Interview: Charlie Caplowe, Founder Of The Xtra Mile Label
Scout Beck, Features Writer
As Xtra Mile Recordings get set to release another innovative compilation album 'Smokin (Signed vs Unsigned), where the likes of Frank Turner, Ben Marwood, Chris T-T and Beans on Toast select their own favourite unsigned act alongside a track of their own, founder of the label, Charlie Caplowe spoke to us about the origins of Xtra Mile.
Quite simply, how did you start with Xtra Mile? Who was your first signing?
I was handling the Press for Million Dead and there are only so many live reviews you can try and get. No labels seemed to commit to signing the band so after a while I just thought sod it, let's start a label and release their music. It went quickly from that to Reuben first album which actually has the catalogue number XMR001.
What is it about the DIY approach that appeals to you?
I like the idea of not waiting around for other people to tell you what's good/cool/important to sign and just getting on with working with bands and people that you like and are excited about.
How do you select your artists? What do you look for?
I often like things but can't somehow see how they would fit on Xtra Mile. People say we release lots of different styles of acts but for me, I can always join the dots between them all musically. We look for acts who are passionate and who love to make music and tour as much as they can. We look for acts that get that we are much stronger working as a team rather than us being the 'bastard label'.
When you first met the 'underfed' Frank Turner, what made you sign?
I just loved what they were doing as a band (Million Dead) and I really thought Frank had a certain something that I was interested in being involved with more.
Do you see a resurgence in the DIY, back to roots approach?
Not sure really. I don't think that the majors are signing much that isn't 'pop' or they can't hear the songs on the radio. That always leaves a gap open for those who want to try it for themselves.
The Signed/Unsigned compilation album, can you tell me a little about that?
I just had the idea that a lot of our bands are passionate about music and they spend their lives on the road coming across loads of music along the way. They often forward us links from friends and new acts they love. As a label we try and remain artist friendly and also I wanted to be able to give new acts a leg up even if we can't sign them all! This seemed like a cool way of doing that and hopefully some of the unsigned lot will go on to good things.
What should we expect from Xtra Mile in the future?
More of the same really, sorry about that and people's wallets! In the short term and till the end of the year, albums by Billy The Kid, Rob Lynch, Mineral, Frank Turner (The Third Three Years), To Kill A King (new EP), Reuben (10th year anniversary deluxe version of Racecar Is Racecar Backward), Beans On Toast, Retrospective Soundtrack Players (Christmas album!) and Esme Patterson.
Who would you like to sign?
Looking back, I would like to have loved to have signed The Clash and The Specials from their first albums onwards as they were both amazing bands and those first albums both came out at both musically and culturally very interesting times.
Interview: Charlie Caplowe, Founder Of The Xtra Mile Label, 11th August 2014, 10:10 AM