Label Profile: Sexbeat
SEXBEAT is a 5 year old 3-headed beast from the DIY scene. Part blog, part label, part thrower of rad parties. Since 2007 they have been at the forefront of underground music in London, putting on everyone from Andrew WK to Health, before expanding into releasing stuff as well. Most recently, they’ve put out singles from Fear of Men and Virginia Wing as well as the Eagulls EP. Coming up on August 19th they have their annual all dayer, the aptly named Radfest happening at Hackney Downs Studio. We met up with the guys and asked them a whole heap of questions.
So, I’ve been wondering something: exactly how synonymous is Sexbeat to the Gun Club song of the same name?
As synonymous as personal turmoil and excess is to Jeffrey Lee Pierce.
What came first, the promoting or the records? Was it always the plan to go from one to the other?
Promoting shows was the first step on the ladder, the natural progression of the group was start a label. Releasing records is more of a commitment to the artists and a long term investment. It’s nice to be able to support and develop the acts we really dig.
You’ve had the opportunity to work with some real heroes in the DIY music scene, but who is the most punk rock character you’ve come across to date?
I met Kid Congo Powers at a dive bar in Texas and proceeded to gush my love for Gun Club and his extensive punk rock CV. It was kind of embarrassing for all parties involved.
The line-up for this year’s Radfest juxtaposes some really cool lo-fi, shoegaze-esque bands with ones that tend to lean more towards the punk and hardcore side of things. Do you think that’s an accurate way to describe the mix of sounds that people will hear on your label or at shows?
Our roots are in the more abrasive and urgent musical styles, but we are big softies at heart with a passionate love of an interestingly written pop song. Our most recent release ‘Eagulls’ carries both themes.
Do you think the sudden boom in DIY culture is here to stay?
People have been ‘doing it for themselves’ since the beginning of time. Since music production and manufacture have become more accessible in recent years it has given individuals the power to self record and release material without losing its identity. Every detail and artistic choice can be made in house without being stifled. Why ‘do it’ any other way?
You’ve promoted a show for Andrew W.K. before – does he really party hard?
It was his birthday so he was partying even harder than usual! We got him a cake with his face on it.
What’s your take on reformations? If your DIY heroes from back in the day reformed, would you go to the show or do you think they’d be past their time?
Every reformation is on a case by case basis. I’m a sucker though and go to pretty much every one going, and am usually let down however there have been some stand out occasions. Sleep playing Dopesmoker make a great case for pro reformation. Hooky playing Joy Division songs in a karaoke bar on the other hand…
DIY culture often gets associated with the stigma that it’s very “in the now” and “spur of the moment” with a lot of acts disappearing after a few low-key releases. Do you see that as a problem?
Longevity, or lack of it, is a symptom of the current cultural climate where instant gratification takes precedence over everything. Although a lot of bands disappear after a few singles, without the current DIY model they would not get the chance to release anything. It gives the underground the resources to sustain its own community.
Finally, what can we expect to see show or release wise from you guys for the rest of the year?
The highlight of our live calendar is our annual one day festival RADFEST that we run with Nudie Jeans. It takes place on August 19 at a multi room warehouse complex with 3 stages in Hackney this year. It’s a nice opportunity for us to showcase a wealth of exciting bands from different genres and locations like Veronica Falls, Trash Talk, Ceremony, Diiv, Maria Minerva as wellas a few from the label like VIRALS, Eagulls and Fear Of Men.
Listen to the Radfest Mixtape: