INTERVIEW: Wire Talk Indie Label Market

Wire's Colin Newman will be manning the Pink Flag and Swim ~ stalls at tomorrow's Independent Label Market - ahead of that, we asked him to tell us about what he'll be selling

Tomorrow, the ace Independent Label Market will be hosting their second festive edition, playing host to stacks of indies all trading their finest wares directly and throwing in the odd Christmas special. Two of them, Pink Flag and Swim ~, will have Wire’s Colin Newman (above, second from left) at the stall, so we thought we’d ask what he’ll have on offer.

Why are you involved with ILM this year?

Colin Newman: I first heard about it when they did the first one. Someone I knew had Facebooked it, and I thought, "God, that sounds, exactly like the kind of thing I’d love to do’. I mean, I quite like the idea of just selling things directly to the public; I wouldn’t want to run a shop, but the fact that people will come and meet someone who runs a label and you can talk to them about releases and explain what everything is. I like going to the merch stand after a show, although that’s sometimes quite frantic and crazy – there’s an honest relationship between you, not only producing the music, but putting out the records, and the people actually buying them. You don’t need to shy away from the transaction element of it and people are very happy to buy something direct from an independent label, especially one that’s artist-run.

Have you got some special edition stuff for it?

CN: There’ll definitely be some things from [Pink Flag] which you can’t buy anywhere, well, you can’t buy easily anywhere. We’ll do some special offers on certain things, right across both labels. It’s just going to be a fun event. I’ve been away [on tour] since more or less the beginning of September, so I’ve not had the chance to prepare anything – I’m probably much less prepared than most labels. There’ve been two occasions in the past when I could have done it, but I just wasn’t here. It’s literally three days after getting back from tour, and it’s a bit crazy to imagine doing something like that, but I just look forward to the fun of it.

Are you going to be doing some shopping as well?

CN: I think we’ll have a look around and see what’s there. I’d be really interested to see who turns up, there’ll be people I know for sure. It’s also to do with being part of a community of labels based in London. I like that idea. There’s no place where anybody meets anymore, I don’t think so anyway, where you can meet other people running labels. I really like that idea. Back in the 90s, I used to know loads of people who ran labels, now I don’t know so many. I’m sure there’ll also be a certain amount of swapping!

What are you going to take from Swim ~?

CN: Basically, virtually nothing from the back catalogue is available anywhere, especially none of the vinyl, so I’m going to bring along a bunch of the Swim ~ vinyl, which I think, if anyone knows anything about the label, they look really beautiful and the albums are pretty good as well. And they won’t be expensive, so I think they’ll be a good thing for people who want a bargain.

From the Pink Flag side, I was thinking of bringing a Japanese editions of the first three [Wire] albums, which would be highly collectable. Also, some early Pink Flag releases, which really you can only get as collector’s items, which I’ll bring as well. I need to have a rummage around! We will have copies of the new Wire album on vinyl, which is getting fairly rare now. It was the third best selling vinyl out of Sister Ray this year, only beaten by David Bowie and Daft Punk. It’s the only one in the top ten selling that’s also in their personal choice chart; we’ve got it on both sides, so big cheers for Sister Ray!

What’s going to happen next for Wire?

CN: A bit of a rest first I think. In February we’re off to Australia and possibly New Zealand, though that’s not confirmed yet. I’m going to be looking at doing more DRILL events, but I can’t really reveal in public where they’re going to be yet. And obviously recording the next album – we’re looking towards a 2015 release for the next album. Recently we’ve been playing up to five or six new pieces in the set, some of which have been the most liked things that we’ve played. We’ve been closing with a song called ‘Harpooned’, that just becomes very strong in a live context, and a lot of people are going absolutely bonkers for that, and can’t understand how it’s only just been written, we haven’t even recorded it yet. It’s the most requested track at the merch table. It augers well for the next album – I mean, we have to record it and it has to turn out good, but I think the material is certainly there!

My next studio task, once I’ve sorted out my Pro Tools, is to mix the next Githead album, which we recorded at some point last year and just haven’t had time to get on and work with. That’s me next challenge, which I’m really looking forward to, because it sounds very strong.

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