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DIY or Die: Bedroom Records PDF Print E-mail
Written by Nicola Wright   
15 06 2011
ImageWe've got a reputation for being a hardworking bunch, north of the border. We're born grafters. Whether it's building ships, mining coal or blowing glass, the powers that be have always known that if you get a harness on a northerner you can get a lot of work done. Of course, on the other side of the coin we've also got a reputation for getting stunned as a bag of hammers and giving one to the nearest member of the opposite sex in a hot tub (thanks Geordie Shore).

Despite such a hideous showcasing of our region, I'd like to think there are still some people out there who are willing to put in a good bit of graft for a good cause. Indeed I know this for a fact; our music scene is a perfect example.

Organisations like The Bunker have long championed the DIY ethos, arguably our most popular musical export, The Futureheads, chose to turn their backs on the fat cats to put out their own releases, and even help run our biggest festival in their spare time. And now we've got another independent output of quality recordings in Bedroom. Founders, Morris Ford and Paul Burgess explain how it came to be: "For a long time I've had the name in my head and recently I've found myself recording various friend's music and really enjoying the process," explains Morris. "I started to build a small collection of songs that belong to different artists and thought why not make it a label."

The label's name itself seems to mark the coming of a full circle for Morris, who first began his expedition into recording like many other sharp-eared youngsters; taping from the radio. "My earliest memories of recording are mostly playing around with a couple of double cassette tape recorders of mine and my sister's, I must have been about nine or ten." Hours spent hovering over the pause button soon developed into a passion for documenting his own sound, and Morris was quickly moving onwards and upwards to the many-knobbed realm of the 4-track recorder.

"I discovered the Tascam Portastudio 414 MkII and now had four tracks to play with. This was mint, at the time. After a few years of chewing tapes with the Tascam I got into recording music with PCs and music-based software. Now I use Logic."


Those of you familiar with Morris Ford will know that as well as a talented button-slider, he's also a gifted musician himself. So what made him turn to recording other people's music? "I just think it's another thing to get people interested in what is going on in the North East musically, and is something people can get involved with. I've been fortunate enough to become friends withand work with some great writers like Martin Longstaff and (Chased By Wolves frontman) Richard Smith who inspire me to get better at producing for them, because their music deserves it." Paul agrees: "The local scene is, arguably, at its strongest right now. It deserves to be showcased, and Bedroom is the perfect platform to do that."

Bedroom's first offering is ‘Alter', a two track EP by the aforementioned Martin Longstaff, aka The Lake Poets. Like Morris, Martin makes delicate, fingerpicked folk music, but, despite one the EP's track being a cover of local post-hardcore legends This Ain't Vegas, Morris certainly isn't restricting himself to any particular genre with Bedroom;"I plan doing as much as I can and I would definitely like to work within different genres of music.As long as the quality of writing is good."

The keenness to, as it were, ‘beef up' the label also extends to its design, as Paul explains: "We agreed at an early stage that the Bedroom house style should be bold and industrial looking," he says. "At complete odds with the name, of course, which initially conjures up images of 'soft furnishings' and the like!But totally in keeping with the label's DIY, 'cottage industry' type ethos."

It's this sort of homespun, self-determining philosophy that scaffolds local music, and the accomplishment that comes with doing your own thing and enjoying the fruits of your labour is something Morris is familiar with. "I think it's very rewarding to gain some sense of achievement from doing something you love and I think that's why so many people are doing it, it's great."

Having been recently lending his hand to Chester-Le-Street rockers Bison Hunting, the next steps for the label sees Morris turning talent scout, and, if all goes well, vinyl presser; a prospect Paul is excited about. "I'd love to see that," he says."Maybe a limited edition double 10" Bedroom 'sampler' EP, featuring a few different local artists.A real collectable with quality gatefold packaging. I'm doing the artwork in my head as we speak!"

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