Speedy Wunderground is the label bringing spontaneity back to British indie

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Impromptu 7″ label Speedy Wunderground is the latest to join for regular shows.

Welcome to a new series of interviews in which we introduce our latest residents. Last week saw the first show from Speedy Wunderground, the singles label launched in 2013 which has released the likes of Steve Mason and Kate Tempest as well as up and comers like black midi, Black Country, New Road and Squid, who launched the label’s residency.

The brainchild of producer Dan Carey, the label challenges artists to work outside of their usual rhythms, with intense recording sessions and incredibly quick turnarounds from conception to release, resulting in a refreshingly unfiltered output. True to their sense of spontaneity, Speedy Wunderground shows will be released irregularly and feature their artists as and when projects arise.

We spoke with A&R Pierre Hall to find out more about the label, and what they have in store for

Thanks for being involved in – we’re big fans of the label. I wonder if you could begin by saying a little bit about how and why the label began, and what it’s about?

The label started in 2013 and started off as a way for Dan, who was working with a lot of big artists at the time, to put out things more spontaneously and quickly. The first couple featured people he was already working with e.g. Natasha Khan, Emiliana Torrini, Steve Mason. Over the last few years, I suppose its focus has shifted somewhat to new and emerging bands/artists as well as bands who want to work with Dan to test the water. A lot of the bands we do singles with now go on to record albums with Dan e.g. black midi, Warmduscher, Teleman, FEWS and Kate Tempest.

The Speedy Wunderground rules are something that gets a fair amount of attention. How did these come about, and what was the intended result from having such an intensive method?

They came about as a way to stop ‘overcooking’ and constantly going back to change or amend elements. So to try and capture more of a specific moment in time, imperfections and all.

Of course, they are a little bit tongue in cheek but the main thing is all releases are always recorded in one day and mixed the next. No one (including the bands and their management) hears anything until it is mastered and too late to change.

We do sometimes let bands have lunch these days. People get hungry.

Black Midi Interview
black midi

How do you go about A&Ring for the label, is there a specific thing you’re looking for with the artists you work with?

There are pretty much no rules. Most come via me or Dan in various ways. We try and listen to everything we get sent. Although it is getting to be a lot these days. Sometimes it’s people we’ve had our eye on for ages. Sometimes we’ll see someone for the first time at a gig one night and get them in the next day.

The projects on the label tend to be released with very little notice, on an ad hoc basis. What’s the thinking behind this way of working?

Firstly, as mentioned above, at times it’s very last minute for us, so I have to rush to get everything set up on my side very quickly. But also it’s in line with the ethos of the label. Spontaneous and exciting. We don’t like to plan too many too far ahead otherwise it just becomes like a normal label. As always this thing is leading us, not the other way round.

"We do sometimes let bands have lunch these days. People get hungry"

The first artists you’ve featured on your residency are Squid. In their feature in the latest issue of the magazine, they speak about how much they respond to the methods used to record at the label. What made you want to work with them?

They emailed Dan. He went to watch them and wanted to work with them straight away. They’re all really versatile (musically) and open to experimentation. Plus they’re the nicest guys. We love them.

What are you hoping to do with the rest of the residency?

Let our artists old and new share the music they love.

I think me and Dan will probably do [a mix] too.

Listen to the first instalment of Speedy Wunderground’s residency, mixed by Squid.

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