Label of the Month: Come Play With Me

After spending the last few years putting out a long list of reliably great singles from Leeds and further afield, it seemed only fair we finally approach the big guns: welcome Come Play With Me as April’s Label of the Month.

Home to killer singles from Team Picture, Treeboy & Arc and Talkboy, they’re so much more than just a label. They’re a deep-rooted stronghold of the music community in Leeds, supporting smaller artists and giving them a much-needed leg up to the next step. We caught up with one of four behind the project, Tony Ereira, to talk all-dayers, trying something new and the one that got away…

come play with me

For those who don’t know, who is Come Play With Me?

We’re a not-for-profit label that looks to showcase the most exciting new music of any genre coming out of Yorkshire. We’re best known as a 7” singles club but actually do a lot more than that. We’re massively into collaborating and hooking up different folks to work together – something I think people in Leeds are naturally amazing at. I liked Jake’s description on his Amazing Radio show that said we were the best singles club in Leeds. Made me chuckle and for some reason think of that Underworld album… We were always 5th toughest in the infants though.

Where are you based?

Leeds. Though I’m an exile from London that swam North against the tide – and absolutely love it here!

When did you realise you wanted to start a label?

I run another label, Hatch, and wanted to do something in a less traditional way that could support some of the amazingly talented guys and gals round here that were doing such good stuff but just needed someone to believe in them and support them a bit.

How did the label start?

I kept on meeting these folks who were recording brilliant music but struggling to promote themselves and so the idea of a singles club matching that incredible music with a beautiful consistent visual identity was born. We were lucky to launch with a single from Cinerama (The Wedding Present) and (Katie) Harkin but have mainly focussed on newer emerging artists since.

Where does the name come from?

The Wedding Present released a 7” single every month in 1992 and my favourite was ‘Come Play With Me’. So I stole the name. I believe they had also stolen it from a 1970s soft porn movie…

How do you decide who to work with?

I think the thing that makes us stand out is that most of our singles come from public call-outs where we get people to submit tracks and get different judges to select who we release with each time. They always have different tastes/preferences and we never attempt to match genres on a split release so it always keep them interesting.

We do some other bits along the way as well though – a compilation album and a couple of picture discs are on their way this year. We’ve also got a couple of curated releases coming and our first split with an overseas label has just been released (Treeboy & Arc vs Jebiotto of Tokyo.)

What’s the hardest thing about running it all?

We’re inundated with so many brilliant musicians that ask us to work with them or to give them advice. We always try to help and reply to everyone but have to push the requests through our application process – so there is always a ton of brilliant stuff we’d love to release but don’t have the time or money to do so. I’m sure that’s true of most labels though!

What are some of your favourite CPWM memories?

So many – pairing up brilliant bands on singles that go on to collaborate elsewhere (Team Picture covering Laminate Pet Animal, LPA covering Team Picture), running HerFest last year in Leeds & Sheffield with She Drew The Gun, Stealing Sheep and so many amazing female-identifying artists, live interviews with David Gedge, Zena “Zee” Davine + Debbie Googe of MBV. Just seeing how much people are really into this little label now!

Is there anyone you’ve dreamt of working with but haven’t nailed down?

One of my favourite local bands of recent years was Post War Glamour Girls. We talked so much about a release but it never worked out and then they went on ‘hiatus.’ Managed to get a first solo recording from their lead man James Smith/Konopinski (with Thomas Truax) on our Come Play album though!

If you had to pick a favourite release, what would it be?

I try so hard not to pick a favourite… They’re like my children and that wouldn’t be fair (and I’ll only upset another one!). But I’m immensely proud of loads of them especially the unexpected ones. An Afrobeat instrumental from Mansion Of Snakes, the releases from ZoZo and Team Picture (2 of Leeds’ finest live outfits) and… Sorry, I could go on and name them all!

What does the future look like for CPWM?

Busy! We’ve just released our first foray into picture discs with a limited edition Marsicans release and our first dipping of toes into grime with Dialect, and the beautiful indie-pop of TalkBoy later this month. More split singles, more picture discs, another HerFest all-dayer, another compilation CD and more of our Come Play With zines. We’re still doing our monthly showcases at Hyde Park Book Club, stages with Yorkshire Music Forum at Live At Leeds & Long Division. Luckily I have 3 brilliant folks that work at CPWM with me (shout-out to Scott, Sam & Andy) and without them, none of this would be possible!

What’s the dream for the label?

Sounds naff but we’re living it now! Just keep on with what we’re doing and do more of it. We’re working on more splits with overseas labels; it gets the artists we work with out to new audiences and opens our eyes to so much brilliant stuff coming from beyond these shores. Given the current political climate, I think that is massively important right now.

Thanks Tony.

Find more about Come Play With Me here.