Labels of love: Song, By Toad Records
Pink Floyd, Van Morrison and Iron Maiden have all referenced The Wind in the Willows. None, however, has captured its spirit of friendship, adventure and ‘messing about’ quite like Edinburgh’s Song, By Toad – a record label, music blog, live asylum, media crusade and DIY community – as helmed by the ebullient Matthew Young.
When and why did you launch the label?
Basically, we got plastered with Broken Records and promised them that if they didn’t get signed by March 2008 then we’d release their album. They did get signed [to indie institute 4AD], but by then the idea had been planted.
Can you give us a roll-call of your acts to date?
Meursault, eagleowl, Jesus H Foxx, Nightjar, Loch Lomond, The Builders & The Butchers, Maxwell Panther.’
How do you thrive as a small label while the music industry falters?
I’m not worried about the people who were never going to give us their money in the first place – I’d rather focus on the people who want to support us. It’s more important for a small label to foster a community of people who’ll really support what you’re doing – because as long as you don’t rip them off, or take them for granted, they’ll buy lots of things, spread the word and do whatever they can to help.
How significant is the label’s visual identity?
Very, because physical artefacts are no longer a commodity – they’re a luxury purchase. No one needs to buy anything physical these days, so the people who’re going out of their way to do so should be rewarded with some thought and care. [All records on Song, By Toad are hand-crafted and hand-painted]. Also, if you’re releasing things in small runs, it’s one of the most economical ways to do it.
What’s coming up on Song, By Toad Records?
We have an album coming out in February by Montreal band Trips and Falls. We’re looking to get Edinburgh’s Jesus H Foxx out on tour, and into the studio. Then there’s the collaboration from King Creosote, Meursault and Animal Magic Tricks …