Category Archives: Blog

On moving to Dalston

I have recently moved from my hometown of Epsom, Surrey into a new flat in Dalston which means many things: a 10 minute bus journey to work, a Nandos within walking distance, views of the London Eye from my bedroom…but being able to walk home from gigs has been the most awesome aspect of moving. Having spent many years travelling to London for gigs and running for (and invariably missing) the last train after shows having live music on my doorstep has been a revelation! My first week in the new flat included being able to cross the road (!) for a gig at Trinity Centre. The venue is ace and more gigs should happen here. I missed No Age’s gig last year but can imagine how amazing it must have been.

Chaotic noisemakers Trash Kit opened who feature Ros who played in one of my favourite bands ever, Electrelane. They play rad trashy riot grrrl punk and are playing with Tune-Yards next week. Sub Pop’s Male Bonding were middle of the bill and as great as ever.

The highlight of Vivian Girls headlining set was undoubtedly their acapella cover of The Chantel’s song He’s Gone, as seen here:

Vicky x

What Happened This Week #2 – First Aid Kit Came To Town…

The last week saw a flurry of First Aid Kit activity as our favourite Swedish sisters came to town to celebrate the release of their debut album The Big Black And The Blue. The band played to a packed Rough Trade East Monday night and we fell even more in love with them (as we do every time we see them play). It was difficult to tell if Klara was more excited about the show, the album release or the Gary Numan tshirt she found in the corner of the shop…

The band did an interview with Amelia’s magazine prior to the show which you can read here.

They also fit in an acoustic session at ITN which can be seen here:


The video for their forthcoming single I Met Up With The King also debuted online this week, watch it below:


The band will be back in just one week to play a show with the brilliant Slow Club as part of HMV’s Next Big Thing festival.

What Happened This Week #1

We figured it’s time to resurrect the Wichita blog. Expect (hopefully) weekly updates on what’s happening in the Wichita office.

This week Los Campesinos! were in town to promote their forthcoming album Romance Is Boring. Highlight of the promo schedule was a guest appearance on Lauren Laverne’s show on 6 Music. If you missed the show you can listen to it here.

The video for the band’s single Romance Is Boring also premiered this week. You can watch it here:

Romance Is Boring by Los Campesinos! from Los Campesinos! on Vimeo.

The video sparked mass debate over the identity of the female star. Is it Stacey Solomon off of X Factor? Is it? IS IT? Read the full story here.

Footage of their recent performance at Eurosonic also surfaced this week and provides us with the last visual treat of the LC! round up. Feast your eyes on it right here:

We saw a copy of the finished album this week and it looks amazing. We can’t wait for you to see it.

Office Blog #10

Office outing…

We’re all off to the Shoreditch-hugging slag and bladder tonight. The problem with an East London multi-venue event (or ‘urban festival’ if you’re a bit of a tool) is that there’s no way of avoiding it. The Wichita office is set pretty much slap-bang in the middle of festivities, so immersion in the hipster madness is unavoidable.

So you may as well dive right in. We are. I went and collected the wristbands for everyone a few hours ago from St. Leonard’s Church and we’re sitting here listening to some fairly gnarly electro in readiness (I don’t know what it is – MB is in charge of the stereo this evening). In roughly 40 minutes we’ll be standing at the back of the Old Blue Last watching Pens before we begin the night in full bloodiness. Where we going? Who are we going to watch? To quote activity co-ordinating mastermind BW, it looks a little like this:

“early – OBL – Pens “***COMMENT DELETED FOR REASONS OF NON-PARTISANSHIP”

middle – “where’s everyone going? Oh, ok then…. me too…”

late – “yes I am riding my bike home!”“

What he fails to mention is that around 10.30pm we’ll be back in the OBL watching Times New Viking. Of bloody course.

Or further to the point:

“I am going to see times new Viking

I am going to do shots with them

No good can come of any of it”

-MB.

Strong words. Largely based in an inevitable truth.

I’ll report back on.. um… Tuesday.

Office Blog #8

Home Shopping.

If only that was an entirely true statement. I would love to lead the fanfare of excitement to announce that channel 158 on Freeview was the Wichita Home Shopping Channel. That would be the greatest thing ever. But alas, not quite yet.

There is however, shopping to be done in Wichita.

In a fit of do-it-yourself go-getting-ness, and perhaps an element of looking over our shoulders at all the records building up in the corner, it was decided that Wichita would run its own shop. And thusly a shop was built. Both figuratively (a webstore) and quite literally. The literal aspect is that the formerly clean and tidy office (sorry, couldn’t help making that crack) has now become a hive of neatly stacked mailers, 12”s, tape, scissors and other utterly necessary paraphanalia. To be honest, it’s all quite exciting.

There are two people who are in charge of the day-to-day aministration of the shop – Joe and Merlin. Joe, you may remember is the previously reference Wichita intern. Yes, we found him a real job to do. I’m not entirely sure how much he’s enjoying the slew of tens and tens of Bloc Party remix vinyl orders, but it’s gotta give a boy a real sense of achievement when the world gets its hot redub vinyl on time. Merlin works with Karen, who is the tech hero (also previously mentioned) that built the store. Merlin is too helping out with sorting through the orders for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs original 7”s and hard-to-find Bronx ouija boards.

It’s a little cluttered, a little hectic, but I love having the shop here. Maybe it’s the romantic in me that remembered when he stood behind the counter of a record store in his university days; maybe it’s just me bowing down to the truth that England really is a nation of shop keepers. For my involvement, I got down and dirty and put together, alongside BW, hundreds of Sky Larkin cassettes and then sent them to record stores. OURSELVES.

It’s just like being at an independent record company as described in a misty-eyed 1980s biog written by a hack who won’t let go of his old 7” collection.

I love it.

Wichita office blog #7

Home alone…

Well, not quite. But MB and BW, the male portion of the daily Wichita team are off to Los Angeles today, followed inevitably by a hop over to Austin for the Rock n Roll Olympics that is also known as SXSW.

Which leaves just myself and JE in the office for a week. Which is kinda of like a busman’s holiday. Already our heads are filled up with such exciting prospects as; what sort of music we’re going to listen to cos WE control the stereo (Failingly, we’ve just put on the latest Animal Collective album – rather than the proposed Duran Duran Best Of), what we’re going to do to the office while there’s space and time (clean it) and obviously play Lateness Chicken. Lateness Chicken is essentially pushing each other’s guilt buttons by seeing who can come in the latest over the course of the week. The winner is the person who ultimately comes in around 5.55pm and then leaves 5 minutes later. We had a good start today; both of us coming in at the usual time. Losers.

Already though, I’m filled with a mild sense of panic – MB and BW are going to be on a plane for 10 hours! That means at least another 7 hours as of writing this where byThey Can’t Reply to Emails Straight Away! Stress. Stress. Oh hang on, I am an adult too, oh, and JR quietly runs the place anyway. However, in the short time between my entrance to the office and JR’s arrival, the phone rang twice.

One such call went as follows:

“Hello, Wichita”
“Hi, is BW there?”
“No, he’s away I’m afraid, can I help?”
“Oh, is MB there?”
“No, he’s away with BW too”
“JR?”
“Not yet.”
“Just you, then?”
“Yes, sorry.”
“Oh. Ill send them an email then”
“bye”

Frankly it’s what I would have told the caller to do anyway, but.. it’s nice to have been able to help.

By Friday next week, I’ll be running this gaff. Or tied up in tissue paper and locked in in the toilet. It’s a 50/50 chance.

Wichita office blog #6

While the Cat’s away…

…the mice get on with it like nothing much is out of place.

Last week the boss went out of the country on one of those exciting, glamorous A+R trips that involve grueling economy flights, 2 star hotels and shitty jet lag as you attempt to spend your waking hours adjusting to the local timezone and your nocturnal hours attempting to work on UK time via your blackberry as if you’re not away.

Possibly there is a degree of cynicism from those of us who’ve been on one long haul flight too many, but to be honest, it’s not a case of us sitting there twiddling out thumbs and working out how early we can leave – there’s too much work to do, you’ve never left the office early if your hand held email receptacle is still on, and oh yes; those Wichitans (generally) really like their jobs.

Besides. Records still have to be made, masters acquired, video betas delivered and guestlists and gig tickets accrued. I think in most companies, when the ‘line manager’ wanders off, stuff stops being done, largely because people are so reliant on their immediate superior checking on them, giving them work and not-so gently cajoling them on. At Wichita, being that there’s only a handful of people, everyone shares everybody else’s business and has a pretty good idea what to do in other people’s absence.

That’s why on the bottom of JE’s and BW’s email it doesn’t say something non-specific and useless like ‘A+R coordinator’, it just says ‘Wichita Recordings’. Crazy that.

Having said all of that, we did bundle out of the office early on Friday, but that was because it was BW’s birthday. And the office was only vacated ten minutes earlier than the usual time, due to birthday boy himself declaring that he had ‘a few more things to do’ constantly for the preceding 45 minutes. Tsk.

Those crazy Wichita cats x

Office Blog #5

Phoning it in.

Maybe things have changed in the last ten, fifteen years, but the cut and thrust of the daily office derring do is now signified by the slight thrum of fingers speedily tapping away on keys; in the land of instant communication, email is king.

Of course critical, or sometimes more ripe conversation is still expressed best over the phone, and so it goes that this rainy, downcast Monday was illuminated by one Wichitan striding up and down the office gangway engaged in a heated yet measured discussion with an unidentified caller. They’re always interested conversations to pseudo-ear wig on; for a non-intrinsic inhabitant like myself, it’s a fantastic way of catching part of a state-of-the-nation address record stylee and find out what the dirt is,
. Not real dirt y’see, for that’s probably discussed / disseminated / rectified in more private surroundings, but at least enough gossip to make your ears prick up and feverishly put the unheard parts of the conversation together into an suitable confused 2+2 = 9 equation.

Aaaanyway. The joyous moment came quite far down the line when the soon-to-be-immortal phrase ‘What? You went over the top but forgot to build the tank?’ Was uttered by said Wichitan, possibly in reference to that much repeated folly of booking an entire album campaign before you’ve finished making a record. And I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just me that grinned behind my monitor. Possibly you had to be there, but it was a moment of what they call office gold.

It really was x

Wichita office blog #4

Dueling With Technology.

Wichita isn’t one of those trendy 2.0 offices with a coffee bar (though we really do drink enough), designer white furniture and Macs humming in a smug glow on every desk. Well, I have a Mac, but that’s because I really rather like them. But aside from that, it’s a determinedly un-showy kinda place.

However, despite the lack of ikea lifestyle furnishings, we do love a bit of tech. There has been much discussion abound about Twitter and whether it’s an brilliant tool for engagement (says MB), or just a bit like updating your Facebook status. Alot (muses JE). Regardless, and whole-heartedly Wichita does have its own, fairly idiosyncratic feed – clicky. Definitely worth following, even if there’s been a suggestion by high brow music industry tech-analysts / bloggers / 2.0 soothsayers that we’re not doing it *right* – read on. Obviously all like a good bit of blogging too – hence this page. And then there’s the video podcasts on iTunes – do check em out.. and EVERYTHING. And it’s not johnny come lately-isms, it’s a genuine love for all the many possibilities that have come out of the internets and will do forever.

To be honest, its been inspired more by the bands Wichita works with and other, cleverer people who work around the label. The person who designed the Wichita site for instance, is an utter genius who always answers all the far fetched, fatuous and utterly odd ‘can we do this with the internet?’ questions posed with a ‘yeah, I can probably do that’.

Sky Larkin, a band that blog, flickr, twitter and all the other things with a natural, enthusiastic finesse are equally inspiring, and in fairness, most of the other Wichita acts seem similarly clued up. Its genuinely inspiring, and a combination of this desire not to be the dinosaurs who die first and a definite infatuation with all things interweb means that Wichita strive’s on with glee. They’ve even learnt how to update the flickr page and run their own online store, for goodness sakes.

However there are more taxing things in the office right now, and it would be foolish to neglect them for the golden glow of forward thinking living. If anyone can suggest the best way of ripping DVDs to PC – preferably MV4 format – we’d really, REALLY appreciate it. Trying to put Season 6 of The Shield on our iPods is truly, truly infuriating us. Oh, and Handbrake for PCs SUCKS.

Defeated by technology…
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Wichita office blog #3

Meetings

They tend to come bunched together over the course of a number of days, but the Planning Meeting is a sight to behold.

The Wichita Office isn’t a particularly large place. In fact there are broom cupboards with more cat-swinging potential. So when you attempt to squeeze in ten or so people, plus the usual office incumbants, it’s akin to a gagline that involves elephants and phoneboxes. Still it’s very homely and rather fun, the tea + coffee order alone is a veritable test of memory skills mixed with balance and motor skills; ‘Sorry, did you say milk and one sugar? No milk and two sugars? Oh, sorry. Anybody want a tea with milk and one sugar?’.

Still, these things are a sight to behold. There’s usually so much positive energy and can-do attitude, it warms the hearts. Radio people, press people, the folk that actually get the records on the shelves in the stores (I don’t want to call them sales people, it sounds so clinical) – all sorts crammed onto the batter chaise-longue style couch and the old school chairs that get pulled off the stack and peppered around various crevices in the office. They’re always full of good folk and general bonhomie and whenever these people pile through the office door, it feels like an extended family party where you actually *like* your cousins and extended relatives.  And having been part of some major label affairs – full of recriminations and stared-at feet, I can tell you that these are wondrously industrious and positive things.

It’s these sort of events that make you realise that there really is a place for smaller labels in the big fish eating music world.
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