LAST Friday saw the launch of Manchester’s freshest independent label, ‘Playing With Sound’, at the Night & Day Café. To find out more, Emily Ingram chatted to managing director David Green…
As the high-profile glitz of last month’s BRIT awards continues to flood the press, it would seem that the idea of a fiercely independent label is one that appears unrealistically ethereal in nature. Yet, in the dingy lager-stained confines of Night & Day’s backroom, a determined David Green assures me that his latest venture, ‘Playing with Sound’, is positively unstoppable.
“As long as the tunes are good, I can’t see us failing, to be honest,” he laughed. “There’s no way it’ll fail.”
The source behind the head honcho’s self-assured confidence? A staunch combination of musical talent, dedication to independent values and, most crucially, understanding of new streaming technology. During the course of the evening’s showcase – which included performances from Gold Jacks, No Hot Ashes and Hester & Holly Rose – it quickly became apparent that the label has a tight grip on all three traits, with no sign of letting go.
“Distribution is easy! We’re on Spotify, so we can get into the playlists, and that’s where the success lies in the modern era – to get onto that playlist.
“It’s so far so good: No Hot Ashes have actually managed to get onto some pretty high profile playlists.”
Further evidence of PWS’ early digital triumphs lay sprinkled across the venue in the form of tongue-in-cheek beermats, advertising the latest digital release from Hester & Holly Rose. This gave me a pretty good indicator of the managing director’s ability to adapt to new concepts, as he went on to explain the importance of sticking to label’s North-Western roots, as well as why they refuse to sign anyone outside a 50-mile radius of Warrington.
“Really, that’s an attempt to see how much quality we can get from the region.
“In terms of the music industry, it’s so controlled the further you get towards London.
“There’s a lot of nepotism – it’s who you know, what you know, there’s a lot of ‘intros’ going on. Up to now, we’ve not needed any of that.”
Sure enough, this group of local musicians are in great hands: With decades of industry experience under his belt, Green’s determination to bring elements of Peel-esque innovation and passion to the forefront of the local music scene was strikingly apparent.
When quizzed on the ideology behind the project launch, he once again declared a blatant frustration for the London-based popular mainstream.
“The industry sort of rips it all out of the artist, know what I mean? It seems like what ends up in the top 10 is just… bland.
“Coldplay are a really good example of a band that have gone from being such an interesting and innovative unit to being something that is more ‘one direction’ than what they were originally. They’ve lost touch completely with what their original innovations were.
“So, that’s the idea of the label, to keep control of all that, and we can because we’re independent. It’s totally financed from me – I’m not going to allow it to happen.”
From the quality and broad diversity of the acts to the unwavering zeal of their curator, the future of PWS seems certain: plus, with a hefty schedule of future releases up his sleeve, Green will continue to ensure that the spark of our local independent music scene burns brighter than ever.
By Emily Ingram