Bearded Label Love: Brew

Based in Leeds, dishing out huge amounts of awsomeness, Bearded catch up with half of Brew records, Simon Glacken, to find out what makes them tick.

Posted on Dec 22nd, 2010 in Features and Interviews, Humanfly, Brew / By Peter Clark
Humanfly Hello! Who exactly are you and what do you do?

Hello. I'm Simon and I'm one of the guys behind the label.

What's with the name (Brew)?

I think it came out of a love for a nice cup of tea whilst at the same time being a reference to beer. Mainly Double Dutch lager which was drink of choice at the time. We put on quite a few gigs in Leeds and when foreign touring bands ask for a "good local/foreign beer" we often buy them some nice frosty cans of Double Dutch as it's brewed in Leeds. Some bands like it. Quite a lot don't. Thankfully I still do.

How does an average day at Brew pan out?

Get up just before 10am and check my phone for a few minutes to see if any exciting/important emails have come in. We run I Like Press as well which is a music Pr company which involved out of us doing our own
press and now we work with other bands as well. So a lot of my time is spent doing that. The rest of the day involves sitting on my laptop sorting Brew/ILP work out, and drinking as much coffee as possible.

You're based in Leeds, do you solely look just at Leeds bands or is that just because it's your local scene and it's easier to focus on them?

Leeds has such an amazing wealth of great bands that we never have to look far so we are pretty spoilt for choice. Though the 2nd band we worked with was Manchester's very own Kong so it didn't take us long to look outside the city. We have approached other bands in the past from all over the UK but they've not come off (yet).

What do you look for in bands/artists to garner your time and effort?

Being an amazing live act is usually the 1st thing that grabs our attention. I feel confident in saying that all our bands kick arse live. Loudness seems to be a common theme as well. We're also keen for the bands to sound almost unique or that they are at least trying to push the boundaries sonically. If you listen to Kong, Castrovalva, These Monsters, Chickenhawk and Humanfly they all sound totally different yet share some common themes. I don't think there's a Brew "sound" so to speak.

Brew has just celebrated it's 3rd birthday. What has been the high points and lows for you so far?

High points are probably seeing albums in end of year best of lists. Having Kong go on tour in europe with 65daysofstatic and being able to go myself. The rise of Chickenhawk in the past year has been exciting to watch. Kong touring Japan next year is pretty mind blowing too.

From a gig perspective we have put on some amazing bands this year such as Mono, Torche, Wolves in the Throne Room, Scott Kelly, and Damo Suzuki so it's been a high point meeting these people.

Low points are probably times when you lose money on a gig or release or when a pressing plant fucks up an order and it delays a release.

How has your job changed from when you first started?

It started out as hobby to be fair and it slowly involved into the beast it is now. It almost takes over your whole life almost. In April I had a sort of revelation watching Kong playing in front of 600+ people in a warehouse in Berlin. It was pretty crazy and I was trying to work out how we got from where we starred to this.

In an ever changing world of music formats and distribution, how do/are you evolving and keeping current with the current scene, and where do you see the future of Brew heading?

We're keen to do some albums on vinyl as that's my favourite format. Mp3s are obviously important but the idea of not doing a physical release makes me a bit ill. I got into this to put out records. Something tangible that you could hold, collect and keep. A record collection can often be a reflection of who a person is. I don't think you get the same with a folder on a computer full of mp3s.

If you were offered the chance, would you up sticks, move to London, and sign up for a multi-million schmackers major record company?

Yes I would give it all up for a fat pay off.

What would you say to someone thinking of setting up their own record label?

Make sure you have some money. Make sure you have plenty of time. Make sure you talk to people who are already doing it and try and learn as much as you can. You'll make mistakes along the way though but that's part of the fun!

Do you have a motto/ethos Brew works by?

Have a lovely time