Label Showcase: 124 Recordings
July 19th, 2017
Label: 124 Recordings
Label Boss: Owain Bellis
Country: United Kingdom
City: West + Wales
Genre: Underground Deep House
Release Type: Vinyl
Owain - Introduce yourself and your label and tell us about the first record 124 Recordings ever pressed.
My name is Owain Bellis and I own and run the label 124 Recordings and its sub-label 124 Black. The first record I ever pressed was Joey Kay's 'Toy Piano'. I was so excited to get him on the first 124 release, and I commissioned Gianni aka Washerman to do the remix. Three hundred copies were pressed with Carvery Cuts in London - distribution carried out by the well respected Rubadub based in Glasgow. I chose Washerman because at the time he was known for making house that was very true to that 90's vibe which was making a big comeback (this was 2010/11), but I wanted him to do something dark with the original. He came back with a Wild Pitch style remix, and I remember first hearing it and thinking ''what the f**k!!!!''. It’s still one of my favourite tracks. That buzz of finding great music then getting it out on vinyl is why I do this - it’s certainly not for the money.
"That buzz of finding great music then getting it out on vinyl is why I do this."
How did you use the experience of your first release to expand the awareness of 124 Recordings?
There were some mistakes I made with the first release that I learned hard lessons from and that helped me shape all the future releases. It’s definitely a case of trial and error when you want to make records. I had no idea at the time what to do - I had to phone around myself. All of these things are part of the learning process of doing a release - from its conception, the masters, the artwork, the pressing plant, the distributors etc. But having Joey Kay, a Chicago house producer on the first release certainly helped the record stand out. It got a lot of love. It also gave me the confirmation of what I wanted to do with the label. Focus only on up and coming producers and give them a platform for their music. It’s something 124 has stayed true to, and this will never change.
Why did you choose to create a Vinyl Only record label?
I have nothing against digital. I play records and I play digital, especially when I get demo's / tracks from producers who send me their latest work. They just can’t afford to get it pressed to wax, so a wav or mp3 is what they will send me. I think also there is a lot of looking down at labels that do digital (like they are inferior to vinyl labels) which is wrong in my opinion. A shit track is a shit track, a shit EP is a shit EP, whether it be on digital or pressed on record. There are so many great digital labels out there, and I always seek out new tracks on Traxsource, not just new records that are out there. But I wanted a vinyl only record simply because being the old man I am, I knew that feeling of queuing up in a record shop on a Friday and Saturday and getting to hold the latest release from Chicago or Detroit from Eastern Bloc or Spin-In in Manchester in 88/89 onwards. A physical product always felt right to me, and also you can’t beat the sound of vinyl, I don't want a pure / clean sound.
"...you can’t beat the sound of vinyl, I don't want a pure / clean sound."
Releases & Artwork:
As the creator of a Vinyl Only label, do you feel that there is a boundary between unauthorized distribution and the usage of tracks in a podcast?
People today want something for nothing, so they are going to rip tracks from Soundcloud / YouTube.There is nothing we can do about this. I use Soundcloud only, I don’t really do YouTube. A lot of people have asked why I don't promote the label more, but I always wanted it to be almost something that people came across / found for themselves. So many people message me saying that they are so happy they discovered the label and the releases we have put out there. Discogs has also been a great platform for the label. That being said - just a little tip to people who send me mixes with 124 tracks on them - please make sure they are not tracks that have not been released yet, because that can only mean that you have ripped them off my Soundcloud page!
Have you ever had to directly contact somebody to make them understand what the rules of intellectual property are, regarding the music you release and what it is all about?
Yes i have. I try to be polite about it. Juno, who are my distributors, once had a cd on their site for sale that had one of my tracks on it. They hadn't asked my permission to use it - just ripped it from soundcloud and used it in the mix. But shit happens I guess. I get the most abuse from producers I don't sign, who don't understand why I won’t release their music. They can get REALLY abusive.
"Focus only on up and coming producers and give them a platform for their music. It’s something 124 has stayed true to, and this will never change."
1 artist who wouldn’t give up until you finally decided to press their record.
Haha - there have been a few, and i’m not naming names.
1 place you sold a record that you never thought you would ever sell to.
Knowing my tracks were being played / supported in Japan / Tokyo was kind of cool.
1 time you felt like completely giving up and closing down the label.
Just before a new release comes out. Most label owners will tell you that paranoia is a big part of this world!
1 thing you wish you knew before starting out on this 124 Recordings journey.
How much fucking money it would cost me.
The moment you realized that 124 Recordings will be a success.
Success doesn't bother me, I just want people to have respect for the label and what it stands for. Also, when I see producers that I released with who go on to bigger and better things, that gives me a lot of pleasure.
What is your favourite type of pasta sauce?
Puttanesca every time - that shit is addictive.
Owain, in a few sentences. Tell us about this mix you made for us. Where did you get your inspiration. Is there anything special you want the audience to know?
The following tracks can be found digging deep through wax at your local record store and online, as they are all 124 Recordings Vinyl presses. Enjoy.