Pulsing, singular synths, eviscerating, razor sharp guitar and a trip into a different world that you won’t actually want to find your way back from, this is Scalping.
Combining the caustic force of their penchant for heaviness with the indelibly enthusiastic and compelling nature of techno, the Bristol group craft an illusive and alluring personality, one that transcends the linear focus of identity for something more physical, tangible and unrestricted. Having made a reputable name for themselves with their incendiary live show, they crash into the world proper with their first single ‘Chamber’, an exuberant, foreboding and utterly defining single that will clothesline you into the abyss.
Capturing the riotous energy of their live show and channelling that into pinpoint rhythm and the enveloping instrumentation, Scalping embody the unstable balance of euphoric escape and anxiety-inducing cacophony, yet ensuring their sound is focused and utterly stimulating, while awarding a freedom in creativity that is liberating and fully open to self-interpretation.
Scalping’s debut 12” ‘Chamber’ is available now through Council Records. We sat down with Council Records’ Sam Craven to discuss the label, it’s intentions and the eclectic roster of artists they are working with.
So, Council Records, what is the main inspiration and motivation for being the head of this label, what does it stand for to you?
So Council Records was started about five months ago, and the idea was that it would be a label that is, from the ground up, supporting artists. We want it to be an artist-friendly platform where we can help artists facilitate the next part of their career. We decided that we are going to be non-genre specific, we want to work with a totally different range of artists in different genres, and for me that was exciting. I don’t want to pigeonhole Council Records as a new indie taste-maker. I don’t want to stop us from releasing a certain type of artist or genre, I don’t want to be afraid of any kind of music, and I think that’s exciting because it doesn’t tie us down to anything. For the launch itself we had a really eclectic mix from electronic pop to post-punk to indie rock all the way to techno, and I think I want that to reflect in our releases as of this year to spur on different artists that may not have a manager, they may not have an agent, but are really good at what they do, so Council for me is a platform to do that and help those artists.
You say it’s not focused on a particular genre, that was obviously a very desirable factor for you, that was almost a deal maker?
Definitely, as I say, I think it’s like the wild wild west out there at the moment, a lot of artists are doing it DIY but get stuck at a certain point where they don’t have a manager or a publishing deal behind them. So we thought how do we make that simple? Where do we find the money to do that? Council could be that bridge from underground to over-ground, we could help that artist get to that certain point where they can find that agent or manager, and that’s exciting to me.
You’re like a really positive middle-man. Scalping themselves have spoke about how you have this desire to build a label around your artists, forming a label that effectively moulds itself around the artists you curate for your roster. How does that passion for the music you release balance out with the business ethic of running a label?
That’s a good question, I think it is totally finding a balance within that. As long as I am passionate and I believe they can do something then I’m willing to take a punt on that artist. With singles and the brass tax of how much that costs, it’s quite scary, but if you feel like that artist will be able to get to the next point of their career – and you feel like you can help do that – then we are onto a winner. I think being passionate is a certain percentage of it but you also have to make it work for the artist. You can’t be looking at it like “we are going to make loads of money”, I’m doing it for the love of the artist at that point and trying to help their career. Also we need to balance between singles, EPs and albums. If we get stuck in a pattern of just releasing singles constantly then we will run ourselves into the ground, so it’s being a bit savvy and making sure each campaign we launch with our artists is strongly focused on what they need. Whether that’s they need more profile, so we are going to get them more followers and streaming as well. Or this band has the followers but they can’t afford to release a physical, so we can put that in place. It’s being strategic.
Scalping are certainly a group that are difficult to define but are extremely enlivening and animated?
They are incredible. I’ve known the drummer and bassist Isaac and James for the best part of six years now, and as soon as they formed this band I was blown away. The first time I saw them was Simple Things Festival two years ago and they opened The Lantern at about 1pm and I remember watching it and thinking what the hell. It’s kind of fortuitous that they’ve been grafting away, as soon as I had a platform with Council Records they were my first port of call. They are something quite unique which again excited me, I thought it would be an interesting calling card for the first release on Council. It’s going to be very interesting to see what comes next and people start to question whether it’s a dance label or something else. They give me that diversity straight off the bat.
With the state of the music industry, in particular its independent bracket, it’s ever discussed. How does it feel to be heading up a label at a time where passion and excitement about labels is really thriving yet the financial side of it is few and far between?
Whatever happens, it’ll be an adventure. Sadly there is no science to it, I wish there was. Whatever we release hopefully it goes really well and we are going to put everything into it but there’s no set formula to becoming a huge star. It’s a rocky terrain but I’m excited by the prospect of being on the ground floor trying to create something that could be really exciting. It’s nice that we’re not restricted as much as we used to be, there used to be a route of getting a manager and an agent, sign to a label, go on tour, gain a following. We are in this time where it’s a bit of a game changer for better or worse.
What do you dream to achieve with this?
For the immediate it’s creating a cultural hub, incorporating that diversity like we said, finding exciting artists and giving something back. If we can turn Council into something that people “rate” then I’m happy with that. If we connect with people in any kind of way then I’ll be happy.
Header photo by Rowan Allen