With the music industry the way it is it’s hard work for the major labels let alone the independents so we, as music buyers/lovers must do all we can to help out the independents, from buying the music, attending shows and picking up merch, it’s a tough business starting and running an independent record label and we were lucky enough to catch up with Mark Orr founder of LAB Records to hear what he has to say.
1. How did you get started?
I started out promoting with a couple of friends in Blackpool in 2005-06. The scene up there was dominated almost entirely by punk and ska bands and so we tried our best to put on shows which had more of a ‘pop’ feel.
After a year or so it became clear to me that what I really wanted to do was release records – so the label was born in the Summer of 2007. We have gone onto put out a number of records from bands we first worked with in Blackpool – MiMi Soya, The Honeymoon Suite and Lost On Campus.
2. What have you got going on at the moment?
We are currently in the middle of the busiest release schedule since the label started. We just put out records from two of the most promising young bands in the country – The Auteur (myspace.com/theauteuruk) and The Honeymoon Suite (myspace.com/thehoneymoonsuite) – and Monday, July 13, our biggest release to date hits stores – He Is Legend’s (myspace.com/heislegend) new album, ‘It Hates You.’
3. Favourite music and why?
I listen to a huge amount of different music – I guess that’s my job! That said, I’ve always had a soft spot for a great pop song, and I’ve never had any shame in telling people.
4. Favourite book and why?
I studied English Literature right through college and university so I struggle to remember the last time I read for pleasure! The only book that really stuck with me was ‘Enduring Love’ by Ian McEwan.
5. Favourite film and why?
I adore ‘Silence Of The Lambs,’ which I guess could also come under the ‘book’ category. No matter how many times you watch that movie, you see something different.
6. Best experience in the business?
I’ve been lucky to have a few contenders this year. Seeing one of our band’s, MiMi Soya play some big venues with Cobra Starship was a lot of fun – as was watching The Auteur play Slam Dunk and Download Festivals this Summer. I also was lucky enough to see MiMi play in front of 20,000 competitors at a Nike event at Wembley Stadium last year, which was completely surreal.
7. Why should Soundscape readers care?
Because both ourselves and our bands work incredibly hard in an industry that seems to be getting more complicated by the week. We manage to not take ourselves too seriously and hopefully put out some great records!
8. Tell our readers an interesting fact about yourself/company/band?
This year alone LAB has received orders from six continents.
9. Best about coming from/being/playing in Wales?
I love Cardiff – every time we are there on tour we have a great time.
10. Who are your role models/idols?
Somewhat sadly, many of my role models are American labels. Epitaph, Fearless and Drive Thru a few years back. In terms of English labels, BSM, Xtra Mile and Hassle do a great job.
11. Hardest thing about the current business?
That people seem to enjoy downloading music illegally. It’s undoubtedly something that is here to stay – I just wish a happy medium could be struck for the label and bands’ sakes.
You can learn more and listen to LAB Records’ bands at www.labrecords.co.uk and www.myspace.com/labrecordsuk – and buy LAB CD’s and merchandise at www.labrecords.co.uk/store
A huge thank you to Mark for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer these questions for us.
Words: Paul Esp