Eat Your Own Ears plans to nurture the next generation of emerging talent via its new label imprint, Music Week can exclusively reveal.
In a new interview ahead of the launch of Eat Your Own Ears Recordings, which is a joint venture with Virgin Music Label & Artist Services, founders Tom Baker and Lucy Pitkethly have spoken about their plans for the label.
The concert promotions company celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and is marking the occasion with the announcement of a recordings business, which launches next week with debut signing BLOODMOON. The label will release a compilation of unheard and unreleased tracks from artists they have championed over the past two decades including Four Tet, Metronomy, Neneh Cherry, Anna Calvi, Mount Kimbie, Ride, Floating Points, Sylvan Esso, Tyson and more.
Eat Your Own Ears (EYOE) started life at East London venue 93 Feet East, showcasing new and established artists in collaboration with a raft of independent record labels including Rough Trade, Mute, Warp and Rephlex. The business has developed a reputation for uncovering and supporting new acts, hosting EYOE Recommends showcases at the Shacklewell Arms.
Its roster encompasses a variety of acts including The xx, Bill Callahan, Self Esteem, Arca, Florence and the Machine, Celeste, Obongjayar, Charlotte Adigéry, Jamie T, Michelle Gurevich, Chvrches, Declan McKenna, Hot Chip, Low, Rachel Chinouriri, and others. The company also worked on Field Day Festival for more than a decade, establishing it as a key part of London's summer calendar.
The idea for the label venture came about during lockdown, after Baker was introduced to Virgn Music's Jim Chancellor by a mutual friend.
“Virgin Music are delighted to have the esteemed promoter Eat Your Own Ears join our ranks,” Chancellor said. “Tom, Lucy and the team have always had exceptional taste, and now they have an outlet for recorded music.”
Here, we hear from Baker and Pitkethly (pictured above about their plans to build an indie label that will make a difference, to artists and the industry alike.
How do you plan to help artists?
Tom Baker: “Our point of difference to most labels is that we can bring our knowledge and experience of live; having promoted shows for almost two decades. That’s not to say we plan to try and promote every act we sign, as that should be their choice, but we are able to offer guidance, insight and ideas into how an artist may want to launch their live show and build an audience. We can look to offer support slots across Eat Your Own Ears shows, at festivals we are involved in, and also make connections with other promoters, festival bookers and venue owners. We envisage being able to work alongside artists and their managers to ensure we understand their creative ambition, so we can work together in the best possible way to hopefully reach and deliver it. We think the most important approach for us is to be open, honest and willing to try things. With our network within the industry and our existing friendships with a lot of artists, we feel we can ask questions and advice to make the label meaningful and a place artists want to release their music.”
What kind of guidance will you give your signings?
Lucy Pitkethly: “We think the most important thing is for artists to focus on the music and be true to their creative selves, and try not to concern themselves with all the noise and expectations around them. It’s so easy we think for everyone to be caught up in social media and potentially lose sight of what drives and inspires them to make music in the first place. Of course, social media is very important in how an artist is seen by the world, but great music has to come first. We act as the live agents for Four Tet and James Yorkston and also manage John Wizards, so we can bring insight and experience from those areas. We have some level of perspective from an artist's point of view as well.”
Artists need people to bring the best out of them and deliver something that engages, inspires and means something to many people
So what do you think new acts need most?
TB: “A platform and the right people around them to enable them to focus on making music and trust that it will be distributed to a wide audience across the world. They need people to bring the best out of them and deliver something that engages, inspires and means something to many people. A place that listens to their needs and finds solutions and ways to make things happen. These days, artists need very carefully thought out strategic plans, everything needs to work in tandem to be effective and have the most impact; the live shows, releases, aesthetic and approach to their socials.”
EYOE has always been known for spotting talent early, how will you channel that into the label?
LP: “We are always excited about all kinds of music and discovering and nurturing new talent, so we’ll bring that enthusiasm into the label. We want to make sure we work with artists that we really love, and are able to give them the time and support they need to develop and grow.”
Finally, how much new stuff is there around right now that's exciting you?
TB: “There is almost an overwhelming amount of music, there seem to be so many different scenes popping up. Technology and social media make it so easy to be able to actually make music and share it instantly, so it's a matter of listening to it, and trusting our natural instinct of what we like or feel there is some magic and some potential to tap into. Music very much soundtracks our lives, as soon as we wake up music is on until we go to sleep… Even my alarm in the morning is often a track chosen the night before! There is lots to be excited about, of all genres and all styles, and we want the label to represent this diversity and be broad yet selective in our approach.”