Potted History: “I didn’t have any experience in running a label,” says Lavender Sweep’s Ant Jones, whose credentials for the job come from being a fan of vinyl, cassettes and “various weird musical formats”. “Before the label started, a friend of mine, Mark, who also helps out, predicted that cassettes were going to see a comeback. As time went on, I could see that everything he was saying started to play out. I’d been collecting unknown band demos from the 80s and 90s on cassette and thought it would be cool to try and repackage and reissue some of these tapes, so we came up with the idea of starting a cassette label.
“After a bit of research, the label launched with a release from Californian shoegazers Ozean. I’d actually stumbled across them via a YouTube video of their 1992 demo and as it seemed to be in high demand, I thought they might be a good band to start the label off with before I delved into the more obscure band releases.
“After a year or so of cassette releases, I started getting into more obscure formats like the microcassette and even launched Microcassette Day, which ran as an online event for the first time last November.” Mission Statement: “Our mission is just to release the music we love, whether it’s new music or reissuing old demos that might not have seen the light of day or been heard in a very long time.”
Key artists & releases: Highlights so far include a demo cassette reissue from cult synthwave band Turquoise Days and Taurus’ 1984 debut album ‘Lost In Time’.
“We did a microcassette release from Hainbach,” says Ant, “who are pretty much at the forefront of modern experimental electronic music. I think it might well be the fastest-selling microcassette of all time with 50 copies going in a little under five hours.”
Future Plans: “This year we’re going to concentrate on bands from the Swansea area,” says Ant. “The next release will be a compilation from 80s synth/post punk band The Cosmic Zaps, followed by a 90s compilation showcasing bands from the area called ‘Fragments Of Hope’. The first volume, which was released last September, covered the 1980s. It came with a 40-page zine and did remarkably well. We’ve also started a series of mini CD singles from local bands and have releases lined up from Sludgecraft, Mook and Limeslade. There’ll also be a multi-format release from punk/ambient obscurists The Rusty Nutz. This is going to be the big one next year as we aim to issue the album out on at least 25 different formats.”
Any other business? “I’ve come to learn if you’re unsure of how well an artist will sell, even if you think they’ve written the greatest music you’ve ever heard, don’t press up too many copies as you’ll end up with a lot of leftover stock gathering dust at home if it doesn’t take off!”
For more, lavendersweep.bandcamp.com