A recording studio on the Juno Way industrial estate in New Cross helped launch another new sound on the world, with Defenders Entertainment releasing Crazy Cousins’ ‘UK Funky’ tracks including their highly influential remix of Kyla’s Do You Mind (2008) – later covered by The XX and sampled by Drake on ‘One Dance’ (2016). Also from New Cross, Andy Blake’s disco/house label Dissident Distribution released a critically acclaimed series of limited issue 12" singles from 2007 to 2009.
The recent upsurge in 2nd wave grime is giving birth to may new independent labels as artists seek to take control of their careers. Brockley’s finest Novelist has launched his own Mmmyeh Records, having first come to prominence as part of grime collective The Square with their famous Lewisham McDeez track released on No Hats, No Hoods. Independent labels have come a long way since the first punk and reggae 7 inch singles, but the DIY spirit lives on.
1. Alternative TV – Action Time Vision (Deptford Fun City, 1978)
2. Brown Sugar - I’m in love with a dreadlock (Lovers Rock, 1977)
3. Test Dept - Fuckhead (Ministry of Power, 1986)
4. Band of Holy Joy - Rosemary Smith (Flim Flam, 1986)
5. Star Power – Nothing can save us London (Stay up Forever, 1994)
6. Long Blondes - Autonomy Boy (Angular, 2004)
7. Veronica Falls – Beachy Head (No Pain in Pop, 2010)
8. Kyla – Do you Mind, Crazy Cousinz remix (Defenders Ent, 2008)
9. Cage & Aviary - Giorgio Carpenter(Dissident, 2007)
10. The Square - Lewisham Mcdeez (No Hats, No Hoods, 2015)
11. Semi Precious - No Distractions (Squareglass, 2017)
Limited for time and space for this article, there's a lot more that could have been included. Johny Brown from Band of Holy Joy has asked me about Desperate Bicycles, arguably the DIY label pioneers of the punk period. I did consider them but wasn't sure about extent of their SE London connection. Think first single was recorded in Dalston, but their 1978 'New Cross, New Cross' EP on their own Reflex label apparently followed a period rehearsing in New Cross. He also mentioned Bastard Haircut records, associated with Brain of Morbius.
As covered at this blog before, there were other New Cross reggae labels in late 1970s/early 1980s, including Fay Music, Studio 16 and Sound City Records.
In wider SE London beyond Lewisham, there's lots more to consider, perhaps most significantly on the punk front Conflict's Mortarhate label, starting out in Eltham, and One Little Indian which started out with Flux of Pink Indians in Forest Hill.
Loads of dance labels out there of course, could have mentioned Controlled Weirdness' Unearthly records (including his great South London Bass track).
Who would you add to the list of SE London independent labels?