What is the story behind Lab Records?
I started the company 10 years ago in the North of England after promoting shows for a little while. We found a lot of the bands didn't have a label - or weren't entirely happy with their label, so agreed to help out wherever we could. Often in those early days it was just pressing 1000 CD's for them to sell on the road. Our director Scott Brothman (Atlantic Records, Black Box) joined the company a few years later and LAB became closer to what it is today. Scott is based in New York, we have our physical (and spiritual!) home in Manchester and are just about to open our first London office.
Who was the first band you signed?
The first ever LAB release was by a UK singer-songwriter Lost On Campus, now better known as Rob Lynch (still making music and touring - and currently signed to Xtra Mile). I was lucky enough to catch up with Rob recently at Great Escape.
Is there a common trait in all the bands on the roster?
Hopefully there's a good mix of guitar music, singer-songwriters and what we know as cool pop. I guess the single element which our artists have in common is their music wouldn't be out of place on Radio 1.
How do you look for new artists?
In a variety of ways - over the past couple of years we've been lucky enough that a lot of new artists come from the industry side - either our terrific distribution partner at ADA, or managers or agents we have existing relationships with. That aside, we still try to listen to as much unsolicited music which comes through, and I still love going to as many shows as I can.
What is your favourite venue that you’ve seen one of your artists perform at?
Wow that's a great question. Of course it's always special when one of our artists plays a large room: Manchester Arena, Hammersmith Apollo and the Roundhouse come to mind. But equally an oversold headline show somewhere like the Lexington or Deaf Institute in Manchester can be as good if not better in some cases.
Do you have a favourite release from your back catalogue?
That's like asking to pick a favourite child! We released an incredibly beautiful and under-appreciated album by a band from New York called The Morning Of back in 2010, 'The Way I Fell In.' It was my first time working with a huge name producer and featured artist (Aaron Marsh of Copeland, on 'Heaven or Hell') and on a personal level allowed me to see a huge chunk of the US that I wouldn't have been able to otherwise.
Do you have a favourite playlist?
Do you mean like fave Spotify playlist here - official?
How would you describe Lab Records for new fans in three words?
Upbeat, sincere ... listenable?!
What can fans expect from Marsicans' forthcoming shows on the Radio 1 Stage at Reading / Leeds?
35 minutes of great fun and massive songs. It will be the band's biggest shows to date after selling out their entire first headline tour in March this year. Naturally we have high hopes for both but Leeds in particular I think will be a real 'moment.'
New Stereo Honey music has recently been released, what is next from the band?
They are another band embarking on their first ever headline run later this year after selling out Electrowerkz in May as their first ever headline show. Each time they head into the studio it feels like they come out with their best work to date - they truly have something to say.
It’s been a busy year for Lab Records, what have been the highlights?
It feels like it's been a really strong year for developing UK music (not just ours!) - it's been exciting to see the growth of a band like Vistas, from Edinburgh. Each element of their campaigns have grown from single to single and their live show is truly great.
We also released records we love from overseas from Hockey Dad, Now, Now and HalfNoise.
What can we expect next from Lab Records?
We have a lot more in the works for the remainder of this year into next. There's a ton of new stuff we haven't been able to announce yet - keep an eye on our socials for more.