Label profiles: Four independents under the spotlight

Martin Goldschmidt

INTRODUCTION: While a slew of new guitar acts keeps the label fresh, the last few years has seen it evolve into a home for big name acts whose major label days are behind them.

HISTORY: Martin Goldschmidt (above left) launched Cooking Vinyl in 1986 with business partner Pete Lawrence. The label enjoyed early success - their first release, Michelle Shocked's The Campfire Tapes sold a very respectable 150,000 copies worldwide. But in 1989, their distributors, Rough Trade, went bust leaving Cooking Vinyl on the edge of bankruptcy. Lawrence cut his losses and sold his stake to Goldschmidt who, after years of hard work, has established Cooking Vinyl as a thriving indie.

WHAT THEY SAY: "Signing Billy Bragg in 1993 was a huge break. It gave us a lot of credibility and really enabled us to rebuild the label. " Cooking Vinyl founder Martin Goldschmidt.

NOTABLE ACTS: Michelle Shocked, Cowboy Junkies, Billy Bragg, Blondie, Echo And The Bunnymen, The Orb, Ryan Adams.

2006'S TOP TIPS: A boxset Billy Bragg collection and albums by from label new-comers Centro-Matic and South San Gabriel.

PUB FACT: Cooking Vinyl's best selling artist for 2005 was Hayseed Dixie - a band who found success playing bluegrass covers of AC/DC songs. Also, says Goldschmidt, "We can't cook and we don't do vinyl." So now you know.

DOMINO

Laurence Bell

INTRODUCTION: Initially a UK home for seminal American lo-fi acts, the artist-led label is renowned for its personal touch. In 2003, label boss Laurence Bell signed the hotly-tipped and much sought-after Franz Ferdinand. The signing proved to be a turning point for the label and after securing the Arctic Monkeys last May, they are the envy of all labels - large and small.

HISTORY: While working for Fire Records in 1993, Laurence Bell came across quintessential US alt rockers Sebadoh. He loved the band so much, he set up Domino in his desk-less Putney basement to release their records in the UK. A string of similar acts followed, before Bell turned his discerning ear on more homegrown talent.

WHAT THEY SAY: "What do I look for in a band? I look for something unique and innovative, twisted and original. Alternatively, if I can't have that, something unbelievably exciting that makes me feel like the teenage rock'n'roll fan I once was," Laurence Bell, Domino Records founder and boss.

NOTABLE ACTS: Franz Ferdinand, Sebadoh, Elliott Smith, Sons & Daughters, Bonnie Prince Billy, Orange Juice, Pavement, Smog, Adem, Arctic Monkeys, The Magnetic Fields, Royal Trux.

2006'S TOP TIPS: Arctic Monkeys.

PUB FACT: The Domino logo was based on the logo designs of Triumph motorbikes and Tamla Motown records.

MVINE

Frank Joshi & Calum MacColl

INTRODUCTION: It's still early days for this web-based label who use users' feedback to pick and develop their acts. And if enough people like a band, Mvine sign them.

HISTORY: Founded by Frank Joshi and Calum MacColl in January 2005, MVine was set up to provide a focal point for DIY unsigned bands already mobilising a fanbase through their own websites. Artists are invited to submit three original tracks to MVine which visitors to the site are invited to comment on. The bands with the best feedback are eventually signed to the label.

WHAT THEY SAY: "We hand the A&R process over to our audience of music lovers and it is their opinions of the material, not ours, that inform our signings. We only want original material; artists that want to be artists rather than those who want to use their music as a route to having their own chat show." MVine Marketing Director, Kerry Harvey-Piper.

NOTABLE ACTS: Christie Hennessy and Boo Hewerdine.

2006'S TOP TIPS: The Slides and Broadcaster.

PUB FACT: MVine boss Calum MacColl is the son of legendary folk musicians and songwriters Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, and was Kirsty MacColl's half-brother.

MEMPHIS INDUSTRIES

Matt & Ollie Jacob

INTRODUCTION: From the sonic carnival of Mercury Prize nominees The Go! Team to Swedish psychedelic folk-rockers Dungen and the Phil Spector-esque bubble-gum rock of The Pipettes, this burgeoning young label is quietly establishing itself as a home for sparky and eclectic accessible acts.

HISTORY: Affectionately describing themselves as a "shabby but charming family business," Memphis Industries was established eight years ago by brothers, Matt and Ollie Jacob. The label was partly set-up as a vehicle to release their own music. However, after the critical success of their first signing, Blue States, the brothers' own musical ambitions fell by the wayside.

WHAT THEY SAY: "When it comes to signing new acts, we're not restricted by genre. We try to keep things fun and interesting by signing artists that are stylistically unlike the one signed before it," label co-founder, Ollie Jacob.

NOTABLE ACTS: The Go! Team, The Pipettes, J Xaverre, Dungen, Blue States.

2006'S TOP TIPS: The Pipettes.

PUB FACT: Ollie Jacob accidentally threw away the master recordings of his label's first album release, Blue States' critically acclaimed debut, Blue States Forever. Memphis Industry artist, J Xaverre is DJ and TV presenter, Lauren Laverne's brother.

Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Transformers: Age of Extinction was the most searched for movie in the UK in 2014

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson has had two UK number two singles but never a number one...yet

music
Arts and Entertainment
Clara Amfo will take over from Jameela Jamil on 25 January

radio
Arts and Entertainment
This is New England: Ken Cheeseman, Ann Dowd, Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins in Olive Kitteridge

The most magnificently miserable show on television in a long timeTV
Arts and Entertainment
Andrea Faustini looks triumphant after hearing he has not made it through to Sunday's live final

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
    Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

    Finally, a diet that works

    Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
    Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

    Say it with... lyrics

    The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
    Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

    The joys of 'thinkering'

    Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
    Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

    Monique Roffey interview

    The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
    DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
    Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

    How we met

    Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

    Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

    Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
    Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

    Who does your club need in the transfer window?

    Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
    The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015