Very excited about the excellent looking series of limited run 12" vinyls from the FatCat sister label, Palmist. Each record supports two complimenting musical artists (e.g. Lotus Plaza & Odonis Odonis) to every disc and the duality provides an interesting aesthetic crux to the all-things-considered, “democratic” music package – art-worked by London-based illustrator, James Cartwright. The label is independently run from Brighton by Dan Falvey with collaborative music-sourcing efforts from Edward Parkinson. We threw a few questions their way and here’s what we got back…
The identity and the artwork is clearly influenced by the twin nature of the releases – what can you tell us about the making-of and why it’s better than band-by-band artwork?
James: The sleeve design is essentially a stylised version of the logo. As a brand new label producing limited runs of records it would have been really easy for us to get lost on store shelves, so it was important that the label have its own strong identity. Keeping the same design across the split series means that we, rather than the bands, have control over the look and feel of the label. It was also really important that both artists were presented on an equal platform, so the design can be rotated, which keeps things democratic. Down the line we’ll be putting out albums and I’ll be working with the artists to ensure that they get artwork that reflects their personality but is also recognisably Palmist.
The label dedicates itself to “artists we love and think more people should hear about”, so why is vinyl the best vehicle for that?
Dan: I think one of the artists we have worked with (Meg from U.S. Girls) said it best – “I don’t know anything about lasers.” I just like the fact that fundamentally I understand roughly how vinyl works that, despite all of our lasers and technology, it hasn’t been bettered. CD’s are obsolete. I have a degree of affection for them as the medium I most bought music in in my teens, but ultimately they are horrible looking chunks of plastic that sit on shelves now. If nothing else a 12" provides a canvas for an artists to do something beautiful with and I’ve always thought artwork is important to a release, however shallow that might be. We provide download codes so that people can put the release on their ipod anyway, but we want to give people something to hold and cherish. Something that, ultimately, they might sit down with, put the needle to the record and genuinely listen to – rather than lost amongst a shuffle function and a pressing game of Angry Birds.
How do you go about finding the musician/artists and what’s the reason for teaming them up on releases?
Ed: From the very beginning when Dan asked me to become involved with the label, the core idea was to produce a split series. It’s a format that we love, and a chance to pair two bands that we think work well together on the same record – there’s something in that unity that I find very satisfying. Also, it’s a cost-efficient way of releasing as much music as possible.
In terms of finding the artists that we end up working with, it’s as mixed a process as you’d expect. Dan and I listen to all demos that are sent to the label and spend unhealthy amounts of time clicking around on the internet discovering whatever we can. Aside from outside direction and getting to shows, we basically try our luck. It’s a massive thrill to get the OK from an artist that you’ve listened to on the bus 100 times, and kind of surreal.
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