Have A Cigar: Bad Elephant Music

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For years, marketing practitioners have used the notion of ‘family’ to trick consumers into thinking that carnivorous industries are really cuddly entities. The music business is no different, but Bad Elephant Music are.

“I talk about the label being like a family,” explains David Elliott. “There’s some hippie stuff going on there, but I wouldn’t want to have someone on the label who I couldn’t go for a beer or curry with. It’s as much about the personal relationships as anything.”

He dreamed up Bad Elephant five years ago when he realised that many bands he liked were faced with a “mission” when trying to release their own music. At the time, Tinyfish’s Simon Godfrey was looking for a release outlet for his solo project Shineback, and having met each other on Elliott’s radio show on Progzilla, they linked up.

“For a while Bad Elephant was just about that one release,” says Elliott, but that soon changed. Elliott met Allen through the Tinyfish forum and decided to get him involved in the label “because he has a business head on him.” Before they knew it, bands like The Fierce And The Dead and Trojan Horse were approaching them.

I wouldn’t want to have someone on the label who I couldn’t go for a beer or curry with.

“We reached a stage at the end of 2013, when we started getting quite serious numbers of people who were interested,” Elliott enthuses. “It was really gratifying that they felt we were a safe pair of hands.”

The label might have grown – the BEM roster currently comprises 12 bands – but the spirit hasn’t changed. “Bad Elephant Music is as much about art as it is commerce,” begins Elliott. Allen chips in, “We want to release music by people who want to be making it. We don’t want to release music by people who want to make a million overnight.”

From Elliott choosing to work with Twice Bitten, at whose gig he met his wife, to TFATD’s Matt Stevens admitting, “It’s a good little community,” Bad Elephant comes across as more social club than label. Allen laughs: “It’s becoming a great big hippie commune… without the hair.”

For more information, visit www.badelephant.co.uk.