We’re in a bit of an indie label frenzy. For the last few weeks we’ve been paying homage to some of Australia’s best indie labels, from I OH YOU, to RIP Society, to Rice Is Nice, but it looks like we got so caught up in the little fish, we overlooked some of the big guns. Here are four massive indie record labels that you should definitely know about, and if you don’t, you really need to reassess where you think your music is coming from.
Round Three. Last time round we dove a little deeper into great Australian indie record labels, but in our passionate frenzy over the little guys, we may have overlooked a few of the big guns.
You’ll excuse us for overlooking Inertia in our previous two lists because these guys do so much goddamn work with so many goddamn good artists, it’s hard to be believe they still work as an independent entity. Inertia kicked off back in 2000, spearheaded by Ashely Sellers. In the decade and a half since, Inertia has become a roided-up, multi-armed music company which has its fingers in everybody’s pies. Working in conjunction with some of the most respected indie labels around the world like Sub Pop, Jagjaguwar, Warp Records and Matador, plus a bunch of awesome Aussie labels (a few already on these lists) dealing with promotion, licensing, distribution and publishing. Got a favourite band? Inertia have probably dealt with them. They also own a bunch of in-house labels like POD and work alongside it’s sister company Handsome Tours, who have probably also toured your favourite band at some point. My fingers hurt.
Remote Control was built from the ground up in 2001 by two veterans of Aussie music, Harvey Saward, who was head of A&R at Shock Records for a decade, and Steve Cross, who was GM at Festival Mushroom Records. Combining their equally vehement desire to bring under-appreciated music to the forefront in Australia. Working, like Inertia, with some of the most well-renown international labels, Remote Control have released records from the Pixies to the Prodigy, The Cocteau Twins to Vampire Weekend. Also like Inertia, they work in conjunction with other Aussie indies, providing services to the likes of Milk! and Flightless. Australian music is pretty much just one big indie label love in.
Liberation has a long, winding past, due mosty to it’s reverred top dog, Michael Gudinski. Now owner of the overarching Mushroom Group, Gudiski formed Liberation Records after the sale of his Mushroom Records to Festival Records (which became Festival Mushroom Records – see above – it’s all very confusing, I don’t even want to go there). The label has had a few rocky moments in the past, with problems arising to do alleged copyright infringements. Nevertheless the label had been a pillar for releasing killer Aussie music for more than two decades, putting out records for The Creases, Vance Joy, The Holidays, The Temper Trap and The Angels.
It’s probably no coincidence that all that labels have their roots firmly planted around the turn of millennium, I just can’t figure out what that coincidence is just yet. Dew Process was started back in 2002 by Paul Piticco who once managed Powderfinger and organising Splendour In The Grass and promoting Falls Fest. Like the above, Dew Process has stretched its arms far past putting out scrappy cassettes for their mate’s garage bands. The label work closely with Secret Sounds (run by Piticco) with touring, and Create/Control, another indie label run by Piticco. The label have worked with everyone from The Strokes and Mumford and Sons in some way, shape or form, and have spearheaded the prominent rise of indie artists like Tkay Maidza and Last Dinosaurs. Piticco must be pretty bloody happy with himself.