Face to face with Coffee Jingle Records

CJR STICKER

Independent labels champion really amazing artists in the UK and contribute a lot to the ever-dynamic music scene. Coffee Jingle Records aims at promoting quality music and helping their artists as much as  possible and, most importantly, they fully bring their aims to life. Without exaggeration, labels like Coffee Jingle Records keep the UK music scene alive and well. The label founder Martin Wake is not novice in the music industry: he went to HIghbury College where he first got the idea to start his own label and then went on to Southampton Solent University to study Popular Music And Record Production. Martin talks to Rock Britain about running a label, having good songs, contemporary music industry and living the life of his dreams.

Q – What’s the story behind the formation of Coffee Jingle Records?

A – Well it all started in college where I just had an idea to start my own record label but brushed it off, as I didn’t think I would ever be able to achieve that. That all changed when I applied for University where they gave me the green light to go ahead with my idea and together with my flat mate I decided to give it a go and I started researching until middle of 2012, then I started the first stages of starting the record label.

Q – How would you describe the philosophy, the main ethics of the label?

A – The main philosophy is to be a stepping-stone for bands to hopefully help them sign with a big independent record label, or maybe a major label. The missing link between a band and a big record deal, which I’m very comfortable with as I don’t have the finance or the experience to be anymore then that, overtime maybe ill be in that position one day. Also its a very band friendly label with the bands not having demands like “you should sound like that” or “you will do this that way or that way will be done like this”, the most important part of the label is the music the bands perform for it and its “Their Music” and I don’t have the right to tell them how to perform it. Of course ill offer suggestions and offer any advice that I can along the way but I wouldn’t like it if someone ordered me to play my guitar a certain way with a certain sound or if someone told me to draw or paint something a certain way, interrupting someone when they are planning and performing art (as that’s what music is) and telling them how to so it is one of the most disrespectful things that can be done, so I don’t do it.

 Q – Which qualities should a band possess to be signed to Coffee Jingle Records?

A – Have good songs, that’s it really if I’m honest. There is no guidelines stating bands have to look like this or have to be this genre as I don’t plan to pigeon hole the record label as it is still very new. When I talk about good songs, I mean are the songs well structured? Do they have good rhythm and pulse? Do they represent the band performing the songs well? Also it’s very important not to just go by your own ears when looking to work with an artist as no one in the world has the same ears as you, this is where the research came in handy where I was able to identify the different markets and planned ahead with the bands I am working with, and with more experience I will be able to narrow down the markets which will hopefully make the label more successful.

Q – Coffee Jingle Records is a very young label. What events have been the most memorable ones since the label formation in October 2012?

A – Been so many if I’m honest, things took off much quicker then I expected that it caught me a bit by surprise that I’m kind of still recovering from it today. Firstly there are the bands that the bands on the label have supported which range from Zico Chain, Planes and The Chapman Family to Cobra And The Lotus and Voodoo Six, among many others. Also we have had many showcase nights in local venues including The Joiners (which was held on a Saturday which was a memorable night) and The Railway in Winchester which was very cool to have many of the bands in one venue getting to know each other and creating a community feel if you like. And finally having bands perform official music videos, which is very exciting both for the bands, and me as that event really pushes both the bands and the label forward as visual music is getting more and more crucial these days.

Q – What are your most and least favorite things in running a record label?

A – Best = being apart of a band developing and seeing that development first hand is really rewarding for me and knowing that I am contributing to their development is something I have always wanted to do.

Worst = Easily the fact I don’t have time to go to many gigs is something I expected but it still frustrates when one of the labels bands has a great gig coming up and I’m stuck networking, mixing, mastering etc., but if I did spend all my time out then I wouldn’t be doing the bands justice.

Q – Being an independent label, where do you see the ups and downs of being such in comparison to a major label?

A – I guess the obvious one would be creative freedom for me and the bands on the label, because as I stated earlier, there are really no guidelines, where if the bands were on a major label, the creative freedom would be taken away from them and they would be part of a “money making machine” as some people call it. Also the pressure of selling x amount of Cd’s and downloads would be so much higher on a major label. And in times where illegal downloading is so high and Cd sales are not what they once were, bands would be looking at the sales very anxious incase the major label drops the axe on them. However the financial security being associated with a major label must be quite comforting where losing say, £15,000 on a release would be seen as ok, for me it would be the end of my business in a heartbeat.

Q – What do you think is the biggest challenge for any record label these days?

A – Keeping up with the changes in the music industry, which seems like it will be a never-lasting battle as the industry is evolving just as much as technology is. If you take your eye off the ball even for a split second, you may miss out on opportunities that would have benefited your label, which has happened to me in the past and I’m sure will happen in the future, but you just have to be determined and believing in what you’re doing and the opportunities will come around again.

Q – What’s your take on the current music scene in the UK?

A – Its more suited to pop and manufactured acts as they are in the best position to take advantage of the new technologies offered in order to make them and the labels more money. Other acts have to really depend on live gigs in order for the money to roll in, and that has been the way for a few years now and it would have been interesting if that was not the case, to see if all these reunions would have happened, examples like The Stone Roses, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Blur, System Of A Down among many many more.

Q – What’s the most rewarding thing about running a label?

A – Doing something I have always dreamed of doing.

Q – What are your plans for the future?

A – To continue with the record label and hopefully it will continue to grow, and also to run my own recording studio (starting as a mobile recording studio). Them two together will hopefully bring me success for years to come.

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