Wall Of Soundís boss Marc Jones celebrates ten years of twisted pop. listen to marc jones interview feature
listen to hour long wos mix
read marcís five defining wos releases
Wall Of Sound, the label that brought us acts as diverse as The Propellerheads, Black Twang, The Bees, The Wiseguys and Les Rythmes Digitales, is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a compilation of highlights from the last decade. We caught up with the man who started the whole thing, Marc Jones.
Royksopp and The Bees
How did the label start?
I started the label when I was working for a record distribution company. There wasnít any grand masterplan really. Iíd been involved in music and in bands for quite a long time, Iíd made some dance records but didnít really know what I wanted to do. I knew that I had to take a step back in order to take two steps forward. So I went to work for a friend of mine called Mark Lesner, who has a distribution company called Soul Trader, and started to learn the other side of the business. There I began to work with producers, musicians and labels who didnít have the facility to distribute their own music. Artists like Kruder & Dorfmeister, Basement Jaxx, Howie B, Pussyfoot and lots of others. And one day I came up with the bright idea of putting them all on an album, which became Give Them Enough Dope, Volume 1. That was the first Wall Of Sound release. It was released to a degree of critical acclaim and we sold a few thousand records but it was a turning point from my point of view. As soon as I picked the record out of the box I looked at it and knew, as I held it in my hand, that this was my destiny.
Themroc and Propellerheads with Shirley Bassey
When did you first smell success?
When we knocked The Verve off number one with Decks And Drums And Rock And Roll in the midweek chart. When that happened I remember we were sitting in an office, looking at each other and going, ďThis is a piece of piss. There are three of us here. Whatís all the fuss about with people saying this is difficult?Ē We sold a lot of records and did a lot of gigs but it was more than that, it was a sort of two-fingered salute to a lot of things that were going on at the time. It gave people a kind of hope and energy that there was something different out there.
Is there a label ethos?
Blak Twang and Mekon
The logo has become something that people will trust if they want to buy some music thatís groundbreaking and accessible at the same time. From the very beginning I said I wanted to sell a million copies of every record we made and that was kind of the difference between us and a lot of our contemporaries. They do their thing but we make f**ked up pop music. A lot of our artists describe it as walking the fine line between what is commercially accessible and what isnít. And that hasnít changed. We have a roster that is completely versatile, that goes from one end of the spectrum to the other. Weíve got Blak Twang, we have Royksopp and we have Medicine.
Whatís the future for Wall Of Sound?
I think our role will change. What Wall Of Sound will be in five or ten years time, if it still exists, will be different. Weíre a communications company and thatís what weíre going to become more and more everyday. I donít think weíll just be a record label because the model for a traditional record label wonít survive in this environment anymore. To exist now as an independent label weíre going to have to change. We have to remodel our company, we have to become self-sufficient. Itís what the great independents have done in the past. And weíll still be releasing creative music, accessible music. Weíre part of the culture of this country whether people like it or not.
How would you like to be remembered?
I think as someone who cared really.
Matt Walton 26 September 03
Off The Wall - 10 Years Of Wall Of Sound is out now on Wall Of Sound.
useful link: www.wallofsound.net
mix track list
01: Propellerheads feat. Livingroom Johnston - Ten Years (Johnston's Strut Part 1)
02: Blak Twang feat. Est'elle - Trixstar (Joni Rewind Mix)
03: Shawn Lee - Happiness
04: Akasha - Crazy Baby (Groove Armada's Presque Celebre Mix)
05: Les Rythmes Digitales - Jacques Your Body (Make Me Sweat)
06: Eastwisk and Hollway - Number One
07: Royksopp - Remind Me (Ernest Saint Laurent's Moonfish Mix)
08: Themroc - Into the Light (West London Deep Remix)
09: DJ Pierre - Wet Dreams (X-Press 2 Self-Abuse Mix)
10: Dirty Beatniks - Whores Freaks Saints and Angels (Yellow Sox Dub Mix)
11: Zoot Woman - It's Automatic (Cosmos Acid Dub)
12: The Wiseguys - Cowboy '78 (Roger Sanchez's Casa ce Sanchez Mix)
13: E-Klektik - Maracana Madness (Jon Carter's Brazilian Dollar Man remix)
14: Mekon feat. Roxanne Shante - What's Going On? (Junior Cartier Remix)
15: Junior Cartier - Women Beat their Men (Ashley Beedle's Dominatrix Club House Remix)
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