ATP Recordings was created in 2001, initially to bring out a compilation CD of the Tortoise-curated ATP Festival. A promotional sampler of this release was given to everyone who attended the festival, with the full CD following later. In total, the label has released 8 ATP compilations so far, including the Matt Groening festival in 2005, and Nightmare Before Christmas in 2006 (which was given away in association with Plan B Magazine). In 2002, the label expanded from compilations to actual releases, with the first of these being Timbre Hollow by Threnody Ensemble. Over the last 10 years ATP Recordings has boasted releases by Bardo Pond, The Magic Band, Jackie-O Motherfucker, Deerhoof, White Out, Apse, Alexander Tucker, Death Vessel, The Drones, Fuck Buttons, Fursaxa, The Scientists, Sleepy Sun, Built To Spill and Autolux. In 2007, the label released a series of double 7” singles under the banner Custom Made, in which bands chose four songs that fit into the categories of something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. So far The Drones, Alexander Tucker and Deerhoof have all been involved in this project. The most talked about/sought after ATP release, however, has to be the collectors’ edition of Spiritualized’s Ladies And Gentleman We Are Floating In Space. It included a track-by-track rendering of the album on 12 3” mini CDs in a blister pack, in tribute to the original release, and also contained 2 bonus CDs of demos, instrumental versions and session mixes that took place during the recording process. Each of the 1,000 copies available contained a prescription that was numbered and signed by J Spaceman himself, and in a stroke of what can only be described as pure genius, ATP Recordings offered anyone who pre-ordered this release the option of having their name (or a name of their choice) printed on this prescription. So far this year, ATP Recordings has released Strange Tourist by Gareth Liddiard and Deerhoof vs. Evil by Deerhoof. We caught up with Barry Hogan, the brains behind not only the record label but the entire ATP entity, for a bit of a chat. The first thing I associate with you is the Bowlie weekender at Camber Sands, and the history books don’t seem to go back any further. What did you do beforehand and how did you get involved in Bowlie? I was promoting under the moniker Foundation, named after a skate boarding brand that I used to like back in the mid 90's. I used to go to to Rough Trade when it was in Covent garden and then the skate shop above Slam City. I loved skating but was terrible at it - I was into a lot of the culture but not so much some of the shite music that goes with the scene. I started out promoting shows after working as a booker in the venue Dingwalls and realised putting on bands like Placebo and The Lighthouse Family for the venue was pretty unfulfilling so I decided to start a promotions company that only put on shows by bands I liked and not what was popular. My first show on my own was Tortoise at the Electric Ballroom in Sept '96 and I started from there doing the likes of Smog and Belle & Sebastian who approached me with the idea of doing Bowlie weekender with them in 1999. The event was designed initially to be an annual affair but the Belles decided they wanted to keep their involvement in the event unique and I said - with their blessing - I would like to continue the event under a new name of All Tomorrow's Parties and focus on the concept of inviting a curator to select the line up each time. I had helped the Belles put together Bowlie and it was created with input from both sides so it was a good starting block for what we went onto do. You seem to put a lot of weight on the personality / attitude of the bands. Has this lead to disappointment and the omission of bands who you would have otherwise jumped at? (I'm thinking here of Black Lips, for example) We designed ATP to be an event where we treat people like we would like to be treated. Some bands have come and acted like idiots and we don't invite them back unless they change their tune. Its disappointing when you get bands that turn up with egos and attitudes as that is not what the festival is about. We try to help abolish that by not having a VIP area so that the bands and fans can hang together and go and enjoy the music and films on offer. Apart from yourself and Deborah Kee Higgins, who are the unsung heroes in the ATP family? Yes there are our faithful team who work on the events tirelessly. Our full time staff include Shaun Kendrick who is the production maestro. Rosalynde Roberts who is the label manager and also oversees all the office and is a huge backbone for us. Sim O'Farrell looks after the label (with Deborah and Ros) looking after production for the records as well as being our resident Screwfix. Jamie Summers does all the online marketing and is the ATP web magician - well on his way to being an internet elder, James King is our inhouse design chap, Woody Woods, our latest recruit, does press and marketing, our accounts are done by Andrew Slee and the atp backend webmaster is Blake Williams. You announced last week that the forthcoming Animal Collective curated ATP festival would be the last Spring ATP festival for the foreseeable future. Could you explain the decision behind this? Yes we seem to have caused a big reaction when we announced this and emotions seem to range from being genuinely upset to also very angry. The decision was not made lightly - we have been wrestling with it for at least 12 months. It was not something we decided on Weds morning and announced that same afternoon. A lot of thought went into it, regardless of what people think. Unfortunately the numbers in May have diminished over the past 3 years. We thought if we did just one event in May it would work but that didn't seem to help much either. I think folks now have too much choice and also in spring it's high season at the holiday resort so the rates are much higher than they are in December. I do realise the weather is bound to be nicer in May but it's not like the venue is outdoors. Some suggested we should do one in December and one in May but it's just not cost effective in May any longer unless we raised the ticket price by £25 which I doubt anyone would want to pay. I think ATP has been very fortunate to have lasted so long and in order for us to keep it going we are looking to staging the December line ups for the foreseeable future. We can probably re-introduce the Spring at some point but for now, rather than to keep losing money we are going to make sure we survive the congested festival climate and keep the standard maintained for the next few years. Do you get to go to many gigs that aren't ATP associated? A few, but to be honest, as much as I love music we get so busy running ATP we don't get to see as many bands as we'd like to. What's your favourite gig this year so far? I was in Australia in January and saw the Dirty Three play a benefit for the Melbourne Radio DJ on RRR called Stephen Walker. It was so great and the D3 are one of my favourite bands around. Every show of theirs is entertaining, but they were particularly on form that night - from Warren's elegant and funny banter to the music that is like a fine wine that gets better with age. We also saw Deerhunter in Melbourne which was amazing too.
Remember to come back tomorrow for part two of our ATP Label Profile/Interview, as well as an interview with Animal Collective and lots more! A huge thanks goes out to Geoff Morey who helped Hannah Morgan with the interview