Alter The Press!


Interview: All Aboard Records

Over the past year we have been strongly been showing our support for the independent scene, through interviews with various labels from home and abroad (No Sleep, LAB, Walnut Tree, Scylla Records & Pandy Cane). Recently Alter The Press caught up with Bob Cooper of All Aboard Records, a label that in its short history has worked with bands such as All Or Nothing, John Candy, Pharaohs, Tell It To The Marines, Marks Set Go, Chaos Days and most recently, Maycomb.

Bob talked to us about the label's origins, his influences and inspirations, vinyl releases and more.

ATP: Hi Bob, start off by telling how All Aboard Records started? Had you been involved in music-based projects before like bands or clubnights?
AAR: It was started off because of a few reasons, i'd wanted to run a label for a fair while, but had no real idea of where to start, I wasn't entirely sure if it was something I could afford to do. A few months before my girlfriend, Holly and I set up AAR, my friend Luke began working under the name Safety Records, releasing Santa Karla's EP amongst other things, from then on it seemed a lot more achievable. My mum gave me the final push and basically told me to stop going on about it and actually do it. I'd been in bands before, and generally dealt with bookings and trying to get press, I this think helped me out a lot initially.

ATP: Were there any labels that influenced you and inspired you to form AAR?
AAR: Thirty Days Of Night Records were a big reason for me really wanting to get involved in running a label. Faz is an awesome guy, and I have a massive respect for all the work he's put into the underground metal and hardcore scene. When I started the label, I was really into the Smalltown Records and Big Scary Monsters roster, as well as the sadly now defunct Tree Brain Records (who released two of my favourite ever EPs, Tonight Is Goodbye and Kill The Arcade)

More recently, i've gained a great respect for LAB and Walnut Tree Records. Both labels have such strong rosters and incredible work ethics.

ATP: How would you summarise AAR as a label, especially for those who are unfamiliar with your bands?
AAR: All Aboard Records is a label run by me, and sometimes my girlfriend out of my bedroom. I put out melodic, interesting bands I really like, who I think have the capacity and work ethics to be successful.

ATP: Your first release was Chaos Days''Under The Weather'. How did you become involved with them?
AAR: It was Holly who first told me about them, she'd seen them on tour with Set Your Goals the summer before and they'd just put some new tracks on their myspace. I got in contact with Will and Paul about releasing their CD, and fortunately they put their faith in us to release it for them. Looking back on it, there are so many things I wish I did differently, I made some mistakes, but I guess that's all in the learning process.

ATP: In recent months your output has doubled with releases from All Or Nothing, Pharaohs and Tell It To The Marines. How have you coped with the workload, especially as AAR is a one-man job?
AAR: Doing five releases in three months whilst starting my first year at uni probably wasn't the smartest choice i've ever made. I had a lot of stressful late nights, but if I could go back, i'd definitely do it again. I'm so proud of all the bands who i've helped release CDs for.

ATP: How has the reaction been to these releases and the label overall?
AAR: I've had a lot of positive comments about it all, I'm so stoked that people are into the stuff we're releasing.

ATP: Has it been difficult to distribute records (because you're a small label) or has online availabilty (iTunes, Amazon etc) been beneficial?
AAR: itunes is a brilliant way of distributing music, although getting releases on there in time always creates problems. When I started the label, I'd email indie record stores about putting our CDs on their shelves (as well as selling through our bigcartel), shops like Banquet Records were awesome and helped us out a lot. By the time we were ready to put out the Pharaohs EP, we'd been fortunate enough to land a distro deal with Code7/Plastichead, who've allowed us to have our CDs sold on HMV, and Amazon amongst others. Even with the decline of physical CD sales, I think having them in the bigger shops can only be a positive thing.

ATP: Has being based near the city of Leeds influenced or inspired you and the label at all? As its a city with plenty of venues and a strong music background.
AAR: Leeds is great. You can go out any night of the week knowing that there'll be something interesting happening, there are some awesome promoters doing great jobs for the music scene; Slowmotion, Before Sunrise and Slam Dunk work tirelessly to bring good bands to the area.

ATP: What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking of starting an independent label?
AAR: Do your research, spend a lot of time planning stuff, and have fun with it. When I started the label I was 17, and really didn't have too much of an idea of what I really needed to do, I learned a lot from the first few releases, but if I could go back i'd put a lot more research how to get more people to hear the bands.

ATP: AAR is just one of many UK-based independent labels, that is being noticed and growing. Do you think the independent music scene is strong and if so, why?
AAR: Online communities and magazines such as Alter the Press and Punktastic, as well as social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace have had a massive impact on the way people access music. You don't need to have invested thousands of pounds into a big press push to get people to listen to your music any more, it's more of a level playing field for people to get noticed. It's not just about the internet though, fortunately there are a lot of people willing to put on good shows in the UK, and with the low cost of flyers, stickers etc.

ATP: For label that started out primarily as a pop-punk label. I get the impression that you're starting to expand more, with Tell It To The Marines, Pharaohs and John Candy being examples of this. Would you agree?
AAR: Definitely, I really just want to work with bands I like. There're loads of great bands about, and I wanna help out everyone I can

ATP: You've just released your first vinyl, John Candy's 'Conversations'. Can we expect further vinyl releases?
AAR: I hope so! There's a possible 7” single in the works at the moment, and i've been talking with a really cool new label about doing a 4 way split 12” which i'd really like to do. Although that's all early days a the moment.

ATP: Speaking of John Candy, how did you become involve with them?
AAR: I've been huge fan of Tonight Is Goodbye and Futures since I was 16/17, and when I found Ant and George's project on myspace I jumped at the opportunity and doing something with the album. We released the LP on the 8th February and lots of people have been into it which i'm so happy about.

ATP: In addition to John Candy, you're releasing the new EP by pop-punk band, Maycomb. What can we expect from this release?
AAR: I'm really proud of how far Maycomb have come since I first met them, they've put a lot of time and effort into writing 'Crystal Tiger Blues' and it really shows, it's such a fantastic EP. This release is really important to me because i've been really good friends with the guys for a little over a year now, and it's the first instance in running the label where i've done a first EP for a band who I know, as people, really well.

They've put the first track from the EP, called Hope House up on their facebook (it's on our myspace too) so it'd be cool for people to check it out.

ATP: What does the future hold for All Aboard Records?
AAR: We should be doing another single with Pharaohs, and we have a few other ideas in the works that i'm very exited about. As well as that i'll be running the Superjunk Clubnight at Bar 122 in Huddersfield, and self releasing a 3 track CD for my band Cub Club sometime in May.

ATP: Anything you'd like to say to cap off this interview?
AAR: I'd like to thank Sean and everyone at Alter The Press for the continued support you've given us throughout the past year, and the bands that've put their faith into me to help them out.

All Aboard Records on Myspace
All Aboard Records Online Store

Sean Reid

Alter The Press!