Afterhours with Rev-Ola & PoppyDisc

Posted by in March's Magazine

Joe Foster, founding member of the Television Personalities and Biff Bang Pow, and sole member of Slaughter Joe, went on to become a legendary producer and senior executive of Creation Songs Publishing, as well as a co-founder of Creation Records. He now runs his own publishing company, Sterling Songs and the Rev-Ola, PoppyDisc and Afterhours imprints. Tuesday Foster grew up studying classical music, eventually finding her way to Fine Arts. Since completing her studies, she has continued a visual arts practice, inspired by urban sprawl, generic cities, and half-imagined landscapes.

Michael Pedersen: Talk us through the different elements of PoppyDisc Records, an overview of the artistic team, and the different arms of the label?


Joe: PoppyDisc is primarily a label for new and innovative artists, Rev-Ola reissues interesting work by artists from the past to the present day, and Afterhours reissues exceptional artists from the beginnings of recording to the early 1960s. The team consists of myself and Tuesday, Andy Morten and Donald Soutar who provide the luxurious cover designs, the wonderful Nick Robbins at Sound Mastering as well as Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub) and Sterling ‘Rosco’ Roswell (ex-Spacemen 3 and Darkside) who handle the mastering and re-mastering. A number of friends write liner notes for releases – the likes of Kevin Pearce, John Cavanagh, and Ian Greensmith. Anton Newcombe (Brian Jonestown Massacre) is a valuable consultant on many of our projects.

Michael: Is it curiosity, criteria or compulsion that draws you to an artist?

Joe: COMPULSION! Ha ha. Artists find their fit through a love of music, art and themselves producing exceptional work. The odder the better. Tuesday: A bit of all of the above. Artists can become more (and sometimes less) interesting to us as we get to know more about them, both as people and as artists. A band finds their fit at PoppyDisc by having distinguished something about their work that we find irresistible at whatever point in time. I’d say it’s essential that they fit into our own personal zeitgeist.

Michael: What are the main challenges facing independent record labels?

Joe: If I sat quietly, I could probably know what was going to happen in the future, which would be handy because that is where we are going to spend the rest of our lives. At the present moment, as always, the problem is the medium and the formats. Have CDs been superceded by downloads as microgroove records, 78s and cylinders were all superceded? Logically, this should be a problem for the manufacturers who have invested vast amounts in their plants, and not for the artists…alas, artists have to pay attention to what is going on with these issues simply in order to be able to put their art out there and make a living. Tuesday: I’m concerned with what’s going on with the copyright laws, SOPA, PIPA, etc. As I suspect those issues could very well be game changing for record labels and artists of all types.

Michael: Then heck, to add a little flavor, what are the main joys of running a label at the moment?

Joe: Discovering new and exciting music, whether it be absolutely brand new or something historical that the world has somehow overlooked, and giving it life through PoppyDisc. Tuesday: That’s nice. I also thoroughly enjoy deleting troublesome and not particularly successful artists from the PoppyDisc catalogue and never having to deal with them again.

Michael: What’s on the cards for the two of you and PoppyDisc in 2012?

Tuesday: We’re going to travel to the Atlas Mountains to visit the legendary Master Musicians of Joujouka. We’re very excited about that. We’ve also got a brilliant new compilation in the works to be released in time for Record Store Day. The theme of this compilation is THE NEW PSYCHEDELIA, and it includes a number of our current favourite cutting-edge artists from all over the world. Joe: We’ll be experimenting with download only and vinyl releases this year, also putting on a number of shows by the artists who appear on the compilation. I’ll also be producing a few records this year by a number of exceptional bands, among them Little Buddha, Edinburgh School for the Deaf and Secret Ceremony, our new project.

Michael: What, or whom, is the next big thing?

Joe: Neo-Psychedelia, The Dead Skeletons, Secret Ceremony. Tuesday: Self-knowledge, self-reverence, individual liberty.

Michael: What does avant-garde mean to you?

Tuesday: It’s a marketing keyword at this point. Prior to the 60s it carried more meaning, so in the historical sense it signified those artists who were operating outside of that period’s mainstream culture. Now it is a term that is consistently misapplied to popular artists, writers and what have you, for the purpose of generating more sales. Joe: Everything we say and do is avant-garde. (Really Joe, what, including bursting a plook? – Editor.)

Michael: What are the last film, album and book that touched you?

Tuesday: I’m currently reading Wreckers of Civilisation, by Simon Ford, as well as The Secret Teachings of All Ages, by Manly P. Hall. The last film I watched was a documentary called The Lives of Lee Miller, by her son, Antony Penrose. Last album was Ouarda, by Andrew Liles. Joe: Last film was The Mask of Satan, by Mario Bava. Last book Secret Agent 666 by Richard Spence. Last album Sounds of Salvation (self-titled).

Michael: And your favourite word used within the breaded sandwich of a sentence?

Joe: Phantasmagoria.Tuesday: Meat.


One response to “Afterhours with Rev-Ola & PoppyDisc”

  1. Arthur J. Spinney says:

    Under certain scenes always make me curious. I have never thought that music business is organized like that! Thank you for the brief overview and letting me look under that certain. I'm also wondering about the internet games business, for instance, the popular and what people stands beside it. Maybe someday I will find an article about that here)

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