sardinia, the most famous are clearly the Black Capricorn with their Doom old school, then bands that were born after as the Elepharmers, King Howl, Raikinas, Desert Hype and 24Moons.
I can say that in Italy is full of very interesting bands from North to South and we do not forget the labels, starting from Heavy Psych Sounds, it is also thanks to Gabriele that I am here now, our friendship was born since I asked him if I could have his releases in my distro, he helped me a lot and he’s doing it also now, then there are many other super cool labels like Go Down Records, Vincebus Eruptum, Argonauta Records, Talk About Records, Taxi Driver and many others. I would say that we can not complain! There are so many bands, Stoner Rock, Doom, Heavy Psych, Sludge etc. Bands like Ufomammut, Black Rainbows, OJM, Atomic Mold, Deadsmoke and many others, it’s impossible to name them all!

So I’ll end this with a playlist of all the bands on Marco’s label, hopefully you can check them out, and who knows maybe support Marco with his excellent label and buy a couple of records!

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How a love of music turned into an interview with a band from Brazil

How a love of music turned into an interview with a band from Brazil

Manchester.London.New York.Berlin. All cities that we associate with having rich and varied musical histories and influences. They are all cultural melting pots of cities that have spawned some of the greatest bands of all time. As a lover of the kind of music that is never going to be called mainstream, I stumbled across a band going by the name of Firefriend. As I listened to their music, I heard the typical influences, the likes of Joy Division, The Sex Pistols,Velvet Undergound & The Jesus And Mary Chain. Nothing out of the ordinary there, I thought. Great band, cool sounds. I became a little more interested, as you do, and found the band hailed from São Paulo, Brazil of all places. This is where my mind struggled somewhat.

Brazil. I ask anyone to give me an image of the country and it will be Copacabana beach, the Amazon, the 1970 World Cup team(best team ever to take to a football pitch!), the Samba or Christ The Redeamer. Even the Favelas. Not a brand of shoegaze psych that sounds like it came from a disused factory in the North of England, or an abondoned building in Berlin. I wanted to know more.

So instead of taking the easy option and asking Google, I took the time to ask the band themselves. Don’t ask me why, I’m no jounalist or writer, but I felt compelled to learn more about the Northern British sounding band from São Paulo, Brazil.

So, in the words of Yury & Julia of Firefriend, I’ll let them tell the story of how the band came to be.

I asked how the band came about, and what influenced them, all the way over in Brazil.

Yury: My parents were hippies here in São Paulo back in the 70’s, I grew up immersed in the heady scents of incense & weed,  listening to Jimi Hendrix, The Stones, Pink Floyd, Beatles and Led Zeppelin a lot, since year zero. Then a friend of mine went to London in the 80’s and brought back albums from the likes of Joy Division, Sex Pistols, Jesus And Mary Chain and those records blew my mind. All these sounds combined were groundbreaking and definitely mind-bending, for kids in all corners of the world — those records were like messages from another galaxy to me. It’s fascinating how they make you see reality through another prism.  I bought my first guitar just after I got my hands on a mixtape of The Velvet Underground & Nico. That changed my life forever. I bet this is the history of thousands of teenagers living elsewhere on this planet. We start recognizing each other and suddenly we are at someone’s house jamming pretty loud and talking about shows and bands and then there’s an underground scene going on, first with xerox zines and then websites documenting the pulse of our musical community. It was like that back then as it’s still like that today. There are hundreds of bands messing around here.

Julia: Music has been part of my life since I was a kid, I have always needed music to deal with my life. I enjoy the energy of rock’n’roll and always looked for sounds that make my mind travel. This could come from any genre/style, it depends only on how you feel at that particular moment, how open you are to the sounds.

So, how does this translate into European tours and success in the USA & Australia? Not even Yury is sure.

Yury: Surprisingly, it was easier to get noticed & heard outside of Brazil. All reviews and interviews we got after our last album come from Europe, the United States and even Australia.  Now there must be a lot of reasons for that, but I’m not sure why, yet. We’ll play in the UK, France, Denmark, and Germany in September, let’s see if we’re going to learn why it’s happening this way!

Pretty sure the reason their music has spread across the Continents is because, great music is great music. Wherever it comes from!

I asked about the latest Firefriend album Sulfur, the bands 9th physical release and how the band maintain their motivation and fresh sounds.

Julia: I love to try new ideas, experimentation is an endless joy. Sometimes it feels like I’m entering new territories using new gear, new effects, it opens our sensibilities to new textures and melodies. That’s my way to keep doing new things.

Yury: Noise and melodies, if you push them out of the genre’s tradition and into the contemporary landscape, you gotta a really enticing monster to behold. That’s an adventure we dig, it helps us feel alive, it helps us build connections with people from every corner, it’s a dialogue that helps us to learn more about who we are. Every piece we read, watch, hear, every person we meet, there are multiple sources of meaning spinning in this astonishing swirl  — give them a structure, a shape, and then you have something which you can stand on.

A more personal question I put to the band was the reasons behind making music and why they feel compelled to make it.

Yury: I need music to fill out the void of existence — the 21st century’s so mad. Truth is dead, god is dead, war is everywhere. Industrial trash is everywhere, in the sea, the air, our food and the natural world. Advertising keeps confusing everybody with its fake smiles — music is where one can breathe at last. So I need music to live here on this planet.  We all need art, life is more than debts and TV shows. Art & music change our minds and cells and suddenly we are there answering with more music, our music, to feed that fire, to keep it burning.

Julia: It’s a release — and being able to make the kind of music you want to hear, that makes me happy!

Back to the reason I got intrigued by the band in the 1st place, Julia & Yury give me their feelings on the album Sulfur.

Julia: Close your eyes and let it take you somewhere else.
Yury:  It tastes like the 21st century —  Visceral & dark.

Here’s the latest song to be crafted by Firefriend, ‘Surface To Air’ Available from the 27th July fom the bands Bandcamp site

I would like to thank Yury & Julia for taking the time out to give me a brief insight into the band, and how a shoegaze/psych band came about in São Paulo, Brazil. Many thanks to Yury’s friend for buying the records and taking them all the way back to São Paulo.

Thanks for reading. If like I did, you want to find out more, head over to the bands Website or you can also buy their records from Fuzz Club Records in the UK & EU, Little Cloud Records in the USA.

 

Our Solar System – Origins

Our Solar System – Origins

Swedish band ‘Our Solar System’ make a return with new album ‘Origins’. Bringing to mind Can, early Floyd and even Sigur Rós, this is a voyage of sonic discovery that leads only they know where! They certainly have something in the water over there in Sweden at the moment, so many great bands making incredible music!

As the track ‘Vulkanen’ shows, this is music from a very far off place, that one can only hope to reach one day! Available on a stunning limited edition coloured vinyl from Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records This album promises to be a trip from start to finish!

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Boar – Poseidon

Boar – Poseidon

Finnish doom rockers ‘Boar’ release new album ‘Poseidon’ tomorrow, 1st June. A melting pot of styles see ‘Boar’ create an album that continues to grab your attention all the way through.

First track off the album ’12’ demonstrates that no-one can do doom like the Finns! Available on LostPilgrims Records on an exclusive green 12″ vinyl that looks pretty awesome.

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SVVAMP – SVVAMP 2

SVVAMP – SVVAMP 2

Heavy riffs your thing? Then this new album from Swedish heavy blues rockers SVVAMP is going to tick all the boxes! With a sound reminscent of the 70’s heavy psych bands, Blue Cheer & original Swedish psych kings the Hjärter Sex. SVVAMP 2 is straight-forward and direct. And it rocks. Hard. Preview track ‘Queen’, below is no exception to the rule.

The Albm is released on RidingEasy Records due for release on the 8th June.

SVVAMP’s debut self titled album is also worth checking out. Full video stream below if you fancy rocking out some more!

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Aux Portes – Leash

Aux Portes – Leash

This is a band that I’m really pleased I came across. ‘Leash’ is the new single from the Austrian group Aux Portes. Take 5 minutes to enjoy this, and kick back!

With a laid back psych groove the band creates a vibrant sound that is chilled yet engaging.  Hope to hear more from them soon! An earlier self titled EP from 2016 is available to listen to below if you want to hear more.

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‘II-Onisme’ New Release from Population II

‘II-Onisme’ New Release from Population II

Population II from Montreal, Canada, Have released ‘II-Onisme’.It’s awash with spiralling guitars setting off into the cosmos. Accompanied by some pretty intense drumming, this definitely gets the blood flowing! Coming after last years great record, the self titled, Population II it carries on in the same skyward trajectory!

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