Welcome to Strataville
WELCOME TO STRATAVILLE. AN INDEPENDENT RECORD LABEL LAUNCHED IN JULY 2016.
At the time of writing, we’re less than a month old with only one single to our name. So, with such little history, we’ll swerve the obligatory infomercial about how cool we aren’t and talk about how we see our future in this thing that makes our life zing. This preserve of the young and the young at heart – MUSIC (and the artists who create it.)
We think the fundamental role of a record label is to support & encourage artistic and creative endeavour. To be the invisible glue that holds everything together and facilitates the release of an artist’s music into the world. Labels should be a clear window through which a listener can see, hear and experience an artist and their music. If the job of the artist is to create new culture, and not simply regurgitate what already exists, it is surely the job of a label to provide consistent and solid new platforms from which they can launch and fly.
It is often said that being an artist is an obligation, not a choice. And by the time most artists have even moderately mastered their art form, it’s already too late for them to do anything else. 'If you want to work on your art, work on your life,' said Chekhov.
If we are the sum of all the moments of our lives then nothing in our life is ever wasted. A songwriter will channel their life experiences into their writing. A musician will do the same with their playing. If they’re lucky, a listener will hear one of their songs and then just sit still for a minute, silently pondering what they’ve just heard, their hearts having been moved up a notch from where it was before.
It's not surprising therefore that Herbie Mann once famously asked: “Why do you have to retire at 65? Why can't you start at 70? You know, like wine. Why can't music be that way? My new band, we're playing stuff that's never been done before”.
VS Pritchett defined a short story as 'something glimpsed from the corner of the eye in passing'. The same could be said of a great song. First the glimpse. Then the glimpse is given life and turned into something that will illuminate the moment and - just maybe - locks it indelibly into the listener’s consciousness and makes it part of their own life experience and memory.
As we grow older, uglier and, hopefully, wiser, music’s jogging of our memory can often be a profound experience. A song can suddenly spark a melancholy or happy recollection of a major event in our past. To misappropriate Hemingway, 'Forever, the writer hopes. Forever.'
Great songwriting is about expression, connection with others, and finding meaning in the world around you. It takes a special talent to create a song that’s not only poignant and moving, but also rich with context. Few can argue with Alphonse de Lamartine’s belief that music is the literature of the heart.
To be involved in the creation of music and be a part of any artist's legacy, no matter how small, is an honour and a privilege. We hope to play our part over the forthcoming years. Time will tell, of course. The first dollar is the hardest to earn and the first year in business is the hardest to survive. As with everything in life, though, the trick is not to know when to stop, but when to start...
If everything of importance and value has been said before – usually by somebody who didn’t discover it - it’s fair to say that Strataville is neither unique nor groundbreaking. Though, to paraphrase Etta James,
"My mother always told me, even if a song has been done a thousand times,
you can still bring something of your own to it."
We’re in awe of the many great independent labels that have gone before us and though we can’t expect to surpass their genius, we can at least promise ourselves we’ll be the best we can be.