'We have to grow the business and build a cultural ecosystem' Notting Hill Arts Club to launch label with Relentless Records

'We have to grow the business and build a cultural ecosystem' Notting Hill Arts Club to launch label with Relentless Records

Notting Hill Arts Club (NHAC) is launching a record label, Notting Hill Arts Club Recordings, which will debut with its first release next month.

The west London venue’s latest venture will be run by Ewan Grant, chief operating officer at the Notting Hill Academy Of Music – a music business school – and Relentless Records MD Shabs Jobanputra.

The label’s first release, distributed by The Orchard, will be a single from Grimm Twins on November 15 while releases from Birthday Card and Jesse Wong are also planned.

“I have been involved with the Notting Hill Arts Club for over 20 years. When I bought it, my aim was to build the brand name and build on its amazing legacy,” Jobanputra told Music Week.

“The start of the Academy and now Recordings shows the ambition we have to grow the business and build an exciting cultural ecosystem. Relentless Records and its team are totally linked to what the venue does. We want all the artists, team and students to be a part of a forward-thrusting, creative business. More spaces and places to enjoy working with music." 

Over the years Notting Hill Arts Club has hosted nights from the likes of Mark Ronson, The Libertines, Lily Allen, George Ezra, James Bay, Bruno Mars, Jessie J, The Killers and Amy Winehouse among others.

Notting Hill Arts Club Recordings’ Ewan Grant tells us about the label's wider plans.

What is about Notting Hill Arts Club that you felt its ethos and atmosphere could work as a record label?
“With so many great acts gracing our stage over the years, it seemed the obvious next step to build on the Arts Club’s rich history and to support and nurture the next generation of talent coming through the club.”
How will the venue and label interact?  
“The opportunities the venue/label partnership provides is really exciting. In terms of content, there will be live streaming and potentially a series of live at the club albums. The beauty of the world we live in today is that nothing is off the table, and we will be exploring exciting ways to work between the two businesses.”
The Orchard is distributing the first release, is there a deal for the whole label or is a release by release basis? 
“This is a deal for the whole label, we wanted to find like-minded partners who understood our ethos and our goals, and with The Orchard we have done so.”
How will the relationship with Relentless work?
“While we will have input from the team, who can provide expertise in certain areas, Notting Hill Arts Club Recordings is very much a stand-alone, independent label.”
Does an act have to play the venue to get on your radar or are you allowed to venture outside Notting Hill to scout? 
“Acts will have played the Arts Club; the live quality of all our acts is essential. We are lucky to work with some really strong promoters – Kilimanjaro Live, Gold Dust, Communion, Scruff Of The Neck, Close Up and Alan McGee, to name a few – and are seeing such exciting artists coming through the venue at the moment. If we pick up on something early, and they are yet to play a London show, it’s a great opportunity for us to see them in a grassroots, independent, live venue.”
How much involvement will the Academy’s students have in the label’s working?
“The students will assist and gain real, practical experience in terms of sales, marketing, distribution, content creation and live shows. It is a unique opportunity for them to get genuine, hands-on experience of working across an independent label, and with some of the most exciting young acts out there.”
Finally, you have singles slated for your first few releases, but is there an ambition for albums further down the line?
“For sure, we can do it all. One of the most exciting things about the label is that nothing is off the table, and with the right artists, anything is possible. Watch this space…”


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