My name’s Paul and I’m the founder, owner, big cheese, dogsbody and general everything. Kind of like a one-man band banging the drum with one hand, crashing cymbals with his knees and blowin a harmonica all at the same time.
What made you want to start a record label?
I have to admit it was partially down to having recently lost my dream job at the time and it was a kind of coping mechanism to stop myself going (even more) insane. It was mainly because of the fact I’ve got no musical talents myself, I can’t play any instruments and sound generally like a drowning weasal when I try and do vocals, so it was the next best thing to being in a band.
What’s the main goal for Spiderbaby Records?
At the moment, due to the jobless wasteland that’s this part of the UK right now, the goal is survival and eekin out more releases, but the long-term goal is to let the label organically expand to include vinyl releases and possibly (though not very likely due to personal preferences) CDs. I’ve been very lucky in that one of the bands I’d most like to work with I already bagged for my debut release – ACxDC – which I still kind of find amazing. I guess part of my long-term goal also ties back to the financial side of it too in that ’cause money’s so tight at the moment I’ve had to turn down numerous projects and releases that I’d otherwise have jumped at the chance to put out, though I guess that’s all more related to finding work than the label itself.
You’ve released music by UK artists like Self Loathing and Black Veins; do you have any particular loyalty to the UK heavy music scene?
I’m not sure if I’d call it a kind of loyalty, more being aware of how international a web these kinds of music are so wanting to give my fellow Limeys the kind of international exposure bands from the likes of the US get seemingly without trying. One of our touted releases earlier was a UK only compilation cassette specifically to showcase UK bands to overseas listeners but, due to a number of circumstances like being given the run around by some bands, others not really having their shit together, it mutated into a more international affair but still with a large percentage of the lineup being Brit bands like No Coast, Black Veins, Horsebastard & more on the Shower Of Bastards comp tape.
You’ve also released music for artists from elsewhere on the globe like Robocop from Maine in the US; tell us how that came about.
If I remember rightly, one of the guys from Robocop had seen what I did with the ACxDC ‘The Second Coming’ tape and, as the band had decided they wanted to release their ‘II’ EP on a physical format, approached me about putting out a tape for them. Right now, the only international bands I’ve put out individual releases for (ie not on the Shower Of Bastards compilation) have coincidentally been American though I have had interest from a number of Asian and European bands that I’ve had to turn down because of the bastard money situation that’s proving to be a real monkey on my back.
A lot of your releases are on cassette while you have one in particular that was released on floppy disc; what’s so attractive about releasing music on supposedly dead formats?
I guess if I was to over-analyse it, something I seem to do well, I’d say that there’s something in the psychology of rebellion that causes you to take something that mainstream society has deemed obsolete and a ‘dead format’ and deliberately keep the medium alive as a kind of, I suppose, nerdy ‘Fuck you’ to all those trendy dicks with their £200 headphones and anorexic iPlayers bollocks. Personally speaking, I grew up in the late 80s when tapes were by far the norm – the first album I bought was on tape (The Prodigy ‘Music For The Jilted Generation’ if anyone’s keeping tabs) – so, combined with the mindset that some of the best music of the 20th century came from that time period, for me it was a no-brainer releasing on tapes. Likewise with the floppy releases. I’d had the idea of wondering whether it would be doable but it was my good comrade Eddy (of DIY Noise out of California) putting a split floppy out himself that convinced me to just jib it off and go for it.
I don’t want to wind up in the rut of ONLY releasing on cassettes, I definately want to expand into vinyl in the near future but I have to admit there is a part of me that gets a certain buzz from releasing things on format long considered obsolete by the X Factor worshipping wankers of the mainstream.
Do you feel there is still a place for physical music in the market?
Very much so. There’s something much more tangible about holding a physical release in your hands, not least because you feel like you’ve actually got something for your money beyond a few colourless shapeless files on a hard-drive, but something often with great artwork/packaging and shit that adds to the vibe of the whole release. But then I’m someone that’s got every single musical thing he owns filed in alphabetical order first by artist than release, so that might have shaped my mindset.
Heavy music seems to attract an audience that prefer physical over digital; do you share their sentiments?
There is something distinctly ritualistic about say takin the shrinkwrap off a new 12″ and sticking it onto a turntable, gingerly putting the arm onto the wax and letting rip. I think digital music is still prolific not just within heavy music but in some of the furthest reaches of it – though that’s more down to pricks downloading stuff from blogs and then not bothering to go buy a shirt, go to a show or something to actually support the band they claim to like. Grindcorekaraoke, owned I think by JR from ANB i think, and To Live A Lie’s own web coverage pretty much does it well though. If you’re ever short of a powerviolence or grindcore band you want to set your veins on fire, go cruise their download sites for some amazing bands. I guarantee you’ll find at least half a dozen you won’t hav eheard of. People have said downloading is killing music or killing the physical format but with people into independent music, there’ll always be a market for the physical release in my opinion. It’s kind of part & parcel of being into the music, as much as say going to a show or wearing a band shirt. It’s not essential but makes you feel much more immersed in it.
Do you have any upcoming releases you’re excited about?
At the moment, with money running out and running into dead ends trying to get work, the number of releases has slowed down dramatically though we do have a number of upcoming treats keeping us going – a limited discography tape of NO FUN (nasty Norfolk thrashpunkgrinders), a couple more things under wraps at the moment and, if things work out, our first fully independent vinyl release next summer which will be a benefit comp for a cause close to my heart. (Yes, even bitter old men into shouty, loud music have hearts!)
How can people get your releases and stay in contact regarding future releases and news about the label?
The best place is our facebook page – www.facebook.com/spiderbabyrecords – which is where most of our updates go, as I’m too technologically incompetent to set up a website or blogsite.
If you’re a band or label wanting to get in touch for whatever reason, you can always email us at spiderbabyrecs[at]hotmail.co.uk
A big thank you to Paul for taking the time to answer our questions. If you want to help support a great independent label and any future releases then please head over to the Spiderbaby Records big cartel store and buy something.