The premise behind New Street Records (NSR) is one that is so simple it is surprising that is has never been done before. A record label run by students for students, NSR draws on the large pool of talented and committed people who are enthusiastic about music. The label can give them valuable experience in a difficult industry and the chance to discover the next big thing, and now it is coming to Manchester. I met up with the directors Cameron Day and Rob Charlton to discuss the project.
Everyone involved is a student volunteer, and all the bands must have students in them. It is the brainchild of a group of Birmingham alumni, and the Birmingham branch now numbers 70 strong, from A&R all the way to a legal department.
“Because everyone is a student we understand they have other commitments, so having more people on the team means there are always people to do jobs,” explains Cameron. “With the power of students there’s so much we can do, there’s so many talented people, not only at Manchester Uni, but also at Man Met and RNCM.”
“The more the merrier! The more people we can have working with us the better. Some people know exactly what they want to do, others just want to help out. There’s no one excluded”, says Rob.
The goal is to set up a network of student-run record labels around the country that can support the vibrant student community. It’s a tried and tested technique, with Birmingham’s own Sam Jackson having released an EP, Strangers Again, under their NSR label available through iTunes and Spotify, as well as headlining at the O2 Academy at Birmingham. Physical releases are also in the pipeline, as well as the possibility of vinyl.
“Jackson’s EP is out, and we’ve been able to use really great production and awesome artwork for it,” says Cameron enthusiastically. “The guys in Birmingham said they don’t know of anyone else in the country who has a label like this.”
Of course it is no mean feat to start a record label, not least one with such a mobile workforce. “Any tips we’ve had have come from Birmingham, they’ve already gone through all the good things and the bad things to do,” says Cameron, when I ask him about the struggles of setting up a record label. It is certainly not without risk, but NSR are confident that with the support of a dynamic group of students they can achieve great things, and pick up on artists who might not have been discovered by bigger labels.
Rob explains more about what is to come in the future: “We plan to release two EPs next year, and helping people produce their own EPs. We are doing a lot of scouting for artists at the moment. We are looking for a range of genres that we can get professionally recorded, with studio sessions.”
The initial challenge with any such project is promotion, and NSR are particularly keen to get as many people as possible involved in marketing and PR, as well as any aspiring graphical artists.
Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming launch party, which will be advertised around campus, with featured artists performing and possibly DJ sets. Rob is clearly enthusiastic: “It should be something that you don’t expect, and don’t get to see that often!”
If you want to get involved in any aspect of New Street Records contact [email protected], especially if you are a music creator.