Blog: David Green

The boss of a new North West record label, Playing With Sound, explains why he set it up

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The North West has a long history of great music, with some of the world’s greatest bands originating here. At my new label, Playing With Sound, we are looking to build on the past but with our vision firmly set on the future. I’m sure we can do the character and the talent of this region proud.

Manchester music has always had a uniqueness about it. Playing With Sound is based in Warrington but draws inspiration heavily from the past achievements of Factory Records and all that the label represented. From the dancefloor of the Haçienda to the bands that came from it, Factory expressed not only great music but a vitality that exists in Manchester to this day.

It’s not only in Manchester that this creative force exists. All across the North West there are bands and artists expressing themselves, much to the enjoyment of their audiences. Playing With Sound is exactly that – the joy of playing with sound. With our artists and releases we will capture that burst of energy – a no-nonsense approach to making great records. That moment of discovery will be as exciting for the new bands as it is for the fans. My years of experience have taught me that with great records come great producers. We are working with some truly great producers of the modern era – Paul Reeve, Tim Bran and Chris Taylor to name a few.

Our process starts with our A&R team, who have been scouring live venues and social media to find some of the finest talent needing a helping hand. There’s a lot of creativity out there and there’s a lot of great music waiting to be heard. Each band we work with is recording a debut single. Each project takes two months. At the end we have a single that reflects the artist’s and the producer’s vision. If the record is great everything else will fall into place.

Playing With Sound feels that streaming has received negative press

Playing With Sound feels that streaming has received negative press, resulting in artists being left in the dark regarding the opportunities that it presents to them. Music streaming is a direction we strongly believe in, which is why we release music to the digital market. It’s worked over many years to build strong relationships with major retailers such as Spotify, Google, iTunes and Amazon.

We already have a huge amount of potential in the bands we have signed and we will be showing some of them off at our label launch night on 26 February at Manchester’s Night and Day Cafe.

There is such a high volume of raw talent in local bands that people are missing out on. Every artist starts out playing smaller venues, and a lot of the time it’s the smaller gigs that are the best gigs. Who knows – you may discover your new favourite band. For just £4 too!

On the night we have music from a number of acts, with something for everyone. Gold Jacks (pictured) will be showcasing their brand of gritty blues-rock, alongside a mellower vibe from duo Hester and Holly Rose. Headlining are No Hot Ashes, who will be sure to get the crowd moving with a shot of infectious indie funk-rock. DJ Jack Candela will also be doing a series of sets in between the bands to make sure the tempo never drops.

We have a strong belief that the music is central to the success of any act. Any of the surrounding factors can help, but without great music you’ll never get off the ground. That’s why at the heart of the label is the recording. History tells me nobody will remember the video, or even the great shows. What stands up over time is the record and the song. The record should transcend fashion. Fashion exists in the slipstream of great music. The music always came first.

We have faith in all of our acts, their talent and vision; they’re full of creativity and great music. With time people will share the same passion for these bands as we do. Like Ian Brown said, about the Stone Roses’ gradual rise: “It takes time for people to get acquainted… it takes time for people to fall in love with you, but it’s inevitable.”

The Playing With Sound label launch is at Night and Day, Manchester on 26 February

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