Label Love: Nice Weather For Airstrikes

Always out to celebrate our favourite record labels, this week we've turned our attention to the glacial atmospherics coming out of southern England, courtesy of Nice Weather For Airstrikes.

Label Love: Nice Weather For Airstrikes Post Rock, Shoegaze, Soundscape specialists Nice Weather For Airstrikes have been causing quite a stir with us Bearded lot, part in due to the sublime new Monsters Build Mean Robots record, that we decided to get in touch with label head Pete to find out a bit more about what makes them tick.

Hello. Firstly, who are you and what do you do?
Hi. I’m Pete, Owner of NWfA.

Where does the name Nice Weather For Airstrikes come from?
It’s actually a song title from the first Sigur Ros album..translated of course.

How did the label start out?
One of our acts had a single out on some makeshift make believe label, that probably never existed other than to take young bands' tracks, chuck them on a compilation and get their mums to buy we thought, we must be able to do a better job than that right??

How does the average day/week pan out for you?
Mostly live promotions, events and planning - both Monsters Build Mean Robots and Last Days Of Lorca albums are out soon so lots of work going into that at the moment. Plans for releases, tour schedules and Promotion, i’d say the Promotion is a never ending task for releases and live shows - so there is always something to do and I’m always rushing about!

How has your job changed since you started?
Well physical sales have been in decline since I started, and its definitely more applicable to download. It’s more widely accepted and inevitable, even if not always preferred. I think most people understand that a download is free or cheap, whereas there are many who want to support bands and Independent labels through buying physical products.

The live promotion has changed quite a bit, with Facebook from Myspace - Facebook is a lot more patient, and individual based - which is how the whole world of sales and marketing has shifted. That’s the main big difference I’d say.

Last Days Of Lorca

You’re a record label and music company. What does this involve, and do you need to be more than a record label (ie, promoter etc) in order to survive?
I think that’s it yes - no one can just be a Record Company. it doesn’t make sense. No one can sell enough to make this a living, there’s got to be more to it. The majors and big Indie’s will become full on ‘Music Companies’ soon - where they handle all of their artists needs and revenue streams, not just CD sales. They have to! But there’s a lot more money in branding and syncing with ads / films / TV - this used to be a taboo years ago, and now I think it is understood that everyone needs to do it purely to get some money to be able to do it. Loads of labels I’ve seen recently have come from Blog sites - that’s their starting point. We use events as a really good way to spread the word - all labels need that. Some have popular blogs, we have live shows and a festival!

You’re a label who focuses on post-rock, shoegaze, and soundscape music. What is it about these genres that attracts you?
I just find it a lot more sincere. It’s patient, and not about quick singalong formulaic chart success or looking good on a dancefloor. It’s honest. On a surface level I find it a lot more moving, notably Godspeed! or A Silver Mt. Zion. The sincerity that these guys give off is breathtaking.

What can you tell us about the Nice Weather For Airstrikes festival?
It’s a Free entry 4 day Post Rock event in Brighton - to showcase bands that Brighton wouldn’t normally get to see, but also to give these artists a stage and an audience that they wouldn’t normally have. it is also very much about spreading the word about what is really an underground movement, called Post Rock - it’s just just about music but the whole DIY ethos. Post Rock can really mean any type of forward thinking music...

Although the likes of Sigur Ros have driven post-rock to a wider audience, it still sadly fails to have mainstream success for a lot of the genre’s artists. What drives you to keep going? How do you measure success?
The Sigur Ros story is really a great inspiration - we all feared when they signed to EMI - but credit to EMI that Sigur Ros have managed to become huge, without losing any integrity or damaging themselves at all. It’s great! There is a future for Post Rock!

NWfA don’t really have any acts that are just ‘meat and two veg Post Rock’..MBMR for example have so much Pop hook - so the success is possible we think (and hope!)

Can you see a resurgence in independent record stores, or have things changed so much that there’s no going back?
Unfortunately I don’t see a way back! It’s a shift in society more than anything - we want to be even more spoon fed and we want our downloads for free. We will however pay lots for a one off gig. And we will collect the ticket stub...I find that extraordinary. I come from a background of vinyl and CD collecting..the new thing is collecting Ticket stubs of the moment - not necessarily recordings of the tracks. It’s probably better actually, you weren’t there when the album was made were you?! Record stores have moved into more of an elitist or ‘clinger’s on’ type deal. They are all still pretty busy in Brighton though - but that’s either with proper specialists like Resident or cheap shops like Ape or Fopp.

Monsters Build Mean Robots

What have been some of the highlights and lowlights of your time at the label?
The highlight has been achieving the festival I’d say - every year it grows and we’ll keep working to ensure that one day it will be as huge as possible! Getting through the very first one was a high i still remember. Just knowing that we’d done it! there aren’t really any particular low lights as such, just not having the success yet that some of the acts deserve!

What do you look for in artists to garner your time and effort?
Well the tracks really have to move me firstly. But secondly the band have to be easy to get on with and hard working - It’s impossible to work with people that you can’t get on with. And if a band thinks that just because their signed they’ve made it, well they're in for a real surprise! This is when the real hard work begins!

Where would you advise someone to begin when wanting to discover the music of NWFA?
I’d say the new Monsters Build Mean Robots album WeShouldHaveDestroyedOurGeneralsNotTheirEnemies. It’s a mix of pretty traditional Post Rock with a lot of Pop / Melodic thought - somewhere between Sigur Ros and Arcade Fire we think. Very accessible Post Rock...

Any advice for someone wanting to set up their own label?
Have a starting point. And learn all the insides of day-to-day label activities - don’t just think it’ll be fun unless you’re going to put the work and time in.

Do you carry an ethos or mantra?
When we started it was to promote forward thinking and innovative new music, without the greed and corruption of the mainstream industry. However i now think this has changed - the greed has turned to desperation - unless people actually like X factor for the music and not the You’ve Been Framed type broadcasting. This side of the industry is clutching at straws, and there is a revolution afoot. There is a massive DIY ethos running throughout the UK, and plenty of good souls within it. In my old local venue someone had graffiti’d ‘Music There Be Hope’ in the toilets. That's my new ethos.