Eddy Says

Eddy Says: There are more legends out there than you think

By | Published on Tuesday 17 April 2012

Eddy Temple-Morris

‘The Remix’ on Xfm turns twelve years old this year, and to help him celebrate Eddy Temple-Morris has been inviting in some of the people who’s musical vision helped to shape both his tastes and the show itself. Some of these are artists, of course, but there are also a good number of people who have inspired and enthused Eddy (and many others) by running record labels that had visions beyond mere profit. This week, Eddy salutes these people.

Can it really be twelve years since I piloted ‘The Remix’ live on Xfm? My god, where does it all go? I constantly remind the brilliant Jagz Kooner that it was a remix by him which originally gave me the idea to do a show that represents producers, and that bigs up the unsung heroes of music, but I never told the wonderful Jon Carter that it was one of his remixes – West Street Mob’s Breakdance Electric Boogie (Junior Cartier Remix) – that was the first record dropped when the show went live, four thousand three hundred and eighty odd days ago.

This week I’ve really been thinking about the people I call heroes and legends, and the labels that embody them, or that sometimes are an extension of them. For the past few weeks and for the next few weeks, I’ve invited a different one of these legends in each week. So far we’ve had two: The Hartnoll brothers came in with their return-to-form album ‘Wonky’, and Gary Numan came in again and gushed that he really loved coming on this show, which was amazing.

This week I have an astonishingly busy schedule with plans to pre-record shows with THREE of these legends in the space of a few days. Adam F was already booked to come in this week to record three hours for this Friday’s show, but then James Lavelle, who was supposed to be on last week’s show, was forced to postpone, and Trevor Jackson wasn’t able to make it next week because it’s his birthday on the day I pre-record – same day as mine, peculiarly.

The main thing that ties these three legends together is the labels of which they are extensions. These are the kind of labels that excite me, almost to the point of obsession.

I fairly recently tweeted that I missed Mo Wax, adding with genuine enthusiasm that I thought it was the “best label ever”. This comment elicited both a wave of love from others who see things the way I do, and a shot across the bows from some who don’t.

Ed Chemical came straight onto my Facebook page and grumped off that Mo Wax was NOT the best label ever, and that, in his opinion, Mo Wax couldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence as labels like Motown. Back on Twitter he told his followers that people who revere Mo Wax piss him off. I admire passion in anyone, and Ed’s love for those great old labels goes so deep that he’s prepared to attack even another’s point of view. But Ed is from a different world to me.

I often joke that I’m soulless. That comes from the fact I wasn’t weaned on soul music and disco, rather my musical tipping point came in the post-punk and new romantic times when records had a life beyond the music. They were pieces of art, and often the people behind them had come out of art college.

The reason I love Mo Wax, and labels like that, so much, is because they reached out to the materialistic side of me. The hoarder. The Obsessive. The Collector. I loved these records for the same reason I loved The Sisters Of Mercy twelve-inches when I first moved back to London. They were so beautiful. The artwork tied every release together. They were a joy to behold, to touch and feel, shiny, and sexy as a pair of patent leather high heels.

Yes Motown sold a gajillion more records, and meant more to millions of people, but that’s not currency to someone like me. I’ve always been about the underdog, and about the underground. I’ve always appreciated the flipside of our culture more than the mainstream, and it’s the little labels like Mo Wax that communicated with me in a more holistic way. It almost didn’t matter what was on the record, I just loved the label so much that I wanted to own whatever they released on vinyl.

I’m aware that this is horribly materialistic and a bit weird and almost pervy, but THAT is exactly what turns me on in music. It’s the labels run by some trainspotter with a vision, who’ll find an artist they love to the point of pain, then bend over backwards to get that artist out there and share that love.

A label like Motown, or Stax, or any of those cherished logos on crinkled paper sleeves on seven-inch singles, were about mass production. They were, to me, more about making maximum profit from a physical thing. Yes, amazing songs and singers, arrangers and musicians, legendary A&Rs and all the rest of it, but that paper wrapped 45 just never excited me in the way that the far less popular music on these beautifully packaged, intricately thought out, obsessive little labels did. I identified with them. We shared the same obsession, we were cut from the same cloth.

I had a similar thing with Trevor Jackson’s Output Recordings. I loved the logo. I loved the artwork. I cherished every release and wanted to blue-tac every twelve-inch sleeve to my wall because I saw each one as a piece of art in a series that I had to have, in the same way as I had to have the next Marvel comic when I was a kid.

It’s not just the art either, it’s the sense of community, of like-mindedness, and of family, that certain labels inspire in me. Breakbeat Kaos is another fine example. Adam F and Dan Fresh’s forward thinking dnb label, which, for example, incubated the greatest band to ever come out of drum n bass, and helped shape the greatest album of that genre, ever, for me, in Pendulum’s astonishing magnum opus.

These three legends are all coming in this week to record co-hosts, and play some of their highlights of the past twelve years, and they’re a wonderful cross section of the type of label I want to take my hat off to now. These people are not mega stars – most people in the street have never heard of them – but to ME, they are as heroic as Lord Nelson, or The Duke Of Wellington, and that heroism, in this day and age, extends to every boss of every little label out there. Busting their nuts, breaking their balls, working their tits off, pouring their hearts and souls into a business that usually makes them fuck all money. I’ve never known a business so full of love, where people work so hard and give so much for so little in return.

I keep mentioning these little labels on the show, the special ones, the ones where you don’t even need to know who the artist on the record is to know that their music will be something really interesting just because of that logo on the back.

So all hail the labels that made me the man I am – Mo Wax, Skint, Wall Of Sound, Ninja Tune, R&S, SOUR/Emotif, Freskanova – through the ones that shaped me – Metalheadz, Breakbeat Kaos, Output, Kitsune, Ed Banger, Ram, Botchit & Scarper, Marine Parade, Hospital – to the newer ones that continue to inspire today, with enormous love for what they do and who they do it with – Never Say Die, Bad Life, Black Butter, Gung Ho, Viper, Southern Fried, MTA – and the hundreds I haven’t got time or space to write down here – you know who you are.

It’s not materialism at the heart of all this. It’s LOVE. My heart goes out to every boss and employee of every little label out there right now. Now more than ever. You are the heroes. You are the legends. You have my undying love and respect. My hat is doffed towards you and my glass is raised to you.

Long live our musical independence. This is truly what makes Britain great.

X eddy

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