Independent’s Day is new ten part radio series looking at the state of independent music in Ireland. Alternative culture and independent music has a rich history in Ireland and record labels are a big part of that. These small businesses bring drive and passion to signing, promoting and selling non mainstream music.
Across ten episodes, Independent’s Day will feature an in depth look at Irish independent record labels with interviews with the originators of these labels. It will focus on their original concept for the label, as well as their desire to promote the music they love.
The music business has changed drastically over the last 20 years since the advent of the internet and the ensuing consequences of Napster, legal and illegal downloading and streaming. The label founders will give an insight into how they choose what bands to sign, the vinyl revolution, the importance of artwork, Spotify, live shows and distributing and promoting music to an Irish and international audience.
Bands and artists from each record label will give their take on making music in 2019. With the changes in the industry, being in a band is not a career option for most people, so why do they do it? They will discuss the importance of collaborating with an independent label, their creative processes, making a living as an artist and the thriving disparate music scenes in Ireland.
Independent record labels from all around the country will feature in Independent’s Day with genres from indie, folk, hip hop, sound art, jazz, traditional and electronic.
Record Labels included in the series are Art For Blind Records, Word Up Collective, Homebeat Presents, Raelach Records, Lyte Records, Rusted Rail, Strange Brew, Farpoint Recordings, Rua Sound and Out on a Limb.
Artists included in the series are Ellll, Alien She, Natalya O’Flaherty, Tebi Rex, Carriages, Let’s Set Sail, Shane Mulchrone, Saileog Ní Cheannabháin, Melana Gillard, Verse Chorus Verse, A Lilac Decline, Yawning Chasm, Paddy Hanna, Junior Brother, Viv Corringham, Danny McCarthy, Touchy Subject, TMSV, Windings, Crayonsmyth.
‘Independent’s Day’ was aired on RTÉ 2XM on Mondays at 13.00 and repeated on Wednesdays at 13.00 for 10 weeks from April 22nd 2019.
The series was also aired (selected episodes) on RTE Radio 1 on on Tuesdays at 22.30 from June 18th 2019.
‘Independent’s Day’ was produced by Alan Meaney.
The programme was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television License Fee.
Episode 1 – Art For Blind Records
Art for Blind is an independent record label and distro started in 2004 in Barnsley, before relocating to Leeds, Cork and now based in Sligo, on the Atlantic northwest.
The label is run by Dany Guest and Edel Doherty and it has released indie, punk, hardcore and electronic records over the years. Artists released on the label include The Altered Hours, I Am The Cosmos and PowPig.
In this episode, Dany and Edel discuss their thoughts on the vinyl revival, the male domination of the music industry and how they sometimes can’t resist releasing a new discovery.
Aoife Nic Dhonncha from feminist punk band Alien She and Ellen King (Ellll) also chat about releasing their music on the label, working as women in the industry and the influences of poetry and art on their sound.
Episode 1 will be aired at 13.00 on Monday 22nd April and repeated at 13.00 on Wednesday 24th April on RTÉ 2XM.
Episode 2 – Word Up Collective
Word Up Collective bring together, for the first time, a number of artists who have been working independently and in existing groups to present a snap shot of Ireland’s burgeoning hip-hop and urban music scene. From rap to pop, soul to RnB and spoken word, the Word Up artists are all pushing boundaries individually and are now coming together to take their work to even greater heights.
In this episode, Word Up founders Annette and Phil Udell chat about the progression of urban and hip hop music in Ireland, their success with Spotify and watching artists develop over time.
They are joined on the show by Dafe, a rapper from the band Tebi Rex and spoken word artist Natalya O’Flaherty who discuss what Word Up does for them and how to get noticed when there is so much music out there. Plus music and words from both as well as Super Silly and Sequence.
Episode 2 will be aired at 13.00 on Monday 29th April and repeated at 13.00 on Wednesday 1st May on RTÉ 2XM.
Episode 3 – Homebeat Presents
Homebeat has grown from the humble beginnings of a series of successful, local artist focused house concerts, to hold a heartfelt position in the Irish music scene as creators of innovative, atmosphere led music events across the country. They are proud to operate as an independent record label shining a light on some of the incredible Irish artistry that surrounds us.
Founder Emmet Condon discusses the history of Homebeat, the intricacies of putting on gigs and the Another Love Story festival and the small but fascinating Homebeat Presents Label.
Two bands released on the label Carriages and Let’s Set Sail talk about the advantages of being associated with an independent label and the trials of being a musician and also having to work a day job . There is music from both bands and another Homebeat Presents signing Mike Paterson.
Episode 3 will be aired at 13.00 on Monday 6th May and repeated at 13.00 on Wednesday 8th May on RTÉ 2XM.
Episode 4 – Raelach Records
Raelach Records is an artist-run, traditional and folk record label based in county Clare, on the west coast of Ireland. The label was founded in 2011 by musician and producer Jack Talty.
Jack speaks about how the label expands beyond traditional music, the record labels and music that inspired him growing up and his role of producer.
Musicians Shane Mulchrone and Saileog Ni Cheannabháin talk about their friendship with Jack and what Raelach Records does for them and their opinions on the state of traditional music in Ireland. There is music from both artists as well as Ensemble Éiru, Cuar and Noel Hill.
Episode 4 will be aired at 13.00 on Monday 13th May and repeated at 13.00 on Wednesday 15th May on RTÉ 2XM.
Episode 5 – Lyte Records
Lyte Records is a label that focuses on hip hop, folk and classical, but mainly jazz. Based in Northern Ireland, it was founded by musician, songwriter and producer David Lyttle in 2007.
David gives his thoughts on how live performances are crucial for independent musicians, the jazz scene in Ireland and how he releases internationally renowned artists.
There is also music and chat from Meilana Gillard, a jazz saxophonist, who moved from New York to Northern Ireland, who examines the difference between the two country’s music scenes. Tony Wright from VerseChorusVerse is on the phone to explain his creative process. We hear music from all of their projects and the acclaimed Jean Toussaint.
Episode 5 will be aired at 13.00 on Monday 20th May and repeated at 13.00 on Wednesday 22nd May on RTÉ 2XM.
Episode 6 – Rusted Rail
Rusted Rail is a Micro-Independent record label based in Galway. Founded by Keith Wallace in 2006, it releases alternative folk, post-rock and psych music.
Keith had a chat about the 13 years of the label, the importance of artwork and packaging and the changes he’s seen in the indie music scene in Ireland over the years. He records under the name Loner Deluxe and we hear some of his music in the show.
The interview was recorded at the art studio of visual artist Cecila Dannell. She has released music on the label as A Lilac Decline and she shares how taking part in a collaborative project gave her more confidence and her input into the design of her album.
Yawning Chasm is Galway folk singer Aaron Coyne. He describes the differences between releasing his music himself on Bandcamp and on Rusted Rail. Music from Cubs is also heard on this episode.
Episode 6 will be aired at 13.00 on Monday 27th May and repeated at 13.00 on Wednesday 29th May on RTÉ 2XM.
Episode 7 – Strange Brew
Strange Brew was originally set up as a club night in Galway’s Roisin Dubh in 2002. It has grown into an artist management, booking agent and record label.
Gugai goes through the evolution of Strange Brew, promoting new bands and the importance of streaming to indie musicians.
Artists Junior Brother and Paddy Hanna both speak to me backstage before a gig to discuss making a living as an independent artist in Ireland, singing in your own accent and Paddy’s ‘Hail Mary’ when contacting Gugai about releasing his album.
Music from Strange Brew artists Junior Brother, Paddy Hanna, Daithi and Elaine Mai is played throughout the episode.
Episode 7 will be aired at 13.00 on Monday 3rd June and repeated at 13.00 on Wednesday 5th June on RTÉ 2XM.
Episode 8 – Farpoint Recordings
Farpoint Recordings was founded in 2004, as an artist-run creative project that seeks to publish works from the margins. The label releases sound art, electronica and electroacoustic music.
Label founders David Stalling and Anthony Kelly are both sound artists in their own right. They often work with the same artists over years and they describe the processes of releasing works and how the visual side of the label plays a crucial part.
Pieces from all of the above are in this episode, as well as The Quiet Club and Steve Roden.
Episode 8 will be aired at 13.00 on Monday 10th June and repeated at 13.00 on Wednesday 12th June on RTÉ 2XM.
Episode 9 – Rua Sound
Rua Sound is a record label focused on the rhythm and sounds joining the worlds of Jungle, Hip-Hop, Footwork, Drum & Bass and Grime. It was set up by 2 Irish DJs, producers and promoters, Welfare and Rob DC.
Welfare has been involved in making and promoting electronic music in many forms for a long time. He explains the changes he’s seen over the years, how he discovers music to release on Rua Sound and how he and Rob run the label, despite living in different countries.
Rua Sound artists Touchy Subject and TMSV are from the UK and the Netherlands respectively. They discuss the differences between releasing on different record labels and the importance of well known DJs playing their tunes.
Music from both artists, a Welfare remix and Sully also can be heard in the programme.
Episode 9 will be aired at 13.00 on Monday 17th June and repeated at 13.00 on Wednesday 19th June on RTÉ 2XM.
Episode 10 – Out On A Limb Records
Out on a Limb Records are one of the longest running indie labels in Ireland. Started in Limerick in 2003, there are twelve (reasonably) active acts on the label, ranging from folk to indie/ alt-rock to progressive metal.
OOAL celebrated their 15th birthday in Summer 2018 at Dolan’s in Limerick and founder Richard Bourke spoke about setting up the label with Albert Twomey, who has since left. Ciarán Ryan came on board and has been involved with the label ever since. They both discuss the ups and downs of running an indie label and what kind of teenager Out on a Limb would be.
Steve Ryan was in giveamanakick, who were the first band released on the label. His current band Windings are still closely connected to the label and Steve was instrumental in arranging the 15th birthday party gig.
Ciarán Smith has been attached to OOAL with his band Crayonsmith and recently under the solo guise of Nome King. He explains what it’s like to be a musician but also having to pay the bills and how the label has supported his music over the years.
There is music from their two bands along with Jogging, Owensie and giveamanakick in the show.
Episode 10 will be aired at 13.00 on Monday 24th June and repeated at 13.00 on Wednesday 26th June on RTÉ 2XM.