Interview – Too Pure Singles Club

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So we’re in the middle of a vinyl revival apparently. Or maybe we’re at the start? Or the end? Who knows? As much as we love vinyl here at Overblown we’re very much believers that the content is more important than the medium and we want to champion new music whatever the format. What this vinyl revival has brought about is a whole raft of new subscriber based record clubs. Welcome to the Too Pure Singles Club, a club that promotes the discovery of new music along with celebrating the classic format of the 7″ single. This April the club celebrate their 100th release and we heartily congratulate them; that’s a seriously impressive feat for a club that started long before the current revival in the format. Over the years the club has featured singles by the likes of Hookworms, Post War Glamour Girls, Pulled Apart by Horses, The Vivians, Jeff the Brotherhood, DZ Deathrays, Menace Beach, Spectres, The Spills and Allusondrugs amongst many, many others. We wanted to know more so let’s introduce Paul Riddlesworth, the organiser / mastermind behind this club, who personally hand numbers every record every month. Legend. Here’s to the next 100…

Overblown: Can you give us a brief history of the club? How did it all come about?
Paul Riddlesworth: The Singles Club was set up in 2008 at around the same time Too Pure and Beggars were being merged into 4ad, we somehow wanted to champion new music and keep the Too Pure name alive. We couldn’t release albums any more so wanted to be a kind of introductory service for new bands… a veritable stepping stone if you will…  a platform for new bands and a place where subscribers could maybe find their new favourite band.

O: You celebrate your 100th release this April, a pretty amazing achievement. Did you expect it to run this long?
P.R: Not at all, in fact it was supposed to stop at the end of the 2nd year but luckily for me it got championed by a few people and it got to live another day. Without subscribers though we wouldn’t exist so it’s total thanks to them that we keep returning year on year.
I can’t wait for the 100th release… its an absolute cracker. Also, to celebrate we’ll be releasing a compilation for RSD called Pay No Attention.

O: How do you go about choosing bands for each single?
P.R: I like to plan ahead as much as possible, usually having the bands signed off 6 months in advance for release. It gives more leeway in case there are any balls ups/any issues down the line.

When it comes to choosing the bands it’s a lot of gigs, recommendations from bands who’ve been on the label, and keeping in touch with the indie stores up and down the country as they know more than anyone who’s good in their local area.

O: The singles are really lovely products – is the aesthetic side of things important to you? Do the bands get control of artwork, vinyl colour etc?
P.R: Bands get 100% creative control as it’s their release. Each and every one provide the artwork themselves and get to pick what colour of vinyl they like. If we can match it we’ll do it. We’ve been very lucky as we’ve only had a few dodgy sleeves but I’m not brave enough to comment on which ones they were. I’m 100% coward.

O: It’s reported that HMV were selling a turntable every minute over Xmas. Does a club like yours notice the effect of the vinyl resurgence? 
P.R: If I’m honest not really. Nine times out of 10 we’re a band’s first release so more often than not they don’t have the biggest fan base. One of the most awesome things about doing the singles club is watching bands go on to much bigger and better things.
We survive by word of mouth but it’s a big ask getting people to part with their hard earned cash on what essentially is a gamble. I just hope that throughout the years our reputation has grown to be one that’s trusted, granted you probably won’t like all 12 releases as that would make you me… and no one wants that… but you’ll also hopefully find your new favourite band.

O: What, in your opinion, has brought about the returning popularity of vinyl?
P.R: As opposed to downloads it feels like you actually own something, when it’s on vinyl you have something tangible. You can’t cuddle a wav file. You also get to listen to albums how they were intended to be listened to from start to finish. 9/10 you get a download or cd in with your LP so you’re getting twice the bang for your buck but mainly vinyl just looks and sounds fucking lovely.

O: Do you have any particular favourite singles from the club over the years? 
P.R: I love The Lucid Dream artwork, the Hookworms one was also a thing of beauty and of course Casey Raymond did the formidable Lovely Eggs sleeve which is awesome.

O: How sick are you of hand-numbering record sleeves every month?

P.R: Very ; )

 It’s January, the perfect time for you to get involved and join this rather wonderful club. Your collection will start with singles from Chupa Cabra (January – listen below), Fruit Bomb (February – listen below) & Cowtown (March) ahead of the special 100th release in April. Do yourself a favour and join in here.

 
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