While the majority of the features you see here on GFP are based upon bands that we love, every now and again we like to dig a little deeper and focus on the people who invest a lot of time – and a lot of their own money – into bringing that very music to us all.
Over the past few months we’ve noticed Lazy Acre Records put out a host of brilliant new releases, so we thought we would chat to founder Ben to find a load more about the label, the amount of work he does for it and how he see’s the label continuing in the current climate of the music world. We’re also extremely excited to offer you a Lazy Acre Records Sampler album exclusive to GoldFlakePaint – containing songs, video and special artwork – which you can download at the bottom of the page.
When, how and why did Lazy Acre begin?
well it all started really as a way of trying to help release my old housemates album which was all dark and twisted electronica. Sam (said housemate) is still involved with Lazy Acre and it was kind of a cool adventure to set sail on. Early days we weren’t particularly organised and we spent a year or so bumbling around making lots of mistakes and not really getting anywhere until I pitched up in Oslo in 2009 for ByLarm and that trip really sparked everything since. Since then we have worked with almost exclusively Norwegian music and we’ve managed to make quite a nice little niche for ourselves in that way…
Who is involved with it besides yourself?
Mainly myself in truth but there are individuals who go way above and beyond the call to help us out – Laura in Vienna is my right hand girl and she has helped us amazingly in the last year or so (her business cards are on the way back from the printers as we speak!) and Berkeley who runs our showcase nights with us and gives us lots of hook ups and sound legal advice. But to be honest as far as Im concerned – everyone: everyone downloading records, blogging about them, telling their friends, writing about them in their magazine, coming to shows, playing the bands on the radio etc etc , the Music Export Norway guys, the bands themselves – they are all part of the family and I would be genuinely poorer for losing any one of them
Have you been pleased with your progress so far?
considering how little money we have had at our disposal yes Im pretty pleased with it – of course we would like to have sold more records to be able to help sustain the bands we are working with more and it is frustrating to have progress slowed by that kinda thing but weve been very lucky in that we have to date worked with – we think – a wonderful array of musicians and people are steadily buying into it more and more and so its getting there… im just not a very patient kinda guy!
What does an average day for you consist of?
emails. lots and lots of emails. late night photoshopping, lots of twitter action, impromptu demo sessions in the car on the way to the school run. Every day is different and brings its own new challenges and opportunities which I love. Twitter is a big part of that for me actually. Every day there are new people following and new connections to make, new friendships to forge, new inappropriately huge favours to ask of total strangers. But somehow by dint of smiling nicely while we do it it seems to work. Hence this feature right here for one! This week in particular has been insane – one DM on twitter on Tuesday to a guy that just started following us and next thing – one of the big radio stations in Indonesia (!) has added a dozen tracks to the play list, is playing lazy acre artists every 20 minutes and Im getting absolutely swamped with tweets and emails from people saying how much they love them. One tweet did all that. 140 characters = suddenly reaching loads of Indonesians. It genuinely blows my mind. Anyway sorry Ive rambled there and not entirely sure I answered that at all… sorry!
Do you have a personal highlight so far?
Each one of them to be honest has their own wonderful memories and stuff attached to it… If I had to pick I think we did quite a good job with Solvor Vermeers first ep… We were talking that record up for a looooong time before it came out and as a result we had managed to get a huge spread of coverage we literally had amazing press coming in from all over the world; Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, USA, UK, Japan, UAE, South Africa – Id never seen anything like it and that record bought some really special shows in London and in candlelit studios in Oslo. So thats kind of a highlight… although a classic case of right act, right time, wrong bank account. If we had had the cash to push it to the next level then I really think we could have really kicked that record on – literally anyone who heard it fell in love with it. I still kick myself about it now. Oh how different life could be… *stares wistfully at corner of ceiling*
Which 2011 Lazy Acre releases are you most looking forward to/most proud of so far?
Im proud of all of em! It really is like picking your favourite kid as each of these records is again a really important part of the back catalogue – we have expanded our roster this year into new territories with Sajama Cut from Jakarta and Parts from Barcelona which was cool. Bellmans new album I hope will get the attention it deserves as there are some really lovely songs on that album – thats out July 4th, Its been really nice to work with some other labels this year on a few releases – Brave or Invincible for one who have worked with us on a new EP that is split between Uno Moller and Tiny Cinema. They covered a tune of each others and wrote a new song each for the ep – that turned out really well, were really excited about that right now.
Its also been really fun working on the new stylusboy ep as well actually – Steve is an old friend of mine and so its nice to be working with someone that you’ve known for a while, plus again – such a nice set of songs! At the end of the day when you work on this level of the “music industry” – balancing it with full time jobs and doing it on a shoestring there has to be a good reason to want to – ultimately – make your life harder by releasing this record and so if all of these guys weren’t amazing guys writing wonderful music then they wouldn’t be signed to Lazy Acre
What are your feelings on the current state of the music industry?
Erm… I dont know… I have worked in Major label environments and seen how they run – that they are choking and dying right now is neither a surprise not a source of great upset to me. The thing is weirdly – things have never been better for music in terms of being able to distribute music, in terms of being able to reach fans and connect to new audiences but all of that hard work is constantly undermined by this collective notion that music is free now and that you dont have to pay for it. We used free downloads in the early days as a way of reaching and developing an audience and it worked well for us (indeed it still does – its great that when people visit our website that they can leave with half a dozen new releases to check out – and I love that shit when I visit other labels websites) but ultimately you do end up painting yourself into a bit of a corner which we’re currently working hard to try and fight our way out of. That said – we are still a baby in label terms and so we are super appreciative of the new tools we have at our disposal to help us develop what we do. Im a sucker for twitter. As you might have guessed. Oh do shut up ben…
What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
well… new Bellman album July 4th and those guys are coming to play some shows which should be cool. There will also be a new Uno Moller album which we are currently piecing together and sounds amazing – hopefully that will coincide with some UK dates and the physical version of this split ep with Tiny Cinema. We have loose plans for new albums from a couple of Lazy Acre old boys (which should become clearer shortly) and Im hoping we will be soon able to announce some new plans with Cold Mailman as well…
Outside of that we are launching Lazy Acre Norway and have some cool shows lined up in Olso for that and we’re also looking into some new tie ins with clothing lines and places like that to see how else we can be distributing our product and reaching new audiences that might like to hear some new music…I see that as being a key thing for us this year – relying less and less on the traditional music industry infrastructure cos im not too sure how long large sections of it are going to be around for.
Theres a cheery note to end on.
Like the scottish fella from Dads Army.
Were all doomed.
Actually no wait – lets do the scooby doo ending
*ben rushes over and pulls the hat and wig off of Uno Moller* DAN DAN DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN “old man Jefferson – from the Haunted Amusement Park?!” “Thats right its me Old Man Jefferson. And I would have gotten away with it too if it wasn’t for those meddling idiots at Lazy Acre Records”
“TO THE MYSTERY MACHINE!!”
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Right Band, Wrong Bank Account
Lazy Acre Compilation (GoldFlakePaint Exclusive)
1. I See Horses – Amerika
2. Monzano – Yes We Can’t
3. Uno Moller – The Same Amount As Birds
4. Moggz – I Know Your Hidin
5. Parts – Bi-Oscar
6. Bellman – Gasoline
7. Stylusboy – Left To Hide
8. The Little Hands Of Asphalt – Blue & Green
9. Twin Pines Mall – Exact Location
Bellman – Spaceship! Move Slow
I See Horses – Amerika
Uno Moller – Graveyard Dance
Free download of the album HERE.
(Click link then scroll to the bottom of the page and select download option)
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