Not content with being in ultra ace enormo-indie-pop-rock quartet, The Traps, the band have built their own Speech Fewapy record label / internet radio station / club nights / cool fun house like community that is poised to unleash some of the tastiest tunes that Birmingham has produced since ‘Rat in Mi Kitchen.’
“Speech Fewapy was initially set up to put out our own releases,” explains lead Trap Jamie Berry. “Which we did throughout the course of last year. From the start we’ve wanted to use it as a platform for not just our own music but other great acts we know too who want to use it. We spent a year in development really and now its time to push the label on. 2010 is a whole new beast and we wanna bend it over and ‘sock it one’ with some great new releases from some acts we love.”
“We wanted to release a series of EPs of our own music and felt that setting up a label would help give everything a bit of a structure to work within. Even though each release we were doing was free and no one was busting our balls over when we finished songs or videos, it stopped us being lazy and move on from things if we thought about a deadline attached to each step. We’ve always liked the idea of doing this and we basically want to drag as many of our friends into it as possible. It would not have been possible to release anything the way that we have if it wasn’t for our good friend Chris who has worked tirelessly on making our download page the shit!”
“We’ve admired the camaraderie that is at the core of labels like Modular and the community feel of Speech Fewapy is really important to us. If I imagine a point where it would be totally awesome, I imagine it like that TV program ‘Funhouse’ where there’s a guy with crap hair calling the shots but there are always a couple of hot twins around to keep everyone smiling.”
Keen eared followers of The Blue Whale Blog may know Speech Fewapy as the home of our very own ‘In The Belly‘ podcast, among shows from around the globe as well as being the station that has brought us the likes of ‘Kitchen Party‘, the band’s new music show that is recorded around, funnily enough, their kitchen table in their shared Moseley home, playing their favourite tunes and generally goofing off.
According to Jamie, Speech Fewapy Radio has been invaluable in raising awareness of the label: “We spent last year working hard promoting the label via a series of podcasts that we ran each month from Birmingham, Montreal, and Edinburgh. These will continue this year and we’ll carry on shouting as loud as possible about the acts we love and are working with. At the moment these are predominantly Birmingham acts but locality is not really preoccupying us.”
“We’re doing a release with Malpas which is really exciting as things are starting to roll for them now and they are amazing and it’s a honour to be involved. We’re also looking at a release with Flamingo Flame which is a similar thing really, brilliant songs from a very creative dude. Plus he lives just round the corner from us. The other act we’re looking at a release for is an American band called St God’s from Virginia. Needless to say they are fantastic too and in our eyes all the above applies.”
“Both Malpas and Flamingo Flame are incredible and we’d be pestering them to be involved wherever they were from. That said Birmingham’s music scene always has loads to offer and most of the bands we love are always going to be from around here.”
As many fledgling bands and labels struggle to get off the mark in this file sharing never paying for music as long as I live world, Speech Fewapy has been giving its music away for free via downloads at www.the-traps.com, Last year releasing three EPs from The Traps – Luna, Elk and The Honey Drip. However by allowing people to download music for free, does that not devalue the art form? Why not charge for downloads?
“At the moment it is up to each act as to how they want to work it. Speech Fewapy won’t be a label that churns out free releases everytime, but it is up to the band or artist to do it how they want to do it and we’ll help with that. As a musician I would personally rather that no one was put off giving my tunes a go because they didn’t have the money or didn’t want to pay, especially if it would never make me rich anyway.”
“I just think it is a really good way of getting the ball rolling for unsigned bands. In an ideal world musicians would be able to earn a living and banker bonuses would be pooled to spread out over everyone in a band struggling to get by, but unfortunately that is out of the question, so until then we have to take heart in the fact that whilst people may not want to pay for what they listen to, they still want to listen.”
So is Speech Fewapy a two fingered salute to the suits from the records industry?
“Yeah they’re slogging their guts out to sell people CDs on the way to the checkout in Tescos and its just not Funhouse! There are definitely quite a few indie labels we really like and aspire to but I suppose they aren’t really ‘suits’. I don’t think the image of a record company suit has ever entered our heads whilst doing this, probably because it has all been good fun so far.”
“Rather than a two fingers up at ‘em I hope it amounts to more of a wanker hand gesture from a bus window as we fly past them on their micro fold up bikes. I think getting the bus around to places should be a transport staple for indie labels.”
What do you hope to achieve with Speech Fewapy?
“A record label that earns us enough money to have an office that’s actually a ball pit, then we’ll all sit in there in our suits and casually pass diseases between each other.”
“That and some tight little records.”
Before you go is there anything else that you want to plug?
The series of Speech Fewapy podcasts each month from Edinburgh, Montreal and Birmingham can be downloaded from: