Vinyl Revival: An interview with Paul Riddlesworth, the man behind Too Pure Singles Club

The life of a man who starts a vinyl subscription service

The life of a man who starts a vinyl subscription service

Tell you what, vinyl is pretty popular right now isn’t it?

You’re probably sat at home right now, reading this whilst your turntable is playing an exclusive, one time pressing of an alternative dust-core band from Wisconsin. I get it – that’s me too. I enjoy baffling older folk who grew up with vinyl; befuddled as to why I’m buying records when I could pick up a copy of my favourite Elton John album on a shiny CD, or better yet – a digital download! Even fucking Tesco is selling the stuff – Grab yourself a copy of the latest Iron Maiden record whilst you peruse the fruit and veg, madam.

Down in that there London, Paul Riddlesworth has put together something really cool for those who can’t get enough of their exclusive wax discs. The Too Pure Singles Club is a subscription service where subscribers can look forward to an exclusive 7” single every month, featuring rising bands from across the UK and beyond.

April will see the Too Pure Singles Club mark their 100th release, with a back catalogue consisting of the likes of Pulled Apart By Horses, Menace Beach, Weirds, Tall Ships and more.

Previous inductees Pulled Apart By Horses

Previous inductees Pulled Apart By Horses

With the release in his sights, I got in touch with Too Pure megamind and leg end Paul to discuss the story behind his monthly subscription service and what he’s got in store for the upcoming year.

BCFB: For the uninitiated, what’s the story behind the Too Pure Singles Club? How did it get started up?
Paul: The Singles Club was set up in 2008, around the time that Too Pure/Beggars merged into 4ad. We somehow wanted to keep the Too Pure name alive and champion new music; the Singles Club seemed to be the perfect solution.
We were a bit nervy at the beginning, to see if we’d get any subscribers, as it’s a bit of a gamble… but I don’t think we’ve done too badly.

April will see the 100th release in the Too Pure Singles Club. We’ll get to that in full later, but first – Basic maths should allow me to figure this out, but how long have you been putting out these monthly vinyl releases?
The very first 7″ was January 2008 and was by the wonderful Lone Lady. The Singles Club is an introductory label and hopefully a stepping stone for unsigned artists, as well as hopefully providing subscribers with their new favourite band. 

I’ve spoken with a few bands who rate the whole process quite highly – Who have been some of your favourites to work with?
To be fair, 98% of the bands have been fucking marvellous. The majority of the artists have been awesome. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have been able to put out some of my favourite EVER bands, so it’s really hard to choose. It would be a lot easier to say who the worst ones were… but I’m too much of a coward to even comment. 

Menace Beach

Menace Beach

To that end, what have been some of your favourite releases in the singles club?
This is really, really difficult. I absolutely love the releases by Seize The Chair (Although the majority of this 7″ got burnt to a crisp in the Sony fire…), Pulled Apart By Horses, Alex Dingley (his album ‘I Lost My Honey In The Grass’ is incredible), Spectres, Hookworms, DZ Deathrays, Menace Beach, The Lovely Eggs, Tigercub, Die!Die!Die! We//Are// Animal… I could go on, but that would make me incredibly tedious and I’m a boring fella at best…

Is there anyone you’ve had your eye on that you’ve not been able to acquire?
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Bloody Knees and Hideous Sun Demon are a few I’d have loved to have put out. I was always keen to put out a Chapman family 7″, but rectified that by being able to put out the Kingsley Chapman And The Murder 7″ last year, which is proper nice like.

Part of the package is to get mastering done at Abbey Road, right? Unbelievably cool. Is it still something to pinch yourself over, working within its hallowed walls?
We are SO lucky to be able to have the bands master at Abbey Rd. They are absolute legends. We’ve had the same guys master all the singles from the very beginning – the awesome Alex Wharton, Christian Wright, Sean Magee and the mighty Geoff Pesche have done us proud! All thanks to the ever wonderful Lucy Launder who sorts everything out for us; they are the absolute best and without being too gushing, I absolutely bloody love them. 

It’s so great for the bands to have their (normally) first single masters there. It’s weird, but as soon as you walk in, there really is something incredibly special about it… and the bars cheap.

You’re starting out the year by putting out a Chupa Cabra single and you’ve already got Fruit Bomb lined up for the next release. Are you able to announce any of the other releases for the rest of the year? Is there anyone you’re particularly stoked about?
We’ve got a new Cowtown 7″ coming soon and only yesterday did I get the full confirmation for Aprils 100th release. I can’t announce that yet unfortunately, but suffice to say it’s a hero of mine and I dare say a few others.

Back to that 100th release, it’s obviously a pretty big milestone and one which you seem pretty excited about! What have you got planned for it?
I’m hoping to do a few celebratory gigs around the time, and we’ll also be releasing a compilation album called ‘Pay No Attention’ with some of our favourite tracks on it. Here’s to the next 100!

Pay No Attention will be a super stacked compilation album, featuring tracks from the Too Pure past, with artists including Seize The Chair, Tigercub, DZ Deathrays, Best Friends and more! Find all about how you can subscribe by clicking the album cover below:

'Pay No Attention' - The Too Pure Singles Club release for Record Store Day 2016

‘Pay No Attention’ – The Too Pure Singles Club release for Record Store Day 2016

Like what you see? Why not stick around and check out the other articles and interviews!
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