Record labels take commitment, hard work and an insanely silly love and passion for music that trumps everything else. Also kinda like running a blog. So here at Too Many Blogs, we thought we’d pay homage to our favourite record labels in this new interview feature. It’s September and we return with to chat with Polarface, an upcoming record label run by young people with open minds promoting community, honesty and most importantly incredible music. If you’re looking for fresh exciting alternative hip-hop, soul, dance and much more to come, you might want to read on…
For those that don’t know, who is Polarface?
Your Favourite Label.
Where are you based?
Born in Manchester but raised in London. However, we will never forget about our Mancunian roots and will forever be representing the great city.
When and why did you want to start a label?
I (Jason) started the label at the end of 2016 when I was beginning my second year at Manchester University. 2016 was a very tough time due to personal issues surrounding education, family, relationships and most significantly the ideology of what I wanted to do in the future. I always had the passion for music and knew that it was something I wanted to do. I wasn’t born in a position where I knew many people working in environments in which I had any interest, it wasn’t like I had a family friend who knew that person and so on, hence why it was difficult for me to find a connection within the industry.
I’ve always been fascinated with entrepreneurship and the concept of DIY, and one day just had loads of thoughts in my mind running up and down. I knew right at the start, I didn’t want to leave university feeling confused about where to go next and most importantly I didn’t want this idea to be something I would regret never giving it a go or leaving it too late. Due to the issues surrounding me at the time, I was looking for a new light in life, and was feeling very hungry to give it a go and I just knew it was the right to start. It was the opportunity to get into the industry but doing it on my own terms.
I’m very lucky to have a great small team of aspiring executives, music producers’, creative designers and most crucially hungry and talented artists, who have the vision within themselves and Polarface.
What was Polarface’s first release and do you still work with them?
Polarface’s first release was London rapper Clive Mercury EP titled ‘Orange Rooms’. We still work with Clive and we are just getting to ready to finish up his forthcoming project which we are excited to release!
We first became aware of Polarface with the release of M.I.C’s ‘Qway’, what’s the story of how you started working with him?
I have to start off by saying M.I.C is one amazing wizard. We met through a mutual friend and both realised we fucked with the Cocteau Twins, Skepta, Lone, Sade and many more. After our conversation I was like “rah”, I thought I was the only one who listens to music like the Cocteau Twins so I knew for starters he had an amazing music taste. He’s such an enthusiastic and passionate guy, after our conversation he told me to check out his Soundcloud which I did and was consequently blown away. I was honestly excited to hear someone who’s pushing Grime music but incorporating genres of avant-garde, dream pop, metal and so much more.
I met him just when I was starting Polarface, and he was one of the first people to know of the idea. He helped the Polarface family from the start by playing some of our first shows and being a supporter. I was honestly waiting for the day he would accept to release a project under us and he finally did with his latest EP ‘Heaven is Black’, which was our second commercial release.
What’s the most difficult thing about running a label?
Time management, a lack of resources, the legal/business affairs and lastly mental health. Hate to say it but that’s what you get when running a business, no matter if it’s big or small. But at the same time, I do love what I’m trying to succeed in.
The senior team and I, along with our artists, have identified these issues to try and overcome so that we can flourish and keep breathing simply for the love of music. I make sure topics such as mental health are discussed so that the people I’m working with can feel safe and know that there are people out there to help and listen.
Manchester’s [ K S R ] has been doing really well recently. How would you describe his music and what’s coming up?
I would describe his music being in the genre of soul, and the sound of his music is beautiful, exciting and mesmerizing. In terms of upcoming projects, I can’t say too much. I would leave the Donny to answer this specific question on what’s coming up. But just know we are working.
Who else should we be checking out from Manchester right now?
M1 Dims is an artist who should be on the rise soon and PK Brako + Ann-Drom-Akka a duo who haven’t released anything yet but I’ve seen them live and know they are something special. I identify the two potentially being our generation’s Yazoo, and I hope that happens. If you don’t know Yazoo please check them out. One glorious duo.
We love the name and logo, any merch on the way we can cop?
It will soon come love. It’s just a matter of time, planning and organisation. But don’t worry, it’s idea which has been brewing up within the camp for some time.
You’ve just released the new single ‘VHS (Very Happy Song)’ from Matrace, how did he come to be part of the Polarface family?
One day I went to a studio and in that room, was Matrace. At this point, we haven’t introduced ourselves but he has his laptop open and the guy is playing beats after beats to a small group of people. I was amazed at how good they were and just had to go for it and chat to him. We both realised we liked the same things especially within electronic music and that’s where our Polarface relationship began. He has a great working relationship with our Head of Music James Mason and the two smashed it working together on ‘VHS’. I’m really excited to present our next releases with him!
If you had to pick a favourite Polarface release, what would it be?
I can’t pick one. They’re all my favourites. I have respect for each and every one of them.
What’s been your favourite album of 2018 so far?
2018 has been a fantastic year for music, a year that will go down in the history books. That’s why this question is quite upsetting because I would love to name you loads. But one album which has been favourite so far is Tirzah – Devotion. It’s the first time we’ve heard from Tirzah since 2014, so it’s been a while and it’s great that she’s back with a beautiful debut album.
Any favourite Polarface memories you can share?
There’s been a lot of good memories such as the Heaven is Black launch show, releasing Clive’s – Orange Rooms and celebrating our first birthday with [ K S R ] headlining. But the best one of all so far was our unsuccessful night which we held in a snowy Manchester in March and I think only about 30 people attended. At the time, I was disappointed because we had our whole roster and affiliates up in Manchester to perform. Despite that, there was a real sense of family present. After the show we chilled in McDonalds chatting shit and having a good time being in each other’s company. Before that event, I was riding off on hosting two successful events and that night made me realise that life is not always perfect but you just have to move on and learn from past experience in order to make your next step to success.
Finally, what’s the dream for Polarface?
My dream for the label is for me and my great team to have a successful career through it, but most importantly for Polarface to be a label that people respect and to promote a community where artists can feel safe and happy and feel that they are in a secure creative institution.