Version you probably just about bear to read

Sturdy Records is a label from Leeds, headed by someone called Mark Sturdy who used to do a lot of writing. Our first release was Loqui’s debut single in 2009, since which time we have put out records by The Wind-Up Birds, The Sequins and Post War Glamour Girls. We intend to spend the forseeable releasing music by fantastic bands whom no one else dares touch. Remain vigilant.


Overlong self-indulgent waffly version

I started Sturdy Records in 2009 after one too many evening spent watching brilliant bands playing to their friends.

At that point I’d spent a few years writing about local music in Leeds and inevitably seen hundreds of bands playing that sort of circuit – the circuit where you’re on a bill with two or three other entirely unrelated bands at a little venue on a Wednesday night, with an audience that consisted mainly of said bands, plus whatever girlfriends, work colleagues and relatives were indulging you by putting bums on seats so the promoter would pay you 15 quid. Why were they bothering? Well, it had to be some sort of step on some sort of ladder, right?

Of course it’s not a step on the ladder. Some of these bands quickly moved on to bigger things, while others seemed, after a few years or months, to vanish without trace. That’s the way of these things, of course: the ones that made it out weren’t necessarily the best of the bunch, but they certainly weren’t the worst, so fair play to them really. However, the thing that had started to bother me more and more was the surprisingly large number of fantastic bands who never seemed to make it out of that ‘local’ ghetto. This wasn’t necessarily anything to do with the music, but sometimes just that they lacked the means to get their stuff out there – whether that came down to know-how, confidence, contacts, intent, or even just having the time.

So the Sturdy Records began not so much with a “Hey, let’s make these losers’ dreams come true” mentality, as a simple intent to get good music heard that might otherwise have slipped down the back of the sofa.

The first release was ‘Hermes Pan’, a 7″ single by Loqui. It was, and remains, a great record by a band that I love. It was also, by most standards, a miserable failure: sales figures just about made it into double figures, we lost loads of money, and soon after it came out the band split up. I’d do it again in an instant. Of course if everything Sturdy Records did turned out like that we’d probably not be here, but what mattered was putting out something that I believed in, and turning something that only really existed amongst a little pocket of people who happened to go to certain venues in a certain town into something the rest of the world can see. Loqui are gone now but that record’s going to be there forever.

Sturdy Records is not my job. I don’t particularly want it to be. I do it because I love it; the bands are here because they want to be. They’re more than welcome to walk away should they get a better offer, and I hope they do. If any part of this had to pay my bills, I suspect it would completely change the decisions we make and the way the whole thing operates, and not for the better.

Since beginning, it’s been a thrill to get bands like The Wind-Up Birds, The Sequins and Post War Glamour Girls played on national radio, written about in blogs all over the world, and up onstage in front of people that would perhaps not have heard them otherwise. Hopefully it’ll continue to happen for a long time to come.