Living La Vida Local: Week 6 (Interview with James Hewitson- Endearment Records)

What was your motivation to start the label?

I was writing some music about a year ago and I was feeling a little bit miffed about the idea of having to appeal to a ‘label’ or whatever to gain wider recognition. I wanted to write freely, release music totally off my own accord. I wanted to make myself feel liberated about what I was doing artistically, and also learn more about the business aspect of music. I also wanted to put shows on again, and it seemed a good idea to tie everything I wanted to do under the same name, or brand.

‘Talk to Me’ encourages discussion about mental health, which is something music needs to do more of

What’s your vision for it? Genre specific or free range?

At base level it’s literally just me bigging up music that I like, we all do this to an extent. But I do want it to be something that people can turn to discover something new and organic. I don’t care what specific genres I involve to any extent with the label. The first show was mainly indie-pop/lo-fi stuff, whereas the next was mathy/post-rock. The releases themselves can only come steadily at the moment though, as it’s just me working on it amidst other things. The idea of it is pretty free range but in terms of who’s actually ‘on the label’ so far (myself and Lissie) it probably leans more towards indie-pop music.

Why did you choose Lissie’s Heart Murmur for your first release?

I’ve known Lissie for a while, and she sent me her EP not long after I announced to friends that I was going to start doing this. I heard it, and I thought it was brilliant, so I didn’t want to pass the opportunity up. Although the initial aim of the label was to release my own music, I hadn’t properly recorded anything myself at this point so if I were to put Lissie’s songs out, it couldn’t have been me first.

What went into getting the record out?

Cover art, liaising with vinyl manufacturers, putting together a mini-tour to promote it (We’re at Bar Loco on Saturday 21st November), arranging the digital release (Spotify and Itunes), Lizzie did a music video which was pretty good, I attempted PR (initial arrangements fell through fairly late on), I went to local independent record shops with vinyl, played them it, asked them if they’d like to put it in their shop to sell etc. Just stuff like that.

I wanted to make myself feel liberated about what I was doing artistically, and also learn more about the business aspect of music

What does Lissie’s Heart Murmur offer that’s different to that already out on the North East scene?

Lissie’s Heart Murmur does a lot with a little. I like how stripped back, yet aesthetically fulfilling this record is. It’s not blatant, corporately inspired pop music either. It’s not the singer songwriter all over again. ‘Talk to Me’ encourages discussion about mental health, which is something music needs to do more of. It is conceptually constructive, and the instrumentation around Lissie’s vocals and guitar is beautiful. Aesthetically, there’s a kind of lazy, mysterious, psychedelic vibe to it all that doesn’t fully sit with other music in the North East, which is another reason why it stands out here. Her voice is awesome too.

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