In our new section, we discuss what it is like to be an indie label in the music industry. This time we’re joined by Johann Scheerer of Clouds Hill in Germany, who has worked with artists like Pete Doherty and The Beach Boys.
Can you tell us a bit about Clouds Hill? Where are you based and what do you do?
We are based in Hamburg, Germany. Clouds Hill Recordings is a high end analog recording studio that has existed since 2005. Clouds Hill is the attached label that started as a 7” vinyl label and has grown to an internationally operating indie label. That doesn’t mean that bands that record at Clouds Hill Studio have to release their records through Clouds Hill and nor the other way around. I am just trying to create a space to inspire people.
Can you tell us about some of the modern challenges facing an independent label? Have things changed for you since the growth and popularity of streaming?
Yes. Kids seem not to listen to genres anymore. Genres became playlists. In a couple of years teenagers will wear shirts that say “New Music Friday is not dead”. The moment you talk about printing a Spotify code on a 12” vinyl album that’s the moment where you realize that something changed.
Peter Doherty’s new album ‘Hamburg Demonstrations’ was well received by critics, who went as far as to suggest it is Pete’s best work for years! Can you tell us more about that creative process? How hands on do you have to be with somebody like Pete?
We knew before that releasing a PD record would come along with certain commitments and restrictions in terms of plannable marketing stuff. As I worked with Peter for a long time we knew what we got ourselves into. Peter is a great person.
On ‘Hell To Pay At The Gates Of Heaven’, Pete speaks out on the Paris attacks in November 2015, as someone who has spent their life in music, how important do you think it is that music continues to comment on the world around us? Should it ever be overtly political?
Of course! Music has to be political. Or let me put it like this: there has to be political music.
Even if people don’t get the point of political music when they actually listen to it. I think it sinks into their minds and help to get them into a different mindset.
Ambient music is the new sound of the revolution. It gives people the opportunity to think about their values as there is noise everywhere nowadays.
Are there any other projects you’re particularly proud of at Clouds Hill? Any artists we should check out?
Being proud of something is difficult for us Germans. And that’s a good thing. I’m obviously enjoying it that artists like The Beach Boys, At The Drive-In, Paradise, James Johnston and Albert Hammond Jr. are producing at Clouds Hill but every project is unique. If you check out the Clouds Hill label artist roster you won’t find two acts that sound similar. It’s all about the vibe.
Sion Hill’s got big potential, how far do you think he can go in the music industry?
As far as it goes. Hi Nate… can you still breathe up there?
What projects are you working on at the moment and what have you got coming up in the not too distant future?
We are going to release a band called PARADISE with members of Madrugada, Primal Scream, Marianne Faithfull and Longview. They don’t like to be called a super group. Sorry! There is an exciting young band called Matija that is going to release their debut end of October. It’s called ‘Are we an electric generation falling apart?’. And then there is Tom Allan. A young guy from Germany with British parents. Watch out! He’s going to perform on Clouds Hill Festival 2017. December 9th. Save the date.
We are currently working alongside Johann and Clouds Hill to support Sion Hill on his UK launch campaign, which consists of a schools tour, as well as radio and TV plugging. His latest single ‘Beaches’ and his album ‘Elephant’ are available to buy now.
Are you working for a label and interested in what we can do for you? Drop us a line and get in touch.