Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Guest post – 500 Words of Summer – James Byrne

The next guest post in the 500 Words of Summer series comes from James Byrne, the man behind Any Other City Records. Here, he explains just why he runs a label. Hello my names James and I run Any Other …

Thu, Aug 12, 2010, 14:00

   

The next guest post in the 500 Words of Summer series comes from James Byrne, the man behind Any Other City Records. Here, he explains just why he runs a label.

Hello my names James and I run Any Other City Records, a record label based in Dublin. I named my label after my favourite album of all time. A bit of background on me: I’ve played drums in bands since I was 15. The first one was Deputy Fuzz, who are ripe for an extensive box-set reissue, and for the last 8 years Life After Modelling. I’m also a member of Villagers.

To date the label has released records by New Amusement, Hired Hands, Villagers, Feed the Bears and Hello Moon. The label runs a club night upstairs in Whelan’s on the last Saturday of every month where label bands play with other bands I like and we play records for dancing to.

I set the label up at the start of 2008, purely as a means of releasing something by New Amusement. Meeting them was a life changing moment, as I’d wanted to run a label for a long time, but was never sufficiently motivated by any band to do it. With New Amusement. I decided to do it within 10 seconds of hearing them. They were a brilliant mess of ideas, scarily good. An EP and single have followed since then.

I put out a single by Hired Hands last year which I loved doing. I’ll be putting out their debut album in the winter. They have beautiful songs that remind me of early ‘70s folk like Fairport or John Martyn, but with really elegant chamber pop arrangements. Quite haunting, but with a lightness of touch and a lovely warmth to it. It’s pretty special stuff.

Last year I released a Villagers EP and single. It’s been lovely to see it grow in the way that it has. We’ve very proud of those records.

I’m also just about to release a 7” single by Squarehead, which is fantastically good, two of the best songs you’ll hear this or any year. They’re a wonderful band and very nice lads. Which is important.

Hello Moon are currently recording their first album as well, which will be out early next year. We bonded over the Go-Betweens and Orange Juice, and they share that kind of joy and charm in their songs too. Its pure pop, but beautifully so. There’s a lovely breezy confidence and warmth to what they do. I just love every bit of them. It’s a full blown romance.

New Amusement’s debut album will be out at the start of October, and I’m immensely proud to have it as my first full album release. Its a really ambitious record; with a real depth and honesty to it. I wanted them to push themselves and stretch out as a band, and they’ve delivered something amazing. I know it’ll find its way into a lot of people’s heart. It’s called “My Captain”. I think it’s a very important record.

There’s also a Life After Modelling album in the works. We’re like a good wine……… I’m also doing a limited edition single with James McMorrow, who has the goods in spades.

Up to this point, the label has been a success because it has put out brilliant records that look and sound fantastic. Once I continue to do this, it will continue to have a worth. That to me is what makes great labels; that’s what I strive for.

The credits: James Byrne runs Any Other City Records, drums with Villagers and presents a fine radio show on Phantom 105.2 in Dublin.