THAT WAS THEN...
It may annoy some people, but Leeds doesn't have a record label aimed at helping bands who strive to create a stir in the national mainstream. Not really. It probably should though. Hi.
It's the same as when I first started putting on gigs. There are a lot of very good, ambitious bands out there, who operate under their own steam - taking their future into their own hands. They find it hard to get out and about, book tours - because it's too mainstream for the DIY kids, and not mainstream enough for the 'corporate' venues.
We're going to do it for bands that young A&R don't want to / can't stake their neck out for. We're going to give the bands a choice. If they want to go down the usual label route, then maybe they can - but after we've created a stir with their amazing music that no-one else will let you hear yet.
And hey, if they realise the music industry is a shit biz, then we might have ignited a fire that leaves them with the buzz and the interest to create something for themselves outside of the mainstream. It's up to them. It's going to be brilliant.
18 months ago I toyed with the idea of putting out a compilation similar to Dance To The Radio: Leeds. The Cribs, Kaiser Chiefs, The Research, Black Wire, SammyUSA (now Duels) and 10,000 Things were some of the names that tentatively agreed to be included at a time when the local scene was buzzing. It buzzed a bit too much, and before I knew it everyone was a little too "big" - and I have/had neither the time nor inclination to argue my way through a team of major label lawyers and managers to put out a CD-R.
Which brings me to now. I'm genuinely excited in what's happening, not just on our doorstop. We focus on Leeds, but it's not just here. Round these parts though, people are getting genuine hype and interest off their own back and independent of a "outsider" label scrimmage. Everyone is keeping it "real" and you get the idea that if a band wanted to do it for themselves, with this genuine interest in ACE new music, they probably could.
That choice is important, but anyway - we're gonna make sure it happens.
Like I say, it's not just Leeds. Snow White get über hype from a limited edition white label, and Drowned In Sound continue to be provide the step-up for future stars. whilst releasing post-rock monsters like 'New General Catalogue.' Music is the shit at the moment.
But I digress, we're going to release some ace records - get hold of them and we hope you enjoy them.
THIS IS NOW...
We go forward 4 years and 50 (what?!?!) releases and DTTR is still manning the independent barricades with gatefold heavyweight vinyls. It's a fast moving world and in the last 1445 days the industry we call our home has changed in every conceivable way. That's just the start.
Thinking back to when we all first sat in the old DTTR office, a small dingy room on the 2nd floor in the back streets of LS11, Leeds. ¡Forward, Russia! had achieved the unachievable and broken into the top 40 of the main UK charts with the track Twelve. We'd just finished the 'What We All Want' compilation and were sending out promos whilst keeping tabs on Shut Your Eyes and You'll Burst Into Flames and The Pigeon Detectives, both of whom were just about to finish recording their debut singles. None of us realised what a rollercoaster ride we had ahead, it was all hands on deck with bands stuffing envelopes with their own releases, proper DIY.
Countless hours of late nights, driving around the UK trying to make sure the right sticker is stuck on the records before they hit the stores, breakneck journeys to deliver finished tracks to radio minutes before the debut play. It's a fun job.
Highlights of past four years include Sky Larkin's debut 'One Of Two' which came backed with one of our favourite songs from them 'Young Lungs' which never made it to their great debut 'The Golden Spike.' Shut Your Eyes and You'll Burst Info Flames' 'Drop The Decade' was a dance punk tune that most bands dream of. ¡Forward, Russia!'s 'Nineteen' had some insane b-sides. Grammatics debut 'Shadow Committee' boasted possibly the best b-side we've ever released in Broken Wing. The original release of I Found Out by The Pigeon Detectives was the most exciting and stressful release we ever did. It kept dropping in and out of the top 40 all week before eventually landing at 39 and giving the band their first top 40 hit. It has been great to see a band achieve international success by doing it their own way. Proof that artistic freedom can go hand in hand with selling records.
The future of Dance To The Radio has never been brighter to be honest. With the epic behemoth debut LP from Grammatics coming out in March, a record we couldn't be more proud of; the new series of 4 x 12" compilation vinyls; and some new projects waiting to take off in the near future 2009 is shaping up to be another fine year.
Dance To The Radio, 2009