Curiosity killed the cat, but makes for good journalism, so IAH! Caught up with Leeds based Brew Records to enquire about what it actually involves running a label. “Both of us had wanted to do the whole label thing for a while but uni and lack of money had prevented either of us from giving it a go. Then once we had both finished uni and entered the real world starting a label seemed like the best way of keeping life interesting. So here we are now.”
Two years on from when Brew launched in June 2007, Simon, co-founder of Brew, makes it sound so easy. A love of live music and helping out new bands was what really drove the creation for Brew records, “We wanted to put on gigs as well so we’re promotors as well as a label. I guess the drive comes from wanting to give a good platform for our favourite bands to work from. Whether it be supporting a big touring band in Leeds or getting them some great press or radio play.”
In the current economy, money seems to be the driver behind everything. But for Simon and Thomas they just want to help with the release of great music. Whereas some labels have altered bands to make them more ‘commercially viable’, Brew try not to have too much of an influence. “It goes about as far as us suggesting we do a single or an ep and an album. I don’t think we’d dare attempt to tell one of our bands what or how they should be writing. I guess if Kong turned up and had gone all jazz funk we might have a few words but really they can do what they like and we’ll release it”.
So if the label has little influence on the actual output of a band, why do we even need labels at all, especially now we are in the ‘myspace age’ where bands can freely promote themselves.. “Bands can promote themselves to an extent but I don’t think you’re going to see the death of labels anytime soon. There’s room for labels and for bands that just want to do it themselves. We release records, book tours, put on gigs, do all the press for our bands. Everything is pretty much done in house so very DIY.” Even though Simon is pretty laid back about running a label, he assures us that is not the case: “It’s a bit of an obsession really. There’s always something to do or some worry to keep me awake at night.”
It does, however, pay off. There are many moments to be savoured, such as “seeing our bands play Leeds and Reading or support the Bronx or do sessions for radio 1 or get an awesome review in the NME. Just things we didn’t think would happen to a little label 2 years ago.”
And why the name? “Brew is a reference to beer. Double Dutch is usually on the riders at our gigs.” There’s the solution for when the stress of running a label gets a little too much then.