With three universities, one of which is based around music and arts, as well as a slew of grassroots venues, Brighton has become a haven for up-and-coming artists. However, with the cost-of-living crisis leaving these venues living on the edge, and uni work having to be the priority for most, how do these bands get themselves out there? Enter Goo Records.

With the cost-of-living crisis leaving these venues living on the edge…how do these bands get themselves out there?

Goo Records is an independent record company set up by friends Tony Bartholomew and Dorian Rogers, intending to get these younger artists up on their feet and base themselves on a one-vinyl-contract basis, whereby when an artist signs with them, it is for one vinyl and one only. It is a unique, ethical and flexible deal that allows these bands and artists to balance their dreams with their careers. Since their formation in the summer of 2022, they have built up an impressive roster of artists under their name, with more than 3 debut EPs released, and numerous showcase events thrown at Brighton’s iconic Green Door Store. They are showing no signs of slowing down.

I am personally a big fan of Goo Records and what they do. I have been to several of their showcase events and every single time I come out buzzing having had some of the best evenings at Uni. My favourite acts are Welly and Canned Pineapple, who were also the frontrunners of the Goo Records’ roster.  Welly’s art-rock and bubbly persona always get audience members bouncing, and Canned Pineapple’s goofy lyricism combined with a Brit-Pop-inspired sound that I would compare to Supergrass (with some Van Halen-esque riffs, believe it or not) combines for an evening of catchy tunes and captivating performances. With their newest signing Jopy, Goo Records is setting themselves up for a mental 2024. 

I chatted with the two founders, discussing their goals, processes and experience with their bands…

Harry: Let’s get straight into this. So, I want to talk about your foundation. You’re in the summer of 2022. When you started together, what were your aims for Goo Records and would you say in the year and a half since you’ve been a company, you’ve achieved those records, those goals?

Dorian: I mean, I range really. We wanted to do something a bit different to what other people were doing. We wanted to find artists we liked and bring out, you know, initially seven-inch singles. So, I guess from that point of view because yeah, we’ve released three with bands that we saw and liked, I guess. So yeah, 100%. And I guess, you know, initially, Wellie was the first band that we kind of started talking to and we wanted to do something with, and we did that.  So yeah, I mean, I guess so, from that point of view, totally weird. We kind of, I think, achieve, I mean, and I suppose I don’t know about you, Tony, but I don’t know what I expected for us to achieve other than do something. 

Tony: So yeah. Yeah, I think in terms of the aims and stuff, I suppose as well, it was like we both turned 50 and it was something we probably both thought about many times over the years of doing. So it was, you know, just a case of going, let’s crack on and do it and see what happens. Let’s do it for the adventure. Don’t worry too much about money or anything, let’s just sort of see what happens. We didn’t think much beyond Welly, to be honest. That was our first artist, and they were a big catalyst, I suppose, for starting it. 

To listen to the full interview, tune into my podcast by following the link in the description of my Instagram @harryturnbullmusic.

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