Welcome to the new home of Round Records – the independent record label of Ginger Wildheart!
Every musician wants to have their own record label. I’m no different.
Ever since I was a kid, dragging myself to school while inventing a brand new album in my head to kill the boredom of the 30 minute trek, I’d dream of making totally different types of music. One-off albums, featuring extreme styles of self-expression.
No label was ever going to sign me up to make commercial sounding stuff back to back with strictly non-commercial, genre free adventures into aural wonder. I was always going to have to adopt a more DIY approach if I was ever going to get these sounds out of my system and out to the public.
The dream began modestly, back around 1996 when East West Records, our long-suffering label (neither of us wanted to work with the other, to be fair) relented and allowed me to use what they called an ‘imprint’, a single released on my own label and distributed through their extensive networks. The single, the first release to feature the name Round Records, was Sick Of Drugs. It sold well. We got on Top Of The Pops. Still, it didn’t feel as satisfying as I’d hoped.
I didn’t just want a label to necessarily ‘do well’, in turn creating a benchmark from which all subsequent releases would be commercially compared.
Some music just doesn’t sell very well.
This isn’t a cop-out, or an excuse to palm the fans off with sub-standard fare. I’d always loved music that wasn’t very popular. Even in private, my friends would openly deride my taste in music, often truly believing that I had little or none to begin with. Why else would I listen to Klaus Nomi over Iron Maiden, Sparks over Scorpions, or Tex & The Horseheads over Def Leppard?
But to me, squirrelled away in my room, absorbed by the jarring sounds of Big Black or the country punk of Jason & the Scorchers, I had no concept of, nor interest in, how many units the band had sold. This music was important to me. Essential. Way more valuable than any amount of generic and clichéd, yet defiantly popular modern metal or pop music.
To me, popular never necessarily meant good. In fact, I regarded commercial success as merely that. Appealing to the most consumers possible. Like Corn Flakes, McDonalds, brown clothes and shit TV.
As I continued to fight with every industry standard presented to me, like a perverse rule book (from the sound and style of the music to the identikit videos that labels loved pouring thousand so of valuable pounds into) I realised that what I’d always wanted to with music was never going to be possible on one label. Not unless it was my own label, that is.
So in 2004 I officially set up Round Records to release my first solo album, Valor Del Corazon.
It was an essential stage in learning exactly what a label does. Which is little more than to delegate jobs to various outside departments. Basically, a label’s job was picking up the phone and putting people to work, like studios, engineers, producers, musicians, artists, designers, manufacturers, distributors and advertisement/promo teams. There’s nothing there that I couldn’t learn and understand, such was my need to make unique sounding records.
Since then, Round Records has seen albums by The Wildhearts, Mutation, Hey! Hello! and numerous solo guises using variations of my name. It’s been a rocky trail that has been equally educational and heart-breaking, but never boring. You can’t keep a good idea down. And Round Records is a good idea.
Where else can I release things like the new album I’ve written, entitled Elemental Bleeding, which feels so genre free that I struggle to even describe it?
Dark, sad, uncomfortable, honest. Brutally honest, actually, in both lyrics and intention. The sound of feelings. Just the way I dreamed of on those long walks to and from school.
I hope to record Elemental Bleeding with Jase Edwards this year. It’s fully written and just waiting to be given birth to.
I’d like to make an album a year like this. The musical sum of my struggles, experiences and difficulties. Music designed to leave some listeners cold while setting up permanent residence in the hearts of others.
In the meantime, Round Records will be making many deleted, rare and out of print albums available to you, on top quality vinyl as well as CD. There will also be a ton of other stuff on offer that you can’t get anywhere else.
I want to bring you music that has a limited, but very specific appeal. For those of you that savour and digest music in a deeply personal and intensely private way. Like I do.
I just want to make music for the right people to hear.
Music isn’t just about sales. Expression is far more important than that.
So, here’s to a future of classification free independence and sonic wanderlust.