The Kent music scene is buzzing. No longer are bands and labels confined to the big cities, but there’s plenty happening in regions around the country. Local label Easter Island Records are doing great things, so I caught up with them to find out more.
Why did you set up Easter Island Records?
Initially we just had the idea of putting on a couple of shows for some punk bands we knew and respected. We are made up of musicians and artists and wanted to try putting on a show as we had spent years hanging out in basements listening to over amplified punk and thought it would be a fun thing to do ourselves. We started putting on a few more show’s before Trent from The Spanish Infanta asked us to put out his record Lame Temples on wax. So it all kind of came together through trial and error, we said ‘let’s try this’ and then ‘okay’ to a few things and before we knew it we were haphazardly running Canterbury’s new DIY record label, and having a blast.
What do you mean by it being a ‘community based record label?’
We are community driven and work in the wider Canterbury area on local charity projects whilst also producing global record releases. We began as a punk DIY record label and are proud to still support those principles. We want to support brilliant artists to release their music on ethical principles. Profit doesn’t drive us but supporting artists to be autonomous and creative and have their music heard as widely as possible does. On our website, we include a step by step guide to help local musicians publish and share their music. Outside of the label releases, we are passionate about working alongside artists and developing their craft. One of the core members of Easter Island Records runs a recording studio, Roswell Records where we have been nurturing and helping artists develop their music whilst retaining and promoting that sense of ‘community’. Being working class and having to work for our privileges, we had to self fund everything at the beginning and rely on favours until it started paying for itself. The truth is: You get out what you put in.
How do you choose the bands that will make it on to your roster?
We seem to jump around with the music we release. There are four of us currently on the label team with four different opinions, and we all find artists from completely different backgrounds in music. We all play in bands, promote shows, produce music, but we are all involved in the arts in one form or the other. I guess we try to distinguish ourselves by what we all like as opposed to what we should like, a consolidation of all our musical interests. Right now with Tokyo Tea Room, Stirrat, Hayes & Baynes and Aunt Margaux it’s quite dreamy and indie. Some psychedelic notes with some folk thrown in there but all linked to the ‘canterbury sound’, whilst never turning away from what’s new or forward-thinking. We have got some other things on the cards, a few wildcards to throw in the mix.
What is the Kent music scene like?
The Kent music scene is vast. There’s a massive versatility to everyone involved that always astounds us. The artists we have known for so long have had time to learn their craft and truly come into their own, but there are more and more new artists popping up every day. It’s a great time to be into music, it’s everywhere.
What successes have you had? (What counts as a success?!)
I think just organising a show, sourcing the PA, getting everyone in the building and loaded in on time and then leaving the venue without owing anyone money is a massive victory. Sometimes its hard putting on a ‘gig’. It’s a vulnerable thing, trying to put a show on and showcase a musician. I mean we’ve had sold out shows, overseen multiple vinyl releases, and had airplay on Radio 6. Right now Tokyo Tea Room’s latest single got premiered by Line of Best Fit and is in the H&M in store playlist and it’s doing incredibly. I think it’s hard to say as our goal posts are constantly getting moved, right now we are a little less DIY and getting a little more ‘professional’ with things but I would like to say that it will always be about just putting on a decent show.
Easter Island Records will be hosting the Aunt Margaux single launch at Bramley’s in Canterbury on Wednesday 17 April.