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Uncovered: The Independents of Our Music Scene: Earthly Measures

Founders Mitch and James share the organic growth of London-based party and record label.

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Earthly Measures in March 2019.

Each of us has a part to play in keeping our beloved musicians and labels afloat and as listeners, we instigate the natural chain reaction between artists, labels, distributors and stores.

With the majority of us spending more time listening to music during this unsettling time, I want to dig deeper to see if this sense of solidarity that we're seeing online and through active listening is being reflected in physical and digital sales from independent outlets.

In this series we'll be speaking with a number of independent record labels and stores across the UK to see how they're coping during the pandemic. We'll take a look at how the virus is affecting music publishing, the effect on online sales and the changes in livelihood of each business.

Third up in this series are London-based party and record label Earthly Measures. Founders Mitch and James share with us the organic growth of the party, and the ways the logistics of their newly-created label have been affected by the wrath of coronavirus.

When did Earthly Measures begin and how?

The idea came around back in 2016, with our first event being in November of that year. It evolved naturally through a combination of our interest in DJing and our love of music. Music has always been a big part of both of our lives, so we decided that we wanted to share what we love. We threw our first couple of parties in a small Dalston basement.

Who is behind Earthly Measures?

We are two lifelong friends who have a love for music and DJing, but Earthly Measures consists of much more than just us two. We're fortunate enough to have a big group of friends, so we see ourselves more as a collective family where everyone's ideas have as much weight as our own.

You've had a London-based party since 2016. When and why did you decide to evolve into a label?

Yeah, so we've been putting on the events since 2016 and the end goal was always to have a label. After four years of events and creating a family of followers as well as making many friends within the industry, we felt we finally had the foundations to take that step.

What are the main ways coronavirus has been affecting EM? I see your release date has been pushed back for your first record. What has been the main factor that delayed this?

For sure. We were due to have our record label release party on 20 March. This was just as the Covid-19 situation was starting to snowball in the UK and we felt that it would be highly irresponsible to go ahead with the event. We would love to reschedule the label launch later in the year.

Regarding the label, the release date had to be pushed back by around a month because the vinyl pressers were facing delays due to the logistical restrictions that we're all currently facing. The feedback that we have received so far has been positive. We've had plays on online radio platforms around the world including Worldwide FM and Soho Radio.

Have sales benefited from the encouragement Bandcamp have given to listeners to buy music in support of artists?

Yeah for sure! It really has been a weird time to release our first record. If we were not already in the advanced stages of the release, we would have probably postponed it further. Bandcamp have definitely been vital for our pre-sales. It doesn't always feel right to promote in these times as people have far more important shit to worry about right now.

However, Bandcamp has highlighted the fact that for many labels and artists this could have a completely devastating blow, so we try to keep that in mind and hope that our music can bring joy to people in this worrying time.

In terms of buying culture, do you think the pandemic will bring about a positive or negative change for the music industry?

This is a tough question because I think a lot of us are hoping that one of the few positive side effects of this virus might be a global reflection on how we treat the people and the planet around us, but I also think it's very easy to slip back into the old status quo.

I would hope that post virus people continue to support and champion each other and of course buying music is one of the best ways to support artists or record labels you admire or enjoy, so, fingers crossed.

Are there any alternative ways that you think organisations or individuals could help prevent the destabilising of smaller pockets of the music industry?

There should be more incentives put in place by organisations to allow small and upcoming labels, stores, festivals and promoters to be able to have the chance to grow. As an upcoming label ourselves, we've often found it difficult to get the amount of exposure on social media we could. Notifications from Facebook posts are often not received by the people who have shown interest in that event, making it unnecessarily difficult for us to keep our fans in the loop.

What's your method for keeping yourselves sane during lockdown?

It's hard, but keeping yourself in as much of a routine as possible. Also, not beating yourself up too much when you have an unproductive day.

These strange times also lead towards a great opportunity to look inward. Normal life can be quite distracting and often leaves us with little time to explore our inner selves. This downtime can be a time to reconnect with yourself.

Maybe it's an expected response from an upcoming label, but music, and particularly exploring new sounds, plays a big role in keeping us sane.

Is there an artist that you are enjoying listening to whilst at home?

The king of folkloric Nicola Cruz. He never really does nothing wrong in our eyes. He's prolific and always on point. He's someone to listen to in all kinds of moods, which is something we all need in these volatile times. Your mood can definitely be up and down.

Earthly Measures recommendations for people to check out whilst at home:

Earthly Tapes 01 (Earthly Measures)
DK - The Goddess Is Dancing (Good Morning Tapes)
Earthly Mix #5 : Earthly Measures (Resident Mix)
Koichi Sakai & Afla Sackey Wono (Olindo Records)
Kaya Project - Souls Entwined ft Pooja Tiwari (Tribal Shift Records)

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Earthly Measures in March 2019.

Previously in series

More Uncovered: The Independents of Our Music Scene

More Music

More Music