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Larry Ryan

Larry Ryan joined The Independent's website in November 2007. He writes the "Caught in the Net" music column for the paper's Arts & Books section on Friday. He wears thick glasses and talks slowly, traits which people occasionally mistake for signs of intelligence.

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Following last week's Q&A with Sean Forbes of Rough Trade shops, next up in our preview to May's Camden Crawl weekend of gigs (which includes a ticket giveaway, here), is Simon Raymonde, founder of Bella Union records, one of the UK's most interesting independent labels. 

He took our questions on the Camden Crawl and music in general. Here's what he had to say...

Which bands are you looking forward to most at this year's event?
All the ones on our night, and all the ones I tried to get but couldn't, like Surfer Blood, Casiokids, Peggy Sue, Born Ruffians, Male Bonding and Dead Meadow.

Are there any Camden Crawl venues you have a special affection for?
Love the Electric Ballroom as I used to go there when i was a young punk in the 70s and early 80s. When Koko was Camden Palace, I went there a lot in the New Romantic days as it just seemed very decadent and subversive then. Also seem to recall Prince had a party there after his Lovesexy Wembley shows and he did three hours at Wembley then had a private party at Camden Palace where he then played for another three hours! They don't make 'em like that any more. Most bands get tired after 30 minutes...

Any Camden venues you really dislike?
No not really. I thought I didn't like the Barfly any more but went there recently for the Kissaway Trail/Lone Wolf/Lawrence Arabia show and it was a brilliant night, packed and fun, with good sound and no overwhelming smell of piss, fags and beer.

Any Bella Union favourites playing at the event?
I do't think we have any bands there, no, which basically means none of our bands were picked by any other members of the panel, which basically means that either the other panel members suck, or my bands are rank...

Any interesting new bands that you wish Bella Union had signed?
Well we love Race Horses, we love Best Coast, we love Male Bonding, etc but we don't ever wish we signed another label's bands, we love our own plenty enough!

Have you ever signed a band after seeing them play at Camden Crawl?
No. But I remember being very pleased about signing the Kissaway Trail before their debut Camden Crawl performance, as they were so good, I am sure someone else would've signed them AFTER it!

Do you think Camden Crawl has the ability to become as big an event as SXSW?
I am not sure. I guess there is no reason why not.

Does Camden Crawl help set the agenda for new UK music?
It certainly has the potential to, and does seem very committed to supporting new UK bands, though new UK bands have to stand up and be counted and start giving festivals like Camden Crawl every reason to book them over their US counterparts.

There's a lot of talk about the difficulties for major record labels in the current climate, how do you feel Bella Union is facing up to current challenges? Any new developments planned?
The major labels' difficulties are all self-created. Their problems have by default become our problems in terms of downloading etc, but I am not particularly interested in resolving them. I don't allow myself or Bella Union to get drawn into the prophecies of gloom that surround the music industry. If folks stopped moaning about how bad it was and started finding decent music to rave about, it might help. Too many awful bands being pushed in our faces by radio, TV and major labels does make things harder, I suppose, to raise one's head above the parapet, but I am only really interested in my label and having fun. Releasing special packaging editions, tons of vinyls, and not getting hot under the collar, are the only things I have planned.

Any predictions for new trends in music in the next 12 months?
The domination of bands with two words in their names like Summer Camp, Washed Out, Sleep Over, Best Coast, Lone Wolf, Surfer Blood.

How do you think 2010 is shaping up as a year for new music in general?
Fantastic. It's March and already we've had Laura Veirs, Lawrence Arabia, Beach House, Midlake and the Kissaway Trail and now we have JOHN GRANT's very special solo debut about to come out, and then PEARLY GATE MUSIC, MOUNTAIN MAN, LONE WOLF, and then hopefully LOW ANTHEM AND FLEET FOXES to come later.


Sony Cybershot HX5.
ron_broxted wrote:
Friday, 2 April 2010 at 11:12 am (UTC)
Any thoughts on Paloma Faiths "Upside Down"? Annoyingly catchy, not that I listen to "young people's music".
ron_broxted wrote:
Friday, 31 December 2010 at 01:03 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday tomorrow.
lekacert wrote:
Sunday, 10 April 2011 at 08:28 am (UTC)
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Tuesday, 12 April 2011 at 08:06 am (UTC)
Great site, very impressive.

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