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In Profile : State Records

State Records are quickly becoming one of the hottest labels on the garage and beat scene right now. With releases from bands of high calibre such as Thee Jezebels, The Thanes, and Graham Day and The Forefathers to name but a few. I asked co-founder of State, Mole Tozer, how it all began...

Mole: Initially, the label was formed by myself and Marty from The Higher State (hence the label name and ‘THS’ catalogue prefixes) in 2007, specifically to release a Higher State single, because we didn't want to waste time and energy schlepping demos around to various labels, with the usual lukewarm (or non-existent) responses, so we pooled a little money we had between us, and got the 1st record out (The Higher State ‘And In Time’ b/w ‘If We Don’t Realise’) ...no sleeve, no distribution at that point, but it was out! 

Over time we started working with other groups, starting in 2009 with the 1st single from garage punk legend, Paul Messis (‘Stuck In Society’ b/w ‘The World Is Square’). We picked up decent distribution from Clear Spot in Holland and Get Hip in the US, branched out into mail order, stocking ace new titles from other hip labels around the globe, then in 2015, Marty dropped out, leaving me in charge of the whole operation.

Debbie: What do you get out running the label in terms of rewards? I'm guessing it's a passion rather than for financial gain?

There’s SOME financial gain—there has to be, it’s my only source of income! I do this for a living now, which is tough to say the least, but it’s just about viable. The real reward is unending positive feedback from people on each successive release, paired with repeat buyers and regular customers who basically buy everything I put out, which would seem to indicate that the label now has a good reputation for picking up interesting groups.

A massive reward for me is the sound of the records. Most of them we actually recorded ourselves, starting off on a cassette 8-track machine, graduating to a half-inch 8-track reel-to-reel about 5 years ago. I’ve got a home studio set up, crude and basic but effective. It also functions as a side-project to the label, if I record something I won’t (or can’t) put out....the label doesn’t really deal with LPs anymore (I just LOVE singles!!), so for instance, The Baron Four just tracked an LP’s worth of material with me, but someone other than State will put it out.

Releases selling out is also a buzz; although I wholeheartedly believe in EVERYTHING we’ve put out, it’s validated by people actually buying the things! 

The other huge positive for me is the packaging and presentation of the releases...little things like finding a company that will press 7” records with an old-style push-out centre...having a print firm that can accommodate laminated flipback sleeves and produce our wonderful Parlophone-style company bags...the heavyweight vinyl runs we did for a while...the rubber-stamped plain sleeves...the hand-numbered postcards...

Debbie: What can we look forward to from State in the very near future?

Next on the list is a killer 45 from French garage/soul band, The Missing Souls (‘Sweet, Sweet Sadie’ b/w ‘The Alligator), due out 18th July. After that is the “comeback” single from The Embrooks (‘Nightmare’ b/w ‘Helen’), which should be out late August... other things in the pipeline include further singles with Les Grys-Grys and The Beatpack, either later in the year or early 2017.

Debbie: In terms of the garage/beat (and associated genres) scene, how do you feel it's faring just now? 

Things seem like they’re in a good place right now, in terms of the ‘scene’ (not sure you can really call it that...) ...there are certainly some great groups doing the rounds now, alongside some older muckers (myself included!) who never lost faith. The ‘return’ of vinyl (I know—it never went away, but in mainstream terms) I think has had a positive effect on the smaller labels and groups, although everyone’s now fighting for pressing time/space with the majors, but we’re getting there. The various festivals in the UK and Europe (Hipsville, Franklin Fest, Funtastic, Purple Weekend etc etc) all seem to be flourishing, and there are plenty of younger people attending, hungry for something outside the narrow confines of media-fed listening.

Hoorah to that! A lot to look forward to. Thanks to Mole for taking the time out to chat. You can find State Records here... http://staterecs.com/


Franklin Fest 2016 - Saturday Evening - The Sine Waves, The Mindreaders, Thee Jezebels, The Embrooks and Oh! Gunquit

  • Published in Live

How can Saturday evening possibly get any better than Friday evening I hear you ask? By opening with surf-tastic instro-minstro's The Sine Waves that’s how. One of the bands I was most looking forward to seeing over the weekend. Unfortunately I only managed to catch their last two numbers. But it’s quality, not quantity right? What they did in those 8 minutes or so was utterly captivating. They sound just as good as they look; bassist and 'all systems are go-go' girl from another dimension, Spectrum, tantalises the crowd. They end their set with a corking rendition of The Mummies ‘The Fly’ - good choice. Another goosebumps-y moment courtesy of The Franklin.

No sooner are Dr Magnus Psyke and his chums off, than Medway three piece, The Mindreaders, are on. We are assured of a certain standard in the form of Russ Wilkins (The Milkshakes, The Wildebeest, Lord Rochester), and possible misdemeanors from the mystery that is Sexton Ming. You may know Ming best for his artwork, and poetic efforts with Billy Childish. We are warned in advance that anything could happen... and there is an air of trepidation as he takes to the stage. Tonight Ming treats us to stopping mid-song to read and answer a text message, later he produces a sizeable kitchen knife from his back pocket and after thinking about it for a short while, promptly discards it (thank goodness say a shrinking audience) and then gets into a mini-tiff with the missus about the phone. it’s both bizarre, and a bit ridiculous; that said Wilkins takes it all in his stride and they play a really good solid set. Mrs Ming, or rather artist and ethereal beauty Ella Guru (latterly of The Voodoo Queens), joins them on bass for their last number, a cover of MC5's ‘Looking At You’.       

Time for Thee Jezebels - good old-fashioned pub rock ‘n’ roll. Possibly the act that most punters have been waiting for. Their reputation of working and partying hard supersedes them, and they’re definitely up for a lark tonight. They plough through their set in a jovial manner with lots of cheeky banter. When Laura’s and Letty’s guitars are out of tune, they laugh it off and carry on, after a few attempts to manage to get them in sync. Tumultuously turning out tracks from their E.P.’s (released on State Records), and ending with a Wilko Johnson number ‘Going Back Home’. The girls are definitely a crowd favourite.

As if Lois Tozer hadn’t worked hard enough during her previous set with Thee Jezebels all of 5 minutes ago. She’s now back again with Freakbeat trio The Embrooks. And this isn’t an opportunity for her to take it easy, because The Embrooks take the roof off. Having seen them as recently as 20 years ago, my recollection is slightly hazy, but tonight they are absolutely on it, all that and they win the stripiest trousers contest hands down. They debut a fab new song, the new single perhaps? And old fave ‘Helen’. Their power-pop freakbeat Who-esque predilection is evident, but it’s their own sweat, tears and drive that make the difference. Absolutely stonkin’.


Oh! Gunquit are reserved for the finale of the Franklin Fest 2016, and quite rightly so. They know how to pound out those rhythmic hypnotic voodoo beats. (And is it just me, or do the band always appear to have a green light shining over them, like the lighting from a 60’s monster movie?) Anyhoo, that steady rhythmic beat is the link that keeps it all together, and the crowd entranced. Oh! Gunquit know how to put on an animated performance, and tonight they don’t disappoint. ‘Lights Out’, ‘Bad Bad Milk’ and ‘Sink Hole’ all go down a storm (natch), but it’s ‘Caves’ where vocalist Tina crawls through the legs of lucky Franklin Fest-ers, that things get just a little bit wild. They’ve reached the end of the set, and as much as we all don’t want this to end, it does. What a fitting finish to the weekend. Viva la Franklin Fest!  

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