“Do-it-yourself” is a phrase you’ll hear a lot, if you submerge yourself in your local music scene. It’s a concept that goes much further than flatpack furniture and self assembly household items, although they are all related in a roundabout sort of way.
DIY formed amongst the punk era of 1970’s Britain. Angsty teenagers, who were tired of Thatcher’s Britain, the monarchy and basically anyone who tried to tell them what to do, came together to create a culture of do-it-yourself pioneers. They created their own fashion, their own set of rules and beliefs, and built an iconic genre of music for the working-class, the underprivileged and the rebellious.
Today, however, do-it-yourself is a little less ‘Anarchy In The UK’ and slightly more something that your parents might approve of. DIY now takes the shape of independent artists, record labels and producers, all fighting against the mainstream and the big scary record companies, who insist on sucking the world dry of talented, hardworking musicians.
The do-it-yourself concept is something that Doing Life Records, a brand new alternative label based in Liverpool, understands completely. DLR exists with the intention of helping to develop the next generation of alternative Liverpool-based musicians. Far from the DIY days of 1970’s punk, Doing Life Records is a not-for-profit musical hub based around community and giving back. “Doing Life Records was an idea that came to me after watching that documentary about Tom Delonge, where he showed off his massive multifaceted creative hub”, DLR big cheese Simon tells me. “For me that was super cool – the idea of enabling musicians to develop their weirdest creative ideas and make them a reality. The label in itself is the starting point of a much larger entity, but that will take time to develop”.
It’s an exciting venture, one that Simon is quite obviously extremely passionate about. “There are so many talented musicians up here in Liverpool but next to Manchester it can get lost and unappreciated, particularly in the alternative scene. I want to change that and be the hub from which the next wave of alternative music can flourish and take control.” With a 15 year long musical background, that’s seen him be in a variety of DIY based bands, Simon is now ready to put those experiences into the creation of his brand new musical venture. “[It’s] fed into how I am looking to work with Doing Life Records. My tastes are super varied so hit me with what you’ve got!”
The label took its first steps recently, putting out its first release at the beginning of last month. Ed Poole and Seven Years Behind, two Liverpool-based acts, came together to release ‘Split’, a joint EP featuring three tracks each from both. Feeling and emotion is what pours out of these songs. Whether it’s the beautiful simplicity of Ed Poole’s ‘Sit Down Before You Hurt Yourself (Again)’ or the relatable lyrical honesty of ‘Glue Gun’ by Seven Years Behind, ‘Split’ is a tremendous label debut from start to finish. It’s a credit to both the artists and Simon, delivering us a small slice of what Liverpool can really do.
So what about the future of Doing Life Records? What’s the aim for the label? “The label is the start of a larger hub, which aims to help new bands and established bands in Liverpool, develop creatively and professionally, in order to set them up for the future. Apart from a select group of long term relationships, any bands we sign we will look to do single deals, which look to push them to the next level”. Simon’s enthusiasm and blue-sky-thinking has helped to provide him with an even bigger picture for Doing Life Records, which includes the creation of a multipurpose space, similar to that of DIY Space for London, with a strong focus on community projects and assistance. “Providing assistance and awareness on mental health for young people in the scene, is also high on the priority list.”
Although based in Liverpool with a focus on local artists, Simon hopes to connect with outside acts in order to grow the label further. “No matter where a band is from we want to hear their tunes and we want to open dialogues and make connections. That’s the key. Our sound is focused on emo, punk rock, singer songwriter, atmospheric indie, but I’m always open to anything in that ballpark.”
Doing Life Records has the potential to be something amazing. With the release of ‘Split’, the rising profile of the label and Simon’s admirable enthusiasm for his music scene, it’s anyone’s guess as to what the future may hold for this exciting creative hub.
Doing Life Records are looking at ways to work collaboratively with artists on their roster and others outside of Liverpool. If you’re interested and want more information, email Simon at email@example.com