I first met Dave from Art is Hard when he came to a house show at ours sometime last October. He seemed pretty chilled, but I didn’t realise he ran the label till a few months later. He runs it with Rich, and they’ve released some pretty cool records over the past three years, including new material from Joey Fourr, Joanna Gruesome, Best Friends and loads of others on a range of formats, by far the most popular being the Bi-Weekly 5” Pizza Club, a pizza decorated CD-R which came in a pizza box. Mmm pizza.
I guess we should begin with some Cilla Black: What’s your name and where do you come from?
My name’s David and I run Art Is Hard from my Exeter bedroom
Cool! What made you want to run an independent record label from your bedroom?
The allure of cocaine and hookers. Ha! Unfortunately, no. The boring and real answer is that we had a dissatisfaction with everything else that was currently out there. Outside our very tiny circle, no one cared about the local bands we loved and we’d had enough of watching all the other labels release music on outdated and redundant formats.
And how do you feel that it’s going?
Haha, sorry. That question brought back memories of awkward family gatherings: “how do you not know how much profit you’ve made?!” It’s going pretty well though, we were label of the week in the relaunched NME recently and we’ve got some really exciting things planned for 2014. It’s a constant frustration not being able to fit the label alongside full time jobs but that’s probably part of what makes it so enjoyable.
So you recently released your 36 track Bleed in Gold cassette for Cassette Store Day and you had the rather successful Art is Hard Pizza Club, have you got any other slightly left-field releases planned?
Hopefully before christmas we’re releasing a band’s EP as a scarf and then we’ve got a couple more things we want to try out. One of the ideas we’re really keen on is giving people a way to be able to buy a release at a gig and listen to it on the way home. At the moment we’re looking at badges that double up as mp3 players.
A scarf? How does that work?
Well, it doesn’t play the songs, but it will come with a download code. We figured people mainly listen to mp3s anyway so we may as well give them something warm and tangible to go with their intangible data files.
Ahh, that makes sense. What do you think of Alcopop’s fancy new fixie compilation?
Someone tweeted at me saying “music need never remind me of exercise. I can’t wait ’til @artishardrecs release their next compilation as a car.” Might buy a couple of Peugeot’s and stick a little Art Is Hard sticker on. Ha, no. It’s very fancy indeed, it’s exciting enough seeing someone wearing one of your own t-shirts so I imagine seeing someone ride past on a bike you’ve released being pants-shittingly exciting.
How do you come up with such oddball formats for records? Have you got an infinity/doomsday machine to help you as you continue your day job?
I just had to wiki doomsday machine to check exactly what it was, ended up in a wiki hole and i’m now looking at plots for the eighth season of the Simpsons. It’s kind of appropriate as I imagine a lot of ideas come from spending too long scouring various corners of the internet.
Where did wikipedia take you?
Doomsday device > Simpsons episode You Only Move Twice > Albert Brooks > Back To The Episode > Simpsons season 8. Not particularly exciting or even a hole, more of a wiki ditch.
I know it’s dark, but this is my favourite wiki, what’s yours?
Easy question: Heaven’s Gate.
I’m definitely going to delve into that later.
Maddest thing I’ve ever read. I love how I was able to find it on Google by searching reebok suicide cult and they were actually wearing nikes.
You should read some David Icke then! He’s my fav. Also Alex Jones.
Always heard good things. Where to start though?
This should get you going. Madmen aside, what is it with indie bands at the moment who misname themselves after other musicians? Radstewart, Joanna Gruesome, Com Truise. Don’t these names suck a bit?
Haha two of those are ours! The first time you see them it’s a bit “oh god, not another one…” but band names are a finite concept and I don’t really want to have to listen to anymore the noun bands.
I suppose. It must be pretty difficult to choose a genuinely good band name. So speaking of Radstewart, we’ve asked you to choose a few tracks from bands you’re into at the moment. Could you name and explain them for us…
Ok well I met the Radstewart guys at SWN festival in Cardiff (the day after your house show actually) and about 10 months later they uploaded their debut EP to their Bandcamp. It sounded very much like Pavement which was pretty much the band me and Rich bonded over, with this in mind it felt only right that we should fall in love with them.
Rice Milk are a band from somewhere up north, as soon as they recorded their first couple of tracks they posted them in this big Facebook group called ‘UK EMO SCENE’ or something, which led to multiple people telling me to listen to them on the same day. This track is from their second EP which they’ve just released on ASDFG records on a matchbox cassette, it’s ace!
Hockeysmith are two girls from Cornwall, they seem like they’re trying to do the whole mysterious thing, it works though because their music is sort of dark and pulsing and you don’t really want to know much about them, you’re just happy to know they exist.
Rad. And what can we expect from AiH in the next few months?
Is that like crocodile rock but for the energy drink age?
Haha i’m not sure exactly what it is. I know we’ve got a lot of releases lined up and not enough months.
Very exciting! Any exclusives?
We’re doing a four way split 12″ with Joey Fourr, Pinact, Poledo and Radstewart. It’s going to have four different interlinking covers and I think it might just be my favourite release so far!
Ace, thanks very much dude!