Lend PIAS a hand
When riots hit our streets in August, a handful of people criticised the media for its bias portrayal of the events that followed. The extreme left were soon drowned out by spectators rightfully angry and frightened by the phenomenon, but they had a point.
The media were justified in their coverage of thugs on our streets, and they kept those isolated from danger up to date on events they couldn’t see firsthand. But they’ve done the follow up a disservice. A mere two months later and our TV screens barely mention the cleanup effort. Nor do they report on the continuing difficulties faced by companies like Oxjam and PIAS, whose losses were irreparable.
Now, PIAS and associate organisation Love Music, Hate Violence have announced a call to arms.
Based in Enfield, the Sony Warehouse that contained PIAS’ stock was burned down on August 8th by three teens, now in custody. The BBC soon reported over 1,500,000 CDs had been obliterated by the vandalism, and grim forecasts of label bankruptcy were predicted by the NME.
PIAS fought on, quickly finding an alternative distributor for the independent labels that relied on its services (amongst them XL Recordings, One Little Indian, Domino and more). They’re now back in business, thanks to the multitudes who contributed their money, time and effort into restoring the project.
That’s not the end of the story. Though immensely valuable and important in their own right, PIAS are a distributing company, and their stabilisation is not the final solution. Those independent labels that relied on PIAS were put out of action for several months, costing resources that many couldn’t afford to sacrifice. Simply put, many are still on the rocks, fighting to be able to continue to release music.
On November 28th the organisation will release an exclusive compilation featuring acts affected by the fire, in an aim to raise money for independent labels currently struggling to resume activity.
As Matt Hughes states: “Having worked […] with a host of these labels, as well as with PIAS as a record label and releasing entity itself, the events in Enfield affected many of us in the music industry. A terrible act that deserves this rally call of togetherness from the labels, bands, managers and PIAS itself.”
As Gustav Wood from Young Guns states: “We’ve always considered ourselves lucky to be involved with a label as straight up and genuine in their love of music as PIAS is. To see them and the other independents affected by the riots so severely was awful. Companies like PIAS are, in the midst of a confused and increasingly fractured industry, flying the flag for how things should and can be done. We’re happy to be involved in some small way.”
“A lot of the UK’s indie labels – including our own Ambush Reality label – had a majority of their stock there, and now it’s all gone up in flames,” says Rou Reynolds of Enter Shikari. “While the insurance will, in time, cover some of the losses, there’ll be labels that rely on constant cash flow and might not be able to struggle through until their losses are covered. Times are hard enough for indie labels and indie shops right now, this is another sad kick in the teeth for people who put their entire lives into keeping our musical landscape exciting with minimal budgets, who can ill afford this sort of setback.”
The compilation (track listing below) is available to pre-order here.
1. Rolo Tomassi – Pillfox
2. Enter Shikari – Destablalise
3. Hyro Da Hero - Ghetto Ambiance
4. Young Guns – DOA
5. We Are The Ocean - What it feels Like
6. Title Fight – Shed
7. Sharks - Three Houses
8. Chuck Ragan – Camaraderie of the Commons
9. The Computers - Blood is Thicker
10. Trash Talk – Eyes and Nine
11. Lets Wrestle - The One I Love (REM cover)
12. The Xcerts – Gum
13 Charlie Simpson - Farmer and His Gun
14. Tellison – Tell it to Thebes
15. Rolo Tomassi – I love Turbulence (Three Trapped Tigers remix)