DESPITE CURRENT circumstances – Speedy Wunderground have had a busy year.
We chose two tracks/artists that I think we really wanted to shed some more light on
Pierre Hall – label co-runner
The London-based label run by producer Dan Carey alongside Alexis Smith and Pierre Hall were recently coveted with the ‘Best Small Label’ Award by AIM (Association of Independent Music) after being nominated for the second year in a row.
Carey also picked up the UK Producer of The Year earlier in the year at the prestigious Music Producer Guild Awards.
He also produced the critically acclaimed sophomore album ‘A Hero’s Death’ by Fontaines D.C. which landed a well-documented number two position in the official album charts.
With Speedy – they released their fastest ever selling 7” (and only ever repress since black midi’s incendiary debut ‘bmbmbm’) – The Lounge Society’s timely tour de force ‘Generation Game’ – the second band to be signed to the label for a forthcoming EP release following Squid’s ‘Town Centre’ EP in 2019.
They also announced the label’s first ever full album release – Tiña’s ‘Positive Mental Health Music’ due for release this November.
The latter’s recent single ‘Golden Rope’ having just come off the A-list at 6-Music – a place where recently Carey was asked to sit in and cover DJ Steve Lamacq on his 6 Music Recommends show – getting to play whatever he liked ‘as long as it is new’ – which worked well for the label boss who ‘likes new things’.
When COVID hit – bringing bands into the studio wasn’t an option and so the label started an ongoing project called ‘The Quarantine Series’ in which Carey under his ‘Savage Gary’ techno/electronic alter ego collaborated with artists and friends, old and new over the internet and then uploaded them to the labels Soundcloud/socials with little or no fanfare – no PR-ing or radio pluggers, just letting them do their own thing, organically.
Now reaching 20 in the series – the trajectory of these is in effect broadening the scope of the label itself – obviously with the larger influence of beats and electronics it’s resulting in tracks that are more hip-hop or electronic based.
‘It’s interesting’ says Carey, “as I’ve always loved electronic music – but because Speedy is so band-based – it’s naturally led to more of that post-punk thing I suppose we’re known for.
“However because of COVID it’s forced us into this new way of working, which has been a positive – as it’s letting these other influences, which were always there – come through”.
The common thread throughout all of these is Carey, whether it be in his regular name or his Savage Gary guise.
However collaborators in the series so far have included a wide range of people: Kae Tempest, PVA, Willy Mason, Heartworms, Warmduscher, Charlotte Spiral, Boxed In, Stephen Fretwell, Goat Girl and more. ‘Some like Kae or Boxed In are old friends / Speedy family.’
He says. ‘Some like Heartworms are just people that have reached out over the internet or Instagram – so having that time to be able to collaborate with new people has been good.’
The label have already released one 12” sampler as part of the Love Record Stores campaign that took place earlier in the year. ‘Quarantine Sampler 2’ will also have an accompanying proper digital release.
“We chose two tracks/artists that I think we really wanted to shed some more light on,” says label co-runner Pierre Hall.
‘Two that we really didn’t want to go under the radar – and in our opinion reflect this parallel strand of the label that’s forming – with new artists we’re really excited about – and that will hopefully draw people in to explore the series as a whole.”
First on the release is ‘Wait & See’ from rising Bajan artist RoRo. A hypnotic masterful flow which meanders seamlessly around Carey’s pulsating electronics.
It’s bursting with attitude and originality. “I saw Dan Carey play with Kae Tempest on one of my first few times ever being out in London’ she says, ‘it was such an amazing show.
“I was extremely excited to then get the chance to work with him. I’d been trying to do so while in London, but it didn’t quite work out that way. We did manage to make it happen remotely whilst I was back in Barbados though, and we knocked it out.”
Second is ‘Cigarettes Pt. 2’ from the enigmatic Londoner young black male AKA Rutare Savage: “It’s a poem, transformed into a song by the ever amazing Dan Carey.
“It touches (lightly) upon the topics of fear of the police, drug and alcohol abuse, family, and pulling oneself out of a nihilistic worldview driven by a newfound lust for life. This is me trying to reason with the void.”
“We’re really proud of both of these. It’s an exciting time to be part of Speedy’ says Hall.
“As it’s always been – this thing is driving us, not the other way around.”