You Buy Vinyl, We'll Make More (Interview with Colin Millar of Hero Records)
Hi Colin. For those who don't know Hero Records as a label can you give us a brief description of what or who Hero Records are?
Hero Records are a small UK record label run by Paul 'Manzo' Manzotti from Birmingham and Colin Millar who lives in Edinburgh. We put out vinyl and CD releases of music that we make (when we have the time) and music we like. This has so far been in the fields of hip hop, funk and b-boy breaks but we've got a few things planned outwith these genres in the pipeline too.
Tell us a little about Paul and yourself? what is your roles? Do you both make the music?
As far as the music goes both myself and Manzo record under the name Hero No.7 and run Hero Records together. To make things complicated, Hero No.7 was originally a record label started by Manzo and Matt Mullen who lived in Southampton at the time and its first release was a solo release by Manzo under the name L'attitudinal.
Hero No.7 the label then became Hero No.7 the group with the additional of Richard Gibbons and myself. As the years have gone by Hero No.7 Records turned into Hero Records and Hero No.7 is now just Paul & myself. We don't get much time to make music at the moment as out time is spent on the label that we both run. Our roles aren't defined but Paul deals with a lot of the manufacture of the physical product and I do a lot of the digital side of things and we're both involved in the promotion of the label too.
Your releases have been coming thick and fast. Tell us about your latest 7" release and how that came about.
The latest release is an old school hip hop flavoured double sidefrom Manchester producer Frameworks featuring the legendary QNC (aka Q-Ball and Curt Cazal from JVC FORCE) who have released lots of sought after 12"s and worked with a lot of the Grand Central crew such as Aim and Rae & Christain. The release featuring the tracks 'Ain't No Use' and 'Classic' on the 7" vinyl plus extra instrumental and acapella versions on the digital download came about very simply after Matt 'Frameworks' Brewer sent us some tracks and we liked those and offered to put them out.
Matt also has a mellower release out now on First Word Records and is working on a release featuring Blu Rum 13 for My First Moth Records so he's a busy guy. It was only after we decided to release the tracks that we found out that Matt's flatmate is James 'Gumbo Ya Ya' Tarn who also did a 7" for us. James' brother Chris is also one half of the jazz and funk band Weekend Sun who are releasing their second single for us soon so we're really just keeping it all in the family.
That's alot of talent in the one house! so what's next on the horizon for Hero? you don't seem to stop...
We don't want to divulge too much as we don't want to make any announcements before things are ready or jinx any future releases but we have a new funk 7" from Darlington band Weekend Sun featuring the tracks 'You're Good To Me' and 'Her Name Escapes Me' out on 7" in August with extra digital-only remixes from the Renegades of Jazz and 3 remixes by Manzo and myself in our Hero No.7 guise. After that we are planning a 12" from a live funk/jazz/dubstep band, a 7" featuring one of Scotland's finest MCs and then ... well you'll have to wait and see :-)
So no let up for you guys then come August by the looks of it. That's alot going on for a small label. Do you have any plans to sign artists and release bigger projects in the future or will you be keeping it strictly small run releases?
We're probably going to stick with smaller runs at the moment as its a lot of work for us doing it in our spare time especially as Manzo has a couple of young children. If we get offered anything that's particularly exciting and we can fit it into our busy schedules then who knows but its hard enough work trying to break even on small runs of vinyl that its not in our plans at the moment.
I see. Times are tough out there and you guys are obviously not putting out records to make profit and it inspires me to see labels like Hero putting out records for the soul purpose of releasing good music to the people. How can people keep up to date with what's going on at Hero?
We have a website at Hero Records where you can read about the stuff we have released but the best place to check out all of our releases is at our online store as you can listen to everything there (and buy something if you really want). We also have a pay-what-you-want (so free if you want) compilation featuring tracks from our previous releases that you can download HERE so that may be a good place for people to start.
Excellent! I'll be following. Thanks for taking the time out for the interview. Do you have any final words?
Thanks to everyone who has supported the label and bought any of our releases. If you haven't paid and have liked what you have downloaded then try to at least spread the word about our artists. And thanks to you Hosie for the interview. We're looking forward to new releases from Belive Records and will be paying for some vinyl :-)
LOL! Thanks Colin. It's been a pleasure. From myself and the guys at Praverb.net I wish you guys all the success for the future. Put me down for 2 copies of the next 7”!