Day In The Life: Jack Clothier, Alcopop! Records

Blog by Michelle Lloyd under Record Labels

Hello. I’m Jack from Alcopop! Records, an indie label based in Oxford who work with the likes of Johnny Foreigner, Stagecoach, My First Tooth, Freeze The Atlantic and Gunning For Tamar, to name a few. We (myself and Kev who also runs Big Scary Monsters Records) started the label back in 2006 with a 3 figure loan from my dad, which we sensibly gambled on football until we had enough to release some records. 

We’re kids of the 90s who very much believe in producing awesome things that people want, that physical still has a place in the digital market,  and that indie’s are all about personal, friendly and genuine people on all sides.
This an account of my day. It was very busy. 
9.00am: I wake up on a couch at a rather nice flat, feeling dreadfully bleary-eyed – and appalled to see the remnants of the first kebab I’d eaten in years stretched out before me. I say eaten. Mainly ignored. We’d been at The Old Blue Last the night before to see our newest band Bear Cavalry playing a show on their EP Tour and it had been a cracking evening, and getting in the mood of a really rather awesome set, we’d hit the beers hard and enjoyed one of the nicer elements of running an indie label - having fun at the shows. Pausing briefly to hug a rather surprised looking Andy from Rock Sound (who wasn’t necessarily expecting me to be occupying his sofa) I had a brief chat with Michael from Jumping Ships on the way to the train, to talk about his future plans and to look at sorting out some interim acoustic shows now his act, Jumping Ships, have just split up.  It’s a nice chat. Alcopop! only sign good looking acts with friendly faces, so it is with buoyant heart, yet dubious liver, that I board the train to Shoreditch.
10.00am: Next stop is the DIY ( offices to chat to them about future plans for some seriously awesome live shows around the next couple of issues. Running an indie label is a difficult occupation to work full time (although a number of people do manage it) but with lots of other things to pay for, a lot of us do extra work on the side as well. I’m lucky enough to do a couple of days a week for the awesome guys here and it’s a lovely job which is hard work, but fits well with what I do. We discuss the recent Max Raptor show at OBL, forthcoming Novella single launch, ‘one’s to watch 2013’ – link ups we have with the likes of Banquet, Song by Toad, One Inch Badge and Pop Bubble Rock – and move on to the best ways to work together. “You’re always dead easy to get hold of” says Stephen DIY earnestly, the precise second I cancel a call from another one of my acts. The irony is not lost on me. 
2.00pm:  Rushing off with very vague idea of where I’m going is common, but occasionally I luck out and arrive on time - and 2pm sees a pretty exciting meeting, and one of those that really does make this job pretty rad. Hooking up with the manager of a band I really love to discuss the possibility of working together next year. I’ve not met him before, but he’s pretty easily spotted amongst the corporate suits of Pret. We grab a bleak-looking sandwich (on his company card – awww yeah!) and have a great chat. It’s pretty much love at first bite, from my side anyway (I wouldn’t want to speculate on his thoughts) and everything seems like a winner. There’s a long way to go, and a million reasons why I can’t tweet/report anything that has happened, so I sulk momentarily about not being able to ring everyone on the label and shout about exciting the meeting was – and give Joe from Gunning for Tamar (who’s call I so meanly dismissed earlier) as I walk up to the train station. I can barely hear him, but he’s excitedly talking about photos, big shows and the new EP  so I make some positive noises and catch a few words, all of which sound really positive. Strong call. 

And the classic email trawl…to be honest, I’m on my phone answering most of them throughout the day anyway, but there’s always a few that I miss. ‘Dear sir/madam, we’re a band who hates indie and believes the only way forward is METAL. Will you sign us pls.’ *sigh*. I paraphrase, but it’s mostly good news in the inbox today (i.e. not many invoices) and amongst the mail orders and general conversation, there’s cracking word that My First Tooth are off on tour with Tellison in December, which will make for some strong shows. It all seems like the further along you take the label, the more things easily fall into place. That’s not to say that there are ever increasing numbers of opportunities you need to fight for, but it’s always gratifying when you feel like everything is pushing in the right direction, though we have been rocking Alcopop! for near on 6 years now (you wouldn’t guess it as both Kev and I look so young and fresh *ahem*).
5.00pm: Next up is a combination of trains and a taxi (because my directional sense is shit) to meet up with the Fierce Panda chaps at their offices near Highbury. It’s a bit of a nirvana for me because I grew up listening to Panda and dreaming of signing to a label like theirs, and now 10 years on we’re actually working together on the new Acres Of Lions album. The call I’ve turned up for is kinda run-of-the-mill, chatting over release dates, a free sampler and some live date specifics, but there’s something about the Panda offices that is really exciting. To most people it would look like a scruffy office covered in boxes and posters, but to me there’s something real special. Bellatrix masters used as monitor stands, posters from age-old releases I mercilessly purchased on 7” back in the makes me feel like a proper fan boy, but a lucky fan boy at that!
6.00pm: And after last nights shenanigans I decide that it’s probably good to go home, see the wife/kitten and so pop on the bus back to Oxford with a laptop ready to hammer out the last of the Oh No! Yoko press releases. It’s all sorted by Hillingdon so I rely on flaky wifi to respond to a few more emails about Christmas shows and Jurassic Park inspired sweaters (natch), as well as coming up with a few random creative ideas, and am home for tea around 8ish – the Oxford Express is pretty swift. 
11.00pm: By 11 a nice night has been had, and it’s onto mail orders and the last few emails out that have come in during the evening. We’ve just been nominated for the AIM Awards and the resulting press, coupled with a glut of ridiculously awesome releases, means the mailbag is ever full, and currently without an intern means it’s heavy work, though so rewarding as having people with great taste committing their hard earned cash to buy what we’ve released is a wonderful feeling! Thanks! Occasional games of Championship Manager 00/01 (I’m so retro) get in the way, as well as plenty of texting chums about a holiday to Prague in November (totally non-music related), but I’m finished by about 2am and definitely ready to sleep.
Tomorrow will see a pub business meeting with Kev BSM and Joe Gunning for Tamar, and that’s likely to go on late… 


alcopop records, record label, independent label, record company, indie label


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