Interviews

Veröffentlicht am 26.07.2021 | von Dominik

0

4AD – Bills & Aches & Blues

Am vergangenen Freitag erschien mit Bills & Aches & Blues eine besondere Cover-Compilation, feierte das britische Kult-Label 4AD damit doch den 40. Geburtstag im 41. Label-Jahr nach. Darauf versammelte sich eine illustre Runde an aktuellen Label-Acts wie Aldous Harding, The Breeders, Efterklang, Tune-Yards, Future Islands, SOHN, Big Thief oder die diesjährigen Durchstarter Dry Cleaning – und coverten Songs aus dem prägenden Label-Katalog. Passend zur Veröffentlichung haben wir den A&R-Chef Ed Horrox per Mail interviewt und ihn mit Fragen zum Label, dem eigenen Werdegang, über das A&Ring im Allgemeinen und verpasste Signing-Optionen gelöchert – hier nun das Interview! Und nicht wundern, anscheinend war Eds Großstelltaste „deffekt“…

First off all – let’s start with some personal history! Could you tell a bit about yourself, your musical socialization and your way to become head of A&R of 4AD?
I GREW UP IN THE NORTH-WEST OF ENGLAND. MANCHESTER WAS THE CLOSEST CITY WHERE WE SAW GIGS AND BOUGHT CLOTHES AND RECORDS. I LEARNED TO PLAY THE GUITAR AS A KID AND JOINED BANDS IN MY TEENS. ONE OF THE BANDS I WAS IN WAS MANAGED BY A DUDE AT STRAWBERRY STUDIOS WHERE 10CC RECORDED “I’M NOT IN LOVE”. DURING THE 80S IT WAS JOY DIVISION, MARTIN HANNETT, FACTORY RECORDS ARTISTS, THE SMITHS, STONE ROSES ETC.

IT WAS DREAM COME TRUE FOR US. SO WE GOT TO KNOW OUR WAY AROUND RECORDING STUDIOS. THEN A CLOSE FRIEND STARTED WORKING FOR ISLAND RECORDS – THIS IS WHEN PJ HARVEY, TRICKY AND PULP WERE NEW TO THE LABEL. I WAS HANGING OUT A LOT W/ THE ISLAND CREW AND THE ARTISTS WHICH CONVINCED ME THERE WAS CREATIVITY IN RECORD LABEL LIFE. ISLAND GAVE ME A BREAK SCOUTING AND THAT LED TO ME LANDING AT BEGGARS IN THE MID 90s. MY WORK AT 4AD STARTED IN JANUARY 2000.

How does a normal day look like for an A&R, what are your habits, tasks and routine?
LET’S LOOK AT TODAY. I AM AT THE 4AD STUDIO CATCHING UP FACE TO FACE WITH OUR IN-HOUSE PRODUCER FABIAN PRYNN. WE’RE DISCUSSING PROJECTS THAT HAPPENED RECENTLY ALONG WITH UPCOMING WORK. LATER TODAY AN INCREDIBLE CELLIST IS COMING IN TO WORK ON A FILM SOUNDTRACK. HE IS AN VERY SPECIAL ARTIST AND THIS IS A NICE WAY TO CONNECT. SOMETIMES THESE RELATIONSHIPS LEAD TO MORE PROJECTS IN THE FUTURE.

LUNCH IS WITH A SONGWRITER CALLED WILL WESTERMAN WHO WE PUBLISH. HE HAS TIME BOOKED IN OUR STUDIO IN AUGUST TO DEVELOP A BUNCH OF SONGS THAT WERE WRITTEN RECENTLY FOR HIS NEXT ALBUM.
LATER TODAY WE WILL HAVE OUR WEEKLY 4AD MEETING OVER ZOOM. LONDON, NEW YORK AND LA TEAM MEMBERS WILL BE ON THE CALL AND WE WILL DISCUSS ALL PROJECTS THAT ARE UP AND RUNNING.

YouTube video

 

What are you looking for in newcomers/bands and how would you describe the profile of a band/act fitting to 4AD?
THE MUSIC NEEDS TO CONNECT ON FIRST LISTEN. DOESN’T HAVE TO BE FULLY CLEAR WHAT IS GOING ON BUT IT NEEDS TO BE INTRIGUING TO SOME DEGREE. IF IT’S MUSIC WITH VOCALS THE VOICE WILL BE EXCEPTIONAL WITH PLENTY OF CHARACTER. INFLUENCES ARE UNAVOIDABLE BUT YOU DON’T WANT TO BE OVERLY INDEBTED TO WELL KNOWN ARTISTS. LISTENING WIDELY TO GREAT LESSER KNOWN MUSIC CAN GIVE YOU LOTS OF GOOD IDEAS.

Could you tell a bit about the history of 4AD, what were the key events in the last years and what were the bands that shaped the label profile?
4AD WAS FOUNDED IN LONDON IN 1980 BY IVO WATTS RUSSELL AND PETER KENT. EARLY SIGNINGS LIKE THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, COCTEAU TWINS, THIS MORTAL COIL AND DEAD CAN DANCE ARE OFTEN CITED AS BEING INFLUENTIAL IN SHAPING THE LABEL IN THE EARLY 80s. IN THE LATE 80s ARTFUL BANDS FROM THE USA SUCH AS THROWING MUSES, PIXIES AND BREEDERS CONTRIBUTED TO THE CHARACTER OF ROCK MUSIC IN 1990s.
THIS HOWEVER IS THE OFTEN TOLD, SIMPLISTIC STORY THAT LEAVES OUT SO MUCH. I KNOW DURING MY TIME AT 4AD ALL THE BANDS AND ALL THE STAFF HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO EVENTS AND THE SHAPE OF THE LABEL. OUR HISTORY IS RICH AND VARIED AND I RECOMMEND MUSIC LOVERS EXPLORE THE LESSER KNOW ARTISTS AND RECORDS FROM OUR CATALOGUE. PARTICULARLY IF YOU’RE AN ARTIST LOOKING FOR INSPIRATION.

What is the most told anecdote from 40 years of 4AD?
THERE ARE SO MANY STORIES AND LOTS OF THEM ARE NOT FIT FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION. ONE NICE MEMORY IS FROM THE TIME THE BREEDERS WERE FINISHING TITLE TK IN LONDON. KIM DEAL WAS STAYING AT THE 4AD ARTIST’S FLAT ON THE TOP FLOOR OF OUR OFFICES WHILE SHE MASTERED THE RECORD AT ABBEY ROAD. SHE WAS ALSO PUTTING FINISHING TOUCHES TO THE ARTWORK (WE NEEDED LYRICS FOR THE BOOKLET). THERE WERE ABOUT 8 BEDS IN THE FLAT AND OVER NIGHT KIM HAD WRITTEN THE LYRICS TO THE ALBUM ACROSS THE BEDSHEETS WITH A SHARPIE MARKER PEN. YEARS LATER WE SENT THOSE BED SHEETS TO THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME MUSEUM AND THEY EXHIBITED THEM.

What does 4AD as a label stand for, what is important for the label in 2021?
ARTISTS AND STAFF AT 4AD HAVE HAD LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCES THROUGH RECORDING AND LISTENING TO MUSIC. HOPEFULLY WE ARE MAKING A SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION TO THIS WAY OF LIFE. THIS IS IMPORTANT TO US.

Through out the last years there were several challenges for the music industry – how was and is 4AD handling the changes that come through streaming and such? Did this also change aspects of signing artists and how?
WE PARTNER WITH ARTISTS WE LOVE AND WE TAKE THE BUSINESS SERIOUSLY OR THERE IS NO 4AD. THAT SAID WE DON’T EXIST TO MAKE MONEY. WE’RE HERE TO RELEASE INCREDIBLE MUSIC.

YouTube video

 

How did the pandemic affect the business of 4AD? What longtime effects do you fear from that?
SAME FOR YOU – THERE HAS BEEN VERY LITTLE IN THE WAY OF FACE TO FACE INTERACTION. NO LIVE MUSIC OBVIOUSLY AND NOT MUCH IN THE WAY OF VISITING ARTISTS IN THE STUDIO ETC. THANKFULLY IN RECENT YEARS ARTISTS HAVE INREASINGLY BEEN RECORDING AT HOME AND ON LOCATION. SO THROUGH 2020/21 WE’VE MADE AND RELEASED SOME RECORDS WE ARE VERY PROUD OF. WE ARE LUCKY AND GREATEFUL THAT OUR RECORDINGS CAN REACH PEOPLE AT HOME AND HELP PLAY A PART IN THEIR WELLBEING.

Let’s talk a bit about Bills & Aches & Blues – when did the idea come up for the compilation, with actual artists covering catalogue songs? How were the acts / songs chosen?
BAB IS A CREATIVE EXPERIMENT. WE INVITED ARTISTS TO COVER SONGS OF THEIR CHOICE FROM THE CATALOGUE. THERE WERE NO RULES AND WE DID NOT STEER ARTISTS UNLESS THEY ASKED FOR OUR GUIDANCE.

With Dry Cleaning a newcomer band from 4AD just had kind of their breakthrough with their debut – there are also several other new artists signed to 4AD (like Becky And The Birds, Spencer., Maria Somerville) – what can we expect from 4AD in the next months?
ERIKA DE CASIER AND LUCINDA CHUA HAVE BOTH JUST RELEASED THEIR 4AD DEBUTS. WE CAN ALSO EXPECT ALBUMS FROM BECKY, SPENCER AND MARIA ALONG WITH OTHER 4AD NEWCOMERS HELADO NEGRO AND JENNY HVAL. WE ALSO HAVE ALBUMS LINING UP FROM ARTISTS WHO HAVE BEEN WITH US FOR SEVERAL YEARS.

Also another newer 4AD-signing – Big Thief – was having a big year in 2019 – could you tell a bit how they were signed, what makes them so unique and what to expect from them in the nearer future?
PARTNERING W/ BIG THIEF WAS NOT COMPLICATED. WE LOVED THEIR RECORDS AND HAD SEEN THEM PLAY IN AUSTIN. WE MET THEM IN TOPANGA CANYON TO CHAT AND LISTEN TO THEIR DEMOS. WE GOT ALONG REALLY WELL AND OFFERED THEM THE KIND OF PARTNERSHIP THEY WERE LOOKING FOR. INTERNATIONAL REACH WAS IMPORTANT FOR THEM SO IT’S GREAT TO BE ASKED THIS QUESTION BY A GERMAN PUBLICATION.

BIG THIEF ARE ALWAYS WRITING AND RECORDING. NO DOUBT THERE WILL BE MORE NEW MUSIC ONE WAY OR ANOTHER BEFORE LONG. THE BAND MEMBERS GEL BEAUTIFULLY. INDIVIDUALLY THEY BRING A HELL OF A LOT TO THE MIX: eg WRITING, PLAYING, PRODUCTION SKILLS … BUT AS A UNIT SOME KIND OF MAGIC HAPPENS ON AND OFF STAGE.

Daughter are also one of our favorite all-time bands – there were rumors about a new record last year, but nothing came out…anything you can give us a hint on there?
DAUGHTER ARE IN THE STUDIO. WHAT WE’VE HEARD SOUNDS VERY SPECIAL INDEED.

Is there any band that you regret not having signed?
I WOULD HAVE LIKED TO WORK WITH LOW. THEY MEANT A LOT TO ME IN THE 90S AND THEY HAVE MADE EXCEPTIONAL MUSIC IN THE 00S AND THE 10S. THEIR RECENT SINGLE “DAYS LIKE THESE” IS BEAUTIFUL.

YouTube video

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Über den Autor

Bedroomdisco-Gründer, Redaktions-Chef, Hans in allen Gassen, Golden Leaves Festival Booker, Sammler, Fanboy, Exil-Darmstädter Wahl-Hamburger & happy kid, stuck with the heart of a sad punk - spreading love for great music since '08!



Comments are closed.

Back to Top ↑
  • GLF21

    GLF21

    Leider wird es auch in 2021 kein Golden Leaves Festival geben. Lest hier unsere offizielle Absage.

  • Endlich Open-Air

    Endlich Open-Air

    Endlich Open-Air! Unter dem Motto life & safe holen wir mit unseren Kollegen von der Centralstation und dem 806qm Acts wie Helge Schneider, Joy Denalane, Alice Merton, Mighty Oaks, Altin Gün, Mine, Nura, Muff Potter, Joris und viele mehr auf den Messplatz in Darmstadt.

  • Bedroomdisco Weekly

  • Bedroomdisco TV