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INTERVIEW: Wormhole World (Label)

I am delighted to bring you an interview with one of my favourite labels specialising in experimental and oddball music, the wonderful entity that is Wormhole World. Read on...

Please tell us about Wormhole World
Wormhole World was founded almost by accident to be honest.  There was never really any intention to do it in the beginning but, a string of events with the genius that is Ash Cooke (aka Pulco, aka Chow Mwng, Derrero), gave me the idea.  I’m not really sure what my plan was or if indeed I had one, it seemed like a bit of fun and it quite quickly started to gain momentum.  

What is the basic ethos of the label?
In essence it’s an ethical not-for-profit label.  A hobby for me and hopefully an outlet for some music/noise/sound artists to get a slightly wider audience.  There are no big ambitions as I don’t have any funding or time as I have a full-time job elsewhere.  It’s great fun as I get to hear some incredible music.  My first aim is to break even with a release then to sell-out the physical as any profits from these are offered straight back to the artist.  No catches.   

You primarily release on compact disc, has that been a difficult sell in the age of digital downloads/streaming?
Not really.  CD is still my preferred physical format.  I struggle to understand why people are currently fascinated with vinyl albums, just my opinion.   The sound quality of CDs is far superior and they’re easy to store.  There are very clearly a lot of people like me as the interest doesn’t seem to wane.  We’ve sold some vinyl and cassettes in the past too so are not against the idea but, the core of the label with remain CDs for the time being.  I’ve always been a music fan and feel like I ‘own’ a part of an album if I have it in my hands.  Streaming, whilst it is an incredible thing, seems to cheapen music for me.  In addition to that, a lot of the alternative stuff I listen to can’t be found on streaming services! 

How do you promote the label's releases? Where have you received the most support?
That is difficult.  Very difficult.  Twitter has always been a massive help so I am concerned at where that seems to be going at the present time.  Bandcamp is superb.  I have a few contacts in the music press but it’s still hard to break into them particularly with the stuff we release.  A lot of the press just wants mainstream stuff and won’t take a risk on something more edgy.  We’ve had articles in some massive music websites which didn’t result in any additional sales.  I think the biggest support actually comes from other artists and likeminded souls – TQ Zine, Monolith Cocktail, The Sound Of Art To Come, Emergency Hearts – I also have a few ‘inside’ contacts who are incredibly supportive. 

Your output is often quite experimental and diverse, how do you select which recordings to release?
In all honesty, almost everything that comes my way is suited to the label for one reason or another.  I think artists see the back catalogue and know that they won’t find commercial pop and manufactured bands here.  I’ve only ever turned away one album as it didn’t seem right at the time but, with hindsight I wish I had released it. 

How do you prefer artists to submit material to you?
Send me a link to an album or sample tracks.  I listen to everything that is submitted and will always reply. 

Musicians can sometimes be tricky beasts, do the acts you work with generally have realistic expectations regarding their releases? Have you had any problem ones?
I’ve had a few issues with some acts.  Maybe their expectations were too high.   I haven’t had any bad instances with any but, I know that some haven’t come back to Wormhole World after a release.   At the end of the day, this is my hobby and I make no profit from it.  It’s all done on good will and I hope that any artist sees that.  Any issues I’ve had have been very minor. 

What have been the highs and lows in running your own label?
Wow. Highs have been some of the artists that have contributed in one way or another. Releasing the CD version of an album by the legendary producer Gareth Jones (Erasure, Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, Einstürzende Neubauten) was certainly one.  I’ve also co-released a Mark Stewart (The Pop Group) album and the likes of Vince Clarke and Neil Arthur have appeared along the way too.  Not really any lows, some albums aren’t as popular as I would like and I’m disappointed if a CD doesn’t sell out.  

What future plans do you have for Wormhole World?
To carry on as I have been doing.  It seems popular and well-respected, which is nice.  I hope to do a Wormhole World podcast as some time in the future and have a chat to people that have influenced or impacted on me or the label.  There are already album releases scheduled up to August 2023 so I’m doing something right!  

Green Banana would like to thank Wormhole World for taking time out to answer these questions.

Discover more about the label here

Interview by Skreen B