IT is one thing listening to the music of others in a role as music critic, but quite another to ditch the reviewing in favour of running your own label.
But that is precisely what Mike Rea did, and with a team of three equally passionate-about-music colleagues, Medical Records was launched with Milton Keynes as its backdrop.
Mike held a battle of the bands competition at the now defunct Spice Lounge, and two of the artists ‘discovered’ at the event are now sitting pretty with material in the racks, on the Medical Records label.
You might say that now isn’t the most clever of times to launch a new label, but Mike begs to differ.
“My view is that it’s an exciting time. Everyone has more access to music than they have ever had before and we are doing things a bit differently,” he enthused.
“If we were trying to start out as a new Warner Bros label then yeah, it wouldn’t be the best time, but we are a discovery label.”
And they’ve kick started things with a couple of corking examples.
Kilto Take are a guitar-fuelled rock trip who have hit these parts before now (and they they will be back at the start of February), and Karl Phillips & The Midnight Ramblers have been knitted together from a band whose disparate members have sucked on the orchestral to the jazz and the ska before knocking back the grime.
Stir that lot up and you’ll get something that for once really can be called ‘original’ with no red-faced blushes at the lameness of the statement.
Karl Phillips mixes social commentary with horns, and a cheeky mouth with infectious grabbing guitar and ska.
Theirs isn’t an album where one song blends into another.
The Midnight Ramblers might just be the start of something really great.
Medical Records (so named after Mike’s ‘day’ job as a pharmaceutical consultant) are always tipping their ears to new sounds and in search of potential signings.
And when looking at new artists, Mike’s criteria is simple.
“The rule...would I pay my own money to buy their record?
“If we’d buy it, we’ll sign you, record it and release it.
“Rules don’t get simpler than that...”
Being based in the new city, Mike hopes that Milton Keynes can elevate itself too, and wipe the smirk from the faces of the industry-disbelievers,
“I want to see Milton Keynes picked up nationally as a place that has good music.
“I want it recognised nationally and globally...”
The new city has a new friend.
“Our decisions aren’t made by what will sell, but by ‘if this was all we had to listen to on a desert island, would we be happy?”
Seek out Medical Records through Facebook and Myspace, and keep reading this page for details of Kilto Take and their return to the new city next month.