Give us an introduction, who is involved in Left Turn 4 Records?
LT4 was started by myself, Ollie, and Filipe many years ago. We were playing in a band called Little Lights and wanted to self-release an album. I sketched out an idea I had for a label, a label which came in 4 parts which were all interlinked.
Various other people have come and gone. Some people work with us for one project, others for longer periods. All artists on LT4 are involved in Left Turn 4 Records.
Tell us a bit about working half in England and half in Sweden?
That has pros and cons for sure. I moved here 4 years ago and decided to try being a label based in two countries. It means that we have to talk using skype, and that we are constantly posting things for too much money. On the flip side it means we are exposed to two countries worth of bands, and two completely different approaches to DIY music. It’s been a learning experience.
The Thanet music scene seems to be picking up in terms of events at the moment, there is a lot of regular open mic nights going on and gigs in interesting venues like the Tom Thumb, the recent gig at Bugsy’s bowling alley by Art’s Cool and all day micro-festivals are popping up every few months but the attendance and still be quite hit and miss, what are your thoughts on that and can you compare it to what’s going on in Sweden at the moment?
Thanet has always had a unique music scene. Yes, sometime attendance is low but it’s a town. You would have to fight to put on half the amount of shows Thanet does in most other small towns. It’s amazing that so many great bands pass through such a small place. I would say that there are probably more gigs in Thanet that I would like to see than there are in Stockholm. Stockholm is strange. Last weekend I saw Thee Silver Mt Zion, for free, just down the road. The other week I paid stupid money just to get through the door to a place. Some gigs are packed but silent, others are half empty and a riot.
There is also a lot of merging creativity – live music with spoken word performances between bands, stalls in the corner with zine distros and artwork – do you think this could be the way forward in terms of getting new people to attend and see and hear things they usually wouldn ‘t go to see and networking artists across all platforms?
It has always been the way. The best records I ever bought were from pop-up distros at the back of venues. The best zines I ever found were thrown on tables in venues. Keep it mixed and keep it interesting. A ‘gig’ shouldn’t just mean a group of people standing on a stage and another group looking at them. It is a creative experience that both artist and audience can participate in.
Your zines and mixtapes are going down a storm, zines have become very popular again in the last couple of years, theres a lot more distro going on at gigs and events now than there were a few years ago, considering the way that it is so easy to communicate zine content digitally, why do you think paper zines are still going strong?
People have asked me that question before and I have always found it kind of funny. The book still seems to be doing pretty ok despite the e-book. Physical music sales are doing ok despite the myths about Spotify and Pirate Bay stealing our money and our children. People have a relationship with physical items. Zines are special because they are unique, sometimes handmade. People are always going to love that.
Are you still releasing paper zines and if so, how do you find the balance between what you post on your blog and what you release in paper form?
We are thinking about it. I reckon you will start seeing a paper version of the LT4 Zine coming out soon. Maybe four copies of it a year. The problem with trying to do records, zine, gigs and bookings is that it takes a lot of time, meaning you can’t do everything you want all the time. But we’ll get there.
and why do you think the cassette tape has made a sudden comeback in the past couple of years?
I can tell you right now why labels started doing it. They are cheap. Cheap as chips. The production cost is low and they don’t weigh very much. That’s the business side of it. Also, they were an under used product that replaced quickly. They have nostalgic value, they sound great (sometimes), they are fun, playful and what in the world is better than a mixtape?
What can we expect from you in 2014?
Lots of releases coming up in the first half of 2014. Three new acts added to the roster. Some tours. Paper zine. Maybe, maybe, maybe some live shows in Stockholm. Who knows. We would like to add some old Thanet artists to our Archives series which we started.
Can you recommend some Kent / Sweden based bands to watch out for this year?
Kent – Cosmic Thoughts are going to be the band of 2014
Sweden – WAGWAK. Not from Sweden but they live here. Lots of fun.
By Charles Tolfree