Our Swedish writer at Pennyblackmusic Tommy Gunnarsson has now co-run his own indiepop labels for five years.

Tommy formed his first label, Heavenly Pop Hits, in his native Halmsted with Marie Sorenson in 2002. They put out a compilation CD entitled ‘Hit Music Only’, which featured 21 known and unknown international indiepop acts including ballboy, Ant, Dennis Driscoll, Sodastream, Eisenhower, Hormones in Abundance and Nixon, as their first release. They then went on to release on 7” vinyl four singles and EPs, the latest of which the four song ‘A New Surprise EP’ by British-based indiepop act White Town came out in November of last year.

Tommy established his latest label Snowday Records with his girlfriend Sandra Neergaard-Petersen last summer.

In contrast to Heavenly Pop Hits, all of Snowday Records’ re;eases will come out on CDR instead of vinyl. While ‘Hit Pop Music’ had an edition of 500 copies and all the singles had runs of 200, Snowday’s releases will be limited initially to just 50.

Snowday Records’ first release, ‘Everyday Escapes’ by local Swedish act Band in Box, came out last summer. Tommy and Sandra have several other releases planned for the months ahead including albums from Hormones in Abundance, Elenette , Eisenhower and a split EP between Ninniku and Red Colour Cat.

Pennyblackmusic spoke to both Tommy and Sandra about their new label.

PB : Why did you decide to call your new label Snow Day Records?

SNP : Originally, we were going to call the label Igloo Records, but then we found out that that name was already taken, so we tried to come up with a new name. This was during the early spring of 2006. There was a lot of snow in Halmstad at that time, so we took the name Snow Day Records. ‘Snow Day’ also happens to be the name of a Nixon song…

TG : The fact is that we had been thinking of starting a label together for quite some time, but didn’t decide to realize that idea until we came up with the name Igloo Records.

PB : Tommy, you have run Heavenly Pop Hits since 2002, which has released one compilation and four EPs, the latest of which by White Town came out a couple of months ago. That label is still running. Why have you decided to start another label? In what ways will Snow Day Records differ to Heavenly Pop Hits?

TG : Actually, Heavenly Pop Hits is no more. We decided to fold it a couple of weeks ago, when Marie moved to England. At the moment Snow Day Records is the only label I’m involved with. But the reason why I wanted to start Snow Day Records when I already had another label was that with Heavenly Pop Hits things happened very slowly, which is obvious if you check out our small discography… Five records in four years aren’t that much. But it’s the classic financial problem… To make a 7” single or a CD you have to make quite a lot of money from your previous release, and. even though we have sold out most of the records we have released, it took quite some time to get there, which meant that we made our money during a long period of time.

This won’t happen with Snow Day Records, as we have released all our records (so far) on CDR’s, which is very cheap. If we want to, we could release one record a month, which is great!

PB : Sandra, is this your first experience of running a label? While Snow Day is still in its early stages, has it been different to what you expected?

SNP : Yes, this is my first record label. And I think it has been a bit different to what I expected. Mainly, I thought that the releases would be more frequent, but I think that my expectations were just too high.

PB : You have recently put out your first release, 'Everyday Escapes' by Band in Box. Who are they?

SNP : Band In Box is a solo project for a girl called Siri, from Malmö in Sweden. They used to be a duo, but the other girl decided to leave the band last year, just prior to our release.

TG : I got a demo CD from Siri with one song on it over three years ago, and I liked it a lot. Then I got a second CD, with four songs, a couple of years later, and that one was even better! So, when we started Snow Day Records, we Siri if she wanted to be our first release. After the release of the ‘Everyday Escapes’ EP, Siri got offered a deal with a US indie label, and she is also going to sing on the next record by experimental Swedish band Testbild!

PB 'Everyday Escapes' has come out in a limited edition of just 50 copies. Will all your other releases come out in such small editions? Why?

SNP : Most of the records we will release will probably be made in editions of 50 copies, but if we know prior to releasing it (or notice after a while) that it will sell in many copies we can imagine doing some more. The reason for the small editions is partly that we make every copy individually by hand, and partly because we want the CD’s to sell out, so we won’t be having a huge pile of unsold records in our wardrobe.

PB : You're selling badges on the Snow Day website in over 300 designs, but, rather than using them to finance future Snow Day Records releases, you're using them to finance Heavenly Pop Hits releases. Why?

TG : Well, since Heavenly Pop Hits has folded, the money from the badges will from now on be used to finance Snow Day Records’ releases. But initially, the badge business was a part of Heavenly Pop Hits, and when we decided to re-design the website for that label last autumn, and make it a lot simpler, we also decided to move the badge pages to the new Snow Day Records website, just to keep things simple for ourselves. Maybe that’s a bit confusing for our customers, but hopefully they will understand what’s going on. Also, a Heavenly Pop Hits release costs more than a Snow Day Records release, so it needed the money more.

PB : You're also planning a compilation by Hormones in Abundance, the moniker for teenage Swedish musician Patrik Lindgren. Hormones in Abundance also released an 8 song EP, ‘Old People are People Too’, on Heavenly Pop Hits in 2004. Patrik was planning to abandon the Hormones in Abundance moniker. Has he had a change of heart or will this new record simply be a compilation of his old material? It will be released with material from Ring Snuten, Patrik's other act. In what ways does Ring Snuten differ from Hormones in Abundance?

SNP : Yes, the compilation will mainly contain his old songs, the ones he recorded as Hormones In Abundance a few years ago. Apart from the 7” single on Heavenly Pop Hits, there has been no other official release, which is a shame! Those songs are too good to remain unreleased, so we decided to make a compilation CDR of them all. The songs are very short, so we will probably be able to fit 30 or more songs on the record.

Hopefully, we will also have some new songs by Ring Snuten on the compilation as well. The main difference between Ring Snuten and Hormones In Abundance is that Patrik’s lyrics are in Swedish nowadays rather than English as with Hormones in Abundance, and that Ring Snuten now has evolved into a regular band.

TG : The CD will also be a charity record, to help Patrik pay for a lawsuit he was drawn into last year. To cut a long story short, he was sued by a farmer, from whom Patrik and his friends hired a field where they arranged some pop festivals in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Patrik has done nothing wrong, and we want to support him in his legal battle. All the money made from the CD will go to his bank account.

PB : You're also planning to put out a 10 track Elenette album, a 20 track Eisenhower compilation, and a 4-track split EP with Ninniku/Red Colour Cat .Who are they?

TG : Elenette is a band from Stockholm that makes new romantic-inspired pop music with fantastic Swedish lyrics. Too bad that all you foreigners won’t understand them... That will actually be our next release, hopefully coming out in late January if everything goes as planned. After that, the Eisenhower compilation is up next! Eisenhower is a one-man project from our hometown of Halmstad, who has been releasing CDR’s on his own for five years now. He was also part of the first Heavenly Pop Hits release, contributing a song called ‘Black Letter Boxing’. We thought that the world needed a compilation of all those great songs he has recorded during the past years, so we asked him if he wanted to compile a CD for us, and he was happy to do it! It will also include two songs from his very first demo cassette, re-mastered for this CD!

Finally, Ninniku and Red Colour Cat are both the moniker for Mike Innes, an Englishman who used to be in a band called They Go Boom!! in the 1990’s. They are, in my opinion, one of the best indiepop bands ever, and, when I contacted him with the idea of Heavenly Pop Hits releasing a compilation CD of their early singles, he told me that he had been making some more music since the demise of the band. The songs he sent me were very good, more influenced by Kraftwerk than Indiepop, so we asked him if we could release them as a split EP. He agreed, and hopefully we will release it in the near future.

PB : All those acts are mostly Swedish acts. Could you see yourself releasing acts from other countries as well?

Sandra: Yes, absolutely. As we mentioned earlier, we have an English release coming up, and we hope that this won’t be the last foreign band in our discography. We have no geographical most of these bands personally.

PB : Will all these records be released on CDR like the Band in a Box EP or are you planning to put some of them out on vinyl?

Sandra: At the moment, we are fine with CDR’s, but sure, maybe we will release a 7” single or two in the future. As always, it’s a question of money, sadly.

PB : Thank you.

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