The abundance of formats artists can use to promote their own work these days raises a stream of questions surrounding the relevance of labels and distribution companies. If the average bedroom producer can release an EP at the click of a button, is there really any need for the elusive man in between? From Itchy […]

The abundance of formats artists can use to promote their own work these days raises a stream of questions surrounding the relevance of labels and distribution companies. If the average bedroom producer can release an EP at the click of a button, is there really any need for the elusive man in between? From Itchy Pig’s perspective, it couldn’t be a better time.

‘Everyone always goes on about how the music industry’s changing, but it’s always changing. You know, you can’t really say it’s not a good time. It was the right time and place for myself. I’d been thinking about it for a while and the opportunity came up. I had an idea of what I wanted to do and what I needed to do to get there. But the hardest thing was setting up and working out how any business works. The contacts were fine. It was just the initial process of finding out how a business was going to work with me at the helm.’

Run by one-man band Leeroy Powell, Itchy Pig Records has been alive and kicking since the early dawn of 2011 and is just one of various Sheffeld-based labels doing it for themselves. In case you were wondering, the label’s evocative name was borrowed from Powell’s friend’s grandad’s photography business.

Powell’s method is to disregard genre and keep a keen ear out for any leftfield leaning acts he wants to accost, providing a strong supportive network for artists on these shores and abroad. The label is utilising all the mediums it can to spread the word and bring a number of disparate acts together into the Itchy Pig fold.

‘I guess a lot of it is electronica based. We’ve also got Burleskimo, who are the label’s in-house band, Moodymanc, Saytek, James Johnston – we’re pushing names that aren’t always necessarily big but that we like, and that’s exactly how it should be. It’s also pretty international. We’re about to launch our bookings agency and we’re covering artists all over the shop – Germany, Italy, France and obviously the UK.

‘Sheffield’s a funny place. If you live here then you know everyone, you know the artists and you know how good they are. If you don’t then you really miss that. Hopefully we can try and change that. There are also so many artists that you don’t realise how well they’re doing outside of the UK.’

The label celebrated its first birthday in February, playing to a rammed dancefloor at the DLS-based club night Collect. They have been in cahoots with the night for some time, regularly hosting a room dealing out deep house and soulful groove sets under Powell’s pseudonym Sir Vinyl Instinct and guest slots.

From my experience, I can only hope that anyone pushing seamless mixes that span Fela Kuti, Caribou and Detroit techno continues to be a mainstay on the local scene. The pair-up with Collect is evidence of Powell’s eagerness to collaborate with like-minded music aficionados: ‘I like working with other folks. Just pester them till they get along with you, that’s my view.’

The label has a host of releases it is about to unleash within the next nine months and plans have been made to move towards CD and vinyl in the near future. ‘It should prove easy to adapt to,’ hopes Powell, ‘If not, I’m gonna make it easy.’

itchy-pig.com

Interview by Imogen Decordova.