Premiere: Ghost Babes Volume III
Ellie Coden doesn’t need a CV. As booker and events manager for Dalston’s Victoria – which always has a stellar bill – you’ll know about her already. Or what she’s about. Previously an independent promoter under the name Cool for Cats (also her first label), she worked at Fierce Panda for many years.
After spending a lot of time in New York and becoming impressed with the US music scene, Coden set up her current label Ghost Babes in 2014.
“It’s completely different from the UK,” she says. “Bands are really DIY and don’t seem to care as much about press or radio or what the industry thinks of them, they just make music and go out and tour it as much as possible. There’s also a real sense of community which I feel is missing in London, all the bands arrange shows together and collaborate all the time and help each other out, there’s a great vibe. So this DIY spirit was definitely something I wanted to bring back to the UK.”
Enter Ghost Babes Volume III, an album of indie – or punk rock bands, as our American friends would call them – she’s found and should be played loud. You heard it here first.
Q: How do you find talent? Is it through a lot of hard work (and just a touch of magic)?
Not sure about magic but definitely tons of hard work! One tape literally takes months. The list is normally 100+ bands and I need to narrow that down to 10-12, so that's not a job for the faint hearted. Once decided on the shortlist, I try to see as many of those bands live as possible (I’d say I've managed to see 90% of the bands on my compilations). If I like them enough I move on to choosing a track for each. Mostly I find bands by keeping an eye on a handful of venues that I like in Brooklyn, or just checking out bands that I see certain friends have liked on Facebook. Or sometimes it's just tips from friends I trust.
Q: Is spontaneity – and chance encounter – important to you?
Absolutely. I follow my instincts a lot when it comes to music and often make the most spontaneous decisions – I can bump into a song and like it so much that before it's even over I've already emailed the band and asked them to join the Ghost Babes family.
Also chance encounter is a big part of the project, and in fact a chance encounter is how Ghost Babes started.
Whilst I'd always loved American bands it had never occurred to me to start a label or translate that love into something concrete. But one night back in 2013 a friend asked me last minute if I wanted to rep a show which this Brooklyn band i'd heard of (but never actually listened to) called The So Slo Glos were playing, and I said yes. The band and I immediately clicked and became friends – and through them I met tons of wonderful people and discovered Shea Stadium, this little DIY space in Brooklyn that they run as a music venue, but which in reality is so much more to everyone involved, it's basically a family. The whole thing was so inspiring and led to Ghost Babes being born.
Q: Describe each band on Volume III in three words:
THE 94 KNICKS:
Chug rock's finest
Infectious punk blazers
Surfy garage rock (with added punk sentiment)
Fun, scuzzy rock
Liz Phair meet Throwing Muses
Bouncy nervous cartoon
Electrifying riffs + fuzzy vocals
Grunge pop thumper
Fuzzy jangly dreamy
For more Ghost Babes, and to buy Volume III, visit bandcamp