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Friday, July 11, 2014

These Go to 11: interviewing Fishrider Records

This week we interview Ian Henderson, runner of Fishrider Records, one of our most beloved labels. Based in New Zealand, the label has brought us plenty of great bands & music, plus a much needed enlightenment from someone who is not afraid to share his wisdom & vast experience on music, so it's a special pleasure to count with Ian thoughts & answers. These Go to 11!

Ian Henderson, Fishrider Records
Mr. Henderson, man on
an indiepop mission
Hailing from Dunedin, Ian created Fishrider Records in 2006 and since then has released bands and recorded music that, in his own words, he would like to have in his own collection. Starting with The Puddle (Ian brother's band, in which he drums) the label today has an impressive roster that includes bands like Males, Trick Mammoth or The Prophet Hens, most of them featured in our discoveries series (take a look!). But Ian is not just a label owner, he's an independent music advocate and activist (check his manifesto), making not only the bands of his local scene be known and heard, but defending an idea of a DIY, small, collaborative music community with his acts. Here we go!

The apple of pop
1. First record that you bought (be honest)
The Beatles 'Get Back' 7'' I'm pretty sure was my first record. I still have it. The Beatles 'Essential Beatles' (a budget compilation) was the first album I bought.

2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)
First concert I can remember was a band called Watchdog playing T Rex and Bowie covers in a park near where I lived in Invercargill NZ. Most recent was seeing musicians from Fishrider Records bands Males & Trick Mammoth playing Beatles covers at a show celebrating 50 years since The Beatles played in Dunedin.

3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
I have zero guilt about it but love Joan Jett and I also have two Kylie Minogue albums (the good ones).

Got drums?
4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
Probably my drum-kit. It's an German made Sonor kit bought 2nd hand one piece at a time. It has a great Sonor Designer maple snare. It was used on most Fishrider albums and has been used for shows here by lots of visiting musicians including Rachel Blumberg (who has drummed for The Decemberists, M. Ward, Bright Eyes & Mirah amongst others) and bands including Real Estate.

5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
Right now it is the line 'Crushing petals with a hammer' from 'Terracotta' by Trick Mammoth. Adrian writes such a great visually arresting lyrics. I like well-crafted lyrics but I can rarely remember verses let alone songs. However sometimes lines like that get stuck in my mind.

She loves rock'n'roll...
& with a reason
6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
I would love to meet Joan Jett of course. I'd really like to meet Stephen Pastel (The Pastels). I'd also like to meet Jaki Liebezeit - drummer of Can, as he was one of the most influential musician on me as a drummer since I was a teenager. A dead musician I'd like to meet - go back in time to meet - Kurt Cobain. To try to persuade him to stick around as he still had a lot to live for and to do.

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
I love the Trick Mammoth 'Floristry' album cover, though as it is on my label it may not count. So, I think The Slits 'Cut' might be favourite.

8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both) 
Favourite book is 'Caught Inside' by Daniel Duane. It is about a year in the life of a surfer in California and i have read it several times. Favourite movie is honestly just too hard there are so many favourites for different reasons.

9. Release (of yours) you are most proud of
Opposite Sex
Label release I am most proud of is difficult because they all make me proud. The ones I am most involved in making happen are the ones I get most attached to. So, most recently that is  Trick Mammoth's 'Floristry'. However, overall the album that started the recent run of releases by young bands is the one I took the biggest leap of faith with when I recorded & released it - Opposite Sex. I'm most proud of that because it was just such a freakish album in all ways. It broke most of the rules about releasing music but has a spirit which makes it unique and an underground classic in years to come I think.

10. What’s does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
'Indie' is just an abbreviation for 'independent' which just means not owned / associated with a major label. I'm not sure 'indie' has any meaning in music as it means all sorts of things. I guess being independent (as opposed to 'indie') means being able to make my own decisions, break the 'rules' and release music I think deserves to be heard and to help the musicians first rather than the shareholders in a company. I run the label because I love music and respect the musicians I release and want to do what I can for them to get their music heard and appreciated. The downside of being independent is the financial limitations, particularly with the ability to make releasing music sustainable getting each year as less people buy music - even though more people are listening to more music than ever now. There is a huge unethical transfer of income going on at the moment from thousands of musicians and the people who release their music into a very small number of very large telecommunication and internet corporations. No one is talking about that or about how much money we pay to access supposedly 'free' music online and who that goes to.

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I don't see Fishrider Records still being around in 10 years. If it is I hope it has been taken over by the younger musicians on the label. However I hope I am still helping people with music, playing music though.

Zillion thanks Ian!

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