Jenna Gamble is a Music Business Degree student at BIMM Manchester. Alongside her studies, she also runs Further Sky Records. As a fully independent UK label, her experience and advice will be of interest not just to bands looking to get signed but also for potential label managers in waiting. With this in mind, we took the opportunity to pick her brains on the inner workings of Further Sky.
Hi Jenna! What is further sky records?
I started Further Sky back in February 2015 after my friend asked me to help out out his single for a DIY project he was working on. I was truly inspired after seeing Basement at Academy 2 and I just thought, I would love to be involved with something like that! So, I did it, loved it, and decided it should be a focal point of my life! Since then, I have signed four more bands and put out over five singles and three EPs, with a few more releases already in the pipeline.
What artists are on your roster?
I currently have five artists on my roster; Hover Bored, Flood Manual, PASCAL, Camcorder and Night Swimming. I try to keep all my acts in the same loose definition of “emo/grunge”, but if I like something and see potential in it, I wont hesitate to try and work with them.
What services do you offer?
I currenty offer mostly distribution deals to my artists, and aim to work on physical releases too. I will do all the promotional work for the release including gig finding, online PR, making press releases and trying to think of other innovative ways to promote my bands. My contracts are very artist driven and I’m open for changes to the contract depending on the bands needs and where they are in their career; this is so important to me because I want the artists to feel that I am here for them throughout everything, not just another “suit” haha!
At what stage will you start working with an artist/band?
Usually, if the band has their works recorded and I enjoy their live performances and work ethic, I’ll work with them. I enjoy working alongside a band to help develop them to get them where they’d like to be for the length of the contract. I only ask/look for bands who really want to work on their career with me, I will do all the work for a band if that’s what is required, but its just not as fun or rewarding. Passion and courtesy is all I look for really!
What’s the best part about running a label?
I am so passionate about the music that I release on the label, and being alongside a band on their journey is just such a honuor for me. I love being a part of the record making process, and the bit I help with is usually the last stretch, so it’s super exciting! I love working with creative people also, it is just the most rewarding thing I could be doing and I’m forever grateful.
And the worst bit?
I mean, honestly, the worst bit is not being able to do it full time! It can be insanely stressful as it’s only me behind the scenes, which can get me down a bit. But in the end, it’s always worth it, and it’s only ever as good as what you put in, so if you’re stressed you must be putting a lot of effort and time into it!
Any advice for bands looking to get signed?
Be professional at all times. Be willing to work alongside the label, especially if it’s an independent, because it’s usually a super small operation, so I dont think it should be expected for the label to do all the work. Be communicative and friendly and people will want to work with you, and enjoy doing it when they are! Be sure to read all the terms of the contract you’re signing and be aware of what you’re getting yourself into, and the people at the labels will always (should be!) willing to answer any question you have. Work hard!
If you’re interested in studying a Music Business degree like Jenna, you can find details on the course HERE.