Liner Notes: Meet The Record Room [Part 2]

Nat Vazer [Hotel Motel] Crepes [Spunk Records] and Jade Imagine [Our Golden Friend]

Wollongong’s Farmer & The Owl Festival is a big ol’ celebration of music, so it’s only fitting that some of Australia’s finest indie labels are headed along to set up shop in a new addition to the festival, the Record Room.

Spunk Records, Hotel Motel and Our Golden Friend will be hosting stalls and spinning DJ sets at the festival. But before the big day, we wanted to get to know them a little better.


SPUNK RECORDS

LET’S GET TO KNOW YOU! GIVE US THE RUNDOWN ON YOUR LABEL?

It’s called Spunk Records. We started on the shores of St Kilda and South Cronulla and are now based in Stanwell Park on the South Coast of NSW. 

We’ve been going for 20 years this year! Released 550 records from a wide range of genres.

WHO ARE SOME OF THE ARTISTS WE’LL FIND IN YOUR CATALOGUE?

There’s been so so many. Here’s the artists we’ve released starting with an A: Aldous Harding, Arcade Fire, Arab Strap, Adam Green, Antony & the Johnsons, Alex G, Animal Collective, Amen Dunes, Alela Dianne, Andrew Bird, Active Child.

WHAT SORT OF THINGS GO INTO PREPARING A NEW RELEASE ON THE LABEL?

So much! Marketing and promotion are obviously the big ones! But touring is probably the key to success. Playing the right venues and of course creating a fan base!

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE INDEPENDENT IN THE MODERN MUSIC INDUSTRY? 

It’s a great feeling! Particularly to have survived for so long and still be the owner/founder of the label! Not manly labels last more than a few years. 

There’s not too many labels kicking around these days that do it full time as well. Most label people either work another job or manage a bunch of bands or DJ to get by! For that I have been incredibly lucky!

RUNNING A LABEL COMES WITH A PREREQUISITE OF BEING A MUSIC LOVER, SO WITH THAT IN MIND… WHAT’S A RECORD YOU COULD LISTEN TO EVERY SINGLE DAY, FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, AND NEVER GET SICK OF?

PavementCrooked Rain, Crooked Rain.


HOTEL MOTEL RECORDS

LET’S GET TO KNOW YOU! GIVE US THE RUNDOWN ON YOUR LABEL?

Hotel Motel began in 2017 because I (Jo Syme) had been sent some music that absolutely crawled under my skin, and I had to help put the music out because I loved it so much, and wanted everyone else to love it. That’s been the story with every release since. I’m a musician too, so we keep it artist-friendly. It was just me running the label at first, but last year two very experienced friends joined me, who also wanted a similar, low-stress platform to release music.

WHO ARE SOME OF THE ARTISTS WE’LL FIND IN YOUR CATALOGUE?

We’ve got Cool Sounds, S.M. Jenkins (who have played at FATO’s sister festival Yours & Owls), Nat Vazer, Quivers, L.A. Mood and Romeo Moon will be our newest artist with a release very soon.

WHAT SORT OF THINGS GO INTO PREPARING A NEW RELEASE ON THE LABEL?

We make sure we have all our ducks lined up – artwork, videos, photos, audio masters etc. We do in-house PR, so I send a bunch of questions to the artist to get a deeper insight into the music so that I can write a promo release to send out to the media. We send that promo info and the music out early to relevant radio presenters or blogs.

A hard part of the prep phase is asking the artist to slow down, as often they’ll have booked a launch show before the art or mastering is finalised. They’re all excited about getting it out, but we want to give the release its best chance of being heard ☺

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE INDEPENDENT IN THE MODERN MUSIC INDUSTRY?

It probably means something different to a lot of people, as you could mean financial independence, or creative independence. Or maybe it means you’re 100% DIY and there is literally no one else in the distribution chain…

As a label we’re creatively independent, there’s no one who tells us what we can and can’t release. I think that’s the most important “definition”. We’re also mostly financially independent, as we haven’t been given any money from anyone else to help with the business. However, the option does exist for us to borrow from our distributor if we asked nicely.

RUNNING A LABEL COMES WITH A PREREQUISITE OF BEING A MUSIC LOVER, SO WITH THAT IN MIND… WHAT’S A RECORD YOU COULD LISTEN TO EVERY SINGLE DAY, FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, AND NEVER GET SICK OF?

Oh god. These are always the hardest questions. It’ll be a different answer if you ask me in a month’s time, but for now I’m going with Capacity by Big Thief.


OUR GOLDEN FRIEND

LET’S GET TO KNOW YOU! GIVE US THE RUNDOWN ON YOUR LABEL?

Hello! My name is Lorrae McKenna and I own & run Our Golden Friend based in Melbourne, Australia. I started Our Golden Friend three and a bit years ago basically as an outlet to put out 7” records for bands that I really loved, the first four 7” we ever put out were from 808s & Greatest Hits, Poppongene, Jade Imagine & Body Type. From then things moved pretty quickly and I ended up quitting my full time job to focus all my energy on running Our Golden Friend, which then also branched out into artist management as well as being a label.

WHO ARE SOME OF THE ARTISTS WE’LL FIND IN YOUR CATALOGUE?

Management Artists: Chitra, Elizabeth, Jade Imagine, Jess Riberio, Poppongene, Totally Mild and RVG.

Label Artists: 808s & Greatest Hits, Chitra, Moonlover, Poppongene, RVG and Way Dynamic.

WHAT SORT OF THINGS GO INTO PREPARING A NEW RELEASE ON THE LABEL?

Many, many things go into preparing for a new release on the label. If we are going to start right at the very beginning here, it would be helping out with the recording process of an album and facilitating mixing and mastering. From there we move more into the visual creative side of things like video creation, artwork concepts and building a visual world for an album to live in. Then once the musical and visual elements of an album are fully conceptualized, we move into release scheduling, marketing & PR planning and then the roll out begins.

That’s a very brief way of explaining things, there is definitely a whole lot more then that involved, but I’d be here for a whole year trying to break it all down for you!

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE INDEPENDENT IN THE MODERN MUSIC INDUSTRY? 

Independent means many different things to many different people, it’s a hotly debated topic within the music industry right now, like what is truly independent anymore and I’m not sure I’m the best person to answer that question to be honest!

RUNNING A LABEL COMES WITH A PREREQUISITE OF BEING A MUSIC LOVER, SO WITH THAT IN MIND… WHAT’S A RECORD YOU COULD LISTEN TO EVERY SINGLE DAY, FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, AND NEVER GET SICK OF?

Grizzly BearVeckatimest.

SPUNK RECORDS, HOTEL MOTEL AND OUR GOLDEN FRIEND ARE SETTING UP SHOP IN THE RECORD ROOM AT FARMER & THE OWL FESTIVAL ON MARCH 2ND.

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