For the past week, we've been getting to know the labels taking part in the Label Mates II Festival at the Shacklewell Arms. Taking a step behind the brilliant bands to the people that help them function, next up on the list is 7 Eye Records.

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When did it start?

March 2014.

How did it start?

There had been a lot of discussion within our band about starting up a label, although we didn't actually do anything about it until we were ready to put our first EP out. We were such an unknown band that even the support and encouragement we had from small labels wasn't enough for them to invest in us. So we ran a pop up bar in a festival and rinsed it! We made enough money to release the record. Since then, a whole new area within the music scene is opening up and we feel excited to look at it from a new perspective.

What was your first release?

Our band H.Grimace's 10" - but I don't think we're just going to work with musicians on this label. We commissioned Chris Wright - a brilliant illustrator - to do our Label Launch Poster and have just printed some awesome t-shirts with Peter Kennard's collage work, and he is an absolute legend and inspiration. He has produced hundreds of Anti Weapons, Anti War imagery, harrowing environmental, and political work for over 40 years. He donated his image to us for our Labels first t-shirt print, so the money on this occasion with these t-shirts will go to the Gaza Crisis Appeal.

What's the best thing about running a label?

Contacting people you wouldn't have dreamed of contacting before without some sort of kudos or special reason. Before we started the label I wrote to one of my favourite bands and asked if we could release something of theirs, to my surprise they replied and we spent several weeks working out how our tiny label could do anything for them. It ended up that we just couldn't afford to release their music. But the fact that we were punching way above our weight on this particular project, and we were still able to get quite far in the process, that just inspired us more to start the label.

Number one challenge when running a label?

That dirty word which I will express through the medium of $$$***!!@@?@>@£££!! But the beauty of having none of it is you are hella creative and people actually end up doing things for free, because they support the cause and its not just about $$$!

What artists are you guys spinning the most at the moment?

Personally I'm getting back into some good ol' Country music! Its been noisy in my ears for about the last six years! It will probably continue ringing forever, which is fine, but the flipside when you get in some slide and mellow discordant guitars basically floats my boat. I know we have both enjoyed J Mascis' new record, and Los Cripis, not to mention the new Grimm Grimm material live is exquisite.

What do you look for in a new artist?

The next artist we work with, there just has to be a massive connection you have with it, that you feel, and it needs to be heard. This is a personal association which won't be the same for everyone, and it certainly isn't what I think will sell! This makes the whole process of selling records problematic, but I'd like to think the next artist we release would have that affect on me - that I felt I had to own and that I would put it out.

7 Eye Records take over the Shacklewell Arms tonight (August 27th). More info can be found here.