Julia Mason introduces us to this Scottish not-for-profit record label and talks to Hadda Be - one of the bands who are on it
We have railed against the major record labels and their egregious business model in several of our blogs and podcasts. We recently released our own manifesto to highlight our ethical, inclusive and collectivist approach. Now, thanks to our Scottish correspondent Julia Mason, we have discovered this gem which needs to be heralded.
Last Night From Glasgow (LNFG), unsurprisingly based in Glasgow, is a remarkable, award winning, not-for-profit record label.
LNFG Mission Statement “A patron funded not for profit record label, we are an ethics first business who believe in gender equality and fair pay for all.” Nicely put. Founded in 2016 by Ian Smith as a non-profit patronage model, it runs on two main guiding principles: (a) they do not run the business to generate profits (b) the majority of label funding comes from patrons. LNFG use all memberships and donations to fund manufacture, distribution and promotion. This means that artist costs can be funded without having to recover those costs from sales. Currently there are almost 600 patrons worldwide, an achievement in such a short time. They have released over 50 records. There are three membership levels - Silver, Gold and Platinum with a range of benefits. For example, for £111 the latter gives you 7 new vinyl releases, 6 previous vinyl releases, discounts on events, access to the access to digital vault and loads more LNFG don’t stop there. There are 3 offshoots:
Komponist an experimental label sourcing and supporting the kind of music that wouldn’t normally get a commercial release.
Past Night From Glasgow (PNFG) which releases classic albums from Glasgow's past. Currently this includes amongst others: Hipsway, Love and Money, The Bluebells, Trashcan Sinatras. However they are currently taking orders for the re-release of The Skids debut LP Scared to Dance due in early 2022. A second LP of bonus tracks is included.
Last Night From Glasgow Hive (LNFGH) which like LNFG is a non-profit, but is not patron funded - rather artists on LNFGH enjoy earning 100% of release profits.
Hadda Be (pitched between infectiously melancholic indie-pop and angular, post-punk inflected stomps) are a Brighton and South East London band who released their album Another Life earlier this year on LNFG. I had a chat with the drummer Oliver Wareham about being signed to LNFG and their experience of being on the label.
How did Hadda Be (FKA Foundlings) come to the attention of Last Night From Glasgow and subsequently be signed by them?
Ian, who founded the label, was reading through the music blog the Devil Has The Best Tuna sometime in 2018 and came across our track Horizon, which we’d just released. I think, at the time, he likened it to “Fleetwood Mac fronted by Sarah Cracknell”, which must be a good thing for him as he got in touch shortly afterwards to ask if we wanted to work with LNFG. Myself and Amber were sharing a joint Facebook account at the time, so I think it may have been a bit of a mystery as to which of us he was actually talking to.
Coincidently, Amber was working in the Shetland Islands for a few months and I was going to visit her. On the way back down South, we stopped by Ian’s flat in Glasgow and, over some delicious Lorne sausage butties, we agreed a timeline to release our debut EP and our first full-length album, which went on to be called Another Life.
Were there any challenges being signed to a label that was at the other end of the country?
I think there are both positive and negative things to the lack of proximity. For both LNFG and Hadda Be, it’s a chance to extend our reach into different areas within the UK. We now have fans in Scotland who may not have heard of us otherwise, and us being in London and Brighton raises LNFG’s profile down here too.
Although in many ways it would be nice to be closer to our label, and be able to meet up in person (predominantly in a pub-based setting, I would imagine), the pandemic has highlighted how easy it is to feel connected and work with people far away. In the build up to the album, we had a few Zoom meetings to discuss plans, which were very useful, whereas in the past a couple of us would’ve gone up to Glasgow to meet in person. We do love those Glasgow trips though and we’re hoping to go up there to gig as soon as possible.
I think part of being able to survive as a band nowadays is being able to respond to challenges in a positive way and make the most of the situation you’re in. We’re so used to our label being up in Glasgow now that it’s not something we really think about a great deal; we’ve found a way of making it work and we’re happy with it.
LNFG operate as a non-profit patronage with almost 600 patrons worldwide. What benefits does this give you as an artist on a label with this model?
The model that LNFG operate within is remarkable and a really positive step in how music fans support independent artists. The fact that 600 people (from across the world) are willing, enthusiastically so, to forgo the perceived standard of just signing up to a streaming service and, instead, invest their hard-earned cash in the future of new artists is a breath of fresh air in today’s industry.
What you get when you sign to LNFG is a loyal and passionate fanbase straight away: the kind of people who see that music doesn’t drop out of thin air; that it’s the dedication and perseverance of the artists who supply music that makes it happen, often at great personal and financial expense.
I don’t know the ins and outs of how it works on a financial basis, but the money that’s generated goes straight back into the new acts, which is a very positive thing. The recent addition of the Past Night From Glasgow sub-label (specialising in re-releases) has also helped in this way. As I’m sure everyone who’s involved in LNFG would agree, it’s all about bringing through that next wave of bands and artists, whilst counteracting an industry status-quo that hasn’t benefited new artists for a long time. It’s a real privilege to be part of that group.
Hadda Be released debut album Another Life on 30 April 2021. Can you tell us a little about the challenges of writing, recording and releasing the album during the pandemic?
Writing-wise, we had the whole thing ready to go before the pandemic hit the UK - although it certainly looked on the horizon and it was during the time that the government were burying their heads in the sand. We were originally booked to record in March, then that got pushed back to July. We were finally able to record it in September when the restrictions had loosened.
We’ve said before that it wouldn’t be the album that it is without those delays. The relief and joy that we were actually able to make the thing are palpable in the record. We also were able to carry on tweaking the songs, even writing new songs, right up until the last minute - I think that sense of spontaneity and creativity is something you can hear on the record too.
Most of the songs have taken on new meanings in light of the pandemic. I’d say that’s most obvious with Nurse’s Song, our love letter to the NHS, but on the other tracks too - those feelings of frustration, needing to escape, not trusting or having faith in those in power.
In terms of releasing an album during the pandemic, it’s certainly strange, but I think those themes and subjects that I mentioned have so much relevance now; exploring ideas and thoughts that many in society are considering deeply due to all the failings we’ve seen over the last year and a half. Of course it’s been frustrating not being able to tour the album yet, but it’ll feel brilliant when we eventually can.
Do you have gigs in the planning so that you can tour the album?
We do! Sadly the Austerity Records all-dayer in St. Leonards has just been postponed due to some of the bands having to self-isolate, but we’ve got quite a few shows to look forward to. We’re playing RivFest in Warrington on the 7th of August, the Green Door Store in Brighton on the 22nd, and our delayed album launch show at the Victoria in London on the 10th September.
We’ve got other stuff booked in too, and more shows to be announced, so people can head to our social media pages to follow us and keep up to date with live dates. We really can’t wait to get back out there again and get these songs in front of people, finally.
Hadda Be are:
Amber Price – Vocals Ben Richards – Bass Matthew Sykes - Guitar
Olly Wareham - Drums
Hadda Be on Instagram