lunedì 24 settembre 2012

Intervista con Keith Cullen (Setanta Records)

Tutte le cose belle, prima o poi, finiscono. Il 24 settembre 2012 la Setanta Records, la storica etichetta indipendente britannica formata da Keith Cullen nei primi anni '90, famosa per aver stampato album di gruppi come The Frank and Walters e The Divine Comedy o di solisti come Richard Hawley, Evan Dando e Edwyn Collins, ha pubblicato il suo ultimo disco. Erano sei anni che l'etichetta non pubblicava più nulla.
La chiusura ufficiale arriva con la compilation di cover "Orchestral Variations V.01" curata da The Separate, il progetto che vede protagonisti, oltre a Keith, Rob Kirwan come produttore e Fiona Brice a curare gli arrangiamenti d'archi. Dodici canzoni scelte da Cullen stesso, selezionate tra i gruppi che più ha amato e ammirato.
Di questo disco e dell’addio all’etichetta ne parliamo proprio con Keith Cullen in questa chiacchierata via mail (ovviamente grazie come sempre al grande Claudio Rizzi e lui sa il perchè!).

-Hello Keith, some months ago you announced Setanta Records would have closed down. And actually you did not publish records during the last years. So was that something you had already decided a long time ago?

Hello!   In a way it was, it became harder to release records and make any money back because of digital, piracy etc, so I guess I became more cautious, also I think there is only so many times you can put the same energy back into working on a new band, I got on really well with the Chalets, who were the last real band on the label, and when they broke up it was the beginning of the end for me too!

- Is there already some nostalgia in you or do you think it is something that will come later?

I'm not really a nostalgic person, I'm too busy looking forward! It is nice to be reminded of some bands acheivements and I really like to listen back to some of the albums I've released after not hearing them for years.

- What was you inspired by when at the beginning of the 90's you decided to start running a record label?

I loved labels like 4AD, Rough trade, and Mute when i was getting into music, they were my inspiration, the bands I loved were Magazine, Wire and the Buzzcocks, Music was the only thing I ever wanted to do, now I'm too old!

- Looking back at all you did is there something you have to repent of? And otherwise moments or records you are proud of?

not really, mistakes are all part of life! I could have worked with some bands that became very big, but they weren't really my kind of bands, it didn't feel right, it doesn't really matter if I would have made lots more money, the energy between band and label wouldn't have been the same, maybe those big bands would never have made it if I worked with them!

- How was the reaction to the label end from the artists? People like Neil Hannon, Edwyn Collins and Richard Hawley received a lot from Setenta in the past and at the same time they gave a lot to the label. Did you talk to the them?

Not really, I haven't seen them in a while! no bad feelings or anything, people just drift apart, I think the older we get the more important the past is. but we are all doing different things now
- My favourite Setanta album is Guy Chadwick's "Lazy, Soft & Slow". What memory have you got of the work with Guy?

hmmm Guy is really nice and I liek that album a lot, but it didn't really do well, I think it was hard for Guy to be a Solo artist, I think he is more comfortable in a band

- The final Setanta release is a Separate covers album, orchestrally arranged. Rob Kirwan and Fiona Brice were involved, when was this idea born? Let me understand, was it you to choose the singers and give them the covers to sing?

It was my idea, I know rob and Fiona for a long time, so I asked them to help me put the record together, I wanted to do something for myself, I loved the This Mortal Coil albums that Ivo from 4AD made, they are some of my favourite records. I like the idea of a record label having an identity, but nowadays I don't think it matters to music fans, I chose the songs and the singers, It was an expensive album to make but I wanted to do something for myself instead of always working for other artists!

- The album is great and in many parts poignant. I think all the songs are to be considered as a unique whole work, the idea of some singles doesn't make sense this time. Anyway if i had to choose, i would say Ed Harcourt and Anais tracks are perfect. What's your opinion?

I love Ed's track, that song is great, and so unlike many Ramones songs, Ed did a great version. I also really like 'West End Girls' because it is gentle and not dramatic. I also live jaymay's cover of Big Sky, her album is one of my favourite records.

- And what about Keith Cullen now? What will he do?

I'm writing a second novel. but it is taking a long time! not easy, I also sell collectable books online. it's easier to make money this way then selling records!


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