Last issue we had a guest article from Adam Piggot of Scotland’s web-based music database, Touch Sensitive. In the article, Piggot lists a group of Scottish labels that he recommends. One of the labels is Gerry Loves Records: A fairly new and independent label based in Edinburgh, Scotland. After perusing the GLR website and listening to the artists, it seemed like a good idea to feature the label on THE BOMBER JACKET. We spoke with the founders of the label, Andy and Paddy, who now, over the course of a couple years, have worked with 12 different musicians out of Scotland.
We talked about their label, the scene in Scotland and how the history of the country affects Scottish bands today. Read the interview below and check out the label’s latest release, a split single of the Scottish acts Rick Redbeard and Adam Stafford, released yesterday.
TBJ: What are the basics of the label? You guys have been around since February 2010? How did you come about?
Gerry Loves Records: The two of us have been friends since we were at school and it’s something we’ve always wanted to do. We’re music nerds and we love vinyl and packaging. It just happened that at that point we had some time and money and a couple of bands we were really excited about.
You are in Edinburgh! I love Edinburgh. I visited last year, but I didn’t get a real feel for the scene. What’s the scene like?
It’s pretty good. I’m sure there are plenty of people who think it isn’t, but for a city of this size I think it does pretty well. We’ve got some incredible bands around here at the moment, a few good venues and promoters who really care, and we get a decent amount of good touring bands coming through these days.
Any other labels in Edinburgh that you like?
Our friend Matthew runs Song, by Toad which has some great bands like Meursault and Yusuf Azak and some great split 12″s coming out. Benbecula was a great label doing mainly electronica until it finished up recently. Kirkcudbright Tape Club has lots of interesting stuff coming up. SL has put out some great stuff. There are probably lots I am forgetting.
Which venues in Edinburgh are your favorite?
Sneaky Pete’s does an amazing job of booking bands and DJs who are far too big for that kind of venue. Late nights in there get pretty messy. The Banshee Labyrinth has a terrible name but the newly refurbished gig space is great for a tiny venue. The Wee Red Bar is great. The Queen’s Hall is one of my favorite venues in the world but is much bigger. There are a lot more gigs popping up in more unusual spaces like church halls and the back rooms of pubs these days, too.
How does the history of Scotland and Scottish music affect your perspective on music today in Scotland?
I think Scottish people have certain characteristics that make us what we are, culturally not just musically. We’re a stubborn breed but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. I think that comes across in the music.
A lot of Scottish music is influenced by traditional music, even if it’s not a conscious decision. A lot of music that I love from here “sounds” like it’s from here, to me at least. That sounds ridiculous to say but it’s true.
Aidan Moffat (who last week picked up the SAY Award) recently said ”When I was young, all Scottish bands seemed to want to be English or American and I found that really peculiar. We’re still a fucking miserable bunch, but we certainly seem more proud and comfortable with our own identity than we were in the past.”
What’s the music relationship like between Glasgow and Edinburgh? Do you like Glasgow for music stuff?
I think there is a grudging respect between the two, as there is outside of music. Some bands love coming to play in Edinburgh, and
vice versa. The majority of our artists live in Glasgow so we definitely feel an affinity with the scene there. There are good bands in Edinburgh but for some reason we often end up working with bands from Glasgow.
What are some Scottish acts you guys like that have gotten bigger/more international?
The Twilight Sad, Frightened Rabbit, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Idlewild, Broken Records, Teenage Fanclub, Orange Juice, Django Django. Again, there must be a lot more that I have forgotten just now.
What are the steps for a Scottish act to get out of Scotland and eventually play elsewhere/make music a full-time job?
I honestly have no idea. I don’t suppose the steps are any different for bands in England or the US or anywhere. It’s about playing a hell of a lot and having a lot of luck.
Do many bands actually make music their full time job any more? It seems to be much harder to get to that level these days.
Do Scottish bands usually tour in Europe before they come to the United States?
Sometimes, but America seems to love Scottish bands so sometimes they tour in the U.S. first. The Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit seem to play more often and to more people in the States than anywhere else for a while.
All of the artists you work with are pretty different from one another, but they all seem fit together. How did you choose the musicians you work with?
All the artists are people that both of us on the label really like. That doesn’t happen all that often so when it does, that’s when we speak to them about maybe doing a release. We like a lot of different kinds of music so we end up with lots of different kinds of artists. I’m not sure if it’s coherent but I’m not sure that matters all that much either. It’s about consistent quality, not consistent sound, I suppose.
Here is a promotional mix of songs from all the label’s releases in its second year:
Because you guys are pretty new, are you limited in the number of albums you can release each year?
We are limited but not really by how long we’ve been doing it. We both have day jobs and lives, so it’s more about that than anything else. Also, it takes a lot of work to put together one of our releases, as we put together most of the packaging too, so we really need to love the songs and bands for it to be worthwhile.
Do you only work with Scottish acts? If so, would you consider working with musicians outside of Scotland?
So far just Scottish artists. We’ve never done anything with a band we haven’t seen live, as that’s very important to us. It may happen in the future though. Never say never.