Interview: Invada Records
As the world stumbles into the digital age vinyl records are growing ever popular, and where there's a niche format on the up, soundtracks usually aren't far behind. A case in point is Invada (pronounced Invader) Records, a Bristol-based label who have recently made waves amongst the vinyl community with the release of the Cliff Martinez soundtrack to DRIVE. Amazingly, there's more greatness to come with their release of Martinez's mindblowingly good SOLARIS. We spoke to Invada label manager Redg Weeks about the label's releases and the stunning coup that is SOLARIS...
Charlie Brigden: Can you briefly explain Invada and its history?
Redg Weeks: Invada is an independent, UK-based label which has been going for 10 years. It was set up by Geoff Barrow of Portishead / BEAK> and promoter - venue owner, Paul Horlick. The label has released an eclectic range of music from psyche rock, hip-hop, post rock, doom, indie, shoegaze, krautrock, electronica and of course film soundtracks. I (Redg), came on-board as label manager in 2009.
CB: You've released a few soundtracks on the label - what was the first OST to catch your attention?
RW: Before the phenomenon of DRIVE I’d always loved the soundtrack to SOLARIS (the Soderbergh version). Mike Savage, from Bristol band The Fauns, is a very close friend of mine and we had talked at length about Cliff Martinez and just how perfect SOLARIS is, and at the time I had started to research who owned the rights to the SOLARIS master recordings. In the interim, Nicolas Refn's DRIVE was released in cinemas and my attention was suddenly drawn to that – which meant SOLARIS had to be put on the back-burner - but SOLARIS was the first soundtrack I had visions for.
CB: Cliff Martinez seems to be a particular favourite - are you a particular fan?
RW: Of course. The guy is ridiculously prolific and his consistency never ceases to amaze me. For example, take SPRING BREAKERS - whatever your opinion is of the film, if you take Cliff's contributing tracks and play them one after the other, as their own entity, the quality matches any of my favourite albums of the last 10 years. CB: Have you thought about inviting Cliff to the UK for a signing? RW: Cliff has already done signings for Invada but he is insanely busy – I would prefer Cliff to perform live in the UK – at somewhere like the Barbican in London. It may sound strange to already talk about a hypothetical venue but for me that would be paramount, I think his music would suit a contemporary art space rather than a grungy or traditional gig venue.
CB: The release of DRIVE was a particular coup - how did that come about?
RW: Firstly, like everyone, I saw the film on the big screen and was totally and utterly blown away with every single aspect of it. Nicolas Refn created a masterpiece. Within a couple of weeks I had emailed Lakeshore Entertainment and that resulted in a lengthy phone call with the music supervisor of the film. At the same time Geoff was touring with Portishead in Australia and he saw the film on the plane and loved it. So everyone was very happy with the outcome.
CB: What can you tell us about your upcoming release of SOLARIS?
RW: It has been a long time in the making, and a massive coup for the label - from a personal perspective, it’s probably the most important record I’ve ever been involved with. The LP will be released with two different art sleeves and staying true to the original art from the motion picture. The 'Clooney in Helmet' sleeve will partner 180gram heavyweight black vinyl and the 'Kissing Scene’ sleeve will partner white vinyl.
CB: DROKK has been very well-received, but I'm not sure how many know that it came out of Geoff and Ben originally doing the music for the DREDD film - what was the evolution from the soundtrack to the record?
RW: That’s really not for me to discuss. Geoff and Ben have touched upon this in some other interviews. What I will say is the record has become this cult classic with so many people – whether they’re lovers of John Carpenter's work, film directors, soundtrack composers, music supervisors or respected record labels - we’ve had great feedback and truthfully it has been very flattering. The guys at 2000AD comics were fully behind us releasing this and endorsed DROKK. Working with Ben Salisbury is pretty incredible when you consider what other projects he's been involved with - I would urge everyone to check out his other work at his website.
CB: The vinyl market seems to be laced with soundtrack releases, both new and reissues - why do you think soundtrack collectors have embraced the format so ferociously?
RW: It’s just like most things collectable I guess - whether you collect trainers or football programmes, there will always be people that enjoy being part of a culture. I think soundtracks are now more popular than ever simply because people are bored rigid of being told what new band is cool or who they should go and see live. Most film soundtracks have some personal connection and often link in to nostalgia or evoke emotions that have been enhanced from a visual perspective. Labels like Death Waltz and Black Records have contributed so much to the current movement and I have the upmost respect for what Spencer (Death Waltz) has achieved in a short space of time.
CB: Are there any soundtracks you've tried to do that have fallen through for any reason (that you can talk about)?
RW: Nope, none! Invada isn’t predominantly a soundtrack label - so everything we've wanted to be a part of so far has happened for us.
CB: If budget and/or rights were no object, which soundtrack would you most like to release?
RW: Well I think it’s gonna be pretty hard to top Cliff Martinez' SOLARIS. Clint Mansell's MOON is released already – and that’s another KILLER OST. I would be happy to work on anything with Clint Mansell. He's actually remixed The Fauns already for us on a non-soundtrack release. Elsewhere, Death Waltz have nailed all the Carpenter ones I love and the Reznor soundtracks have been beautiful as well. I have a lot of respect for Trent – through a lot of hard work his career is constantly evolving.
CB: Can you share any news or hints about any future soundtrack releases from Invada?
RW: I’m afraid there’s nothing I can reveal just yet, but what I will say is we are in talks for a joint project with our friends in LA - Milan Records - and hopefully there will be some news from Geoff and Ben later this year.
Thanks to Redg - check out Invada's website for some great releases