Labels of Love: SL Records
A treasured Edinburgh DIY imprint, SL Records has propagated local and global anti-folk, alt-rock and indie-pop since 1997. With ballboy, Misty’s Big Adventure and Saint Jude’s Infirmary among its dexterous alumni, SL’s current roster spans Withered Hand, Thomas Truax, Enfant Bastard, Lords of Bastard, Wowl! and Paul Vickers and The Leg. It’s lovingly nurtured by founder Ed Pybus.
Do you have a label manifesto?
To release stuff that may not otherwise see the light of day, and to give it more exposure than it might otherwise receive. We also offer bands total artistic freedom.
Does your A&R strategy maintain a common artistic or ideological thread?
It’s guided by my [musical] taste, for good or bad! It’s also important that the musicians we work with are aware of what we can and can’t achieve: they’ll often be more hands-on involved than they’d be at a larger label.
Do you think there’s still hope for the record business?
I think the decline of the music industry has been greatly exaggerated. There’s certainly been a decline for the major labels, but for the last 30 years their business model has been flogging bits of plastic that cost pennies to make for £15.99. Bands like Radiohead have shown that it’s possible for other ideas and models to work. We’re selling some releases using a similar system – allowing people to pay what they want – with good results so far.
What imminent treats have you got in store?
The Withered Hand debut album is still going great guns – his new single is out in March. Paul Vickers and The Leg’s new album, Itchy Grumble, is a stunning rock opera [see review, page ??]. I’m also putting together a compilation of [American legend] Moondog’s music: Clinic, Jeffrey Lewis, Justin Robertson, Kid Carpet and a host of great Scottish bands have contributed tracks. It’ll be out this summer.
Thomas Truax: Songs from the Films of David Lynch, Mono, Glasgow, Tue 23 Feb, Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh, Thu 25 Feb; Paul Vickers and The Leg: Electric Circus, Edinburgh, Sat 13 Mar; Withered Hand: Fence Homegame, Anstruther, Sat 13 Mar, Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, Sat 20 Mar.