For this label spotlight, we tracked down our UK-based friends at Fire Records, home of bands such as Pulp, Guided by Voices, ESG, Giant Sand, The Adverts, Teenage Fanclub, and more. Label Manager James Nicholls helped us shed some light — pun totally intended — on the label and shared some tips on what artists to look out for in 2012, what tool he can’t live without and what experiences led him to where he is today. Listen and be enlightened! [Oops, did it again.]
Tell us a bit about how Fire Records came to be?
Fire Records was started in the 80’s by label founder Clive Solomon to concentrate on the likes of Pulp, Television Personalities, Blue Aeroplanes and Spacemen 3; All absolutely essential and hugely influential British bands. Later, in the 90s, the label expanded to cover American underground artists like Neutral Milk Hotel, Built To Spill, The Lemonheads, and Urge Overkill.
Fire Mk2 was launched just a few years ago and our style is still fairly sympathetic to the incredible Fire legacy already established. Remaining one of the few truly independent labels left, we embrace carrying that flag forward. From established iconic mavericks like Guided By Voices, Mission Of Burma, Giant Sand, ESG, Cardinal, Half Japanese and Archers of Loaf, to the psychrock royalty of Bardo Pond, the outsider rock of Jackie O Motherf*cker and Bobby Conn, incredible comebacks like Variety Lights (the new project of ex-Mercury Rev vocalist David Baker) and a host of jaw-droppingly amazing new artists like Surf City, Orchestra Of Spheres, Wooden Wand, Las Kellies and Hospitality.
You have such a wide variety of artists crossing a load of genres and decades – how do you guys find and decide what you want?