Each month Topman CTRL's resident controller Huw Stephens invites an artist to take charge in helping him source the best music from the web and beyond - and that includes writing a guest column for Q. This month, to try something different, we hear from Hari Ashurst, who along with Jack Thomas, runs the increasingly influential Double Denim Records, and helped to host the recent Independent Label Market in Spitalfields, London. Head to Topman.com/ctrl for more.
One cool thing about running a record label is that anyone can do it. As somebody who runs a new, and (by all accounts) well-respected label I probably shouldn't say that, but it's the truth. Firstly - I can't think of another industry more welcoming. At the Independent Label Market my label Double Denim pitched up with Ninja Tune one side, XL on the other, and Tim Burgess manning his O Genesis stall across the way. Just a couple of years ago I was the guy boring friends with soliloquies about how XL was my favourite label. The Charlatan's Tellin' Stories was one of the first records I bought with my own money. But somehow we didn't feel out of place - even though they (rightly) trounced us on record sales.
Me and Jack didn't set out to start a label, but we - and everyone else - are spoilt with an internet machine that delivers new music to you as freshly as you want. If you want to find next big things you can, with a little effort. Again, I'm not sure that's the case for any other creative industry. When we found our second single, Dreaming by Seapony they had uploaded the song that very morning; we were one of the first to hear it and we signed them that very day. Six months later they signed to one of Sub Pop's sister labels.
Without wanting to sound too corny it's difficult to think of independent music as anything other than a family. There's huge competition but a whole lot of respect and spurring each other on too (evidenced by labels all trading records with each other at the market in Spitalfields). Record buyers play the biggest part of all - the market was busy for its six hour duration, and more people are buying vinyl everyday.
Running a label isn't all rosy: it can be deflating when something doesn't take off, and packing up records to post for two or three hours isn't very fun either. But if you do take the risk and try something you'll be amazed at the people who will want to meet you, and alarmed at the ones willing to help you in exchange for as little as a pint of ale.
Hari Ashurst @Doubledenim
11:27 AM | 07/06/2012
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