Words by Maddi Fearn
It’s been over six months since Covid-19 first plunged the music industry into troubled waters. Since then we’ve been met with a near constant barrage of bad news; the pandemic impacting road crew, venue staff, touring artists and recording engineers alike. This month however, Leeds-based label Clue Records have provided the city’s music scene with a rare chance to celebrate.
Given the rise and fall of record labels over recent years, you could hardly be called a cynic for suggesting that the pandemic would be the final nail in the coffin for many, but Scott Lewis of Clue Records (right) and Tony Ereira of Hatch Records (left) were intent on bucking this trend. Having first met when Scott joined artist development organisation Come Play With Me (run by Tony), a mutual love of Leeds-based genre tourists Team Picture initially led to discussions around a split release of their debut album on Clue and Hatch, which developed into the idea of the two combining. Having not looked back since, the label is now preparing for a number of new releases due in 2020, as well as looking beyond December to plan new label-related endeavours for the coming year.
When asked about the merge, Scott said “It’s a strange thing to be growing the label in this way, not something I ever really anticipated but it’s good that it’s happened naturally. In our relationships with acts we’ve released, it’s always been about being supportive, open and honest as a basis of working together. With me and Tony working together on other things, we’d already worked each other out so it felt like a natural fit! I’m really excited to see where we can go with the label and what we can do.”
Tony expanded on his feelings on the merger, explaining “Running Hatch over the years has been a lot of fun and we’ve been fortunate to work with some great artists that we were really into. It’s hard work though! Since I started working with Scott on CPWM we came to realise that the ethos of both labels was very similar and this seemed to be a really logical progression for us both. We’ve admired a lot of the Clue bands from afar so are well excited to start working with them all now, scouting for more artists and being part of a bigger label working alongside some of the other excellent indies around the country!”
Previously Clue Records have released music from the likes of YOWL, Crushed Beaks, Team Picture, Avalanche Party and Van Houten. Scott Lewis and Ste Langton had been friends since school when they started the label in 2012, having both made the move to Leeds at separate times before reuniting as flatmates in 2007. With a roster that has gained attention from the likes of NME, DIY, The Independent, Q Magazine, BBC Radio 1, BBC 6Music, Loud & Quiet and The Line Of Best Fit, Clue Records has also often tried to skew what is expected of a traditional record label, releasing items including a pulling cracker and running Clue Club, a zine based monthly singles club that ran throughout 2017.
Hatch was formed a year after Clue in the summer of 2013 from the ashes of Brew Records by Tony Ereira and Simon Glacken (ILikePress, For The Lost PR). Hatch has released music from the likes of The Wedding Present, Nine Black Alps, ThenThickens and Napoleon IIIrd, picking up attention along the way from The Independent, The Line Of Best Fit, DIY, CLASH and a host of BBC Radio 1 and 6Music DJs. The 33rd and final Hatch release will be a very special limited edition pale blue 7” vinyl from The Wedding Present entitled the‘Shaun Keaveny Session’, released on Record Store Day’s new 26th September 2020 date.
Given the mutual love between Tony and Scott for Team Picture, it seemed only fitting that the first release on the ‘new’ Clue Records was the band’s debut album ‘The Menace Of Mechanical Music’ which was met with glowing praise from Q Magazine, Loud & Quiet and The Line Of Best Fit.
You can keep up to date with Clue Records online here.