01 Dec 2016

Record Label of the Month: Rooftop Records


Record Label in a Box has helped hundreds of people all over the world set up and run their own independent label. In the first of our new series, we caught up with the Director of Rooftop Records Chris Taylor, to find out how he set up the label with Record Label in a Box, catch up with the bands he's signed so far, and learn what he hopes to achieve with the label.



Record Label of the Month: Rooftop Records


Watch the video above or read on to learn more about Rooftop Records:


Chris Taylor, Director of Rooftop Records:

"Hi, I'm Chris Taylor. I'm the studio manager here at Parr Street studios and I'm the director of our new label, Rooftop Records.

We set up the label to support some local artists that were coming through. We get to make loads of great records here. A lot of them are signed, but some of them are unsigned and we just wanted to shout about some of the great music that we were hearing and give those unsigned artists a chance to shine.

It all started with a band called Sugarmen who, ironically, are in the studio this week. We decided to help them out a little bit. We did the development deal with them. We did one single deal, and that then led on to us then taking them out to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas where they were watched by this guy, Seymour Stein. Seymour's a huge A&R rep. He's vice president of Warner Records. He loved them, as we did, and he decided to sign them on to Sire Records.

Really, we're hoping to set ourselves up as a bit of transitional label, a bit of a stepping-stone label, helping out artists that we find and can see and support, but then helping them get onto bigger platforms and really expose themselves musically to the world.

Setting up the label was a really easy process. We looked at lots of different options but the Ditto package was clearly the best, and the easiest for us. Having the whole record label in a box just meant that we could do it really quickly and really cheaply, and that allowed us to get from point A to point B with relative ease.

I think the speed of Record Label In A Box was the thing that really appealed to us. It was the fact that with just one purchase we were able to get everything that we needed, so everything from contracts, all the way through to having a record label, a limited company actually set up for the label. Also, just the fact that we would then have an easy way of being really accountable to these people.

We're quite a small label, we're supporting local artists. But, we want to make sure that we can account back to each of our artists as to what they've earned, what money they're bringing in, what revenue they're recouping in terms of cost. And, for us having the online platform is really the biggest draw because it allowed us to be really open and transparent.

I think in this day and age, labels have got a bad reputation of stealing all your money and taking all your cash, and all that kind of thing. I think it's really nice to be open and honest and honourable about it, and that ease of accounting was something that really appealed to me.

I get a bit blasé about working here. I guess I've been here for seven years now, and this is just my office. It's just the room we work out of, but it is great, it's world-class. We've got major artists in all the time. I think that's what's so exciting, is that this allows us to do with some local talent what we've been doing with major artists for a long time, and that's make a fabulous product, but then find a way of shouting out about it and getting the word out there that these guys exist.

In September we did this great thing called 'Single September' where we released four singles, one every Friday, of four great local acts that we really love. We released singles with Seprona, Youth Hostel, Red Rum Club, and Venus De Milo; four bands that I'm really into. Then, to round that off, we decided that we should really have a launch event to let people know that we existed, let people know that Rooftop Records was a thing.

We did that here, in the studio, but in the bar part of our studio complex. We had a rammed night and it was really, really good. Loads of people down, loads of press down."


Venus Demilo: 

"We got involved with Rooftop about ... It was almost a year ago, but it was in an official capacity for ages because Chris knew that he wanted to out all of these bands that he had floating about but, essentially, we didn't have the resources to be pushing ourselves forward. We've been about for a long time, and then it's only recently that it's gone like this and formalized this whole Rooftop Records thing, and it's become what it's become."

"Being an independent artist, I guess, mainly gives us more freedom to find our own sound, to experiment and not be in a box so much. You figure out what we want to be first. Which, at this stage is, I think, really important."


Red Rum Club:

"We got involved with Rooftop through gigging locally, really. It was a man called Carl Hunter who spotted us at one of the gigs. They made us a few demos of ours and he worked closely with Chris and Rooftop and Parr Street, and he just passed us on and we just jumped at the opportunity to get on the air.

Parr Street's renowned for the standard of artist that it develops, so, yeah, we just ... We met Chris for the first time and spoke about how things had been and we picked a song and we just got in and recorded. It was all very laid back and enjoyable, you know what I mean?"

"You get a lot more freedom. I can imagine, I think that's where we worked the best when we got our own time to let songs develop and go back and re-work on some songs, to make sure it's perfect when we're coming in to do some singles with Chris. Our aim, obviously we'd love to be coming on to a major label or something like that, from Rooftop, so that's a bit of a way in from. I think that's Chris' aim with label as well, which is always good."

"We're totally in control of the music, got access to great facilities as well as great people who are ... The resumes within the industry settled to our kind of thing, so it's a good place to be, but without hindering us. It spurs us on and enables us, really."


Chris Taylor, Director of Rooftop Records:

"On the back of that, we've done really well and we're really proud of our output from Single September. All four bands had national radio play. We've had loads of support from Radio 6 Music, particularly Chris Hawkins. We've had loads of support from Radio 2 as well. It's really nice to really be shouting about and showcasing these artists. Really, that's what we set the label up to try and achieve.

Ditto Music have been really helpful. There's always been someone at the other end of the phone who's been willing to help, and that's been another real big plus for with Ditto, is that ease of actually being able to talk to someone. In this day and age, particularly with an online system like that, I was a little bit nervous that we would get dropped, get left by the wayside. But actually, we really can just pick up the phone and speak to someone and get problems resolved relatively quickly."



Ever wanted to run your own independent record label, sign emerging artists and kick-start your career in the music biz? Record Label in a Box was designed to help budding music entrepreneurs set up their own label with ease. Find out more about Record Label in a Box here.