We put a lot of time and effort into our Future Hits column here at Thrash Hits. We don’t just churn it out and bung any old band we happen to stumble upon into it. So when a few bands from the same young(ish) label start appearing on our radar, then we know that label is one worth paying attention to. After both Polio and Bloody Mammals appeared in the column, we knew that Flatpack Recordings was one such label. We fired an email over to label head honcho, James Moodie, to get the inside scoop on another of London’s up-and-coming labels.
The obvious, boring questions first – for the benefit of our readers, who are you and what made you want to start a label?
My day job is in the “industry” working for VEVO, an online music video site. I’ve been here a short time since leaving Big Life Management. I started Flatpack because I needed a practical project for my degree project, I could not be fucked to write a dissertation.
Another boring one – why did you call it ‘Flatpack’?
When I started it, I was working for IKEA, which I can honestly say was the worst job I’ve ever had, and I have worked in a bakery before where I used to start at 5am.
So, I spent all my time walking around pretending to work but actually doing nothing. When I had enough money to leave and start the label, I did. It was a shitty 6 months, so this is my ode to it.
Watch the video to ‘Skooma’ by Polio:
How has the label grown over the years?
Not sure if you can say it has “grown”, but I tend to release 3 or 4 records a year. In addition to this I’ve booked a couple of tours and programmed stages at The Great Escape and Southsea Fest. I’d love to do more but I gotta go earn the money to make the project happen!
What’s been our biggest triumph so far?
Whenever a band gets played on the radio. Love it! I don’t do this to sell records and make money, because nobody does! Unless you’re releasing some teenage jumped-up prick and marketing it to pre-teens. I did however manage to sleep through the label’s first ever Radio 1 play. Ooops.
And your biggest failure?
Paying a graphic designer a three figure sum for a band logo. And it was total crap. Luckily I’ve found Aaron Dawkins now who is amazingly talented and enjoys (I think) working with Flatpack.
Who has been your biggest band?
The next one! On a serious note. Apollo’s Arrows, they didn’t lose money on tour, sold out of merch, played loads of festivals. It was great.
Watch the video to ‘Hi, I’m Neil Armstrong’ by Apollo’s Arrows:
Has any band slipped through your fingers?
One recently called Traams. Love them, they are so great. Kinda grungy, kind of punk. Luckily they have signed to Fat Cat which is such a cool label so they are in good hands.
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to just before you started the label?
Ignore people that said it was a waste of time and money. It is a waste if you don’t enjoy it, but I love doing this.
How do you go about “finding” bands to release on the label?
Mainly online, I know of a couple of people who seem to constantly throw good bands my way and I found one doing that – Bloody Mammals.
What do you look for in a band for a Flatpack release? How do you decided who goes on your (rather excellent) compilations?
They have to be good live. The last thing anyone needs is to sign a band, then have to see them regularly live and they are boring and shit. Other than that if they take themselves seriously and are careerist I tend to distance myself at that point too.
What other labels have inspired you, and why? Who do you look up to?
Wichita, because I worked for them as an intern. Mark and Gareth there especially, I’ve never told them that. Guess I am now!
What are the plans for the rest of 2013?
Our Southsea Fest stage is booked and looking good – our headliner have a new record out soon and it’s fucking amazing! That gets announced soon. Other than that I’m talking to a band which could lead us to releasing an album!
Polio are going to have their EP released in Japan, which blows my mind. And Bloody Mammals have just got their record out, so they’ll be on the road with any luck.
You can go buy music from (most of) the bands James has signed over on the official Flatpack Recordings website. Not everything though, because they’ve sold out of a lot of stuff because it was pretty damn awesome. Go on, go buy something. Don’t be that guy. They might sign a new band soon and then you can say you were supporting the label from day one, and all that nonsense.