Stoke Gigs presents SONS Records
The Stoke-On-Trent music scene has been rumbling for some time now.
With famous exports Robbie Williams, Murdock from The Gorillaz and legendary riffster Slash coming from our fair city, you’d think we’d have a great reputation for being the dream makers of hot young talent.
Alas, we chose to let them play in dark basements with fans of the combined age of 31, and let them get on with it.
Having been to many a gig in the local area, there seems like a specific amount of talent whose names are incredibly familiar.
Steve Lamacq says that the Stoke music scene is “one of the most explosive and vibrant music scenes in the UK right now,” can’t argue with that.
SONS records are the label who are responsible for the sudden explosion of local bands into the music scene now.
Mike from The Novellos, one of SONS signed bands, thinks that the Stoke scene is really blossoming at the moment saying, “the Radio 1 air play and NME coverage at this stage is a sign post that Stoke is being firmly placed on the map and is becoming a greater part of the progress of modern music. If the big names down in the big smoke want to know about Stoke, we know Sons is doing the right thing. Quite frankly SONS is the next movement.”
Their third annual SONS record showcase took place last April, but instead of showcasing, it felt more like a celebration. The month before had seen four of their artists dominating the UK indie charts with This Is Seb Clarke knocking The Futureheads off the top spot, and more recently The Novellos stormed the UK indie singles charts at Number 12, sandwiched by Dizzee Rascal, and above entries by The Prodigy and Vampire Weekend. All four of SONS chart topping bands have received national airplay across BBC Radio 1, 2 and 6 Music along with Xfm. Magazines such as Artrocker and NME have both ran stories about the unique label sound and the success of the Stoke music scene.
Label manager Neil Graham is certainly glowing with pride and is telling anyone who’ll listen how successful his label is getting. He describes the showcases as “manic, but usually they all go pretty smoothly.”
One great bonus to last years event was appearances by Carl Barat and Didz Hammond. Showing his support Barat said, “the label’s really good, I’d only heard of one of the bands before but they’re all really good.”
Others in the music press have likened SONS to Factory Records, a definite sign if there is no other, of just how exciting the label is.
“I hope that they are finding the comparisons for all the right reasons,” says Mike from The Novellos, “SONS is an ‘Indie’ label in the true sense of the word, money-less, but with the music to hold our own with the majors. Every act is different; there is undoubtedly very little cross over stylistically between most of the bands, but at the same time there is an overwhelming sense of unity among the SONS bands. Unified by a motive, by a desire, and a passion to get their music and moreover Stoke in the pages of music history. It’s a bloody great thing to be part of. We’ve got our studio, we’ve got our Showcase – The Victoria Hall becomes our hacienda. I think SONS is similar for all these reasons.”
Although the label was not set up until 2004, it seems that 2010 is their most promising year to date.
The label has boasted top local talent on their books such as Friends of Ken, Raphaels, La Dies, The Rough Charm and The Fortunas, all of which have parted ways yet undoubtedly have gained something from their experience.
2010 is all about looking to the future however for Stoke’s brightest label with current signed bands This Is Seb Clarke, The Title, The Novellos and Tommy Turbo and the Turbervilles all looking to storm the UK charts.
By Lyndsey Oliver