Eddy Says

Eddy Says: I can feel the love in this room

By | Published on Monday 29 October 2012

Eddy Temple-Morris

Tonight the second annual Independent Music Awards, organised by the Association Of Independent Music, takes place in London. The ceremony will recognise both people both on the artist and business sides of the indie equation who have gone above and beyond to push non-major label music forward. Eddy will be there to present the Album Of The Year award, and here are the thoughts running through his mind as he prepares to take the stage.

Tonight is the AIM Awards, Oscar Night for Independent music, and I’m going. The invite says “dress to impress”. I have an insane McQueen gingham suit I bought in the January sales – to get a laugh at weddings, so I’m tempted to throw that on and claim I read “dress to confuse” on mine.

I’m honoured to have been asked to present the award for Album Of The Year, and the whole thing has got me thinking about independent music, and I want to try to raise a smile from those involved in it, with not just my amusing suit.

When music made ship-loads of money, it was a breeding ground for the worst kinds of people. The kind of people that money attracts. The proverbial sharks and jackals that Hunter S Thompson described so eloquently. But now the easy money has gone and people have to actually work hard for their living, the business of music has become a very different place. If you’re in it. You have to be in it for LOVE.

Independent music has never been better, never stronger, or more varied. I remember the days when you could count the independent labels on your fingers. Now almost every DJ has a label.

Almost every producer of music, or manager has a label. Almost every label has another label, and soon almost every youth brand will have a label. It’s open season. But the saturation at the precise time that an mp3 has become almost valueless, has given rise to a new breed of musical entrepreneur:

The labour of love.


The label of love.

Because it’s so hard to make a fast buck from music, the people that are STILL in it, are in it for the right reasons, and because the new blood are coming into it so savvy, so aware, and with such realistic expectations, we have a business full of hard working, hustling, creative, supportive, nurturing people who LOVE what they do.

It’s infectious. Every week I get so much music, and while I concede there’s a lot of rubbish in there, the general quality level is absurdly high, and the vast majority of it comes from INDEPENDENT LABELS.

Of course the majors are onto them, they have to go where the money is, so the guys with their fingers on the pulse, like Black Butter, are finding themselves with big backing from the behemoths, and of course that’s great, and helps to make underground artists into ones that can headline festivals.

Now just stop and have a think about what’s out there, the lay of the land right now…

We still have the big independents, like XL, PIAS, Mute, 4AD, Infectious, Ministry Of Sound even, still dazzling with their signing and supporting of brilliant left-of-centre music and really connecting with their ‘customers’.

We still have the amazing heritage labels that make our music industry the coolest in the world, R&S, Warp, Heavenly, Mo Wax (in mothballs but considering a comeback next year).

We still have the boutique labels that continue to inspire, Ninja Tune, Big Dada, Wall Of Sound, Skint, Breakbeat Kaos, all of these names make people like us dewey eyed with nostalgia, for astonishing records in the past, and they’re still there, scouting, signing, nurturing and releasing great music today.

There are some incredible DJ labels out there too, the ones that started with a producer being positive, pro-active and making their own springboard. Ram, Hospital, Viper, all colossal in drum n bass, plus Never Say Die, Tempa, Dub Police, MTA, Don’t Play, Circus, Blood Music, Cheap Thrills, all leading the way in EDM.

We have indie labels like Cooking Vinyl who are adept at taking a band, with a bigger profile, that’s been chewed up and spat out by a major, and giving them a new, often better lease of life.

Then there are the little gems, that make the UK music culture so rich and so colourful, from Civil to Rinse, from Smokin Sessions to Bad Life, or from Toolroom to Tru Thoughts.

I’m sorry I can’t list them all, I’d be here all day… suffice to say that if you run, own, work at or support an independent label in this day and age, then you have my undying respect. You deserve a medal, a knighthood, a peerage in my world. You are a fucking HERO and if you’re there at the AIM Awards tonight, I would like it very much if you raise your glass to yourself, to each other, and have a well deserved drink, because you deserve it more than any other business people in the UK right now.

Check out CMU interviews with the bosses of six indie labels up for awards tonight – Bella Union, Alcopop!, Hyperdub, Distiller, Hospital and Pink Mist – here.

Eddy x

Eddy’s upcoming DJ sets:

14 Nov: Birmingham, Institute (supporting DJ Fresh)
15 Nov: London, Queen Of Hoxton
16 Nov: Hatfield, The Forum (supporting DJ Fresh)
17 Nov: The Big Reunion (Skegness, Butlins Skyline)
20 Nov: Bristol, Academy (supporting DJ Fresh)
24 Nov: The Big Reunion (Skegness, Butlins Skyline)

Losers upcoming gigs:

30 Nov: Reading, Sub 89 (supporting Jack Beats)