Label Love #72: Shall Not Fade
Shall Not Fade only celebrated its first birthday a couple of months back. Yet, for a label that's still considered in its infantile stages by industry standards, it's grown from strength to strength since its inaugral release in 2016. It counts taste makers such as Four Tet and Moxie as fans, and has even spawned a couple of sub-labels.
The Bristol based imprint was started by Kieran Williams, a man with his feet fully submerged in the musical ocean. From a young age Kieran knew music was the path he wanted to tred. From "playing guitars in bands" when he was around the age of 10, to studying music production at college. Nowadays, Kieran is more immersed in the management side of the business, taking charge of the labels and working as part of the marketing team at legendary Bristolian haunt- Motion.
"I don't really make music anymore, I don't have time for it really, which is pretty sad. But maybe one day."
It's understandable that William's has no time for production- single-handedly running two labels, the club nights, as well a full-time job at Motion, he's a busy man. The first release on the label was from Australian young buck, Mall Grab in January 2016. This was swiftly followed with LK's E.P, as well as LK's release on the SNF White Label. 'It's Been A Long Time' was championed by Moxie on her NTS show as well as in most of her sets and samples Starvue's 1980 track 'Body Fusion'. Now alongside label mainstays Mall Grab and LK, SNF now counts Steve Murphy, DJ Octopus, Steven Be Calm, Contours, Lake Haze, and TRP as regular contributors.
How did these relationships come about? And why does Williams choose to stick to this core group of artists? The relationship with Mall Grab, aka Jordon Alexander, was one that developed organically after Jordon sent Kieran around 50 tracks to listen to. From there, Jordon went on to recommend a friend, spawing new stable mates and releases.
"I like the idea of having people who are all friends, so now when we do the label night everyone is actually friends so there's no awkwward 10 minute chats."
From the very offset, he believed that he would create a label that would succeed saying that he "went into it thinking "I'm going to make this work" and all the artists I've worked with have made it really easy to do so". It's this building of a family-like relationship with his artists that Kieran feels has acted as a catalyst to his success. This and the community spirit that abounds in the south-west city.
"There's a smallness and a sense of community…..everybody wants to help each other, everybody's supportive of each other. When I was working as a promoter everyone would want your night to succeed even if it was on the same day. No politics, no one trying to do each other over or what not."
Aside from this sense of community, what else is it that makes Bristol, a city that was recently voted as the best place to live in the UK and one steeped in a colourful and rich musical heritage, so great? Kieran tells us that there are a number of creative hubs that people visit in the industry to link up and exchange ideas. There's the Idle Hands record shop, as well as more intimate venues such as Cosies and the Take 5 Café, both of which have an almost minscule capacity of around 100-150 people and can boast playing host to some pretty big names such as Delroy Edwards and Florian Kupfer.
So what's next for Kieran? Does he plan on keeping the momentum going? Sticking with his love for small, intimate venues, Shall Not Fade will be heading up a night at The Nest, in London's Stoke Newington, as well as heading further North to Manchester's Soup Kitchen. He also tells us that there'll be a huge day party in his home-town that will feature all of the artists on the Shall Not Fade roster.
Does he think about quitting the day job anytime soon? Perhaps not.
"Everybody at Motion is really supportive. It's amazing really."
For more info on the label and upcoming events head HERE.