Bonus! – Interview with Lewis Young, founder of The Adult Teeth Recording Company

Howdy. This is a sort of deleted scene from the interview I did with Lewis Young – we talk about Adult Teeth act MyOneManBand, but then things get tangential in a remarkably relevant way. Besides, I promised you another part last night. Have a poke at these fine tracks while you read.

See, relevant.

The world we live in, and life in Gateshead.

red gallery

Sean: That Live at RED Gallery (by MyOneManBand), it’s amazing.

Lewis: Thank you. Yeah, it was a good gig actually. Phill really did something special I thought – he was using all coffee cans and stuff like that. He was sampling stuff live and then looping it and it’s just great. It was in this really small white room with no way out. It was sort of like being in a mental asylum with this guy doing these mental things. It was just awesome.

Sean: I put it on with headphones and I sort of felt like it was drilling into my brain, but in a good way.

Lewis: I think that’s what we strive for, so Phill would be happy with that. I think he nearly came down tonight actually. He lives about 20 miles away so he doesn’t always get to make it, which is a shame. He used to be in La Bête Blooms, actually, Phill.

Sean: Was he the bass player who left?

Lewis: Yeah, he went to Antwerp. He played synth in Glass Delusion as well. He just went to Antwerp and kind of left the bands, basically. It was a shame, but he came back, which is nice – came back and did all his solo stuff.

Sean: I’m looking forward to hearing the MyOneManBand and Blackface albums together. The whole idea is really cool, that you listen to them at the same time.

Lewis: It’s kind of like The Flaming Lips’ Zaireeka thing. We didn’t nick the idea from them particularly but it was definitely a starting point. Dark room… whatever devices you’ve got. Different sound sources make it sound like a different album, so if you heard it through a Playstation on your TV it’s almost like a whole different thing. It’s very strange but it’s great so, enjoy, basically.

Sean: Even the isolated tracks on the sampler CD… I remember hearing… I don’t know what it’s called… it’s the one with the basketball.

Lewis: Oh yeah, Basketball in the Park in Bb Major.

Sean: I was listening to that and it came on when I was in Gateshead. They built a big Tesco there.

Lewis: Yeah, I used to work there.

Sean: Really?

Lewis: It was soul-destroying but yeah, I worked there while I was at uni.

Sean: Well, they knocked it down, so…

Lewis: DID THEY?

prairie dog

Sean: Yeah, they knocked it down and built a new one.

Lewis: Oh my god! That’s fantastic. It needed knocking down, especially the back area… disgusting. You just think, “Oh god, this is where I buy my food.” It was all these disgusting guys who worked there, they’d go to the toilet and not wash their hands, then they’d go and put the vegetables out. It was fucking disgusting. It was shocking. It was like a whole other world. I’m glad they knocked it down, that’s great.

Sean: I remember I went to the new Tesco the first week they opened it and, uh, they’d run out of lard.

Lewis: The cornerstone of every diet.

Sean: Well, it is in Gateshead.

Lewis: Yeah, so true.

Sean: It’s nice to be a hundred miles from the place and be making jokes about how crap it is.

Lewis: Where it can’t hear you.

Sean: Yup.

Lewis: Yeah, Gateshead is a strange one. It was just very… there’s places in Hull that remind me of Gateshead, it’s just what it is. To go from, y’know, Newcastle’s amazing, and you get the metro to Gateshead and you’re like, “Wow, okay.” It’s just literally a mile away and it’s crazy.

Sean: There’s this pocket of The Sage, but when you’re walking there it feels a bit dangerous. It’s a little bit better now that they replaced the Tesco because they pedestrianised that whole area. It’s supposed to be a shopping complex but nobody really wants to open shops so… there’s a Nando’s and there’s a cinema and all that stuff. We’ll see how that goes. It’s a huge Tesco, though. They’ve got all the world foods and all that stuff. Yeah, I love it.

True fact: they knocked down the car park from Get Carter to build the new Tesco. Also, Get Carter was written by a man from Hull.

Lewis: Yeah, it needed something. It was a dying town when I worked there. I think it just needed that [claps hands super-loud]. It’s so weird, because they’ve got Baltic and Sage on that side and then you’ve just got… shit. It’s bizarre.

I served Dwight Yorke in Tesco one time. Very odd – why Dwight Yorke? I mean, I don’t like football or anything, it just seems so odd that Dwight Yorke would come in.

Sean: That’s weird.

Lewis: Yeah, it was just so surreal. I don’t know what he was doing in Gateshead.

Was he on special offer? Is that a football joke?
Gateshead. Header. Yes. Football… yes, yes… yes. Yes.

Sean: My friend saw Phill Jupitus recently in Newcastle railway station. Don’t why he was there, he wasn’t doing a gig.

Lewis: He gets about, he does. A person I work with, she owns a guesthouse as well as working full-time, and he stayed in that. He left this really nice review in the book and a massive full length signature – hey Paul, alright? – yeah, so, nice guy.

Sean: It’s a good tangent, I may include it.

Lewis: Just ribbin’ on Gateshead. Poor bastards.

Sean: Poor bastards.

Really fin.

This does leave some unanswered questions: Why was Dwight Yorke in Tesco? What was Phill Jupitus up to? Is Paul alright?

Sadly, we may never know.

Much appreciation is due again to Lewis for agreeing to do this interview and for not minding that it also ties into a story about a magic crab. Very Dude.

If you haven’t already, look above for a free download of the Adult Teeth sampler. You can also find The Adult Teeth Recording Company on Facebook, Twitter and their website.

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Part three – Interview with Lewis Young, founder of The Adult Teeth Recording Company

Hello! This is the third and final part of my interview with Lewis Young. I’d like to thank Lewis for being a swell dude and doing this interview, it’s been a lot of fun. There’s a lot in this part about his collaborations with the poet Matthew Hedley Stoppard, check out the video below for a slice of the tasty musical pie they offer.

Runt County, Adult Teeth Tees and the future.

Sean: I like that Adult Teeth covers a broad range of genres. In particular, I really like the album Runt County. You took something that a lot of people might consider inaccessible, like poetry and spoken word, and you put pop tunes and rock tunes on it. It all seems to fit together very nicely.

It's neigh bad, like.
It’s neigh bad, like.

Lewis: It’s nice to hear that because that’s exactly what we set out to do. I’ve known Matthew for about five years, I saw him about four years ago doing a bit of spoken word in Leeds and I was just blown away. I just thought it was the most incredible poetry performance I’d ever seen. I realised that we needed to get a release out and try to get a wider audience for his work.

I tried to think about what would make people listen to it, because some people aren’t gonna buy a spoken word album or even listen to one online or whatever, so that’s the idea we came up with. Runt County is one of the things I’m most proud of.

I think it just kind of gelled together really well – we recorded all the music and he fit his words over the top of it. I thought it was gonna be the other way round but he insisted that was the way to do it. He just came in and did everything in one take.

Sean: Really?

Lewis: Bar a couple, but generally speaking it was all one take. He absolutely nailed it, every single performance was stunning. I’m just really happy with it, so it’s nice to hear that your reaction is exactly what we hoped for.

Sean: It’s surprising to hear that it came together in that way. When you listen to it, the music and words work together so naturally.

Lewis: I think we’re just really in tune with each other. It’s a strange thing. I had an idea of where I wanted to go with it and just went with that but I was surprised when he came in and he managed to make it fit so well to what we’d done. I thought there’d be take after take after take trying to get things right but he just nailed it. It was incredible – he’s just a very, very talented guy.

Lewis and Matthew have a Withnail & I moment.
You’ll find us in the baths.

Sean: What is Adult Teeth Tees?

Lewis: It’s a new clothing company that was launched on December 1st as a label offshoot. The current designs are my own and not actually related to the label in any way – however there will soon be a section on the site for t-shirts using lyrics, ideas and themes from the acts signed to The Adult Teeth Recording Company. The idea is that the tees will make up gaps in funding the label and allow us to do more to get the word out about the music we release. Also, I wanted to get back into illustration and typography and the like, and making tees is a great excuse to do that.

Sean: What do you think of the music scene in Hull, and your place in it?

Lewis: I think it’s incredible. The city is largely forgotten about by the music press (and when we do get mentioned, every review generally starts with a reference to “The murky city of Hull” or similar), but the omission of the Hull scene is completely misguided. The music press would have you believe that you have to come from a major city to be any good, but in reality, that’s as ridiculous as it sounds.

The label largely works with Hull acts because the musicians in this city produce fantastic music that is almost completely ignored by the wider world. There’s no need for me to go “talent scouting” elsewhere – everything is happening right here.

Sean: Finally, what are your plans for 2015?

Lewis: A few definites for 2015 are: the new Foolish Atoms album (his third – I’ve heard the rough mixes and it could top his towering second release, which is no easy task); two new singles from La Bête Blooms (and a couple of UK tours too); and more standalone singles from My Pleasure, culminating in a singles collection. Plus, if everything goes to plan, Adult Teeth Tees will grow into something beautiful in 2015.

Fin.

Whew! That sure was a whopper. Once again my thanks go to Lewis, and also to everybody who’s reading and sharing – I really appreciate it. The Adult Teeth Recording Company is putting out a lot of my favourite music at the moment, so I hope that if you weren’t aware of them previously you’ll give them a look.

"Just... one more thing."
“Just… one more thing.”

This is the end of the serious talk, but it ain’t over ’til it’s over – part four of three comes out tomorrow. There’s a little bit about what we were supposed to be talking about, but mostly it’s about supermarkets.

The Adult Teeth Recording Company on Facebook, Twitter and their website.

The Glass Delusion on Facebook and Twitter.

You can peruse the Adult Teeth Tees selection on their Bigcartel store and follow them on Facebook. There’s a sale on badges!

You can find Runt County on CD or download – You’ll Find Us in the Parks from the album is also available for free on the Adult Teeth sampler. It’s a slammin’ compilation, that’s fer true.

Part two – Interview with Lewis Young, founder of The Adult Teeth Recording Company

Welcome to part two of the Adult Teeth interview! This comes out with some remarkable timing, as My Pleasure have previewed their new single this very eve and it sure is a smashing tune. This was one of my favourites from the live set I saw so I’m very pleased to get to hear it again. Have a listen, and you can find the interview below.

La Bête Blooms, My Pleasure and Grecian airplay.

Sean: It’s really refreshing to see a band like La Bête Blooms with Daniel running around and stuff when you see so many bands just staring at the floor.

Lewis: I don’t think there’s any pretension with La Bête Blooms. It always seems really genuine. There’s just a real vibe about them, like they really want to be doing this and they really want be here and it’s all about that gig that night, like nothing else exists.

Sean: I remember I got the demo tape and Wishing I Could Kill was the first track. It was just like, “There’s something going on here and I don’t know what it is but this is really good.”

Lewis: Yeah, that was the first single we put out by them. They did the tape and it was shortly after that they signed to the label. I was really nervous about getting them to sign because I’ve known Dan for years and he’s a really good friend. I think they’re incredible and they’re just on another level and I was like, “Will they want to come to my little label?” I just rang him up and said, “Do you want to do this thing?” and I dunno, it was almost like Sony rang up and offered to put out six albums.

It’s been amazing. That first single came out and all of a sudden people are paying attention to Adult Teeth, then they did the EP and it’s all because of that demo tape. I was just like, now’s the right time to be saying, “Come to the label and let’s do something together.” It seems to be going well, the whole BBC 6Music thing was amazing – they were on Tom Robinson and Lauren Laverne.

Lewis: "It was all Greek to me."
Lewis: “It was all Greek to me.”

Sean: Living With You by My Pleasure was on radio in Greece, how did that happen?

Lewis: Yeah, bizarrely. I don’t know how it happened. I sent press releases to so many thousands of people that maybe it got picked up, but also my auntie and uncle and two cousins live in Greece. I’m just wondering if maybe that’s got something to do with it. The city it was played in isn’t far from their village, but I haven’t had the chance to ask them yet.

Either way, it’s pretty bizarre. I was listening to it, obviously it was all in Greek and I don’t speak Greek, so it was like, “Lalalala My Pleasure lalalala.” It was great. It’s the biggest radio station in that city and it was like, “Wow, this is like BBC radio in Greece.” I’ve not had any Greek fans as a result but I know that people heard it at least.

The whole thing with that first My Pleasure song, I was so nervous about starting a new project because this is my third one. I was in a band called Jesus Christ, we named it as such just to be annoying and no one could ever find us on Google. We had a nice following in Hull but we broke up. Then I’m in Glass Delusion which is semi-hiatus at the moment but it’s still a thing.

Then there’s My Pleasure which is just a solo thing, but yeah, I was really nervous about getting it out. I thought no one was gonna care but actually within a few days the single was on 6Music, it was on BBC Introducing and it was on BBC Radio 2 at 4:30 in the morning. I don’t know how or why. It wasn’t on anyone’s show in particular, it was just thrown on at 4:30. I can say I’ve been on Radio 2 at least, just ignore the 4:30 part.

Sean: Somebody must have been listening.

Lewis: They must have been. I don’t listen to Radio 2 but I read afterwards that it’s the biggest radio station in the UK. Y’know, Christ, that’s incredible! So even at 4:30 there must have been, like, truckers or something. All of this from one single.

It’s the best reaction I’ve had for anything so far and it’s just amazing to think how shit-scared I was. It’s the worst thing to kind of put so much love and time and energy into something and then nothing comes of it. It’s the worst feeling. That’s happened in the past, so this is just awesome. I’m kind of on a high about it – not trying to get ahead of myself – but I’m really, really happy with it.

l-Bunny
Happy… like a bunny?

Sean: That’s good, it definitely shows that you’re doing the right thing.

Lewis: Yeah, it’s all trial and error right now. It’s all about seeing what works and what doesn’t and you realise there’s no exact science to any of it. I think all of a sudden I feel like I know what I’m doing. The year and a half preceding the last six months, I was kind of thinking, “Nah, I’m not cut out for this, I’ve got no idea.” Then all of a sudden things started clicking into place and it’s great at the moment. Without bigging it up too much, we’re in a really good position right now and I’m very, very happy about it. It’s just persistence, I think that’s the key.

Sean: Maybe sometimes you have to give up for a little while and then you figure it out. Like, “With some distance I understand what I should have been doing all along.” I don’t know if you ever had a moment like that.

Lewis: Definitely. I mean, almost constantly. There’s been a lot of times where that self-doubt kicks in. I think there’s also a little bit of boredom sometimes, because when things don’t happen you’re just like [makes a downtrodden noise]. When that self-doubt kicks in, it’s like, “People out there are better than me and I’m not qualified to do this.” I think that stuff is what keeps you going in a way – that fear of not being as good as you could be.

Sean: It’s when you take that chance, when you’re really not sure about something right up to the point where you do it, and people respond to it. It’s a bit special.

Lewis: Yeah, exactly. It qualifies what you’re doing. There was a long period, maybe about a year or so, when we started Adult Teeth and it was almost like shouting into a bucket. There was no response from anyone. No blogs were posting about it, there was no radio covering anything, nothing even from friends on Facebook. That whole time I was thinking I was doing something wrong but I just kept trying things to see what worked and eventually got to the position we’re at now. It could always be better but, y’know, it’s comfortable now.

Sean: It seems that you’re on track for something…

Lewis: …I’d like to think so…

Sean: …whatever that is.

Lewis: It really is like stepping into the unknown. I mean, I know what I want – what I’d like is for people like yourself to come back and buy more, basically. That said, it’s not about sales, it’s about people listening to it and I think sales qualify it. Someone buying something, they’re saying they like this enough to spend their money on it and that’s the ultimate compliment in a way.

I’d love for people to come back to Adult Teeth like I go back to Domino Records or Orchid Tapes. There’s a thing about them that you can’t put your finger on, but you go back to it and you want to see what the next thing is. I want people to be wanting more from us. I think we’re kinda getting there. It’s a big ask and it’s not gonna come overnight. We’re not owed anything, just because Adult Teeth exists doesn’t mean people should be doing that, but I hope that we’ve built something good enough to qualify for that kind of status.

cliffhanger-1993-04-g
“Look, Maggie from Northern Exposure. Part three is just over there.”

Join us tomorrow for the rest!

La Bête Blooms on Facebook and Twitter.

My Pleasure on Facebook and Twitter.

The Adult Teeth Recording Company on Facebook, Twitter and their website.

Part one – Interview with Lewis Young, founder of The Adult Teeth Recording Company

Well, this is jolly exciting. Lewis Young is the founder of The Adult Teeth Recording Company, a Hull-based independent record label which is doing some pretty exciting stuff. I’m a bit of a fan. We had a chat in the back room of the legendary Adelphi Club about music, Hull, embarrassing celebrity encounters and Tesco.

Lewis Young with a record.
This is Lewis Young, holding a record.

I had to listen to my stupid sleepy voice for this. Sometimes I just want to reach into the past and tell myself to go to bed earlier.

All about Adult Teeth.

Sean: So, what’s it like running an independent record label?

Lewis: Adult Teeth has been running two and a half years now and the whole point is, “Listen to this band, they’re awesome and they’re from Hull.” Now it’s building and people are listening a bit more and they’re paying attention, but when we started it was just really tough to get anyone to pay any attention at all. I’d send out press releases to about 500 bloggers and radio stations and just get nothing and now people are almost looking out for the emails and they’re wanting to know what’s going on.

Tonight’s the most we’ve had for a gig that we’ve put on here under the label. I think we’ve done about six now and we never seem to get more than 30 people, which is really frustrating because I think the bands we’re putting on are great. Obviously that’s why I do it, but yeah, tonight I thought was pretty good.

Sean: How many people were here? I didn’t see because I was right at the front.

Lewis: Judging on how much we got on the door I think it was about 50-something, 55 maybe, which isn’t bad really for a Thursday night. An awful lot of gigs I’ve been to here for – let’s say mid-level bands – like, say, Wave Pictures. Bands you’d expect to be selling out a venue like this and there’s been three people.

There’s a guy called Aidan Smith who played here about ten years ago and I absolutely loved him and listened to all of his albums. I was literally the only person in the audience and he still played, which was awesome but he started – not tearing up – but y’know, something was happening at the end like [makes a ‘bad vibes’ noise].

I just thought, “No one promoted this fuckin’ thing.” One person in the audience – and I nearly didn’t go! But yeah, he gave me an album at the end. I was gonna pay for it but he gave me it. He says, “Thank you for being the one person who came here.” It was like, wow, this is great. So we had a whole chat after, I was like 16 at the time and it was the first time I’ve met someone who I really respect and THAT happened.

An empty Adelphi is still pretty damn cool.

So, anyway, can’t remember what my point was. But yeah, tonight was pretty good for a Thursday. I was pretty happy with it people and seemed to stick around which is good.

Sean: Did you manage not to embarrass yourself, being 16?

Lewis: With Aidan Smith? D’you know what, I think I did alright actually. I’ve embarrassed myself in front of a lot of people I respect over the years but with Aidan I think I did alright.

Sean: What was the first gig you ever went to?

Lewis: It was Beautiful South when I was 11. They’re from Hull and everything and I’d never realised that bands from Hull could be famous until that point. I really loved Beautiful South and I had all their albums, so my dad took me out on my birthday to go and see them at Sheffield Arena. I just remember being 11 and thinking, “This is what I want to do with my life.”

I met Dave Stead from Beautiful South about two years ago actually. He owns a venue in Hull and I played there. I got really drunk by the end of it and I tried to explain that story to him and it just came out almost like a tearful… “If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be doing this,” and he was like, “Yeah, well, you were alright,” and I was like [makes a drunk noise].

It wasn’t about me being good or bad, I just don’t think I would be playing music if it wasn’t for that gig because it was incredible. You have to imagine this through the filter of about six or seven pints when I’m in post-gig mode and full of nervous excitement.

It was awful. I completely embarrassed myself in front of him and I just thought, “Shit, you had one chance to tell this guy…” I think that’s probably the most embarrassed I’ve been because it meant so much. It was like, “I really needed to tell this guy this.”

cliffhanger

Come back tomorrow for part two of three!

You can find The Adult Teeth Recording Company on Facebook, Twitter and their website.

Life after Hull, based on true events.

Music is like a beach. You look under a lot of rocks, you find a lot of beach shit, sometimes you find something really special…

I’m getting ahead of myself. It was November, and I woke up with a strange feeling. This was because I was waking up in Hull and that’s not usually where I wake up. Not that I minded.

Hull was very good to me. I had a Subway sandwich, which was as reliably mediocre as any other I’ve had, and I spent some time admiring some very fetching architecture and dodging low-flying pigeons.

sb10066698kt-001.jpg
I have a perfectly rational fear of being shat on.

Ultimately, I found that I couldn’t really go into any shops because people were trying to buy Xboxes in them, so I left for York. On the way I got to see the Humber Bridge, which appears to stretch impossibly and infinitely. A truly awesome sight. I don’t even have anything flippant to say about it, it’s just amazing.

I sat outside York Minster, listening to Aztec Camera and thinking about Scotland. Then a glint caught my eye. Like any true Scotsman, I went over in case it was money.

It wasn’t.

It was a rip in space and time.

I was on a beach. A lot of people were listening to Mumford & Sons. It wasn’t very nice, so I went off for a bit of a mope.

I was having a bit of an explore when I saw something. It was like a rock, but it wasn’t a rock.

“It’s a rock lobster!” I shouted, feeling like an idiot but also a little pleased with myself.

I looked a little closer. It was actually a crab, and I was a crustacean racist. I thought it was dead for a while, but it started a-wrigglin’, then it started talking.

#nofilter

“You have awoken me from my crab coma – I hereby grant you three wishes,” he crabbled.

“Can I wish for more wishes?”

“You can fuck off.”

“There’s no need to be so crabby.”

“It’s one wish now.”

I thought about it for ages. I thought about all my regrets and near-misses. Then it came to me.

“I wish I could go back in time to the Adult Teeth showcase gig and interview Lewis Young, founder of The Adult Teeth Recording Company.”

“Your wish is my command.”

With that, the crab scuttled away to do crab stuff and I found myself somewhere a little more familiar.

WP_20141127_015

I was back at the Adelphi Club, and there was Lewis Young sat opposite me.

“So, what’s it like running an independent record label?”