All for the love of one record
Wally De Backer and longtime collaborator Tim Shiel have formed a new independent record label Spirit Level.
De Backer, he of Gotye and The Basics fame, and Shiel, Double J radio host and an electronic music and producer under the Faux Pas moniker, set up the label in a matter of weeks to facilitate the release of American experimental pop group Zammuto’s new album Anchor. The band is the project of Nick Zammuto, who was part of influential experimental duo the Books up until 2012.
The label has an exclusive distribution deal in place with Inertia.
Today Shiel told theMusic.com.au that “The Zammuto record is what inspired [the label] straight up… When we found out that he had this new record coming up and found out that it wasn’t going to necessarily get an Australian release we felt it deserved Wally called me up and said, ‘We’ve talked about something like this before, let’s do it’.”
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De Backer and Shiel have known each other since they were 17, meeting on their first day of uni. Recently, Shiel joined the Gotye live band as a full time member during their international success. Zammuto supported Gotye on a number of his international shows and Shiel says, “We got to know him and about his self-sustaining DIY approach.”
Once agreeing to release the record in Australia, thanks to a deal with the US label Temporary Residence, Shiel said “It all just happened really quickly, because Wally and I have just poured passion into it for a couple of weeks.”
With the Inertia deal in place, everything else is being handled in-house with the new label owners relying on existing relationships to build awareness.
While the label has been set up for this release specifically and there are no plans for the entity to release anything else beyond its first project, Shiel said that it was "unlikely" that Spirit Level would be a one-off deal.
The Zammuto album is out digitally now and will receive a physical release – CD, LP and limited edition coloured vinyl – from Friday 26 September.
The label launch comes as De Backer is “tracking down rare music instruments” for a new Gotye record and recording an album with The Basics at London’s Abbey Road and Shiel is juggling his Double J duties with video game composing.