Here at Counterfeit Magazine we want to highlight the people that make the music we love possible, and not just the bands who create it. With this in mind we got together with Tony Ereira, the Director of Come Play With Me Records, to find out who motivated him to take on such a thankless task and how his passion drives his label. Come Play With Me is an independent label responsible for recent releases from the likes of Harkin, Team Picture, Laminate Pet Animal, Her Name Is Calla, Zozo, Esper Scout and Fizzy Blood, to name but a few.
We met Tony for a coffee in Leeds and I began by asking him what inspired him to found Come Play With Me in the first place and what the ethos of the label is. “I co-run Hatch Records. Come Play With Me has got a regional focus, we focus on bands or artists in the Leeds city region and I just saw that there were a lot of bands here that could use some support, hence Come Play With Me. I thought a lot of them would just benefit from the leg up that they would get from the vinyl release and the press and the radio plugging from us. Our strapline is ‘to help people to create sustainable careers for themselves through music’ so we’ve got the label part of it but we’re also mentoring as well. If you think you’re on the verge of getting your first physical release out there, but there is a few little bits missing that you need some help with, that’s what we’re trying to work with, across any genre. I kept on meeting young guys and girls, typical story they would be 25/26 trying to make a career out of music and they would have bar jobs or jobs that they were way over qualified for so that they could support their music, and then they would end up leaving music because they couldn’t make it work for them and I just thought it was heartbreaking and if I can just even help a handful of them then that is what I will be really proud of.”
I nearly ran David Gedge over, because I pulled into a one way street and I didn’t see him and nearly ploughed some guy down that just happened to be the lead singer of The Wedding Present
Although Come Play With Me is a not one man machine Tony still relies on the collaborative efforts of many other people to achieve the great results he has so far. “I rely on quite a lot of people. There is four of us that run the company, there is me, Whiskers, Kate Zezulka (who runs the Leeds Music Hub) and Miz DeShannon who works for Leeds Confidential now. So we do these public call outs to find out the artists we want to work with, so we rely on everyone in the city, labels, record stores, other journalist, blogs, magazines, whatever to put the word out and then we get a group of five different judges every quarter to help select which ones we are going to go with. Then there is also various volunteers and people that help putting all that together, so there’s actually quite an army of people behind us, not just me.”
Tony’s label have been responsible for launching some very exciting careers as well as contributing to some already well established acts so I wanted to know what his proudest moment with the label was, and then also what the funniest/strangest moment has been too. “I think getting the thing up and running. I am really proud of the way that the singles look because it was really important to me, obviously first and foremost they need to sound great but I wanted them to look great as well, that they have a consistent look and feel and I think that they do, I think that they look great.” His funniest moment is funny in hindsight, but it could have stopped the label before it even started. “We did a launch gig at Duke Studios and I managed to convince The Wedding Present to come and do a stripped down set, we had Post War Glamour Girls and Deadwall also doing stripped down sets. I guess the funniest thing was that when we got there in the middle of the day I nearly ran David Gedge over, because I pulled into a one way street and I didn’t see him and nearly ploughed some guy down that just happened to be the lead singer of The Wedding Present.”
From being in the presence of Tony for even a short time you can tell that he is always thinking one step ahead and I knew he would be working on ideas way in advance so I wanted to know what he had planned. “It’s like a production line, we are just in the process of announcing the seventh single, which is the RIIB and FURR one that is to come out in July, I am lining up the September single which is from a better known band because it was always the plan that we did emerging artists but chucked in some better known ones along the way. We have recently just selected, from that public submissions process, the bands that are going to be on the November/December release, so we have kind of got three in process. Then we have literally just launched the call out for what is going to be the first release in 2018 and we are just in the processes of starting work on the first Come Play With Me album, so hopefully that will be out before the end of the year. The other thing we are in the process of planning is a women in music event, in conjunction with Leeds Music Hub, more details on that too soon hopefully.” These were all things currently in the pipeline, with regards to plans much further down the line, again Tony is far from short of ideas. “Like Generator is in Newcastle, and other places around the country, there are some really great agencies if you are starting out in music and you need some help, or even if you’re already working in music but you could still use a bit of support. There isn’t really that in Leeds, there are lots of great labels and things going on but I think there is a bit of a gap there, so I would like to see us being able to help some of the young guys and girls starting up in music. With the mentoring thing I talked about, we are just piloting that now for this year, and if it works well, and if I can get money from someone to fund it, I would like to do that on a much bigger scale.”
I wanted to learn more about the whole process that an artist would go through during their working relationship with Come Play With Me. “We put out the call out, we have done four of them so far and we have had between 25 and 45 submissions each time, and then I get a diverse mix of 5 judges. I try and get a different mix every time because I don’t want the same music being selected every time, I always talk about I don’t want Come Play With Me to be about straight white blokes with beards playing guitars because it just gets a bit boring. We get them down to the top two, we offer them a chance to do the recording with us, we get the contracts in place, we get the recording together. Then we work on we on the press campaign together, so we get press photos, get the release all scheduled and get it planned. We get a launch gig in place for it, get it up online to be sold. I am trying to do the launch gigs outside of Leeds to make it a bit more interesting, hopefully doing one in London, one in Wakefield.”
For all things Come Play With Me check out the website or go along to one of the featured events:
10th June 2017 – Long Division Gap Year with Allusondrugs, RIIB and Dark Horse, Wakefield
16th June 2017 – First of a series of new monthly CPWM showcase gigs at the Hyde Park Book Club with Park Fires, La Rissa and Lamia (Pay As You Feel)
17th July 2017 – CPWM007 7” single launch with RIIB, FURR and special guests, The Social London
Special thanks to the guys at SingleShot Vinyl Records and Coffeehouse for letting us use their space.