Label Love #12: Delusions Of Grandeur
Delusions of Grandeur have been putting out fine records for five years now – kicking off with a release from Craig Smith And The Revenge and taking in releases from the likes of Session Victim, Tornado Wallace, Recloose, Toby Tobias and 6th Borough Project along the way. They've managed to keep the musical bar set high with an emphasis on quality over quantity.
We caught up with label head Jamie Odell (aka Jimpster) to discuss the differences between D.O.G and his other label, Freerange; the highs and lows of running a label; the genisis of the label's name and plenty more besides…
Let's start with a R$N favourite to get going…
Why did you decide to set up Delusions Of Grandeur? What's your blueprint and masterplan?
Freerange had been up and running for almost 15 years and it seemed like the right time to challenge ourselves a bit and try and establish a new label without announcing it as a sister label to Freerange and with a different musical approach. We were getting our hands on some good quality tracks from a variety of producers which weren't quite right for Freerange, being a bit more disco influenced, or with a more underground sound. We wanted to put an emphasis on vinyl as we set the label up at a time when we were running Freerange as digital only and were missing dealing with physical product. I'm happy to say we didn't keep the digital only on Freerange for long and vinyl and CD sales have been building nicely again in the last year or so. There's no master plan as such with D.O.G other than to put out the best possible music from people that we enjoy working with and have a lot of respect for and whereas Freerange constantly has a pretty full release schedule with new stuff every 3 or 4 weeks, D.O.G is more spread out and relaxed with less stress about deadlines and the like.
How do you go about sourcing the artists for the label?
Having been doing this for so many years now we're obviously in the lucky position to have built relationships with a lot of people over the years and that network has spread through other recommendations and meeting people at gigs and stuff.
Quite often someone might send some demos through having hooked up from me playing a previous release of theirs on the radioshow or charting it somewhere.
What's the story behind the name? Was it a spur of the moment decision or was it something you'd been toying with for a while?
Actually, my label partner Tom Roberts came up with the name pretty much as soon as he suggested that we should think about doing the second label. It might have even been the case that he thought of the name first thinking it would make a good label name, and that was the impetus.
How does the output of Delusions…differ from the other label you head up, Freerange?
Delusions feels a little less rigid in terms of the sound we're comfortable releasing on it. There's a definite disco influence on most of the releases but things seem to be rawer, a bit dirty round the edges and hopefully the sort of thing that will rock a sweaty basement at 5am.
Why do you think there has been such a rise in the amount of independent labels being formed in the last few years? Might this be the way the music industry is headed?
I suppose it's all about the music makers themselves wanting to have complete control over all aspects of their releases from the finances through to the art direction and distribution. This has it's own set of advantages and disadvantages in today's market but of course there are still many benefits to being with a separate label. Not least, freeing up a lot of time to concentrate on music as opposed to all the other jobs involved with running a label.
You're heavily backing the potential rise of vinyl from the flames, what exactly is it about vinyl that appeals to you so much?
It just looks, feels and above all sounds proper! There's no doubt that we all value something more if it's tangible and DJ's and the record buying public in general enjoy the ritual of going to record shop and listening through a pile of tracks to choose from. I've grown up with vinyl my whole life so it's hard to comprehend a world without it.
Do you think the current climate within the music industry helps or hinders independent labels?
It's an interesting time for independent labels because on the one hand there are so many competing for your attention whilst on the other hand it can only take a couple of 'names' pushing and supporting, or a magazine or music site hyping the release and label and you can quickly become the next big thing. This doesn't translate into guaranteed cash of course but we should presume that anyone releasing underground club music isn't in it for the hard cash.
When you first set up the label were there any artists in particular you felt were a must-have? Did you miss out on anyone you really wanted?
We didn't really think about it in that way. We just concentrated on getting together the best music we had access to and working with people we liked and got on with.
Who are some of the breakthrough artists of 2013/14 your most keeping your eye (or ear?) on?
Max Graef, Glenn Astro, Thatmanmonkz, Harvey Sutherland, Panoram, Pender Street Steppers, Adesse plus a whole load more I can't think of right now.
How can music fans best make sure they stay in the loop? Are there any particular sites or publications (besides Ransom Note obviously) that you feel have a good understanding of what the people want to hear?
Obviously music sites like yourself as well as the large amount of blogs play a huge role in keeping fans and DJ's alike updated. I have a nice network of friends on Facebook where we all share our discoveries, classics or secret weapons regularly and this is an important source of discovering good new music for me. Other than that I recommend getting down to your local record shop!
What will we be hearing from the label in 2014?
The next release is a great set of remixes of the 6th Borough Project LP from Cuthead, Ben La Desh and Fantastic Man. Following that we've got a killer EP of originals from Thatmanmonks whose stuff I'm a big fan of. Then it's all set for the next Session Victim LP which we hope to be able to put out soon after summer. It's about halfway finished and from what I've heard so far it's going to be a monster!
Describe the label in:
Ooh! It's interview time. How about Dynamic, enthusiastic, reliable, Dedicated, Adaptable
5 Pictures: (See throughout… and below)
Find Delusions of Grandeur in all fine record stores… and in the meantime feast your ears below