Isaac Ashby spoke to Razz this week about his fresh-thinking label Wake, the current state of the UK’s alternative scene, and DIY ethics. He certainly had some things to say! Check out Wake here and make sure you look out for part two (to be published tomorrow!).
Hello! Let’s get down to business. What is Wake? What do you do?
Hey there! Well, at this point in our very short time existing I suppose you could call us an independent record label. It’s a difficult question to answer right now as we’ve so much beyond just releasing music on our horizons, but not enough yet to comfortably justify me stepping into the big boy title of ‘Culture Collective’. Currently we’re releasing music on physical formats, booking tours for our friends bands, putting on all day house shows at mine, and beginning to develop a small roster of bands we can support and generally do the things I believe a label should do to help guide artists along their musical career.
What inspired you to start the label? Do you differ from the other small labels out there?
One day it just hit me that from playing in bands, going to shows, and generally meeting a ton of new friends through this and the internet that I was surrounded by a blossoming community of creative, passionate people that were just like me, in the sense that they detested mainstream society and spoke a language that finally gave me a feeling of acceptance. I wanted to create a hub for all of my wonderful new friends to focus their talents, I wanted to give them a means of showcasing these talents and I wanted an excuse to help this community blossom further. I do try my best to be unique in what is now a vast ocean of hopeful bedroom labels releasing the odd cassette, and I like to think I’m on track to, if not already fulfilling that. Like I said before, my vision for Wake is to expand beyond just another DIY label, I want to be a focal point that covers every aspect of the scene.
Talk to me about DIY. What does it mean to you personally, and how does it guide what Wake does?
DIY is something I’m incredibly passionate about and I feel it carves a beautiful sense of personality into a product. I’m very much that guy that has to organise and oversee everything before I’m satisfied with it. I have so many aspirations for the future of Wake and I’m very dedicated to making sure they are attained, and to a standard that makes us something special. I don’t want to speak for other labels out there but you’d assume that the idea of having these DIY values would be to ‘stick it to the man’ or ‘fuck the system’ with all it’s greedy business types who’s only concern is the thickness of their wallet, and show the world that there is still raw animation in culture. Yeah, sure, maybe that does explain partly why I’m choosing this route, but I also like to do everything myself because I feel it’s the only way to allow things to progress and develop at the rate I’d like.
Wake seems celebrate creativity in other areas than music, such as visual art. How would you say the two work together?
Obviously I’d begin by saying they’re similar in a sense that they’re both a great means of self-expression. I’ve been raised in a family of artists, so art has always been with me and had made an impression on me from a young age. When I first came across the DIY scene I was quite surprised at how little art was mentioned let alone appreciated, and when I did discover freelance artists they would tend to be focusing on commissions for bands & events (which still seems to reign supreme) rather than work of their own. I suppose art is a very niche concept and often tricky to ‘get’, but no matter, I feel determined to ensure it has more of an impact on the scene and have even been toying with the idea exhibitions under the Wake umbrella in the long term.
by Joe Stewart, Razz Music Correspondent