Shark Batter Records
Dawn of the Replicants were one of Scotland’s most inventive bands: a creative rabble who evolved from the quality 90s ‘zine Sun Zoom Spark and proceeded to challenge – and enliven – the outposts of mainstream(ish) experimental rock. DOTR’s bygone protagonists still revel in myriad indie adventures, and one such endeavour is Shark Batter Records – governed by mavericks Mike Small and Roger Simian – straight outta Galashiels (via Brooklyn).
When and why did you launch Shark Batter?
Mike Small: ‘After DOTR split up, Roger and I started our own separate projects, and we thought it’d be a good idea to come up with the name of a label we could claim to be releasing our music through, to make us seem more established. So we set up Shark Batter. It was late 2007, when [Brooklyn chanteuse/violinist] Kono Michi signed to us, that we began to take it seriously.
What bands are shacked-up in the Shark Batter stable?
MS: ‘Kono Michi, The Stark Palace [Simian’s freak-pop rampage], The Stone Ghost Collective [Small’s spectral-rock operation], Sarahjane Swan, Vacuum Spasm Babies.’
Given your protean creativity, how important is the label’s visual aesthetic?
Roger Simian: ‘The earliest Shark Batter releases were packaged in fancy A5 cardboard sleeves handmade by Mike. I think this gave our CDs a strong identity, but [songwriter and radio presenter] Tom Robinson told us DJs might take umbrage at our oddly-shaped releases, which were in danger of toppling the stacked CDs they have towering over them on-air.’
Precarious packaging notwithstanding, how can labels adapt to survive these days?
RS: ‘It looks like music may well end up being distributed freely, but it’ll be used as the bait to hook the audience onto other money-making endeavours like merchandising. In some ways that idea’s quite exciting, and we’re embracing new technologies – MP3 blogs, social networking, Last.fm etc – they’re definitely handy for smaller labels wanting to get their music out to an international audience.’
What’s next for Shark Batter?
RS: ‘We’re doing a series of free downloads on SharkBatter.com: the latest is Vacuum Spasm Babies’ ‘Science’ EP, with freebies from Sarahjane Swan and Kono Michi coming soon.’