In 2012, two close friends in London decided to start an independent record label. It was named Schlimbum Records. The two young musicians and also childhood friends, Dydy Haynes and Minky Trèsvain founded this record company in order to release music produced within London’s punk scene and by peers of the two. Recently the company was re-branded and is now called Scratch Rock Records.
As I have enjoyed the music which was released via Schlimbum Records, as well as it’s a locally based record company, I was interested about the background of re-branding 7 years after the establishment and their future. So recently I asked Minky Trèsvain who is also a vocalist and guitarist of London rock band Brain Ape, if he could talk to me about the label. Here is it;
Hello, Minky! It’s great to have you again.
Hi Teri. It’s good to be here.
We normally talk about your band Brain Ape. But today we’re talking about your record label. First of all, would you mind telling us the reason why you started your own label originally, back in 2012?
Back then, Brain Ape was getting ready to release its first single. To do that, we’d signed to a really small indie label in London. I believe we were their first signing. To cut a very long story short, they missed the release date for the single, so naturally we fell out with them. We released the single ourselves, and after about six months of dealing with the admin of releasing music, printing the CDs ourselves as we used to back in the day, and generally taking care of most sides of the release process, we sat back and thought to ourselves that
there was no reason to be looking for another label. Why not just do it ourselves? So we started the record company.
That was unfortunate, then fortunate! Recently, your label was re-branded, and now it’s called Scratch Rock Records.
That’s right. Although we’ll always hold our early years close to our hearts, we’ve changed a lot as a company and as people. We wanted a name to better reflect that.
Okay. To re-brand, is there anything you found to be necessary?
We’re not business people at all. We’re musicians. A lot of the business side does not come naturally to us in the slightest, and so a lot of research was necessary. And then there’s the complicated paperwork, which as a team of only 6 currently in the company was a hurdle that needed tackling. We could have just jumped over it, but we decided to take it head on. Other than that, we’ve just found that letting people know that the company is still around,
just under a different name, has been very important. But those who were already interested have taken the time to notice the name change, and have kept up to date with our social media, which I hope has made the whole process clear enough for everyone.
What are you aiming for? What can Scratch Rock Records do as an independent label and is there something you’re doing that’s different to other labels?
I don’t think we’re any different to most other small indie labels. We care about our artists, and want to do what we can to help them achieve their goals. The most important thing we can do as a label is respond to the market as quickly and efficiently as possible.
I suppose being a musician yourself, you understand more what needs to be done for those musicians. How did the name come about?
The name is a throwback to an old joke I made as a teenager. I was in a band at the time, and an interviewer asked us what kind of music we made. I suppose I was being cheeky, and I replied with the first nonsense that came to me, “scratch rock”. After that moment, it became a recurring joke amongst our friends. Fast forward almost a decade, and when we knew that we wanted to change the name of the record company to something that people could remember, spell, and pronounce, and to something that we felt represented us as people, that name just stuck.
You are not wrong! Who is signed to Scratch Rock Records at the moment, and are you planning to sign any bands and musicians right now or in the near future?
At the moment, we have a handful of bands. Brain Ape is obviously signed to the company, but we treat that band like all the others on the label. A lot of people assume that we’re biased towards it, but we try very hard not to be. Thankfully, the other members of our team are very, very good at making sure my head doesn’t get too big, which probably explains why my head is physically so small. But other acts include bands like Sol’s side project, A Twisted Carnival, my sister as a solo artist, Alien Autopsy, just to name a few. And yes, we’re very open to talking to new bands. As a company at the moment, we’ve survived the dreaded first few years of any new business, and we’re focused on not over-expanding rapidly. That’s the death of any organisation. But so is stagnation. So we’re being very picky and choosy with whom we sign, but that’s not to say that we’re not open to discussions. We tend to sign people with crazy ideas, rather than sign musicians of specific genres. I think that’s why our back-catalogue is becoming quite eclectic as time goes on.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Only that I’m really excited about our recent partnership with the Haringey Huskies. They’re a North London ice hockey team and we’ve been striking up a relationship for the best part of this year, so it feels great to finally be able to talk about it. They’re a great bunch of people, with a fantastic sense of community and family spirit, and we’re very happy to be working with them for this upcoming season. So if any of your readers are based in North London, come down to the Alexandra Palace for one of the Huskies’ home games. We’ll be there, and we’ll have to grab a pint together and watch some excellent ice hockey.
Thanks for taking a time and talking to us today.
Cheers, Teri. A pleasure as always.
– Teri Morris