Monomyth Records – Bob Brazill gives us the lowdown on the Leeds label – “We have someone somewhere who can help the artist get the job done”

Not for profit outfit, Monomyth Records are making waves in Leeds and beyond. Their quality control is impeccable and the man behind it, Bob Brazill, knows exactly what he’s doing.

Following on from encounters with Venus Grrrls and Blue Kubricks, both signed to Leeds based Monomyth Records, we decided we needed a chat the man who runs the label, Bob Brazill.

It’s a fascinating tale of a not for profit record label and artist collective based in Leeds.

Born in 2017 and steered by Bob Brazill along with a team of creatives, their mission is to gather and develop new music from an eclectic mix of emerging artists and to serve as a launch pad for their work.

They are now producing and playing more music than ever. Their stated goal is to help this fantastic music make it’s way out into the world and to nurture creative relationships throughout the growing local music scene.

We took to Zoom, as usual.

P3dro: Where are you and what are you doing?

Bob: I’m in Leeds. I’ve just finished doing a show on LDC Radio, which is funk, soul, hip hop, trip hop. Loosely dance music. I have a background in DJ-ing. But my day job is senior lecturer of the music, production and performance course at Leeds Beckett University. So, I’m a lecturer and I’m half way through a PhD. So, it’s great as I get to talk about music for a living.

There’s never a day goes by when I don’t think someone will come and find me out.

P3dro: Imposter syndrome?

Bob: Exactly. Exactly that. I’ve been in the industry, been a musician since I was in my teens and done all kinds of things. I have a background in TV and gaming music. I’ve always been a producer as well. But today was radio show and then back to back presentations from students.

It’s been a bit of a crazy few days. The label does quite a bit of work with bands from Production Park – it’s a major staging place for touring bands to do rehearsals. We send some of our bands there to do bits and pieces and it’s a good place for them to get skills for the next rung of the ladder. There’s another level of professionalism that they need as a band, whether festivals, or anything like that.

So, yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing!

And then Friday is release day.

P3dro: What’s coming out on Friday?

Bob: We’ve got Grace [Gra4ce] from Venus Grrrls who did a commission for Brighter Sound in Manchester of three pieces of ambient work. That’s a soft release, so we’re not throwing it to lots of playlists. It’s really nice to listen to. It reminds me of Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil and it has elements of Throbbing Gristle. It’s brilliant.

P3dro: Tell us a bit about Monomyth. What’s the story?

Bob: It will be it’s 4th birthday in June. I’d run a label in the 90s doing house music and things like that; I was resident [DJ] at a place called The Faversham in Leeds. It was so good, but I can’t remember most of it, to be fair. I’d been working with one of my students, Cat Una, who did a project as an artist in residence at the Gus Dudgeon Foundation. We did a couple of tracks together and then … well, it’s different now with digital distribution. I’d flirted with the Myspace era, when clicks on a keyboard actually made a difference in the real world.

But I started to think this may be the right time to do it. So, we put Cat’s first record out on a 7″ and I started to get back into that whole promo world and then it just came and started to happen from there, really.

I think my ethos for the label has always been to say we have someone somewhere who can help the artist get the job done, whether that’s production, promotion, content creation. There’s a sort of safety in numbers. And I kind of think the way to create a scene is to make your own. And that’s with reviewers, artists, videographers, web designers, PR people. And the quality of our product has got better as we’ve gone on.

And, then, I’m just enjoying it, really.

I think the first bands we had were Cat Una, Space Dolphin and then Peace Frog. That became a theme – there had to be an animal name. Then there was Uncle Buzzard. But we’ve stopped that idea, now!

It’s always been an open door policy and it’s been pretty organic as far as the roster is concerned.

And, then we have the Monomyth Friends who are bands that are free to come and go as they like and explore things. The artists always own everything they do. We don’t make anything. We had to change the model a bit in order for us to sell to publishers and the like, we have to own the master rights, but that can always be reversed.

P3dro: Do you have any kind of preferred genre?

Bob: We steer away from anything with Autotune!

P3dro: Do you do live events?

Bob: Oh, yeah. Lots of gigs. We work extensively with Futuresound in Leeds and The Kids Are Solid Gold up in the North East. We would be gigging all of the time. This week we’re announcing two showcases for the label, at The Wardrobe in Leeds.

But I’m also trying to support [our roster] to get [touring supports]. It’s all ticking back in and things are not getting postponed anymore.

Over the last couple of weeks, it’s just gone bananas, coming out of lockdown.

It’s gotta be done.

P3dro: Recommend a band or an album you think we should be listening to right now.

Bob: I listened, yesterday to the new Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes single, twice. And, I love IDLES. My top fave album of all time is Doolitlle by The Pixies.

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