After reading the article about how Domino Records have progressed and expanded over the last 10 years (read the article here) it got me to thinking about other hard working, unsung labels who are toiling away, doing it just for the music, and generally keeping the scene alive. This is the story of one such label, Seriously Groovy.
The label was formed almost nine years ago (it'll celebrate its birthday in March 2004) by two likeminded music lovers, Dave Holmes and Lorraine Snape, who had a plan. Their mission was simple, and remains the same today:
"To search out extraordinary new recording artists and work with them to produce the most influential alternative sounds."
Now, many of you will be thinking, "Well, who the hell have you given to the world?", and it's a fair question considering the label, based in Soho, have a less than global profile. However, their current and past roster is one that makes you seriously consider their validity to their mission. Currently home to London's Jet Johnson and Econoline, Boston-based Emetrex and Finnish oddities Mother Goose, their roster is hardly jam-packed with artists, but the emphasise is on quality rather than quantity, something that certainly can't be said of bigger labels with more artists than sense. Retrospectively, you just have to look at some of the artists the label gave their initial breaks to, such as Sludgefeast (now releasing through Must Destroy), mo-ho-bish-o-pi and Inhaler, to see one thing that helps this label out more than anything: musical genre is not restrictive!
Some labels are specialists in one particular field. Think Peaceville, Roadrunner and Better The Devil for example, all of whom focus on only one particular area, and subsequently do it very well. Imagine, however, how many demos these labels receive, to which they've responded "Yeah, it is quite good, but not really for us!", and have later rued that decision? More than once I'm willing to bet!
One other band the label picked up early on in their career was a small band from Wales called Best. The label took to calling the band's no-fuss style as 'No-fi', and took a risk by releasing their debut single, 'Huwuno'. One name change and a bout of label-hopping later (they're now signed to Too Pure), and Best have become one of the best damn bands the UK has to offer, although you'll know them better as McLusky.
Come the new year, the label will inevitably progress even further, trying out new bands while always sticking to their ethics of releasing great music by special bands just needing the break. A new album is expected from Econoline, and a Seriously Groovy showcase gig at the ICA is in the pipeline, featuring the entire roster. While the likes of Domino receive the plaudits deserved to them, just remember that there are other, often much smaller and regularly overlooked labels who are working just as hard to keep the scene alive.
Go to the Seriously Groovy website to find out more about the label, the bands and anything else you want to know.