As the latest installment of our features highlighting local independent record labels, now is the turn of Leeds based Hide and Seek Records. The label already has a reputation for producing quality acts, and its notoriety is rapidly increasing. With artists such as Post War Glamour Girls, Sam Airey, Mi Mye, Department M and Dancing Years on its roster we met up with head honcho Dan O’Dell to get some background on the label and to find out what the future has in store.
The interview began with Dan explaining what drove him to set up Hide and Seek Records in the first place. “I have always had a love of music, but never had any ability to play anything. I started off playing saxophone at school, but then they asked me to perform in a school play and I just quit there and then. I wanted to be involved in doing something with music and just ended up going down the label route. It was just a desire to help out more talented friends.” I then asked Dan what attracts him to the artists that he signs up to the label. “Music that I like and that I am willing to spend a lot of time on, and take the financial risk on. Stuff that I want it to get to a wider audience, that I think deserves a bigger platform. I wouldn’t say we are tied to a specific genre but it just tends to be stuff that I like.”
The expansion of Hide and Seek over time means that Dan relies on a couple of extra pairs of hands to help him out. “There are various people that help me. As the label has progressively grown over the years, Sam (Airey) who I release stuff with, he helps, James from Post War Glamour Girls also lends a hand. James was responsible for getting us involved with Mi Mye and releasing their album and I am really glad we did that. My wife has been very helpful in the sweat shop that has become our house, packing up records and taking them to the Post Office.”
Talk then turned to arguably the jewel in the crown of his roster, Post War Glamour Girls. “If you include the live album we are onto the fourth Post War Glamour Girls release, and it feels like each release gets bigger each time. With every release they have managed to build upon their following, they don’t really get that much attention in the mainstream or on the radio at all, yet their fan base and their live following continues to grow and grow. We can confidently release their records knowing that plenty of people are going to buy it. They have just done a fourteen date tour and every gig went well and had a decent attendance, so I feel like they just continue to grow. ‘Swan Songs’ is the biggest one we have done so far.”
The label’s latest release is the single ‘Welcome Home Frank Bastard’ from Birthday Girl, Dan gave us some insight into the track and the reasons he chose to sign them. “It’s a brand new one and we released it on the 24th of July. It’s three lads who are based in Stockholm, they are all from the U.K. but they live over there. They make really cool, aggressive, psych-rock, when my mate sent me it to have a listen I thought it was brilliant and definitely something I would want to be involved with. Even though I have never been able to see them live, because they are in Sweden, it was just something I wanted to be involved in that would take the label in a different direction.”
I then wanted to know what Dan has planned for Hide and Seek in the future. “I never really look too far ahead or get too ambitious but now we have put out a few albums in a row, with Sam Airey, Mi Mye, and Post War Glamour Girls, we have got into a position where we can look at new artists again so there are a few EP’s that we will be looking at releasing either later this year or early next year.” Dan then told us about their latest collaboration “Hide & Seek were asked by The Projection Studio to help them out with their ‘Out of the Aire’ centrepiece for Light Night in Leeds this October (5th & 6th). They are the best in the business at doing 3D visual mapping and have been very busy creating what will be a stunning display illuminating the Civic Hall on Millennium Square. It will celebrate the people that helped shape the city of Leeds, both past and present. They were very keen that all the music featured would also be championing Leeds’ music scene, so our involvement has been to help curate a variety of music to compliment the varying chapters of the piece which will feature Hope & Social, Denmarc Creary, Marsicans, Sam Airey and Joseph Lawrenson. We’ve been avidly attending Light Night since it began, so to have played a small part in such a huge and celebratory piece is really exciting and we’re really happy to have been asked. It will be really interesting to see some of the music I love being used in such a unique way and to see how people react to the piece.”
Our chat concluded with Dan relaying a message to the labels current supporters and also potential future fans in relation to their recent album releases. “We have put out Sam Airey, which has been a long time coming, and Post War Glamour Girls records and I would really encourage people to give them a listen. I think if you have seen Sam live you might have a certain idea, if you hear ‘singer songwriter’ you think it’s just a bloke with a guitar but he’s so much more than that. There is a lot of different influences, it’s quite a varied album, BBC 6 Music have gone crazy for it. I just hope it continues to get that kind of attention because I really think it deserves it.”
For more details on all things Hide & Seek check out their website and for more information on their collaboration with The Projection Studio have a look at the following link.