Imprint #1: An interview with Andrej Presern of Tangled Talk records

June 23, 2014


Imprint #1: An interview with Andrej Presern of Tangled Talk records


ttHow was Tangled Talk formed and what attracted you to running a label as opposed to working in other areas of the industry?


Tangled Talk started in 2008, back when I was a student living in Brighton. I was putting on shows and doing bits to try help out new bands and the label was a natural extension from that. I had no clue what I was doing but used my student loan to put out at the first couple of releases (Pictures and Battle For Paris) and started taking things more seriously a few years later.


I do work in some other aspects of the ‘industry’ but the label will always be a priority. It’s a very personal thing, there’s something even a bit egotistical about it – you get to work with bands based solely on your music taste and showcase that in some way. That, and there’s obviously loads of money in putting out records.
Who are some of your favourite labels?
As much as I hate to admit it to them, I’m lucky that I get to work closely with three of my favourite labels in Pink Mist – Big Scary Monsters, Holy Roar, Blood and Biscuits. There’s no one doing as much to champion interesting, heavy music in the UK. Outside of that, I’m a big fan of labels like 31G, Deathwish, Robotic Empire, Tiny Engines.


What have been some of the personal highlights for you?


  • Putting out beautiful / stupid records – like a 5” vinyl and credit card CD on a custom pop-up sleeve for the Pariso / Kerouac Split, hand screened sleeves for Listener and this label / vinyl colour combination for Gnarwolves.
  • Working with bands early on and seeing them move to bigger things – Vales signing to 6131, Goodtime Boys on Bridge Nine.
  • The Tangled Tour, which was a UK tour featuring seven of our bands (Bastions, Kerouac, Goodtime Boys, The Long Haul, Battle For Paris, Let’s Talk Daggers and Vales) still stands as one of the best weeks I’ve had and is something I’d like to resurrect.


The split between Svalbard and Pariso has just gone up for pre-order, how would you describe these bands to people unfamiliar with them?


Pariso are a band we’ve worked with for a few years and I’m constantly impressed with their work ethic and way of doing things. It’s down-tuned, dissonant hardcore with elements of black metal, stoner rock and just about anything they can throw in. It’s really fucking heavy.
Svalbard are a more recent addition and are one of the bands I’ve been most excited about in a long time. It’s also fucking heavy but in a different way – they’re a lot more melodic, with some crust influences and these incredibly layered, expansive lead parts. They’re a band that can go from being soft and delicate one minute, to an absolutely crushing wall of sound the next.
The idea for the record was devised between the two bands and goes well beyond a conventional split. They recorded together with Lewis Johns at The Ranch, and there’s two entirely collaborative songs that feature a different line up of each of the bands members.


Is Tangled Talk a full time job? If not how do you maintain a balance?


It should be! In reality it’s something I do alongside a day job and a bunch other things. With difficulty and late nights.


You’re part of the Pink Mist collective with Big Scary Monsters, Holy Roar and Blood N Biscuits – can you tell us a little about how this works? Do you think it’s a strategy that other indies should be looking at?


Pink Mist was started by the other three labels and they asked me to join soon after. It’s a fairly loose collective – each label operates independently and has its own identity but it means we often collaborate on releases, share resources, approach certain deals together and are generally able to achieve a lot more than we would on our own.
The collective has evolved quite a bit and now constitutes three main parts; the four labels, a promotions company headed up by Ross Allmark which puts on the best shows in London and a new music blog (pinkmist.co.uk) run by Suzi Ireland.


What are some of the biggest struggles for you as an independent label and how do you overcome them?
Managing time, resources, cash flow, and the fact that even if you think a band is the best thing ever, it doesn’t always mean anyone else will agree! I’m still working on it, and I think with every new release I probably pick something up that means I don’t screw up as much the the next time.


There were significant amounts of backlash against Record Store Day this year, what’s Tangled Talk’s opinion on RSD?



I think it’s something that started with the best intentions and has played a big role helping record stores and particularly the resurgence in vinyl. However like most successful grassroots ideas, it’s something that major labels (and eBay touts) realised they could exploit and make a shit load of money from which is why it turned into what it is now. We try to steer clear from it.


Gnarwolves have exploded over the past year or so and seeing one of your bands invited to open the Main stage at Leeds and Reading must make you really proud. What do you think it is about Gnarwolves that has seen them do so well?


That was a pretty big moment for all of us. Gnarwolves are a great example of a band that are doing well by focusing on the fundamentals – they write incredible songs and they work really fucking hard. They’re constantly touring, play around 150-200 shows a year and there’s no where they won’t go.
As a band they’ve got a very definite style but there’s a lot more depth to the songwriting and lyrics which is something that sets them apart from others doing the same thing. There’s no pretence with them and I think that’s something people connect with.


Some labels, like Deep Elm, have an open door approach to demo submissions. Have you ever worked with a band off the back of a demo submission and is it something that you encourage or do you think bands would be better off focusing their efforts elsewhere?
I think we’ve worked with one band off the back of a submission where we didn’t have a connection with them beforehand. We absolutely encourage bands to send us stuff but that shouldn’t be at the top of your list of things to do. Start playing shows, get yourself out there, put your music online, get some CD-Rs or tapes done if you can’t afford to do anything more, and play some more shows. That’s a much better way to get a label’s attention.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Andrej. For anyone unfamiliar with Tangled Talk, you can download a ton of awesome free music from their website by clicking here.

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