Location: Crouch End, London Est: 2014
Potted History: “The label began in rather an odd way really,” explains label boss Dom Martin, which is always how we like our stories to begin. “I was running another label at the time, when a friend invested all his savings in a career-changing plan to cut his own records.”
Seems his pal headed straight to Germany to collect a cutting lathe and voilà, a whole new world opened up for Dom.
“I was hampered by the fact that if I ever did a micro edition of 40 lathe-cut discs I’d be lynched as I was lucky enough to already have a 500-strong mail order list!”
With no thoughts beyond releasing a couple of singles, Dom started Polytechnic Youth, and guess what? Yup, the first release was just 20 lathe-cut copies of Volume Groop’s ‘Electronic Music’ seven-inch. Sold out in a about two seconds, didn’t it?
Mission Statement: “I always had this itch to start a label honing in on the sounds I had loved from around 1979 – minimal synth and that eternally interesting era of home-recorded primitive electronics and lo-fi, futuristic music often dressed in stark, minimally graphic sleeves. People like John Bender as well as the Wider Scale and better known releases by Gary Numan, The Human League, early Cabs, Fad Gadget, John Foxx, OMD. Everything is vinyl only and we have dabbled with five-, seven- and eight-inch singles, records that play from the labels out… all interspersed with wider scale LP releases.”
Key artists & releases: “I’ve never signed anyone in my life,” laughs Dom. “It’s still very much a part-time hobby that I’m lucky to be able to devote a large amount of time to. I love that I can release a short run lathe-cut five-inch or nine-inch single and next up do a 300 or 500 copies of an LP. Some of the better known releases were by Pye Corner Audio, Colin Potter, Hologram Teen, Xam Duo, Polypores…. And they’re all very much underwritten by verbally agreed ‘deals’, not unlike the famous stories you’d read about Factory Records.”
Future Plans: “I’m massively lucky in that I have a very loyal PY-buying audience,” says Dom, “so the dreaded boxes of records under the bed scenario hasn’t occurred just yet! The plan is just to continue releasing music for as long as people are seemingly enjoying it. That’ll do me really. No plans to take over the world round these parts just yet!”
Any other business? “If anyone wants to join the label’s mail order list, you can find it via firstname.lastname@example.org While Dom says the Facebook page is used almost daily and is a good way of hearing about what’s next nice and early. People can find it at facebook.com/polytechnicyouth