By: Mustafa Mirreh
26 April, 2017, 18:30
There’s been a huge surge of DIY projects and labels over the last 12 months, all of them making their imprint in the ever-growing Bristol music scene. However, there’s one label in particular that has stood out. Whether you’ve seen their quirky breakfast style branding, bought one of their colourful cassette tapes or been to their rad live shows that pack all the music, food and beer you could ever want; Bristol based label Breakfast Records have certainly made themselves known to music goers, bands and venues alike. Spirits are high right now as the label prepares to celebrate its first birthday next month.
As like most independent labels, Breakfast Records was forged together by creatives who shared their love for music. Having originally met in Oxford, founders Jamie, Dan and Josh brought together their experiences to form the music appetising label that we know today.
“We wanted to cultivate a space where everyone can release music and do their own thing”, says co-founder Dan as we catch up over a coffee to discuss on their growth and success.
The label has been welcomed across the board, often receiving feedback from artists and gig-goers. “Some of the best feedback we get from our shows is not that ‘oh that band is sick’ but ‘I felt really welcomed at the gig’“, Dan adds. “Anyone can put on a band, but doing so and making someone feel a part of something more than just seeing a band, that’s really cool.”
April 2016 saw the birth of Breakfast Records with a launch event at Ray’s Pizza, alongside their first compilation release Breakfast #1. There was something about this show that made it really special; crammed in numbers, having free pizza, feeling welcomed by the label and gig-goers, all whilst being introduced to an eclectic range of bands that thoroughly impressed. With that in mind, the label continued its work in building a strong community of musicians, working together in producing and releases a selection of EPs, compilations and albums over the course of the year.
Working with such bands, including Milo’s Planes, The Gin Birkins and Human Bones, Breakfast Records have done 12 releases to date, each one more quirky and unique than the next.
“From Breakfast #1, it’s been a weird and growth process as each time we release something, we figure out how to do it a little bit better” Dan explains. Overall, the label has done some great releases from Springbreak’s As Yet and Chuman’s Midnight Barbeque to SLONK’s album Songs About Tanks which was beautifully designed in a match box style casing alongside a photo album sewed together.
“Most of the time it still comes down to us around the table making all these tapes“, says Dan on the DIY process behind the cassette releases. “They sound really nice, people often mistake that. If you put a cassette in a nice player it’s really warm and great for guitar based music.”
Although the majority of the releases have been cassette tapes, the label are exploring other mediums such as CDs and Vinyl for future releases; in particular, The Gnarwhals debut EP Pool House (released in March 2017) was the label’s first ever vinyl release. Dan explains that although vinyl does sound great, initially it can be expensive compared to making cassettes. “You can only buy 100 minimum so you got to have the right bands for it” he adds.
Balancing the costs also important and one the label has done very well. They have another vinyl release in the works, a 7″ by Chuman in which a fundraiser was arranged at the Exchange to raise funds for the release.
Another strong point for the label is bringing together a community of creative musicians and allowing them to express themselves in their own manner. Overall, Breakfast Records has showcased a tasty mix of sounds ranging from lo-fi indie, loud pop, grunge, garage and guitar rock. Both their compilation releases and live shows are great avenues for new artists to get involved with the label. “We usually say ‘let’s get them in for a gig’ and see if they’re good live and how they play, or if the artist has really good songs we get them in on a compilation.” says Dan.
It’s been a whole year since Breakfast Records opened to the world and already they have achieved a lot in a short period of time. Looking forward, the label will be celebrating their first birthday on 20th May with a live show and special edition compilation release titled Elevenses – involving 11 artists they have worked covering their favourite tracks. The release will lead with Bristol artist Nugget’s cover of Human Bones’ ‘Watermelon’. On top of this, the label have further plans for more events, such as weekenders and festivals, as well as expanding to other cities including Oxford and Manchester. Overall, Breakfast Records ethos of working with artists and building a community for them to thrive in will no doubt deliver more opportunities for everyone involved. “The overall thing is to support the artists that we’ve released already, get them even bigger and hopefully bring more success to them as well.” says Dan.
Breakfast Records first Birthday show takes place at the Hour Space on 20th May, featuring live performances from Human Bones, Nugget, Grapefruit Moon, Fuzzy Plums and Cagework. Grab your tickets here and check out the compilations leading single ‘Watermelon’.