Anyone can put out a record, as the last few years have proven. The requirements are restricted to a small amount of money, a couple of CD-Rs, some form of music to put on them and willingness to accept making a loss. There are very few, however, that manage to keep the process up for five years, putting out over fifty singles and two albums, whilst breaking some of the most exciting and important acts around in the process. Young and Lost, then, are far from your usual boutique imprint.
Founded back in 2005 by Nadia Dahlawi and Sara Jade at the sickeningly young age of 20, the two have spent the past few years releasing seven inch singles by the likes of Vincent Vincent and the Villains, Johnny Flynn, Good Shoes and Everything Everything, whilst Noah & the Whale went further and put out their two groundbreaking records out with the help of the label. So, half a decade on and still going strong, the duo have decided to release a retrospective of the compilation containing the highlights of their output.
In advance of Young and Lost Compilation’s release on August 16, as well as the accompanying party, Nadia and Sara chatted with us about the difficulties of running a label, their favourite releases and the indie goths that got away. They even gave us an exclusive mixtape to give away – listen and download below.
So you’re the founders of Young and Lost, tell us a little bit about what you do.
Nadia: Young & Lost Club is a record label and club night. We have released 7” singles from Good Shoes, Vincent Vincent & The Villains, Bombay Bicycle Club and Golden Silvers as well many more! Noah & The Whale are also signed to us and we have released two albums with them and are working with them on the third one to be released next year.
The imprint has just turned 5 years old, how do you think that you’ve changed in that time?
Nadia: Although we have changed a lot its still just Sara and I running the label by ourselves. We still do everything from getting the single recorded, artwork to distributing it ourselves.
Sara: When we started out we really didn’t know what to do, we just learnt as we went along! Looking back I don’t know how we managed it!
What’s it like running a label in a time when everyone’s saying the record industry is dead?
Nadia: It is hard at times, especially for new bands starting out who just want to have enough money so they can go on tour and record their album.
Sara: I hope things will change and people will not download music illegally. 79p is less than a cup of coffee and you’re giving the band a chance at their future.
Nadia: We think it’s great though that so many blogs are onto new bands and even more established bands are happy to giveaway tracks too. We are just looking forward to a future when people don’t download illegally!
What’s your process for putting out a single? Are there a lot of checks to go through? Do you worry much about whether the record will sell or not?
Nadia: We never put something out just because we think it will sell a lot of records, we only put out singles by bands we really believe in.
Sara: First of all we work out getting the tracks recorded with the band, then we work on the artwork. A lot of bands we work with have a very clear idea on what artwork they want to have which is great. We also get the single out to press and radio people as much as we can.
For all our releases we do a single launch party and try and make it free entry too. Since we started the label we have always done distribution ourselves, we even package up every single order we get through our website (we are pretty well known in our local post office!).
Of the current crop of boutique labels, are there any that you particularly admire?
Sara: We really like our friends label Chess Club and the new Manchester label Hit Club.
Nadia: Growing up we were really inspired by Rough Trade.
Over the five years you’ve put out over 50 singles – which has been your favourite release?
Nadia: The first Noah & The Whale Album Peaceful The World Lays Me Down, because it was our first album and it was in the top ten for 6 weeks!
Sara: Vincent Vincent & The Villains ‘Blue Boy’ because it was our first release ever, that single will always be special to me.
There must’ve been a couple of acts that have slipped through your fingers – are there any bands you wish you’d have put out and didn’t? Any major mistakes?
Nadia: We were always meant to put out the first Horrors single, at the last minute they went with another label though. I always wish we had got the chance to release that.
Sara: Luckily there has never been one big mistake, just lots of little ones! One time we sent a CD with the wrong tracks on to the pressing plant! We got back all these Fear Of Flying (now White Lies) CDs with the wrong band on!
Can you imagine a time when you put an end to the label? What’s for the future?
Nadia: I think we will probably stop when we are 60! But who knows!
Sara: We have an album out with Oh Minnows and Planet Earth this year. Oh Minnows was a key member of Semifinalists before they split up. He plays every instrument on the album and recorded it all in his own homemade studio in his garage in Chicago! Planet Earth are also one to watch out for, they will be recording their debut album with Charlie from Noah & The Whale later this year