Exposure: Winning Sperm Party
A bit of vaguely queasy speculation on Winning Sperm Party’s MySpace blog about the amount of semen a man produces in his life and the number of sperm contained therein deduces that ‘there was only a 1 in 544,000,000,000 chance of you being born’. So what, then, are the chances of a bunch of young, mostly Glasgow-based musicians and creatives being born, meeting each other, hitting it off and teaming up to form an online label and ‘zine, and a showcase night (the latter as of this Friday)? Unimaginably greater, we’d think. WSP’s Robert Alexander tells us what it’s all about.
Tell us, then. What’s it all about?
The label is based on free downloads of lots of Scottish ‘alternative’ – sorry to use the word! – bands. We do bring out limited CD releases, but CD-Rs in handmade sleeves – we’re against the whole jewel-case thing, and bands being pushed into taking 1000 copies of a CD when they don’t need that many. There’s no real fixed team behind what we do, it’s all done by anyone who has the time and is willing to get involved. I’m not going to say it’s completely democratic, though, because that would just be a free-for-all! And we have Chris White from Plaaydoh doing most of our recording.
So it’s more about getting bands’ music out there, rather than a commercial venture?
There’s no business model, no (laughs). We got some money from Scottish Enterprise to put out CDs and that’s what we’ve been using. We’re also helping out other labels and bands who want to make free downloads available, because we have the bandwidth – we’ve been doing stuff for Dead or American, Y’all Is Fantasy Island’s upcoming album, a promotion company in Glasgow who do compilations called Cry Parrot, a Leeds label called Art Goes Pop…
What bands have WSP actually released?
The first one was Plaaydoh (Alexander is the drummer in Plaaydoh), and we’ve released a few things of theirs. The next EP was by Hey Enemy, and then a guy called Orzelda, who is in The Twilight Sad. Triple School, one of whom used to be in Danananaykroyd; Dirty Summer, who are young kids from Dunfermline – we’re doing their album as a 10-inch and a free download next year, before they all head off to uni. There’s also a band called Weenliz, one coming up called Ultimate Thrush, and hopefully The Gummy Stumps… I think that’s about it for now!
So how will labels like yours be able to make a living in future?
I think people have to realise that actual recordings will all be free to download in future, there’s no getting away from that. But consumers will always want to buy concert tickets and merchandise, so it’s important that bands get smarter about how to market these and make money from them. My dad saw this blues guy play who just turned up with a guitar and then caught the train to the next venue – I bet he’s making decent money.
Winning Sperm Dance Party! with Plaaydoh and Dirty Summer is at the Twisted Wheel, Glasgow, Fri 28 Nov. www.winningspermparty.com