Hello everyone! Welcome to a new feature from Sucker – our guide to the music industry, featuring guests interviews each week, from different areas of the music industry. We want to provide up and coming bands with the unique opportunity to get to know the people behind the scenes, and to hopefully provide tips and advice on how to advance your music career.

To kick off the series, we caught up with Mark Orr, the director and founder of independent label LAB Records. Mark looks after an impressive roster that includes the likes of Sarah Close, The Lathums, Abbie Ozard, Mealtime and loads more. From FIFA placements to Spotify playlist covers, Love Island features to being nominated for ‘Best New Label’ at the AIM Awards in 2017, LAB Records truly is the place for the hottest emerging indie talents.

Here’s what went down when we spoke to Mark…

Hi Mark! Thanks so much for taking the time to speak to us. So, what up and coming bands are you most excited about at the moment? 

There’s so much great new music being made just now. From our side there are exciting new records coming from Abbie Ozard, Thyla, Dead Pony and plenty more in between. Outside of the label, I’m listening to a lot of KennyHoopla and Matilda Mann at the moment. 

What advice would you give to new bands and artists who are looking to make their way up the ladder and sign to a label? 

Definitely to keep honing your songs and don’t release too much too quickly. It’s infinitely better to have 3 incredible songs on your profile than 7 average ones.

What are the main qualities you look for in an artist when you’re looking to expand your roster? 

Work ethic for sure, and a great understanding of their fanbase and where they’d like to get to. No-one in the industry wants to feel like they’re working twice as hard as their artists – it should be a partnership in that sense.

How do you think record labels are changing at the moment? Are there any trends you’ve noticed in recent years? 

The obvious industry-wide change (particularly with independents) is the shift towards shorter (single & EP) releases that streaming has encouraged. What was a 4-5 track EP is now three singles with two tracks tagged on at the end of the campaign. It means artists have to be even more prolific and creative with the greater need for artwork, visual content etc.

What’s your favourite method of discovering new music at the moment? How do you go about finding the next big thing? 

Well in normal times I still go to a lot of shows. Obviously in the absence of that just now, I’m spending more time than ever on streaming services and YouTube!

What does the future hold for Lab Records?  

We hope to just continue what we’re doing: releasing music we love and growing artists. Follow on our socials @labrecords for all the latest.

We’ll be back soon with more Sucker’s Guide to the Music Industry insights! And we’ve got some great news to announce with Mark soon, so stay tuned for that.

Until next time,

Sucker x