The origins of the label Weekertoft grew over time in far reaching and very pleasurable conversations with Irish musician Paul G Smyth about life the universe and everything. It is impossible to say exactly when we said let’s do it but the wheels were definitely put in motion when Mopomoso and Sound and Music were co-promoting a Mopomoso UK tour in 2013 and it seemed logical to make something from the tour our first release.
Originally we thought of a single compilation CD or a boxed set and asked the musicians involved to choose what recordings they would like on a single shared CD and what they would choose for a whole CD from their own performances. Many improvisers don’t particularly like hearing their music after the event, let alone make choices for release, so this process can take forever. Bribes don’t seem to work but sometimes saying the job of choosing material will be given to someone else if they don’t ‘get their skates’ on can help!
It soon became clear that a single compilation CD would not do justice to the quality of the music and the recordings so there followed a period of research on the best way to do this. As well as being a superb musician Paul is a remarkably talented designer and visual artist so basically all I had to do at this point was say yes, great, like it. One of my favourite jobs!
Once the choices are made it is then a question of mixing and mastering. Sterling work by Matt Saunders at Recording Thing who had not only driven the bus on the tour but recorded all the concerts and therefore had an intimate knowledge of the music. This all involves a lot of batting things to and fro without having to factor in the classic improviser’s trap of titles! A word to the wise. Carry a little book and write down possible title ideas in that, then you don’t have to sit staring at the wall wondering what to call something!
And as to writing, there are sleeve notes (Alice Eldridge), and photographs (Peter Fay), for the accompanying 20 page booklet. Finally when all that is put together it all needs to be made.
Also along the way comes life and I was hospitalised in October leading to a quadruple heart bypass on March 12th where I died and was revived and then kept unconscious for a couple of days. This was followed by a protracted and painful recovery. As you can see these things really do take a lot of time!
So why do it?
Firstly I think that as musicians we need to find as many ways as we can to engage with an audience and I hope our label ‘Weekertoft’ will become one of those ways.
A few years ago I had a conversation with Ned Rothenberg who said that a person in the queue outside The Stone in New York had said to him ‘Oh. You’re Ned Rothenberg. I think I have you on my shuffle.’ For me this is a good example of the distance that can be created between a musician and their work. A new label needs to find ways of nurturing a real engagement with the music and the musicians and we have a number of ideas of how to do this and which we will roll out over time.
It will be tough but Paul and I are realists as well as dreamers and I think we have the balance right.
The music must always come first and therefore we have to develop a market for the product we have. In our case some extremely high quality recordings of improvised music and access to a huge archive of some very rare and exciting concerts.
In the end we don’t want to have a musical life leaving everything as we found it and I think business models that do that, the so-called ‘industry’ if you like, just won’t work for this music. The intrinsic value or nature of the music means that the extrinsic financial considerations have to be at the service of the music and not the other way round. We need to get them right but we don’t need to be ruled by them.
Maybe it is never the correct time to start something like this but the reason we are doing it now is that it needs to be done. Do come to the launch party concert. It will be a lot of fun……
Weekertoft are proud to present the launch of 4CD boxset ‘Making Rooms’ – the label’s first release – documenting Mopomoso’s 2013 UK tour
with live music from:
- EVAN PARKER saxophones / JOHN RUSSELL guitar / JOHN EDWARDS double bass
- ALISON BLUNT violin / BENEDICT TAYLOR viola / DAVID LEAHY double bass
- KAY GRANT voice / ALEX WARD clarinet
- & the screening of a performance by PAT THOMAS filmed by Helen Petts
Tickets £10 / £8 concession 8.00 pm
13-15 Stoke Newington Road, N16 8BH London, United Kingdom
Pre-order the box set at the special early bird price of £25 plus shipping from http://weekertoft.bandcamp.com before the end of January and get FREE entry to this event.
http://www.epicdalston.com/ http://www.mopomoso.com http://weekertoft.bandcamp.com/ https://www.facebook.com/weekertoft/ https://twitter.com/Weekertoft
Here are all the musicians playing together in the last set of the tour with the exception of John Edwards who after playing in the trio with Evan Parker and myself had to get a flight from Heathrow at 8.00 am the next day. He made it! https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=_oloeHCO9ro
Mopomoso UK 2013 tour project sponsors were