We’re going to be sharing a 'label a day' with you in the lead up to the forthcoming Label Mates II six-day festival at the Shacklewell Arms. Taking a step behind the brilliant bands to the people that help them function, today's hit of label talk comes from Fika Recordings.


Home to:

This year Fika has put out records from Stanley Brinks (alongside both The Wave Pictures and Freschard), Making Marks, Cosines, Owl & Mouse and The Smittens. There are a bunch of artists I've worked with before and will again, including Darren Hayman, Fulhäst and Azure Blue. And then there are the ones that sadly got away, that fled the Fika nest... that'd be Tigercats, who's new album is an absolute stunner and coming out with the reliably great Fortuna Pop label.

When did it start?

Fika Recordings is quite a young label - it's first releases were in February 2011. Back then I knew nothing of how to run a label or release a record - I'm still not sure I know how you're 'supposed' to do it, but I'm quickly learning the ways that work really well for both Fika and it's artists.

How did it start?

Like all the best ideas, the label emerged from a long afternoon in the pub. Lisa Bouvier was looking for a label to release her latest EP. I'd missed being involved in music since moving down to London from Nottingham, where I'd been booking indie shows and DJing. Through a beery haze, the solution seemed obvious, and I've never looked back since.

What was your first release?

Not content with the complexity of learning how to release one record for the very first time, Fika actually launched with four releases at once. All were small runs of cassettes in handmade (i.e. hand printed, cut, folded, assembled, glued and numbered) sleeves, which meant during the weeks in the run up to the launch, the flat was lost under piles of semi assembled cassette sleeves, scalpels, glue and half drunk cups of tea. Those first releases came from Moustache Of Insanity (who were my first "you guys are bloody amazing, want to put out a record with me?" band), Horowitz (who're old friends from Nottingham), Lost Summer Kitten (a band who's demo I'd fallen in love with years earlier and played repeatedly at any given opportunity) and Lisa Bouvier (who was involved in those early, formative days of the label).

The best thing about running a label?

Everything about running a label is fantastic when you work with lovely people who're making wonderful music. There's nothing quite so exciting as sitting down and listening to the final mixes from the recording studio, coming across a wonderful and unexpected demo submission, or hearing a packed venue sing along to a record you've been working on for the past 12 months. But I enjoy the whole process - excuses for trips to the pub with my artists (or friends, as they are now) to discuss release plans, sneaking away from the day job to have a chat with the post office staff as I drop off another sackful of mail order, and the opportunity to get ambitiously creative in putting out beautifully packaged records.

Number one challenge when running a label?

Running a label is intensive - it requires lots of enthusiasm, love, money and time. While I've got plenty of the former two, it's heartbreaking to have to pass on a record you really want to put out when you just don't have enough of the latter two to give it everything it deserves. If only we weren't constrained by time or money...

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

I'm loving the new tracks from The Just Joans and Fever Dream that I'm hearing live at the moment, can't wait to hear those tracks recorded and on wax. Further afield, the latest LPs from from Todd Terje and Sally Shapiro have been getting a lot of time on the turntable at Fika HQ, the new Woods album is beautiful and I've got quite a large soft spot for everything Laura Cantrell puts out.

What do you look for in a new artist?

It's impossible to pin down really to anything easily categorisable, and while the artists Fika works with tend to be broadly tagged "indiepop", their sounds range from the anti-folk musings of Stanley Brinks, the scuzzy gameboy pop punk of Fulhäst to the 60s influenced 4-way harmonies of The Smittens. That said, I know instantly when I hear an artist I want to work with - they're the ones that make your heart race, bring tears to your eyes and a massive grin to your face - it's as simple as falling in love. And when you're that in love with an artist, the whole process of working on a record from initial ideas to release and after, with all the time and mundane admin it entails, becomes enthralling, exciting, a pleasure. That's what it is all about for Fika.


Stanley Brinks and The Wave Pictures - 'One Minute Of Darkness'


Stanley Brinks & Freschard - 'Take It Easy'


Making Marks - 'Forgive and Forget'


Cosines - 'Out Of The Fire'


Owl & Mouse - 'Don't Read The Classics'


The Smittens - 'Almost'