Ask any strident prog fan to pick out the defining decade in the movement’s history, and nearly all will point to the 70s – the era of glittery capes and hour-long synth solos. For Bert Hodds, founder of The Uranium Club, it was the engine room behind the decade’s virtuoso musicianship that prompted him to start a label.
“I look in admiration at those 70s record labels and managers like Tony Stratton-Smith who created Charisma. Back then, it was the whole idea of being an ‘agent provocateur’ for artists – to be business-like but to ultimately put art and the artist first.”
The notion that music falls into a wider artistic palette is something that Hodds is well acquainted with. He founded the press/design/tour entity Wedobandstuff seven years ago, but his latest venture goes even further.
“The idea is to create a community around a really well-curated set of artists and become a byword for some quality music, while paying real attention to the packaging and the finished article.”
He adds, “One of the criticisms I hear from musicians is that almost anyone can create an album now. The Uranium Club seeks to more discerning. Today you need to give fans something extra.”
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The ‘club’ aspect aims to bring fans back to a time when artists, labels and fans were a lot closer. Prog has been buoyed by the social aspects of the internet and its continent-spanning capabilities. That said, it was word of mouth that led him to form an allegiance with the label’s very first signing Ghost Medicine.
“Colin Edwin [Porcupine Tree] was approached to play on their debut, and put them my way. The album is so mature in its breadth but so different!”
Hodds wants bands and fans alike to make an “event of music,” and he’s determined to create an experience around Ghost Medicine’s upcoming debut Discontinuance.
“A mark of success isn’t Ghost Medicine producing a record and it selling 100k. I want them to be picked up by bigger labels,” he says. So watch this space! DK
For more, visit the website: www.uraniumclub.rocks.