Music

Why finding your favourite record label is a wonderful thing

There are some record labels that I’d trust with my deepest and darkest secrets (if I had any, that is).

Back in my teens, it was a complete and utter infatuation with everything that Drive Thru Records put their name to that shaped my taste. The California-based label was largely responsible for popularising the pop-punk and emo scenes which, I’m happy to confess, are the genres I still champion as a fully-grown, 20-something.

They took the likes of New Found Glory, Dashboard Confessional, Finch, The Starting Line, Senses Fail, Midtown and Something Corporate under their wing, and produced unforgettable tour packages, album compilations, live DVDs and more.

Today, that ethos is reflected in much of what Hopeless Records do. What this label don’t know about pop-punk, isn’t really worth knowing.

Thankfully, you don’t have to pick just one. For me, Epitaph Records are the label I’ll never, ever, let go of. Another California-based independent label that mastered everything I have held dear from a young age. Thanks to Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz – who formed Epitaph as a vehicle for his band’s releases in the ’80s – it grew into something that influenced the genre around it.

Now, they boast Alkaline Trio, Architects, Sleeping With Sirens, The Menzingers, The Ghost Inside, Every Timer I Die, Bring Me The Horizon and loads more on their roster.

If I’ve lost you in my haze of metal name-dropping, fear not. This kind of loyalty isn’t limited to punk scenes or alternative labels.

You only have to utter the names Roc Nation and Roc-A-Fella to really understand the power of a trusted record label. With Jay Z at the helm, artists like Kanye West, Rihanna, HAIM, Big Sean, Rita Ora, Calvin Harris and Grimes have been able to rise up with a trusted reputation behind them.

For me, the latest label to excite me the most, is Venn Records. Back to the metal and emo, sorry, but this is a label with so much to talk about already. Launched not too long ago by Gallows guitarist, Lags, Venn already boasts a bunch of uh-mazing artists. Milk Teeth, Crooks, Moose Blood, Marmozets and Baby Godzilla are among the promising British stars already causing big waves in their respective scenes.

Today they put out something equally fresh from Carnival Kids, posting their new video for Here They Have Guns online. Obviously, I’m well into it already and was actually the original reason I started writing this…

Which record labels do you trust without fail? Let me know at @JessBridgeman and @TicketmasterUK.