Ignition is a relatively new label which is based in Tunbridge Wells in Kent. Its self proclaimed mission is to help hardcore kids get the music they want at affordable prices. To that end, not only do they run a label, but they also run a distro which stocks all the latest hardcore records, most of which are hard to find elsewhere in the UK (though you can get a lot of the Ignition catalogue through Pennyblackmusic). Hardcore is quite a loose term, so a visit to www.ignitiononline.co.uk will bring you not just old school hardcore and punk, but also emo, indie and alt rock and even some metalcore! If you’re looking for any type of heavy rock then here’s the place to start!

Ignition is run by David Gamage, Milo (Miles Booker) and Syd. Some of you may remember Milo and David as the guys also behind Rydell, who made in my eyes 2001’s best album 'Par Ardua Ad Astra'. Hopefully, they’ll be back with a new record this year, but most of their time has been spent lately on Ignition rather than Rydell.

Ignition seems to just keep on growing. There is too many great albums and singles in their catalogue to mention all of them, but some of the highpoints have been releases by Crosstide, San Geronimo, Eden Maine, xCanaanx and the excellent compilation 'Firework Anatomy'. Their greatest achievement has been to secure the British rights for the last two albums by Chamberlain. 'Exit 263' emerged last year, their last full studio album and has been recently followed by a retrospective double album, 'Five Year Diary'.

With the Chamberlain releases Ignition managed to document one of the music scenes’ greatest bands, and introduce them to people who may have missed out on them when they were around. Pennyblackmusic spoke to Milo to find out what 2003 holds in store for Ignition.

PB: When did you start the label, and why?

Milo: We started the label in early 2001. The distro had come first, which we began in mid 2000, I think. The label just seemed like a natural progression from running a distro; we really wanted to help get cool music out there.

PB: Take us through a typical day running Ignition? What sort of things does it involve?

Milo: I personally probably spend about two thirds of the day answering e-mails and generally being online dealing with stuff like orders and questions and so on. Then I pack up all the orders, trades, consignments to go out and leg it down to the post office and the bank. Then in the evenings I sometimes do the distro at shows around the South East. So it can involve pretty long days, but it’s all good fun!

PB: How does running the label compare to running a distro?

Milo: They go hand in hand, one feeds the other, so it’s not something I separate at all really. Syd and David, who also help run Ignition, have a bit more to do with running the label, especially dealing with all the non-UK bands we have worked with, but I think the whole thing comes under the umbrella of Ignition in general.

PB: How did you get in contact with the bands?

Milo: It varies. Most of the UK bands we have worked with recently we knew from either being friends or seeing them at shows. Sometimes a band we knew split up and we wanted to work with whatever their new projects were. I think most of the foreign bands we have worked with have come about through knowing other labels and doing split-label releases, as happened, for example, with Crosstide's debut CD, 'Seventeen Nautical Miles', which was jointly released by Rise Records in the States and us.

PB: Your biggest releases have been the two Chamberlain albums. How did you go about releasing these? I'm sure a lot of labels were interested in them...

Milo: Our most popular release to date is probably the Eden Maine record, but it is true that the Chamberlain CDs were quite a result! Basically we have only released them in Europe and the far-east; they are licensed from an American label run by ex-members of the band, called 'South Bittersweet Lane'. We hooked up with them through our friend Owen who runs an online zine called 4emo.com. He had interviewed the band a number of times and been in touch with them constantly over the years. From there it just came together really well and despite the fact that the band are no longer together there is still a huge following for them.

PB: Are there any bands you've lined up to work with in the future ?

Milo: At the moment we have a lot of stuff planned. Some things are ready to be released very soon, others we have just discussed, but definitely will appear sometime in the future. We have a Winter In June/ Steel Rules Die split CD out in the next couple of weeks. Then the much delayed Planes Mistaken For Stars – 'Fucking Fight' European re-press, which is now going to be a CDEP, rather than a 7", as it was first time around. There will also be an EP from Kissing Kaos which is a new band with ex-members of Pop Unknown ; a solo EP from Speedwell frontman Meredith Bragg ; a full-length from a fantastic new Kent band called One Time Champion is in the works ; an all new album from A Rocket Sent To You, and an EP or full-length from another new Kent band called The Photo Book Stories should keep us busy.

PB: How important is the label in sleeve design etc. Do you take control or leave the bands to do that ?

Milo: A bit of both. Obviously we like the stuff we put out to look good but we don't have the facilities to do this ourselves. We either get artwork direct from the band and then add or amend it where necessary or we get one of our friends to come up with something. Richard from the band Canaan has been fantastic in this respect. We cannot thank him enough.

PB: Do you have plans to expand Ignition further still?

Milo: The label and distro keep us busy enough! We did have a go at tour booking a while back, but it was something that required a lot of time, which is something we don't have a lot of! The website always needs a lot of work and, although we do the day-to-day running of the site, the whole thing was built by a friend of ours so, again, it’s just a case of finding time to work on it with them.

PB: In an ideal world, what bands would you have on the label?

Milo: Haha, this is one I could run with forever! I guess on a down to earth level there are some current UK bands who I think would be great to have on board. One is November Coming Fire from Ashford in Kent and then there’s Milloy, who are from the north of England and I think deserve a lot more attention than they get (although I'm not in any way knocking the work of their current label, Crackle records!). There are so many great bands coming out that it’s hard to say who else, but maybe it’s safe to say that the upcoming Kissing Kaos EP is something we are very excited about.

PB: Away from the label, what other sort of stuff are you listening to?

Milo: At the moment I am really into Blue Tip, Beth Orton, Panic (Boston), Striking Distance, Juno, AFI, old Lemonheads stuff, Interpol, Ramones, Carry On, The Photo Book Stories demo, recent Cave In stuff, the Cramps, Siouxsie, Reiziger, Bones Brigade, Pretty Girls Make Graves, the One Time Champion demo, Ida, Black Widows and the new Jay-Z LP is pretty good too! You’ve gotta get that on vinyl though because you get 4 extra tracks and they’re all great!

PB: Finally, where do you see Ignition going in the future?

Milo: Hopefully, it’ll just continue to grow whilst still remaining DIY. We’ll keep putting out the sort of releases that we want to put out and that hopefully other people will like too, and to be able to offer a fast, efficient mail order service because waiting for your stuff to arrive sucks!

PB: Thanks a lot!


















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