INTERVIEW: SMELLY RECORDS
Updated: Oct 4
Leeds based arts collective and record company Smelly Records are setting a new name for themselves, as they begin to release articles of reviews, interviews and other features.
Directed by members of Fehlt and Little Hand Feet, amongst others, and having featured bands like Spacey Basement Cult and Roxy Girls, DRAB reached out to express our mutual interest in genres of this variety, all the while getting to know the Smelly Records crew, and their reasoning for the change in path.
DRAB: Hey guys, hope you're doing well; staying safe, sane and sanitised. We wanted to start off by asking what inspired the initial creation of Smelly Records?
Smelly Records: Well we were originally operating as Small Talk Collective, focusing more on putting on gigs rather than writing reviews etc but due to some legal issues we had to change our name. And then of course the lockdown happened so writing about music seemed the logical thing to do, as it’s likely that live music won’t be a thing for the foreseeable future, it all just fell in motion I suppose.
What was the original vision for Smelly Records?
Initially we imagined that we’d have a pretty even split between promoting some small gigs of artists we’re really passionate about and writing a bit about some of our favourite new releases from the local scene. Of course, due to recent events we’re only able to do one of those things so for the time being we’re just focusing on making sure that new artists get the attention on their releases we think they deserve. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll be releasing a record of our own!
Have you found it easy to fit into the diverse scene in Leeds?
Finding your own niche in Leeds definitely isn’t easy; with so many projects already establishing themselves and covering the different bases in the large music scene it's definitely daunting trying to figure out where you fit in at first, like you’re effectively trying to get people to listen to what you’ve got to say when no one really cares about you, and why should they! But we found that by being genuine and just showcasing the music that’s important to us, people will naturally gravitate to us and listen. So rather than perhaps choosing a specific sound or genre we want to push we just promote anything that takes our fancy really, it’s more natural like that I think; we all have different tastes between us so we can cover a wide variety of music. Basically, if it’s stinky...we’ll talk about it!
I see DRAB has a lot in common with Smelly, as we too love when some art gives off a raw stench. What caused you to start writing features?
Like I said, it just seemed the obvious choice really. We obviously can’t put on any gigs for the next few months but we can still write about all the music that’s coming out. It seems that a lot of artists have seized this opportunity to release new material now that nobody has anything else to do so it also made sense for us to try to cover it all.
There’s always a lot of new and exciting things happening in Leeds. Is there anything or anyone you’re particularly excited and interested by?
Personally, I’m looking forward to a lot of stuff my mates are going to be bringing out namely Honey Guide, Niall Summerton and Louis Sadler as I know they’ve either been furiously recording material over this lockdown or are planning on releasing music soon.
I'm also excited to get back out there myself, as my band 'Fehlt' had to postpone our tour due to the virus, so I can't wait for us to go out and rock again once restrictions are finally lifted.
You cover a fairly wide range of music from the post-punk revival sound of Roxy Girls to the wonky jazz of Spacey Basement Cult. Is there a common thread that you see going through all these bands?
To be honest not really as we plan on just covering all the music, we’re enjoying rather than following any kind of common style; one of us might be listening to a Jazz EP that we love and a review will go up, then the next day someone else might want to write about a new noise rock song or something like that. That being said, there is definitely a similarity between artists like Oh Papa and Honey Guide, that sort of soft sweet country pop vibe can expect to be seen a lot more as we can’t get enough of it at the moment.
Most of the people involved with both DRAB and Smelly Records aren’t originally from Leeds, and yet we’ve all fallen in love with it. Why do you think Leeds has such a pull?
Being from Leeds myself I guess I can’t say exactly, we all met at LCoM (you guys included I think?) so I guys we all came for the college and stayed for the scene. Neither DRAB nor Smelly Records seem to be focusing on the kind of music typically associated with LCoM so I suppose we’ve all just fallen in love with the different aspects of living here, be it the vast and varied music scene or the cheap Tetley's at Brude[nell Social Club].
We find that every day we discover something new to love about Leeds and its music culture. Are there any things you’d highlight to people who were new to the city or didn’t know anything about it?
I’d say definitely check out what’s going on at some of the smaller, independent venues: Wharf Chambers, CHUNK etc. as that seems to be where the most innovative/interesting music is happening
Are you open to submissions from people or do you only review/feature the things you like/find by yourself and want to feature?
Yeah, we’re open to submissions, although we might like to think we know about every new track worth listening to but a lot will undoubtedly slip through the cracks so if you think you’ve got the stank then send it to us and we’ll have a sniff.
DRAB have plans to eventually produce a zine, do you see Smelly Records ever going into print?
Not at the moment but who can say what the boredom will bring forth from the abyss.
Gentleman, thank you for your time and we’ll see you back in Leeds!
Smelly Records sent us some questions in return which we had the pleasure of answering
on their online blog here!
Writing by Luc Gibbons, Varun Govil and Summer Crane
In interview with Will Shuttleworth (Smelly Records)
You may have also seen 'Fehlt' crop up a couple of times during the interview. Well as luck would have it we had an in depth interview with them too! Click here to take a look!