Hey Josh, how are you doing?
Very well thanks mate, how about you?
Not bad, just listening to some Patchwork Pirates so things could be worse.
Nice, I’m Fleetwood Mac’ing it.
Haha. Let’s start with the easy stuff, what does XVI stand for? I keep saying X-V-I in my head.
It is indeed XVI, it stands for Ten Against One. Roman numerals…
I clearly should have taken more Latin classes... How would you describe XVI to someone who’d never heard of it before?
The sound that we are pushing is a deep, spaced out, soulful one... Ranging from more avant garde downtempo beats, right up to more upbeat house and garage crossovers.
You’ve got a night up in Chester, called Lion Roar, and you’ve got your own label. You’re pretty busy for a 22-year-old...
Haha… Well idle time is the devil’s plaything after all. I think that in the music industry as it stands today, you really have to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty with all aspects of music: promoting parties, releasing music, managing artists... It’s one of the only ways to put across the true meaning of the music ideals you’re pushing…
Was there a point at which you realised, “Hey I need to be the person who’s finding the music and putting it out to people?” Or have you always kind of had that approach to music?
Hmm I think I’ve always been pretty selective about the music I listened to, when I first started out I was promoting punk shows up North, so I suppose when you’re in the position of picking music for people to come and dance to, you put yourself in that position to a certain extent. After a while I found that so many people I knew were making great music which just wasn’t getting the exposure it deserved, so I suppose making the leap to starting a record label isn’t such a far cry from being a promoter in some ways. It’s a nice feeling to be able to show people new music that they weren’t aware of before, but obviously vice versa, I love having someone play me some music from an artist I’ve never heard of and be blown away by it.
Tell us more about the “music ideals you’re pushing”. Is there something specific you’re looking for in the artists you work with? Either musically, or personally?
Basically, a lot of the electronic and “dance” music industry is pretty horrific. Because of the internet and how available and disposable music has become, people just fire out throwaway music with no thought or meaning behind it. We’re looking to just put out (what we deem to be) quality records which explore some new territories and bring back a bit of feeling to music, regardless of whether it’s on trend or not. Artist wise, there’s a lot of absolutely brilliant musicians and producers out there that share our idea and those people should be aware that we’re coming for them.
Are you just talking about the flood of music you find on the Internet, or do you also mean the music you hear in clubs (or reputable establishments, in 1950s speak...)?
Don’t get me wrong, the internet has produced a channel where there are endless opportunities to help promote new talent and it’s a brilliant thing. But I think that overall it’s led to the traditional task of developing an act becoming less of a priority.
Same with club nights, a lot of club promoters don’t understand the work that has to go into events and that there has to be a sense of identity that goes with it.
Ah I get you, there’s less longevity, or patience you mean?
Give us a brief idea of what starting your own label is like. In terms of finding the artists, then putting your name out there; I imagine it’s pretty hard graft.
I was quite lucky in the aspect that I had a group of artists that I’d been working with on various projects for a number of years. So after getting them on board, we started going through possible tracks for the first release, which took a really long time, working together and making alterations to tracks and discussing the best way for them to go out. A couple of the artists I met along the way, at this point. In terms of coming up with the branding and visuals for the label, again I’m very lucky to have a lot of very gifted friends who helped me out to no end with that. I see it as a bit of a community project really, there’s so many people involved!
What’s been the high point so far?
Seeing the reactions to the first release really; there were so many positive comments and support coming from everywhere. It was really great to see a lot of artists that I look up to showing us love. I even enjoyed the negative ones, just great to see what people thought of our first offering.
Yeah, as long as it’s thoughtful criticism, positive or negative is always good.
Definitely, my favourite was “did they use any other instruments other than a bag of rusty forks being thrown down a flight of stairs?”
Ouch! To be fair, you’ve got to love a creative insult...
Beats “your mum” jokes anytime…
So, just a few questions left. Who would you love to work with, who you’re not working with already?
We’ve got some fantastic new artists that we’re working with at the moment, they’re featuring on the next release, really happy with the work they’ve come up with. In the future I’d just like to keep working with new talent until finally gaining enough notoriety to record a Christmas single with Gucci Mane and Morrissey.
Good call. When can we expect the next release?
We’re just putting the finishing touches on it at the moment, so hopefully as some point over the summer.
Look forward to it. Just before you go, obviously have to ask you the most important question... What’s your favourite dinosaur?
The little ratty one with the weird neck skin that spat in the fat bloke’s eyes on Jurassic Park, I liked his style…
Best answer to that question ever... Cheers Josh, catch you next week at Diggidy Dawg.
Cheers mate, looking forward to it!