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ILM Christmas: The Word From The Stalls
Laurie Tuffrey , December 7th, 2012 12:32

We find out what the indies' bosses are hoping to find under their Christmas trees; photographs by Alice Rainis

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Last weekend the Independent Label Market held its first Christmas event, bringing vinyl-based joy over two days in Spitalfields Old Market. The Quietus were on hand to tal to these 11 Label Heads A-Selling, to banter, barter and admire Edwyn Collins's early Christmas present:

R&S - Andy Whittaker

What have you bought today?

I've bought a Fela Kuti album from !K7, two Invisible 12"s from Ninja, Theo Parrish album, the First Floor re-press on red vinyl from Peacefrog, and Speck Mountain's album.

What from your stall should be Christmas no. 1?

Vondelpark - 'Dracula'.

What's been your highlight of 2012?

The Stone Roses gig at the Village Underground.

What would you like for Christmas?

I'd like a BMX.

Ninja Tune - Peter Quicke

What from your stall should be Christmas no. 1?

Jaga Jazzist - 'One Armed Bandit'.

What's been your highlight of 2012?

I went to see Dorian Concept last night at XOYO, that was amazing. I've seen him so many times, but that was the best one for sure, and he's such a lovely bloke.

What would you like for Christmas?

I'll have a bottle of Laphroaig whiskey, that'd be lovely actually.

Heavenly - Jeff Barrett (not pictured)

What have you bought today?

JB: I bought some Christmas cards from Edwyn Collins's stall, with some of Edwyn's art.

What from your stall should be Christmas no. 1?

JB: I think everybody should own the Charlie Boyer single - if that was in my stocking, I'd be happy!

I think if you're looking at Caught By The River, it would be Matt Sewell's calendar, which is watercolours of our garden birds by Matt and designed by Paul Kelly - the other thing he's had out this is the Lawrence Of Belgravia film, about Lawrence from Felt. That's pretty cool - to do a film about Lawrence and a calendar of birds!

What's been your highlight of 2012?

JB: It's been a really good year, because at the end of 2011 we'd seen and signed two groups who excited me like no groups had really excited me for ages, Stealing Sheep and Toy. We ended last year with optimism that we were going to be putting out debut records by those groups, and they've both made brilliant records and been really well received. And if that wasn't exciting enough, at the end of January, I saw Charlie Boyer's first gig with The Voyeurs and got to know him over time and as soon as the time was right to make a record, we made a single. We now manage Charlie and that's been really exciting, and then ending the year having come across Temples, who I hope to make a record with next year.

It's been good - I feel like I've been plugged back into the grid a little bit. I feel quite re-energised and I'm enjoying rock and roll again and working with some really smart, hard-working kids.

What would you like for Christmas?

JB: A rest! A few days off, that'd do me.

Sonic Cathedral - Nat Cramp

How’s trade going?

NC: It’s going okay - I think we've sold more gingerbread than we've sold records, but I think that's an industry-wide problem!

What have you bought today?

NC: I can't afford to actually buy anything, so I'm going round now trying to swap records with people. I've secured a Spacemen 3 12" from Fire, I've swapped one of my albums for an Echo Lake album from No Pain In Pop, so that'll do I think. I've got to carry home all my unsold records as well, so I don't want to over do it!

What from your stall should be Christmas no. 1?

NC: Maybe something from the Cheval Sombre record - that's quite Christmassy.

What's been your highlight of 2012?

NC: Well, there's been some good stuff - it's been the busiest year that I've ever had. I released four albums this year, which has been hard work but rewarding. Releasing an album from Neil Halstead, who's one of my musical idols, was quite exciting - can't quite believe I've done that. I think my favourite record that isn't on my label is that DIIV album, I really like that. I think it's been a good year for music, and Sonic Cathedral. And gingerbread!

What from your stall should be Christmas no. 1?

NC: Gingerbread. Gingerbread and records maybe. Food and records: that'll do me. I'm always happy with that.

Fortuna Pop! - Sean Price

What from your stall should be Christmas no. 1?

SP: Probably 'Leaving Christmas Day' on the Tender Trap album, which is supposed to be coming out as a Christmas single - though we haven't quite got round to sending it out to anybody yet!

What's been your highlight of 2012?

SP: I think the support we got from Rough Trade on the Allo Darlin album that's ended up being Rough Trade's biggest selling album of the year, I think. That's pretty phenomenal - I do my record label in my spare time, so for something like that to happen, it's brilliant. I've released five albums this year and I'm really pleased with all of them, they've been releases I'm really proud of.

What would you like for Christmas?

SP: I'd like a power drill. I'm hopefully moving into a new house soon and I need a drill.

Highline Records - Heather Willensky

What have you bought today?

HW: I haven't had a chance to as yet, although we've done a secret swap for some Christmas albums and some of Song By Toad's beer, which is really good.

What from your stall should be Christmas no. 1?

HW: With a Christmas album with songs from all our artists, Festivus, it would be a bit biassed of me to say. However, I think Piney Gir - 'Every Day’s A Holiday' would be an amazing Christmas number one, kind of up there with The Waitresses' 'Christmas Wrapping'.

What's been your highlight of 2012?

HW: Seeing that we've only been around for about a year and our first release was just a few days ago a year ago, literally all of it. It's been wonderful to start getting some recognition in the States. Sweet Lights had a great campaign over here, Correatown on Lauren Laverne's show was wonderful and Piney Gir on NPR was great as well.

What would you like for Christmas?

HW: A Poirot box set, so I can set around watching it and refreshing my ears for more music next year.

Play It Again Sam Recordings - Ben Bishop

What have you bought today?

BB: I love the guys at Peacefrog, all the Mahogani Music and Sound Signature; I'm a massive house fan. They actually had some of Recloose’s presses - it's only a fiver for 'Dust', which is one of the biggest house tracks ever in my opinion. I found that at 10.30 this morning and then I've just stayed here all day, refusing to get my wallet out. I think I'll start hustling in a bit with the other stalls, maybe do a few swaps with R&S.

What from your stall should be Christmas no. 1?

BB: I'd have to give it to a new band called Champs who we signed recently. Really excited for their year next year. What's cool about it, and I guess why it'd be an interesting number one, is that it's a little white label self-release the guys did. It's such a good single, I'd have to go with that.

What's been your highlight of 2012?

BB: The Goat record. Experience-wise, Ghostpoet - obviously one of ours, but when he did the Royal Festival Hall for the Ether Festival, it was so incredible to see him in a room like that.

What would you like for Christmas?

BB: A new set of speakers. My Technics have finally blown and now I'm having to listen out of my laptop, so I want a custom Funktion-One sound system in my living room.

Acid Jazz - Eddie Piller (not pictured)

How's trade going?

EP: My day started at 3 o'clock this morning when I went on stage in Bologna, Italy, after Slaughter & The Dogs, the famous Manchester punk band, which was the last day of my four-date tour in Italy. I then got to the airport at 9 and I would've been here very early, had it not been for the fact that EasyJet were late and the fact that there seems to be some kind of go-slow on the Gatwick Express, so I didn't get here till quarter to three. And I've kind of had roundabout 48 hours completely awake now, so I feel rather tired... However, I walk into this little market and it's fabulous! It's great - the Acid Jazz stall has done really well, but I'm next to Heavenly, Jeff Barrett, one of my contemporaries and heroes and then there's Sunday Best behind us and James Endeacott over there. The four of us, with our tables together, it was amazing.

What have you bought today?

EP: I've got to be honest, I don't buy records. Well, I buy four records a month, and I usually buy them from soul music dealers, because I buy very collectable, high-end rare soul 7"s from the 60s. This is about new labels and it's about contemporary music, so, no, I haven't!

What from your stall should be Christmas no. 1?

EP: The best thing we've got at the moment is the box set - it's Acid Jazz Records's 25th anniversary this year, and we've just done a four-CD box set, with two books and a DVD and a load of old promos from the label. It's a beautiful thing, and it came out last week, so I'm very proud of that and we sold a few of those today as well.

What's been your highlight of 2012?

EP: It's got to be the 25th anniversary - we've done an awful lot of things: riverboats, pop-up shops, gigs with Norman Jay and Martin Freeman. There's a lot of love amongst the soul community for the Acid Jazz label and what we've tried to do for the last 25 years, because we've been a British independent soul label, and there ain't many of them around. Soul goes in and out of fashion, and so do we, but at the moment we're doing pretty well. I'm quite pleased that 19-, that 2012 has been a good year!

What would you like for Christmas?

EP: I'd like a copy of the Acid Jazz box set... No, it's a silly question, because, being a pagan, I don't celebrate Christmas!

AED - Grace Maxwell (not pictured)

What have you bought today?

GM: It’s not from the Indie Label Market. I've brought Edwyn Collins a present that he's going to be thrilled with when I go home. It is a Lanvin, pinstripe, double-breasted jacket. He'll be chuffed to bits when he sees that.

What from your stall should be Christmas no. 1?

GM: It's an old record, it came out earlier in the year, but it would be Dead Flamingoes' pink vinyl EP, 'Habit', which is gorgeous. It's pink for the flamingoes - geddit? It's a four-track ten-incher and it's beautiful. The music, the songs are so gorgeous - they're very talented. It's James Walbourne and Kami Thompson and they're brilliant.

What's been your highlight of 2012?

GM: It was an amazing two-week session at the beginning of the year, with the album coming out next year, by a collaboration called London Mississippi. It's two guys from London who are brothers [James and Rob Walbourne] and two guys from north Mississippi who are brothers, the Dickinson brothers [Luther and Cody], who have a band called the North Missippi Allstars, and one guy from Cardiff called Carwyn Ellis who's in Colorama on our label. To get the five of them together with Edwyn and Seb who do all the recording: something magic. Personally, it's my favourite record that I've heard anyone make in 20 years, I honestly love it that much.

What would you like for Christmas?

GM: I would like a nice pair of Chelsea boots in brown, thank you very much.

Soundway Records - Matt Wheeler and Joss Yerbury

What have you bought today?

MW: I almost bought the FaltyDL 12" from Ninja Tune, but I've held back. There's still time I guess!

In an ideal world, what from your stall would be Christmas no. 1?

JY: Ondatrópica - I think that's probably been our best seller. It came out earlier in the year, it's a project of Mario Galeano and Will Holland, it's been doing really well.

What's been your highlight of 2012?

MW: I saw the Black Seeds in Camden, that was really good, Lucas Santtana, who's a guy from Brazil, play Koko earlier in the year, which was great. I saw Baloji this week at Village Underground, he smashed it. Yeah, it's been a good year for music.

What would you like for Christmas?

JY: A copy of Ondatrópica!

MW: A new stereo. Some warm socks, some long johns... I'm really cold!