Plymouth music label still spinning after ten years
RECORD/distribution label Genepool is to celebrate ten years in business with a vinyl album of artists it has helped.
The business, which is run by Pete Genepool, pictured right, from his home in Plymstock, started as a hobby when Pete was working for Universal.
The label offers a handful of releases each year, but distributes hundreds more a year for labels and artists worldwide. They range from a digital single to a full UK distributed CD album.
Genepool has 30,000 songs on iTunes and while they don't charge set-up costs, they do take a small percentage of each download.
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During the last decade Pete has worked with the likes of Newton Faulkner, Athlete, Hard-Fi, The Noisettes, Ladytron and most recently Haim, as well as many more besides.
"I started at Virgin Megastore, in Plymouth, worked my way up and was poached by Polygram to be a sales rep," says Pete. "I loved that job, driving round the patch taking orders from all the record stores for new releases. When record stores started to close, the job became less secure so I went up to London to work in sales."
Pete confesses to a 'moment of madness' at the gig of a mate's band.
"There were 30 people there and I realised that if they did ten shows, there was the potential to sell 300 pieces of vinyl and the idea of a label dawned.
"I approached Universal with the idea of starting an indie label – but they said they needed a £250,000 turnover to make it viable. Although my mate's band was good it wasn't that good!
"I then thought that if we got a load of other bands under the Genepool umbrella, then we could distribute our own label and other bands could benefit from the service.
"Not many indie labels were linked with a major distributor so largely through word of mouth people started sending in demos."
In 2004, Hard Fi was the first of Pete's distributed bands that kicked off.
"We did their first mini-album and then within two months they signed to Atlantic. Quite often there'd be a bidding war with the labels, which was really exciting."
Pete went on to work at Universal as an A&R consultant, which involved him being out in London seeing bands most nights. But he had kids back in Plymouth and after a while could see the writing on the wall for his position in the company.
"Nowadays with the internet you can work from anywhere and so I relocated to Plymouth and just kept doing what I was doing with Genepool."
He is currently working with National Anthem (Haim, Chvrches), Chess Club (Wolf Alice), Believers Roast (Knifeworld), Some Bizzare (Mark Almond, Swans) and is looking forward to distributing the new Clint Mansell Soundtrack, Filth, for Black Records, as the last soundtrack he did for Clint, Moon, became a cult classic.
He's also very enthusiastic about the local scene.
"Moriaty are red hot live, PJP Band album is well worth checking out, there is a great new album from Wille & The Bandits coming soon, the new Steve Strong album is incredible and I'd love to work with Cosmo Jarvis again.
"In fact we have everything in Plymouth to create a piece of work from start to finish. With DBS, PMC and Presspack studios to record, DMS to manufacture and so many talented producers, designers, pluggers and PR people, who needs London?
"DMS are our manufacturing partners who create all of our lovely vinyl and CDs."
Pete says he's somewhat surprised to be in operation after ten years, initially fearing that when he first moved back to Plymouth he'd last about six months before having to get a proper job. He's grateful to Universal for "looking after me, operating on a fraction of the £250,000 turnover target" and he's happy to share the benefit of his experience in lectures to local students.
"I've made some daft mistakes, so I'm happy to help prevent anyone else doing the same," says Pete. "Like the music business in general what I do is full of uncertainty, but when everything comes together it's very fulfilling."
The anniversary vinyl release is due in October.