Liner Notes: Meet The Record Room [Part 1]

Big Scary [Pieater] Straight Arrows [Rice Is Nice] and Hockey Dad [Farmer & The Owl]

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.

Rice Is Nice, Pieater and shindig founders Farmer & The Owl 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.


Rice Is Nice

Let’s get to know you! Give us the rundown on your label?

Hello! Our label is called Rice Is Nice – we celebrated our 10th birthday last year so are very excited to be entering 11 years of independent music this year. We are run between Melbourne and Sydney by Lulu & Jules.

Who are some of the artists we’ll find in your catalogue?

You’ll find a very much un-genre specific, eclectic mix, including but not limited to; Sarah Mary Chadwick, Rebel Yell, Straight Arrows, SPOD, Summer Flake, The Laurels, Richard In Your Mind & Lowtide

What sort of things go into preparing a new release on the label?

Heaps! Once we receive the masters, we work with our artists to plan release dates, pick singles, plan music vids, tours, photoshoots, and a whole bunch of PR & press. We chat to radio frequently – community radio is especially hugely supportive of our label, which is great.

What does it mean to be independent in the modern music industry? 

It means maintaining a disciplined work ethic while staying cool, calm and in control! Our independence is vital to who we are and allows us to release creative, artist-driven work, which we are so proud of. We hope to stick it to the man and stay DIY for all eternity.

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?

Difficult question! I’d probably pick something background music-y like Jon Hassell’s Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street OR i’d pick anything from The Cocteau Twins… Could never tire of that!


Pieater

Let’s get to know you! Give us the rundown on your label?

Formed by Joanna Syme and Tom Iansek of Big Scary, along with their manager Tom Fraser, the label was originally a platform through which Big Scary could release their music. Pieater is now home to AirlingChristopher Port#1 Dads, Tom Snowdon, Slow Dancer and No Mono, and has become a thriving community, with a focus on nurturing an artist’s own creative voice, and empowering them to drive their career’s direction.

What sort of things go into preparing a new release on the label?

We put as much energy as we can into making the best possible music. With incredible music anything can happen.

What does it mean to be independent in the modern music industry?

Freedom and flexibility to create our own path in this ever-changing business.

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?

Khruangbin – Con Todo El Mundo.

Listen to Tom Fraser’s Liner Notes episode.


Farmer & The Owl

Let’s get to know you! Give us the rundown on your label?

Farmer & The Owl is based in Wollongong with a primary focus on helping artists from our local area get heard beyond our hometown.

Who are some of the artists we’ll find in your catalogue?

Currently it is home to Hockey Dad, The Pinheads, TEES, Tropical Strength and Totally Unicorn, we’ve previously released music for Bec Sandridge and also handled reissues for Tumbleweed.

What sort of things go into preparing a new release on the label?

I guess each release is a little different as some artists come with a finished release while others we’re there from the start. With those ones it usually involves listening to demos and giving our opinions on those songs, then working out who they would be best to record with and where. Closer to release stage it is liaising with designers and photographers about covers, press pics and assets. Then there is coordinating production and delivery on the various formats. A big part of releases is planning release timelines with our distributors, publicists and management – alongside coordinating tours with the artists booking agents in different territories. There is also marketing plans, socials strategies, content ideas around release period, etc.

What does it mean to be independent in the modern music industry? 

At the heart of it, it’s about being able to make the decisions your artists feel comfortable with and giving them creative freedom. As a business on a whole it is about trying to be able to have freedom to go in what direction you want, obviously there are financially constraints and business realities that probably make this a bit less idealistic in the real world.

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?

George Harrison ‘All Things Must Pass’ although that’s almost three albums in one so maybe cheating a bit!

Rice Is Nice, Pieater and Farmer & The Owl are setting up shop in the Record Room at Farmer & The Owl Festival on March 2nd.

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