The iconic RAK label is back as a new singles club, who will make their first release next week (27 October) with Trojan Horse. In a Guest Column Andy Leese who is behind the revival explains why singles clubs, seven-inches, and of course RAK, still have the places in the download age.
The original RAK Records seven-inch singles were iconic for me, both my sisters had a number of them, the ship image and the paper bags they came in had a quality that made them feel authentic. RAK sat along side other classic labels that I grew up with, Motown, Island, Two Tone, Creation to name but a few, but the real inspiration for the new RAK Singles Club was Fierce Panda, which for a while in the 90s was the go-to label to hear the best new bands in the UK.
Self empowerment is something that modern technology has brought to the masses, but studios like RAK are becoming rare places for creating music, the sense of excitement artists have when they come here is tangible. There has also been a gap for new artists where traditional bigger labels won't commit till they are much further down the line than they used to be, and we were seeing so many interesting things happening at that level. Giving those great new bands the opportunity to have studio time is a pleasure.
We could just make Soundcloud playlists of all our favourite new bands, put them up on iTunes, but to do something more tangible and creative with them was just so obvious. The timing felt exactly right, vinyl is increasingly popular again. The vinyl itself is being mastered and cut by Gearbox Records who are known for their quality, and this was another very important element in bringing RAK Records back to life. The layers of what we are doing - recorded at RAK Studios with RAK engineers/producers, mastered by Gearbox and released complete with house bags and artwork... I love it!
Aside from recreating the RAK vinyl seven-inch, the icing on the cake of the idea was for each artist involved to cover a song from the RAK catalogue which has some classic titles but also some hidden gems, thus making up the A and B side. Rolling out this plan for the last 9 months has been fascinating, the reaction to the idea has been really positive. The vinyl aspect has been a major factor for each band we have approached, proving this is not something simply sentimental, but that the experience of getting involved with a label and studio like RAK with all it's history is a feeling and an experience you cannot get working on Garageband.
The first release on the RAK Singles Club will be Trojan Horse on 27 October, swiftly followed by Beautiful Boy (10 November) and The Cadbury Sisters (24). Andy Leese
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