Happy Birthday Fatcat Records!!! An interview with founder Dave Cawley

Diverse Brighton based record label Fat Cat celebrate their 18th birthday this year. Why do we care? Well, they’ve thankfully delivered unto us such majestic (and perhaps better known amongst Fatcats roster) bands as Sigur Ros, Mum and Animal Collective.

After a 7 year spell as a record shop, Dave Cawley and Alex Knights initially directionless Crawley based label Fatcat started with a little persuasion from Bjork and the One Little Indian label. And since then you might ask, well…

Proactively pushing and promoting their predominantly individually styled acts from their initial demo offering chrysalis, Fatcat have indeed done their bit for the cause that is decent music. The transformations some of their acts have undergone are certainly nothing short of mesmeric. And they’re not turning their back on it yet.

Aside from being a kickass label, they’ve also recently launched a fantastic DIY section on their site that’s dedicated solely to aspiration fuelled musical up-comers looking to find their own way around/in the industry.

Foundering head Dave Cawley kindly answered a few questions…

AS: How have the music business and its climate changed since your launch?
DC: It’s changed a lot especially in the way music is distributed and bought. Digital downloads / internet has really altered the way we listen, buy, discover music and it has its good and bad points.

With changes in technology, there's also many many more labels and people out there making music and putting records out, which has kind of flooded things and makes it even harder to get your voice heard.

AS: What’s been your/Fatcats biggest success story?
DC: That's hard to say. For me success isn't just about selling large numbers of records. It’s more about exposing new music and artists. To get behind a band / artist you believe in and watch it slowly grow is a wonderful thing. I feel this would be my measure of success.

AS: When you take aim with your peashooter/pellet gun/sniper rifle, you’re aiming at?
DC: It’s easy to run things down, get angry about the state of things. It’s easy to line up targets for your anger. We know it’s a pointless exercise though. We have been let down but there is no point holding grudges. Just have to pick yourself up and carry on with what you believe in.

AS: Any regrets, missed opportunities or things that might’ve been?
DC: No none really.

AS: Has Fatcat any choice epitaphs, famous last words or something you’d like to be remembered for?
DC: Hopefully the music we have released and the artists we worked with will be what we are remembered for.

AS: Wish you were doing anything else with your time other than music?
DC: Yep, I would like to be out fishing.

AS: Any message to any underachieving or odds facing musician out there?
DC: Just keep plugging away doing your own thing, without compromising. Make your goals personal artistic ones rather than commercial ones.

AS: How important are the charts?
DC: Not important to us as we don't figure in them. I am sure if we had a band riding high in the top twenty then we would pay more attention. I do like checking out bands I see in the charts though. Most of the time it's disappointing but now and again I hear something I like.

AS: Any plans for a Starbucks style, music pushing merge with café bar giants Fat Cat?
DC: Is there one? I didn't know. That could work though. Think of the free coffee vouchers!

AS: What are your feelings on things like X-Factor, American Idle, sorry, Idol etc?
DC: About the same as eating a Big Mac, I do it very rarely and immediately regret it!

AS: Where are you off to when you retire?
DC: Retire? I hope we all make that age group (60 +) first. My dream is to buy a camper van and head to the south of France.

AS: Any personal career highlights or lows you’d care to share?
DC: There have been loads and it’s hard to pick just one. Seeing bands for the first time i.e. Sigur Ros, Tom Brosseau, Twilight Sad, Animal Collective, Mum etc… The list goes on.

Being blown away by amazing live performances… Helping taking unknown bands like Sigur Ros or Animal Collective from nothing to a point where they're really popular… Helping Vashti Bunyan re-emerge as a recording / performing artist after a 30 year hibernation…

AS: What does the future hold?
DC: Loads more records! Here’s a little run down…

New Twilight Sad Limited Edition 12″ ‘Here, it never snowed. Afterwards it did’. It’s 2 new tracks and new versions of tracks from the LP (out in June).

New band from Canada called Ten Kens. Single entitled ‘Bear fight’ (out in June) with their debut LP “Ten Kens” scheduled for September. Not a million miles away from Black Mountain.

The Rank Deluxe will be releasing their debut LP in September entitled ‘You Decide’. They’re a great band loaded with energy and a big nod to dub/ska.

Max Richter has a new project entitled ‘24 Postcards in Full Colour’ which will be released on limited vinyl and digital only. 24 miniature instrumental tracks, perfect for your iPod (out July).

Vetiver have a brand new LP (out May) of their favourite covers called ‘Thing from the Past’. They cover tracks by artists such as Hawkwind, Michael Hurley, Townes Van Zandt and Loudon Wainwright.

Frightened Rabbit have their 2nd LP, ‘Midnight Organ Fight’ out next week. It’s a perfect pop record if you ask me and these guys are amazing live.

We’re also about to launch a revamp of our website which will enable us to sell digital downloads etc. We’re really excited about this as this will allow us to host a lot more exclusive music on our site.

We’re also creating our podcast show and the first one is available to download now.

AS: Thanks for your time Dave and for your…existence I suppose! All hail Fatcat!!!

DC: Hey, thanks very much. We really appreciate your support.

Brighton’s Theatre Royal is the place to be in order to celebrate with Fatcat. May 16th will see Vashti Bunyan, Vetiver, Hauschka and Tom Brosseau playing live with Nina Nastasia, The Twilight Sad, Frightened Rabbit and Silje Nes doing likewise on the 17th.

For full info please link

Share this!