Ipswich: Oh Mercy! New record label launch at town hall’s chamber rooms

Busking for Breakfast by Alex Potter

Busking for Breakfast by Alex Potter - Credit: Archant

When Pete Thompson, aka play_rewind_eject, came up with the idea of running his own record label nobody went ‘you idiot’, they went ‘what a great idea’. Now Oh Mercy! Records, originally set-up to release his own solo albums, is expanding to help fledging artists navigate the sometimes muddy waters of the music business.

Sound Menagerie

Sound Menagerie - Credit: Archant

“I got back into playing acoustically locally, going to a few open mic nights, and realised the breadth of talent, the amount of different genres, in a town that’s quite small,” says Pete, who has been involved in the local music scene since around 2002 when he moved here from Yorkshire.

Ocasan

Ocasan - Credit: Archant

During his 10-years with the band Hayze they enjoyed a bit of success; a management deal, almost signed a record deal, released several EPs and did a couple of UK Tours.

“A lot of the musicians I was speaking to were saying ‘we write this music but we don’t really know how to promote it, release it’. A lot of these bands are very talented and can write some good songs. They go ‘where do I go now, we could start a Facebook site, Twitter...’ unfortunately there are a lot of fraudsters on the web - I’ve been a recipient of people like that who say ‘just pay us this’ and it’s very easy to get sucked in and then realise there’s nothing at the end of it.

“Because I’d built up quite a good set of contacts over the past 10 years, from master engineers that had worked with people like U2 and producers who worked with Primal Scream to mixing engineers who worked with Oasis the idea of the label is very much to work with them and promote their releases through the contacts I’ve built up. I’ve also got a number of local creative types involved too - it’s very much a collective.”

These include contacts and venues expert Mischa Pearson, who runs @Live and is also lead vocalist and guitarist with recent signing Busking for Breakfast; video and social media expert Jamie Breckenbridge and singer-songwriter Tony Shevlin who’ll be helping bands develop their songwriting skills and sharing his licensing skills. Rounding out the team is Peter Maher, whose Brighton mastering agency Top Floor music boasts quite the client list.

Oh Mercy! Records will offer everything from band development, recording and mastering to planning a promotional campaign or digitally distributing the music.

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It’s already signed Cambridge-based Sound Menagerie and local folk band Busking for Breakfast, both of which will be releasing singles in the new year. Now he’s on the look-out for more.

“People say but what style of music (am I looking for) and I say anything; it’s a really broad church. If I get the music and there’s something in it that interests me and then I meet the person and they’re as enthusiastic about their end...,” says Pete, who’s signed up with the BPI, PPL and PRS, ensuring all the tracks are properly registered and copyrighted.

To officially launch the label, it’s taking over the chamber rooms of Ipswich town hall from 7.30pm on Friday, November 29. Playing will be Busking for Breakfast, Rusty Boxx and headliners Ocasan.

Pete, who plans to hold regular open mic and networking nights too, describes Busking as folk rock with elements of Mumford and Sons and Rusty as folky acoustic.

“I thought let’s start with a very strong representation of what’s going on at a lot of gigs up and down the coast and then thought end with a big band (Milton Keynes rock outfit Ocasan). Plus I thought it’s quite an eclectic mix and shows the label’s not got any prejudices against being acoustic or on your own.

“I’d say if people read this and are quite interested then don’t worry about the music you make; just send me your stuff and a little bit about what you do and I promise to follow up with everyone, it might not be right away but I definitely will. I get one thing and think ‘right, I don’t know what that is but I like it’... I have to sit for a while and think ‘where would I send that, I know I’ve got to send it somewhere (because) I love it’.”

Tickets for Friday’s gig are £3 from Music World in Ipswich and The Eight Bells in Hadleigh or £4 on the door. They’re also available in advance from www.ohmercyrecords.net, including a free MP4 from Sound Menagerie. For details on how to submit your music, check out the website.

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