The Bare Records shop and label owner talks us through what releases have dropped, what's coming up, what he makes of the promo's he's sent and what labels he rates.
First up, when was Bare Records established and where are you based?
2000. I got the web site with some insurance money and bought up some stock from labels such as Low Life and Jazz Fudge and started shifting them on the net and out of my bag. In 2004 I decided to start making the switch from a shop to a label. We are based on the edge of East London in a little place called South Woodford.
What releases have you put out so far and how successful have you found these to be?
So far just two 12"s, The Phobia – Keep It Moving and Jabba Tha Kut ft, Suicyde & Salvo – Night Crawlers EP. They both shifted well, we have got a few copies left so if people are interested just visit the site. I'm pleased with both 12"'s and still listen to em' now. We didn't have any distribution for these two 12"s so we have done extremely well to get em' out there.
Could you run us through what artists are on the label and what forthcoming projects are in the works?
So far we have Jabba Tha Kut ft, Dubbledge, Ziggy & Smokey – Can You Handle Me 12". It is ready to go, we're just waiting on some money for the pressings. We got my little project which is Bare Favours Vol I mix cd featuring a load of UK artists from all over. Some heard of and some not. We then have Smokey's Double EP 'Words From The Missing' which is 10 heavy tracks all self produced by Smokes. At the end of the year, if it's done in time, we should have The Phobia dropping their raw mix cd vol 1. Next year I have some new mc's coming through that will be released on mp3 through the Bare Records site, all produced by me. The main reason it's gonna be free is cos of the bait samples I've used for the beats, and some people wouldn't be happy if they where pressed. Also working on a documentary, a short film and my clothing label.
What's been the biggest headache about being an independant label?
Just time really. I wish there where more hours in the day.
What's the mission plan/big ambitions of Bare Records for the next couple of years?
In the next couple of years I wana just keep putting out releases from artists that haven't released anything so far. New fresh talent that has something different to offer the scene, people that are gonna make heads wake up. We are making links with some US labels and are gonna be doing some production and features etc for them and they are gonna do the same back. I ain't gonna mention any names but some big underground artists are feeling our beats. We are also gonna start working closer with councils in East London trying to get community studios up and running with dj'ing and production courses.
Also personally, I'm gonna be setting up an anti-gun campaign for the whole country through shows, mix cds & a web site etc. Any artists, labels or graphic designer's who want to get involved in this- get in contact.
A couple of UK based labels are now only putting out stuff intended to get the attention of the mainstream. You thought of doing the same or keeping it UK all the?
We have a couple of club tracks coming out, but I can't imagine anyone could or would call our 'ish' commercial. Our main aim is the hip-hop heads. We have some different styles on the label. If you don't like one artists it doesn't mean you're not going to like the next. I love hip hop & I'm feeling the UK scene and how it's got different styles to cater for the street and the old school heads.
Forgive me for being nosy but after running costs of manufacturing and promoting records, is there much profit to be made?
Nah, there's no money at all. I work full time as well as doing this. All the money, plus a large percentage of my wages gets stuck back into Bare Records every month. All the costs and everything outweigh the return, but it's not just about the money.
So it's very much about a big interest and love of the music rather than the financial aspect?
Yep, its all about the music for me, there ain't nothing better then to hear a track get created from scratch.
Do you receive many promo's from people wanting to get on your label and what's generally the standard?
Yep, and they're mostly shit but then again I've had a lot of people that want me to stock their releases on my site and they have been shit too.
What do you look for in an artist seeking to get put out on Bare Records?
The product has to be good and you've got to have a level head. You ain't gonna make millions in doing this shit, so don't think you are.
What other domestic labels do you admire and perhaps look up to as a good example of how to run things?
Zebra Traffic & Main Rock have never put out a duff record. They have some serious quality control. I don't really judge the way certain labels run things. I'm doing this my way. Nearly all of the labels in the UK have had dealings with Bare Records as a shop and its mostly all been love.
Is there any aspect you can think of which you feel is particularly negative or positive about UK hiphop rite now?
Scene seems to be growing still. Hopefully it will carry on doing so. There's a lot of hating from close-knit groups of people all doing their own thing but I ignore all that stuff. Hip Hop in this country is too small to start hating.
Have you got any shout outs or plugs to finish up on?
Yeah, B hope ya get to walk soon. Smokes and The Phobia Crew. Jabz, Dubbledge, Ziggy, Salvo, Suicyde, Apoc, Wyt-fang, Baron, Smiler, Fat Dave, Karl Hinds, Armshouse Records, Receptor Records, Tom Simpson, Dj Panda, Dyversity, Sin Nombre, Dat Sounds, B Sluts, Dj P, Lil Rob, Ill One, Pavon, Nox, Lex, Lil Chris, Vance, Stu, Tash and Ty. Everyone that has helped me and shown us some support. Finally my family and me dog Mili the militant staff. Peace