Beech Coma are one of the hottest new labels. I caught up with Harry from the label for an interview…
Topical question to begin with, what are your thoughts on #piggate?
It’s the kind of thing that is utterly horrifying yet perfectly believable all at once. The media’s response was so predictable too – “Tories anger at claims” rather than “David Cameron actually fucked a pig”. It’s vile on many levels, but he’s done far worse things.
Onto more serious matters – when did the Beech Coma journey begin?
On to #business – Beech Coma started in the summer of 2013 as a new music blog which I updated pretty infrequently. In Spring 2014 I was bored at uni and thought it would be interesting to create a physical version of the blog, which is where the idea of the compilation cassettes came from. The first tape came out and was received so well which was so great, and I loved putting it together, so I decided to actually try and make Beech Coma into a “real” “record label” “thing”.
And what’s the deeper meaning behind the name ‘Beech Coma’?
When I was 13, I was staying for two weeks at my grandparents’ house and there used to be this incredible forest that backed onto their garden that you could spend hours exploring. I was pretty into Harry Potter at the time (ahem, always will be) and would go out and pretend to be fighting Voldemort or hunting for the Tri-Wizard Cup or running away from Fluffy, the three-headed dog. It was a pretty amazing time of my life.
Anyway, one day I was climbing one of the many beech trees in this forest (I think I was under the impression that it was the Whomping Willow) and fell out of it. I hit the ground pretty hard and fell into a three month coma. I don’t remember much from that time, but I do remember very clearly Albus Dumbledore coming to me during the three months and telling me that the impact of my fall had shifted the force of the world, creating a new deadly spell – the “Beech Coma”.
You recently received some sort of arts funding, how has that transformed what you can do?
Yeah! Beech Coma was awarded a ‘Grant for the Arts’ from Arts Council England in order to start the Beech Coma Singles Club. I applied for the funding because, as great as cassettes are, pressing vinyl is pretty special. But the main reason was that I wanted to create some sort of program that built on the compilations and allowed me to help acts more – the funding goes towards payments for recording, music videos, artwork, press etc, so it’s more than just the medium.
How fantastic was it seeing your releases on the pages of the NME?
That was really special! For a brief period, NME seemed to be really championing grass-roots music alongside more established acts – seeing Bruising and Abattoir Blues on pages with Courtney Barnett and Connan Mockasin was really cool. When ‘Vol. 3’ was reviewed in there, my sister called me to say that she was really excited that it had been given a higher rating than a Drake record and she didn’t realise that this ‘whole Beech Coma thing’ was that serious haha.
Now that they’ve relaunched, it seems they’ve lost all that – I get it from a commercial perspective, but it does feel like they’re alienating that ~core readership~. We’ll see, hopefully it’ll pick up.
Which other labels should everyone be checking out?
Art Is Hard are forever nailing it and out-doing everyone, Sports Day are my new favourite sun-drenched tykes, everything Father/Daughter touches turns to gold and I’m also really enjoying the weird and wonderful world of Tasty Morsels.
In three words, can you sum up the world of running Beech Coma?
Contemplative jazz music.
Beech Coma have just announced their brand new Singles Club – it’s £20 to join and every two months for the next year they’ll be releasing a new 7″ single. The first release is Bruising’s ‘Emo Friends’.