Label Love #48: Magic Feet
When I think of Magic Feet my brain conjures up images of Michael Flatley's adorning the stage flailing his faux-Irish pins in front of your Grandmother and all her friends. I assume/hope I'm not the only one who thinks that but someone who's thankfully trying to change that perception is Craig Bratley, the 48th subject in our Label Love series with his Magic Feet label.
What began as an outlet for his favourite producers, from Timothy J Fairplay and Markus Gibb to Rich Lane and Catalepsia, Craig Bratley only made his label debut in October with the Cruddas Park EP featuring alongside Beato Cozzi and Unisex Audio Club. Deciding to use the label as a platform for the work of others instead of his own Bratley has curated an extensive list of releases over its 3 year reign, falling into the record bags of Andrew Weatherall, Ewan Pearson and The Revenge to name a few.
We shared a few words with Mr Bratley so avert your eyes downwards to learn about the label's ethos, the pros and cons of running your own label and why feet in general are really, really weird.
How did Magic Feet come into existence? What is the ethos behind the label – and the name – and what are its guiding forces?
I didn't really have any plans, I was thinking of starting a label to release my own material and then a friend sent me a track that he had done. I rather liked it and thought it needed releasing. I then heard a few other tracks that I felt the same way about and that was it. It's just a reflection of my tastes really.
How have things developed since you started?
I have less money.
What's the most magical thing about your label?
That despite me being at the helm, it's still running.
What are your feelings towards feet? Do they have to be magical to be of any interest to you?
I'm not a big fan of feet, even less so when the second toe is bigger than the big toe. It's called a big toe for a reason, what's that all about?
How can we take the best care of our feet?
Obviously I have to mention sensible shoes. I would also highly recommend acquiring a foot buffer, marvellous invention, and regular visits to the chiropodist.
How many feet can you jump? Not the measurement feet, imagine there were a bunch of people all lined up with their feet sticking out.
On a good day, 8-10 easily.
Who or what was your biggest inspiration for taking things into your own hands (or feet)?
I can be a little bit impatient and sometimes waiting for a label to release your music can be quite frustrating. I thought it may be a good way to release my own music and take that aspect away.
How and where do you find most of the music for the label? Do they submit their work to you or do you actively seek new names?
Usually through searching for music on the internet [but] I've also had a few people send me tracks. I've tried to seek new names, there's a lot of talented people out there and sometimes labels tend to gravitate towards the same artists. The downside of that is getting people to buy music by artists they haven't heard of before.
What are your most and least favourite things about running your own label?
I really enjoy seeing people get their first release on vinyl and introducing people to music by artists that they might not have heard of before. Least favourite is the emails I get asking for WAVs, etc. I find it awkward having to say no and if you really want to support the label, buy the music. It's a fucking quid!
How did you go about choosing the logo and artwork for the label?
How much will it cost? Seriously, I'm a right tight fucker so I taught myself how to use Photoshop. The only artwork I haven't done is the Tommy Awards sleeve.
If you could sign one artist from throughout recorded musical history to the label, who would it be and why?
Bowie, just for the ride.
What are your thoughts on the current state of independent records? Do you believe that there are enough opportunities available for people to be successful?
I think its really healthy at the minute, there's so much good music out there. There are a lot of opportunities to release music but maybe less to make money from releasing music. The record pressing turn around time really needs sorting out though.
What's your stance on digital vs vinyl?
A garage full of digital files wouldn't take up as much room. DJ wise I don't care but I'm a collector, I like owning vinyl. Having drives full of WAVs just isn't the same. The only other problems I have with digital is the quality control and sheer number of releases each week. I recently read that Laurent Garnier spends seven hours a day going through new releases, that's OK if you're Laurent Garnier but try fitting that in to a normal life.
What's the best thing you've heard this year?
If money was no object to the label what would you do with it or are you happy with the trajectory thus far?
I often think it might be nice to have money to go after all the artists and remixers I like and push the label through to the next level, a 'proper' label type thing but I'm quite happy just doing what I'm doing at the minute.
Describe the label in:
Five words: eclectic, caring, unorganised, unprofessional and unwarranted.
Keep up to date on all things Magic Feet over on their Soundcloud and Facebook. The Cruddas Park EP is available through Juno, Red Eye Records, all good record stores and a few that your mother buys her Cliff Richard compilations from.