“A pair of crossed keys is the symbol for St Peter, the gatekeeper to heaven; we liked the idea of the record label being the access point to a spiritual, higher place.”
Coming from a variety of different backgrounds, all addicted to the smooth, original charm only vinyl music possesses, Alex, Ally and Joss are the founding members behind the homespun record label Cross Keys. Describing their love of discovering new bands and artists as “borderline psychotic”, the three friends established their self-coined label at the tail end of 2010, right off the back of their successful London based club night ‘Best Poetry’. After spending the past ten years deliberating over the best way to go about setting up their own business down their local (more than co-incidentally entitled The Cross Keys), the trio decided not to quit their day jobs, but juggle the label as a sideline project.
Fans first and label representatives second, the source and scout for the majority of their talent is the lesser-spotted ‘Charlie’. That’s all the lads will divulge, so wary are they of Cross Keys’ secret weapon getting poached. Focused on finding that soul that a decent beat can carry, each cite the legendary sounds of Four Tet, Johnny Cash, A Tribe Called Quest and Neil Young as their primary inspirations. i-D Online caught up with the boys to find out what’s grabbing them by the balls and blasting out their speakers right now.
Listen to the exclusive i-D Cross Keys playlist here.
Describe a typical day at work at the label… Three people scurrying around London attempting to hold down busy day jobs whilst slyly firing off a million emails, texts and phone calls about Cross Keys affairs.
What is the strongest band or artist you have signed to the label? We think that all our signings are strong. We wouldn’t work with anyone we didn’t consider to be amazing.
What are some of the up and coming D.I.Y record labels you tip for 2011? Our friends at Warmest Chord, Sounds Of Sweet Nothing and Make Mine are all doing amazing things.
What are some of the major labels you aspire to build Cross Keys to the calibre of? We aspire to have the passion and dedication to artist development that the classic soul and blues labels had in the late fifties and sixties (Atlantic, Stax, Chess) with the innovation and cutting-edge approach of modern labels such as XL, Domino and Big Dada.
What have you got coming up for the label in 2011? Next up is the vinyl release of The Shutes’ ‘Noah’s Ark’ in late June and a Lover Lover remix EP, which will be free to download. Then hopefully some more singles, some more live events and a brand partnership with Doom Bar.
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