Potted History: “It was Rob Butterworth and Leo Belchetz’s stupid idea,” laughs Rob Booth, A&R/product manager for Houndstooth, the maverick offshoot of the Fabric empire. While the team at the superclub had dabbled outside of their long-established mix series with the occasional stand-alone release, they’d never properly looked at a label dedicated to original music. “Since the Fabric mixes involve licensing other people’s music, it was always the goal to run a label that released original music,” adds Houndstooth label head, Rob Butterworth. “I’d been at Fabric since 2005, so having several years’ experience was a great help.”
With a degree in Music Business Management & Marketing under his belt, not to mention a spell at LTJ Bukem’s Good Looking label, Booth struck out on his own with the much-loved ‘Electronic Explorations’ podcast. After convincing Fabric’s owners that Houndstooth was a good idea, Butterworth hired Booth on the back of being a fan of said podcast. The rest is plain to hear for anyone remotely familiar with the label.
Mission Statement: “Simply to discover and share the music we love with as wide an audience as possible,” says Booth, simply. “Algorithms are one thing, but nothing beats hearing a track for the first time and falling in love with its sound.”
“The label is rooted in electronic music,” adds Butterworth, “the idea being to have a spread of artists that cover a wide range of genres across that foundation, but really it’s about anything we love that we feel others will too.”
Key artists & releases: “It’s impossible to pick an individual artist or band,” says Booth, “but after six months of planning, getting the test pressing back for our first release, Call Super’s ‘The Present Tense’, was a standout moment, that’s when it all felt real.”
They’re keen to mention forthcoming albums from two Bristol residents who featured on their ‘In Death’s Dream Kingdom’ compilation from 2018.
“There’s Hodge, who has amassed a bonkers amount of 12-inch releases,” offers Booth. “I think he was up to 24 by the time we sat down and discussed a long-player. And then there’s an intricate experimental album fusing sound design and jungle, but at a shoegaze pace, by the incredible academic Sophia Loizou.”
Future Plans: “The focus has always been to grow the label into one that is widely known and respected,” says Booth. “Nothing ever goes as quickly as you’d like, but we’re patient and things do seem to be going according to plan. We want to be as successful as possible, but always maintain our integrity by releasing music we believe in… if that ever meant a chart hit, we wouldn’t complain.”
Advice for those thinking of setting up their own label: “Take as much help and advice as you can,” says Butterworth. “Get out and meet people, but above all be patient, overnight success is rare.”
“Country walks,” adds Booth, “and switching email off at least once a month.”
Any other business? “We like the Electronic Sound magazine covers,” says Booth. “They’re worth the cover price alone!”
For more, see houndstoothlabel.com