Plants and Animals show the love for their label Secret City Records

Plants and Animals drummer chats about their label Secret City, and the passionate people behind it.

Plants and Animals We, here at Bearded, like to champion not only the best independent artists out there but also the people and organisations who work tirelessly behind the scenes, so that we get to hear these awesome bands. In this article, Plants and Animals’ drummer Matthew Woodley enthuses about their label Secret City Records out of Montreal.

"We signed with Secret City in 2007. We had been playing around Montreal for a few years, all the while chipping away at what would become our first record, Parc Avenue. I think word was getting around that what we were working on was good and in any case, we were reaching people, which is of course attractive to a label. We were also friends with the A&R guy. I have to believe that wasn't the main reason we got signed; he has lots of friends.

The door opened and we entered the machine. I remember driving home with my bandmate, Warren, one day and him saying, "I think we might become one of the bands." He meant in the system - a very significant step above what we were doing, which was playing the local bars in front of friends and a slowly growing number of strangers. We would be in the press, in other cities, on posters under recognizable names, all that. Playing music for a job job. However nebulous a path, that's what we wanted. The door opened.

In 2008, Montreal had a reputation built on the success of Godspeedyoublackemperor!, Arcade Fire and a whole bunch of other bands. It was a capital-S Scene, it was a ticket. We caught the wave and we were, in a small way at least, a part of it. So was Secret City. They signed Patrick Watson first and that band is still more or less their flagship. But from everything I've experienced and heard, they devote full energy to every record they put out. I know people in a band who worked like crazy on a record, handed it over to a major label and waited for their door. The record never saw the light of day and the band is no more. Secret City, like most boutique labels, wouldn't do that.

Theirs is a tastefully curated boutique. They have a neighbourhood feel and a global reach. The whole operation is completely down to Earth. Justin, the head honcho, was raised in a music label family, studied the business and talks about it as passionately as musicians talk about their craft. He lets us do our thing, then he does his thing. He's on top of the huge sea change that the internet has brought to the music business, he moves with the tides, it's always open to discussion. He hires good people and they sign good bands. It's all good.

Except he didn't throw a Christmas party last year. I can't remember why, and I'm sure there was a good enough reason. But it would have been fun for everyone to get together. Many of us are friends, there is musical collaboration all over the place, winter is so dark. I know Secret City is turning 10 soon, so hopefully they'll throw a party then.”

Keep an eye out for their new album ‘Waltzed In From The Rumbling’ which is set for release on Secret City Records on 29th April, but in the meantime the band have kindly created us a playlist of Secret City Records artists, so please acquaint yourself below…