Founded by Chris Goss and his late brother Simon, Wah Wah 45s is the eclectic imprint that likes to have fun with music and is always nice to people.
Starting out sporadically releasing limited edition 7″ vinyls and staging impromptu events all over London, jazz/funk/electronic imprint Wah Wah 45s sets good music free. Hard-working, up-beat and obsessed with soulful sounds, directors Dom and Adam are responsible for scouting the label’s latest signings and managing the mini-festivals and underground parties Wah Wah have become famous for. i-D online caught up with boys to chat about their future releases and greatest achievements.
When did you first begin the label?
Dom: The label sprung to life in 1999 (it’s a turn of the century kind of imprint) and was headed up by Hospital Records boss Chris Goss and his late brother Simon. In the beginning the pair sporadically only released 7″, hence the name, but as time passed and myself and Adam joined the partnership, the label became broader in terms of its physical and musical output.
How do you discover the majority of the new music you sign?
Adam: Sometimes we get demo links, SoundCloud etc. Though some people are already out there doing it (BandCamp) and feel they need the extra support a label offers. Sometimes we get a tip-off from a friend or DJ. Dom also has a weekly radio show on Colourful Radio in London and gets sent a lot of new stuff. But we also put on a lot of live music in the UK, up to two or three events a month, plus festivals and the like, so we’re always hunting down bands to perform. Seeing a band play live is a massive element of how we discover and sign them. We only really have bands on the label that have an exceptional live show too. It’s a significant part of who we are as a label.
How do you define what you consider to be good music?
A: We were joking about this the other day, about liking songs with a beginning a middle and an end. But it’s probably pretty close to the truth. We like a proper song. No it doesn’t need to fit any archaic formula but it should feel like an event in itself. You should still be listening to it 15 years from now.
What are some of the barriers you’ve encountered whilst establishing your label
D: I’m not sure we’ve encountered too many really. I think if you have a strong work aesthetic and believe in your artists then you can achieve whatever you want. Does that sound a bit cheesy? Possibly, but we really do believe that. You also have to continually think outside of the box in this business, and be nice to people. Well, to the nice people anyway. Do that and I really do think you can do whatever you want. (I do motivational speaking if you’re interested!)
How do you describe the ethos of the label?
A: We make good music, by good people for good people I think. Our club nights, particularly the big ones (at The Garage and Scala) have both shown that the people that like our music are incredibly lovely. Quality and attention to detail plays a big part. Dom and I are both pedants I think.
What have you got coming up in 2012?
A: Two new signings that we’re really excited about. Some very big nights of our own, lots of festival appearances for all our bands. The debut album for Wah Wah from Resonators who are, to our minds, one of the greatest dub/reggae bands in the world right now. A debut album from new signing Bev Lee Harling. More music from me (Scrimshire) and from our Hackney Colliery Band and some really exciting things from Colman Brothers and the Part-Time Heroes.
D: Plus there might even be something new from Stac before the year is out. She’s been working with a couple of very hot producers on her new material and it’s going to blow your socks off!
Wah Wah 45s play Soundwave Croatia Festival July 19th to the 23rd.
Text: Milly McMahon