Why the name:
It wasn’t easy coming to a name that we could both agree on! Many a night at the pub or texting back and forth went on before could even get close to one. We went through many different incarnations initially, ranging from names like ‘Loose Records’ to ‘After Hours’ to the more ridiculous ‘Dead Elvis’ (Mike’s choice after a drunken 3am epiphany) but ultimately we came to All My Friends because we felt it embodied the culture we were trying to create. I think sometimes labels whether big or small can convey and air of mystery and exclusivity but for us it’s always been about inclusivity and getting as many people along for the ride.
About how it all started:
We first started working together at an independent label called Infectious Music. Founded in 1993 by industry legends Korda Marshall and Pat Carr , it was home to a handful of the great indie bands such as Ash, Garbage, Cable, Muse and Funeral for Friend but to name a few. For us these were all bands that growing up really helped shape our formative musical educations. Connie had been there from the start of the label’s second incarnation in 2009 but I’d joined in 2011 and I guess that was where it all started for us. The main ethos during our time there was family and ensuring artistic freedom was paramount to everything the label did and achieved. During our time at Infectious we worked with such a broad range of creative people from Local Natives to Drenge, These New Puritans and alt-J and I guess it was these experiences that led to us setting up All My Friends at the end of 2014.
From the outset we wanted to create a similar hands on and family style culture between us, our artists, managers and wider people involved; and although we still quite early on in our existence as a label we feel it’s something we’re creating with Loyle Carner and Gilligan Moss. As sentimental as it may sound, we wouldn’t be where we were without those said ‘friends’, so although our opening line is that we’re a label started by two best friends, we’ve always seen it as being more than that.
About working inside a major record label:
I think it’s always going to be a worry for young artists, especially nowadays when signing to a major label as the common fear is artist turnover with labels tending to sign loads of artists and not being able to give them the right level of development and due care; or worse yet them being signed quickly and subsequently dropped. This is true in some cases but I think the fallacy about majors v. indies is slowly falling away to an extent, with it ultimately coming down to finding the right people and environment you feel most comfortable in as an artist, regardless of the company’s size. I also think more and more labels are looking to favour a preferred middle ground where artistry and commerce can exist with one another.
Why did you choose to work as part of Virgin EMI (Universal)? How do artists react when you explain the relationship? Do you find you have more creative control for your artists & signings?
I think that was what most attracted us to Virgin EMI (Universal). When you look back at the history of the Virgin label from the 70s with the Sex Pistols and Human League, to the 80s-00s acts with acts like Iggy Pop, Neneh Cherry, Spice Girls, D’Angelo, N.E.R.D, to name few and even to present day with Kanye West, Massive Attack, The Libertines, Taylor Swift, Jamie T and Laura Marling what’s abundantly clear is over the years it’s been a label that despite all the changes in the industry has consistently managed to be a home to both the more artistically minded and more commercially minded artist. So when we came in everything felt pretty seamless. Although by no means are we reinventing the wheel with our label, we do feel it can provide a third way to equally young, creative and ambitious artists who prefer to take elements from both sides of the music world.
About LOYLE CARNER & GOMA COLLECTIVE:
Loyle Carner has grown up in South London suffering with ADHD, he’s said ‘from an early age he’s found unparalleled peace when making music & cooking.’ How has this been reflected in his music? How did the collaboration with GOMA COLLECTIVE come about? As an artist in the public eye do you feel it’s important to spread the word about the hindrance’s you’ve faced? Can you tell us more about your collaboration with GOMA COLLECTIVE)
You currently have 2 artists signed to the label, Loyle Carner & Gilligan Moss whilst releasing tracks from Bleeding Heart Pigeons & In Heaven. How do you see your roster expanding?
Do you feel you’re able to nurture your signings & spend more time on them over being directly signed to a major? Who are you currently watching?
I’d definitely, say it helps having the support of a bigger company when it comes to making signings but ultimately like we say to artists and people we talk to, it ultimately emanates from the two of us. People often ask what we’re looking to sign at AMF and to that our usual response is just ‘good music’. Although that might feel like such a non-descript answer, it’s the truth. It’s music that when you first listen to it, it instantly steals your heart and captures your imagination. I’d say we’re over particular with what we sign, something I think you have to be when you’re nurturing labels identity. So usually it has to be something we both love and we often like to adopt the approach of giving ourselves breathing space with the music when we first hear something we like. Rather than instantly reaching out we like to give ourselves a week to live it with it and if we’re still both raving about it, it’s usually a strong indicator its right for AMF.
From our current roster of Loyle Carner & Gilligan Moss to one off singles we’ve put out, the overreaching arc has been that, much like our own tastes it has to be music that sits on the more artistic, culturally conscious end of the sliding music scale. Something I think with the ever changing musical landscape is
2016 for AMF Records, well we should be releasing another Gilligan Moss EP this summer along with a Loyle Carner record before the end of year and beyond them we’re looking forward to announcing some new family members to the AMF stable that will further our efforts to blend a DIY indie mindset with the quantifiable successes that come with being part of a major.