US punk band Wolves&Wolves&Wolves&Wolves play Brixton Windmill on Monday (19 September). Jonathan Falcone, for BrixtonBlog, talked to members of the band and the founders of the community label whose first tour they are headlining
Starting a record label in this day and age could be considered akin to prepping yourself for an appearance on Dragon’s Den, but without the Dragons’ cash at the end of it.
Yet some labels make it. Not as multi-million pound ventures necessarily, but as vital hubs for communities of like-minded people and music fans.
That’s exactly what new record label, Little Rocket Records, is doing. It has a strong heritage in punk rock. Graeme Philliskirk of the legendary Leatherface, Mark Bussey formerly of Less Than Jake’s Paper + Plastick record label and Daniel Baker from punk stalwarts The Run Up combined to start a community-focused label.
Giving away their first compilation album for free in July, the label is now putting on its first tour and, of course, this requires a stop at Brixton’s Windmill.
The label is bringing over Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves from North Carolina to play with the label’s own fledgling acts The Run Up and Mixtape Saints.
We met Mark Bussey and Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves’ vocalist and guitarist Brian Woodall to talk about punk rock, Brixton and doing it properly.
Blog: Can you give a brief background on what made you want to start a label now?
Mark: Whilst Graeme, Daniel and I had all been planning to launch a label for some time, the timing of the launch was largely dictated to us.
You may or may not know, but the Medictation Warm Place LP was originally handled by the USA label that I used to work for. It was also the final ever-recorded works of Dickie Hammond (Leatherface guitarist/punk rock legend) and, as such, the works in effect became an epitaph to one of the greatest musicians of this genre.
Unfortunately the US label was experiencing multiple delays and so Graeme, Daniel and I decided that we ought to take over control of the release.
To coincide with that launch we issued a free digital compilation featuring 12 tracks from 12 artists and we’re slowly taking it from there.
B: So how did this tour come about? What’s it like to be putting together your first label tour?
Mark: All of the Rockets are musicians first, and we’ve had some pretty bad experiences with record labels and promoters, so we wanted to be different.
Our philosophy is to “Do It Properly” and, for us, that means that we need to be a full-service record label, focusing on records, production, touring, publishing, PR, design and everything in between. We extend these services to bands we sign as well as labels or bands that require our expertise.
We’ve been doing all of the above for more years than we’d care to remember – particularly with Leatherface – played hundreds of shows per year across the world and helped many others along the way. So all of this really is second nature and we don’t plan to stop soon.
B: So how do you feel, Brian, about heading to the UK for a tour? Is this your first UK tour?
Brian Woodall: We’re excited, it’s our first time playing and even just travelling to the UK, so there’s a lot we hope to see and do if we have the time.
B: How did you come to be working with Little Rockets Records for this tour?
Brian: Through Gunner Records from Germany. They put out our first album Subtle Serpents last year in March and brought us over to tour Europe, so when we had started planning the tour for our new album The Cross and The Switchblade they asked if we wanted to play England and of course we said ‘Yes’. We hope more future plans get made; it’d be nice to make the UK a regular trip.
B: The Brixton Windmill is a famous punk venue. Do any UK punk or hardcore bands influence you?
Of course. The Clash is my favourite band of all time. The Exploited, Sham 69, Cocksparrer, all have had an influence on my writing for years. I’m also a huge 2-Tone fan so I’m stoked to get into some record shops. And of course there’s other non-punk UK bands we love like The Beatles, Motörhead, Spice Girls – no joke – and way too many more to name.
Wolves&Wolves&Wolves&Wolves play the Brixton Windmill on Monday 19th September. Tickets are available here.
The Cross and The Switchblade is available to order here.
Listen to some Wolves&Wolves&Wolves&Wolves: