Neil McSweeney is an interesting guy. A tall drink of water who can weave intimate folk songs that will tug your heartstrings. An imposing lead singer in a wild beast called The Nose, which will growl and bark like a caged animal, ready for escape. I reckon the years of experience in different genres have given him a good insight into the vicissitudes of the music business.
Experience is life’s reward for the toll it takes, and now Neil McSweeney is running Hudson Records with Andy Bell. A renowned producer in the UK folk scene, Bell is the de facto boss at Hudson. Bell has great experience too, having worked with Seasick Steve and Teenage Fanclub, while still managing to produce several nominees and winners of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
I had a good feeling about this one after I saw it listed on Sheffield’s Creative Guide, a cradle for quite a few good ideas. I got in touch with Neil to get a little more info on this new venture.
Hey, Neil. Long time no see. What can you tell me about the new label?
It’s called Hudson Records. We are going to be working with traditional folk and alternative artists and bands. Our first release is with The Furrow Collective, then Richard Warren.
Any plans on distribution for the new artists?
We are in partnership with Kartel Music Group, who will be helping us to promote and distribute our releases. Another important angle is that we are going to be making films as the Hudson Sessions. This will enable us to work with artists in a range of capacities. We won’t be limited to only artists with whom we schedule an album release. We’re also pursuing interesting new formats for folk music.
Why did Hudson Records and Kartel pair up?
We talked to Kartel after my friend Danny Kier at Sound Diplomacy suggested they’d be a good match for us and introduced us. Kartel offer a whole range of services, including syncing and product management. We’ll be offering our own publishing deals through Kobalt as well, which will keep things simpler and help with sync.
You mentioned new formats for folk music. Could you tell us a little more about this?
The films are being produced in collaboration with Handheld Cineclub. James Lockey is the filmmaker. He plays bass in Minor Victories and has done some films for them. We’re also investigating very actively the best way to create and distribute virtual reality films.
Could you tell us a little bit more about the upcoming releases?
The first album release on the label is The Furrow Collective on 4 November. They’re touring around the release and will play Gadabout at the Heeley Institute on Friday 21 October. The first Hudson Sessions film features Hannah Read and Rowan Rheingans. We just shot it at Stefano Gibertoni’s violin workshop in Harland Works. It’ll be released in November.
I will release my new and fourth album, A Coat Worth Wearing, through the label on 27 January. We also have a release early 2017 from Richard Warren, who was in Spiritualized and Soulsavers with Mark Lanegan.