The Industry

Q&A with Pool Valley Recordings

21st March 2018

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Pool Valley Recordings is a brand new independent record label based in Brighton. It’s team consists largely of BIMM students and alumni and its roster boasts a selection of some of the city’s most promising young acts. We caught up with Head of Social Media and PR Tobi Davis for an official introduction to the company. 

Tell us a little about the inception of Pool Valley Recordings? 

Initially, some artist managers at BIMM were offered the chance to apply for a grant of £1000 to help their artist with recording costs, PR, touring expenses, etc. My colleague Luke and I thought that the money could be spent more intelligently than this, as some artists may need less than £1000 and some may need more. We concluded that it would be a better idea to use the total amount of the grant in order to fund a new record label, with the other artist managers and BIMM staff agreeing with us. Currently, we have 19 BIMM students in a number of different departments (A&R, Touring, PR/Social Media, Legal and Business Affairs), with a BIMM Music Business alumni who now works at Domino acting in an advisory role.


Can you elaborate a little on the overall ethos behind the company?

Our main goal is to be seen as a cool stepping stone label for bands here in Brighton. Ideally, in time we really want our reputation to be similar to that of Fierce Panda, who are famous for having signed artists like Coldplay, Oasis, Mogwai, Keane and more at really early stages in their career. Artists know that we can’t provide them a huge amount in terms of finances, but I think they respect that everyone in our team is doing this for experience and because they’re really keen. We make our artist contracts as fair as possible, as our main goal is for them to really enjoy working with us, which in turn creates a much friendlier working environment. All artists we may potentially sign must have some sort of Brighton connection, so although we’re not genre specific, we use our location as our defining factor.

How did the relationship with Republic Of Music come about? And why did you choose them as your distributor?

As artist managers, we initially had to pitch our artists to ROM in what was a large formal meeting. The initial connection I believe was made by Phil Nelson, Pool Valley’s president, who has had contacts there for a while. They enjoy working with smaller, independent labels, and were really interested in the idea behind Pool Valley when Phil first made them aware of it. They’re the perfect distributor for us, not only due to the experience they have, but they also fit perfectly with the label’s Brighton centric image. 

Why MOONOVERSUN for the debut release?

MOONOVERSUN were the obvious choice for our first release, for a number of reasons. For one, their manager is the aforementioned ex-BIMM student involved in an advisory role with the label. But mainly it was due to their itch to get something released. They had (and still have) loads of songs that they really wanted to put out, and due to this were ready to work with us sooner. Frank & Beans have some strict working commitments that can mean that we don’t have as many opportunities to have regular meetings (or anything else that’s necessary for a release), whereas Francois is only now coming towards the end of the process of writing and recording their EP. 

What’s next in store release-wise?

Hmm, tough! Hard to say, but I think Frank & Beans will be next. Francois’ release will probably begin around June time, so F&B will be sometime between now and then. But of course, we’re looking for new artists who may well be ready to release before then as well!



James Watts

Social Media Assistant, Professional Bassist and Music Journalist. Career highlights include performing at some of the UK's premier music festivals, recording in Abbey Road and interviewing Debbie Harry.