interviews

The Aftershow: Cerys Matthews, BBC 6 Music/Radio 2

As well as presenting the Blues Show on BBC Radio 2 every Monday and the Sunday morning slot on BBC Radio 6 Music, Cerys Matthews is busy organising the Good Life Experience Festival (September 14-16). Here, the former Catatonia singer ...

Rising Star: Meet Distiller Records Kali Bradford

This week, we hear from Kali Bradford, label manager at Distiller Records, about indie relations, the differences between the UK and US industries and more... How did you break into the industry? Music has always been what I wanted to do, I just wasn’t sure what part at first. I started off studying music education [in America], but quickly realised I didn’t like it. The only other option at my university was music industry, so I switched immediately and it was the best decision of my life. Shout out to Sister Mary Anne Nelson at the College Of Saint Rose [in New York] for showing me the ropes and truly changing my life! What are the differences between the UK and US industries? Community. I feel like it is lacking in the US industry. The UK, especially the independent sector, is a really tight-knit community. I know I can turn to pretty much anyone I have met over here to ask for advice and I know they’d be there without any hesitation. Why is Distiller exciting? The most exciting things are the amazing artists we get to work with each day. Anteros, Bloody Knees, Cassia, Danny Goffey, The Ninth Wave and The Ramona Flowers are some of the hardest working and most talented artists I have worked with. We have such a killer team here. Everyone is so passionate and that fosters a really great partnership between the label and the bands. We are a small indie, but we are able to give opportunities to baby bands that other labels our size aren’t. Being able to escape to the Bath countryside and record at the Distillery, our own state of the art studio, is any sound nerd’s dream. I know it’s definitely one of my happy places! What’s your one wish for the indie sector? It would be amazing if the global indie sector pooled their resources to create a centralised directory or information bank, so that the barriers to entry in markets are lowered. A directory with information on good PRs, bookers, promoters... We live in a globalised world, let’s have a globalised approach to how we run our businesses. What does the music business need more of? Collaborations. Throughout the industry’s history, it has been very much everyone for themselves, but with the changing landscape where everyone has to wear a million hats, I think now more than ever there is room for people to work together. At Distiller, we are working on some interesting partnerships and collaborations that will really benefit our artists and brand as a whole. What is your dream music job? That changes every day! I really love what I am doing now, but I think ultimately I need to run a festival on a beach. KALI’S RECOMMENDED TRACK: The Howl & The Hum – Manea

Hitmakers: Sigma reveal the secrets behind Nobody To Love

Joe Lenzie: We’d signed with 3Beat about six months before and put out a single called Rudeboy, which got a bit of traction on specialist radio and went on the BBC Radio 1 playlist. That was a feat because it was quite an underground, raw-sounding jungle track. That was our biggest moment and we felt we would at least get some bookings off the back of it, but our agent couldn’t get us any gigs. We were pretty skint and were almost at a point where we were going to call it a day and start looking at other career options. We were sitting in the studio one day trying to come up with ideas for the next single, but it felt like we were banging our heads against a brick wall so we decided to make some music to play in our DJ sets. One of the ways we like to do that is to through remixes. Cam came up with the idea of potentially using the Bound 2 track and we just threw it together. Cameron Edwards: We sat on it for ages because, when you don’t get traction, you lose a bit of motivation. But when we came back to it about a month later we thought, ‘This actually sounds like it could turn into a good tune.’ Joe finished it off and, on a punt, we sent it to Annie Mac, who messaged us back saying: ‘I’m dancing around listening to this, can I play it on the show tonight?’ And the reaction was so good that she gave it to Nick Grimshaw, who played it on his Breakfast Show the following morning. That was a completely organic, natural way of getting a tune to radio, which is obviously hard to do. But we were thinking, ‘It’s never going to come out, it’s a bootleg’ and we didn’t know the ins and outs of how you go about clearing samples, so we just put it up on our website to get some data capture. We got about 20,000 downloads in a couple of days and 3Beat got in touch with us and said, ‘You guys are morons! Why didn’t you send us this tune? It’s the biggest one you’ve ever done.’ JL: Sample clearance proved impossible, so we started the process of recreation. We demoed eight vocalists but settled on Daniel Pearce as he was the best and sounded most like Charlie Wilson [on Bound 2]. To this day, many still think we used the Charlie Wilson sample. CE: We ended pipping The Vamps to the No.1 spot, which is pretty mad. The pre-sale was 23,000 or something and in the first week it had sales of 120,000 units, which is unheard of for an underground drum and bass act. It was pretty insane, we didn’t expect anything, it just happened. JL: Nobody To Love was a moment for us to show we could have chart success. It opened up doors for us to a whole new avenue of writers and singers. CE: It’s quite hard to put your finger on what makes a tune so successful, because we’ve released others since then that we had similar feelings about but didn’t do as well. We got a lot of support from radio: Nick Grimshaw, Annie Mac and MistaJam were all key to breaking us. Sometimes things just align and work out for you. We very much believe that if you work hard at something then everyone has their time and it just happened to be ours. Writer’s Notes Publishers BMG Sapphire Songs/ BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited/Gambi Music Inc Writers Charles K Wilson, Lester Allen McKenzie, Bobby Massey, Bobby Dukes, Release Date 06.04.14 Record label 3Beat/All Around The World Total UK sales (OCC) 996,130

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