A young fellow from somewhere in Fife got in touch last year by email and told me he had a band and that they had an album which was already recorded and that he was just looking for a label to release it. He had heard about the VoxBox shop’s record label FoxBox Records, and he had found the (massive) email address and he had sent me the soundcloud link.
I opened it.
And I sat and basically played the whole album through. At Night When The Wind Calms Down. I’m a tad against listening to music on laptops as the one I’m currently typing on has speakers that are not up to much. But I went back and played it again. And again.
I thought it was really good. -That’s clearly not the quote to put on a poster.
Jargo: “really good” says VoxBox.
But it was really very good indeed and I said we would be able to put it out on the shop label and I hoped that being on the label would give the band a boost. As a label, we are not threatening Chemikal Underground or even Edinburgh’s own fine Song, by Toad label but since I’ve been running a friendly Edinburgh record shop for nearly five years, I thought that being on our old fashioned fledgling label could help a bit.
At the time Cassette Store Day was around the corner. I put it to him that it can get a wee crowd and he said he had a bunch of songs almost ready that would be great for a cassette release. So we put out a mini album called This Frequency of Light is all I Know with knocked together artwork in keeping with the DIY ethos of tape releases. It’s a nice tape with some lovely songs.
I’ve a sneaking suspicion that not many people who buy cassette tapes actually play them. You should just listen and stick it on your ipod by streaming or downloading the tracks. A record shop advocating downloads? Yep, that’s us. It’s good to get the music out there. Electrons in a computer are kind of cool I suppose and ideal for a quick listen or a sampler; but I do still feel the need to have a physical object to represent a release and show off the artwork to the fans.
The single chosen from the tape was the lovely Burntisland. A song that The Herald newspaper described as “The best song ever written about Burntisland”. They were right! And as if beating off the stiff competition for that title wasn’t enough, the single was rated at number 92 in The Herald’s top 100 Scottish songs of the year 2015. If no-one ever tells me where the article’s writer is from, I will die a happy man.
Then Jargo put out a cheeky single the other week to help promote a Burn’s Night gig. It is called Rosemarie and sounds sweet but if you listen to the lyrics, it seems it is about the gorgeous Rosemarie of the title and erm… Alison! After a friendly email, it was played on the Roddy Hart Show on the BBC which was really nice. You can listen here if you like.
If a band is PRS registered, a play on a regional BBC show means about £15 to the songwriter. (But a play on a BBC station can mean that you go into the multiplier… there is an assumption that if you are played on a big station, then your song will be played on Jukeboxes, Cruise Ships, Barbers, Shopping Centres, Dance Classes, Record Shops, Pubs, Bookies and so on. It can mount up.
And what a prolific songwriter Jargo is! There are a lot of ideas in the songs and I have a feeling there are many more to come. I am even pretty sure that there is a tap. Coming from the Dylan school of “Write 10 songs a day throw 9 away”, he is dripping with catchy songs, melancholy songs, pop songs, funny songs, electro songs… If you were to follow him around with a bucket, you would catch an acoustic barbed ode to a former lover and a funny song about being a ghost by lunchtime. And then maybe catch just enough for a spoken-word electro-pop number before supper.
I even found there is a youtube channel with fantastic demos recorded in his house that didn’t make the album. He may well hate me for posting, but this is such a great song called Call Centre Jerk about working in a call centre. It is so great to meet someone so prolific that so many lovely songs, those odds and sods, can be found scattered around the internet. I will try to gather them up for you.
If all goes to plan, the real debut album At Night When The Wind Calms Down will be released on Record Store Day –Saturday 16th April, with a wee performance by the 3 piece band. There will be a few rogue releases between now and then, so do keep an eye out.
I’m very proud to be able to support this talented young chap (and band). As I said to him the other day; I’ll try to be a better label. “I’ll try to be a better band” he said straight back.
We’re in for a treat.