Feature: Blackpool Music Festival attracts Belgian record label Hyphen to The Blue Room

I wouldn’t imagine there are many town music festivals that can boast that they can persuade a European record label to up sticks and bring the whole set up, along with bands signed to its label and travel hundreds of miles to showcase their acts for free over three or so hours at a single music venue.

Blackpool Music Festival organiser and founder Jon Bamborough has managed to do exactly that. With close ties in Europe as well as this country, Jon has persuaded Belgium based Hyphen Records founder Holly Nab to travel over with his acts to perform at the Blue Room this Saturday, beginning at 7pm. This will no doubt add a much different perspective to the festival and a real European flavour, giving Blackpool music fans a taste of something quite unique and special. Performances from five bands and artists from the label will provide a treat and an insight into the style of music produced away from our shores. It may be different in some ways, but the influence may be quite recognisable to many.

The Blue Room are hosts to Hyphen Records
The Blue Room are hosts to Hyphen Records

According to Jon, it was quite easy to persuade Hyphen to bring over their acts and Holly Nab himself informed me, “Playing in England is a dream for most of us here in Belgium, because we are influenced a lot by the UK music scene.” So I guess when Hyphen recieved the invitation, they snatched it with both hands.

Holly continued, “Blackpool is a great start for us, but we would like to play in other areas of the UK also.”

Hyphen Records was formed in Belgium earlier this year and is heavily influenced and inspired by the likes of Manchester’s iconic Factory label and the bands that were around at the time, Joy Division being one particular band I spoke to Holly about. The artists currently signed to Hyphen do tend to possess that characteristic Factory sound and the musical influences have some striking similarities to the Manchester collective which existed in the early to mid eighties. Holly explained that it was originally an idea to find the “spirit of mutual appreciation” of the kind of music which Factory created and to bring together a collection of artists who shared the same vision. It may be fair to say that Hyphen was formed by a group of musicians who are big fans of the type of sound that is associated with Factory. Moving that forward, they took the step to record their own material in a similar way, therefore evolving into their own label purely through passion and admiration of what Factory achieved with the bands under their wing.

Anthony Wilson & Alan Erasmus: Founders of Factory Records
Anthony Wilson & Alan Erasmus: Founders of Factory Records

“Factory have many friends and connections in Belgium,” Holly told me, “The Manchester scene has a big influence on Hyphen, particularly me personally and a band signed to the label called Hermetic Electric. Manchester music has influenced many all over the world and continues to do so. I never did see Joy Division live, but followed the Peter Hook & The Lights UK tour in 2011 in many cities. Just me and my bag! I would love to know what he himself thinks of our music.”

Although primarily the label founder, Holly doesnt see himself as the only one that makes decisions on its direction. The artists themselves also provide ideas and input from deciding live dates to recordings, graphics and the whole image of the label. It really is a team effort all round. Holly told me, “We await the first Hyphen compilation, entitled ‘Sampler One’ in honour of Factory Records from the manufacturer. I just wish it was ready for the Blue Room.”

One artist associated with Hyphen is Eric Delsine, who will be travelling to Blackpool with his band Eric In The Kitchen and will be performing live at the Blue Room on Saturday evening. Starting out as a solo artist, the project is now evolving into a full time band and Eric – an Indie musician – has begun experimenting with, in his words, “My love of little indie pop songs with more experimental stuff, from ambient to post-rock via shoegazing.” Eric will also play live on the night with Bathernay. It certainly sounds interesting and will give the audience at the Blue Room a taste of what Hyphen has to offer along with the other four artists also signed to the label.

The Blue Room has long been known for its eclectic selection of bands and to give the stage to Hyphen for a solid three hour period is a testament not only to the Blue Room events co-ordinator Steven Pellatt, but also to Jon Bamborough for negotiating such an ambitious task between them. It is a bold move and one that I think will propel the Blackpool Music Festival and its name to far wider audience and build even further on last year’s very successful event.

Eric Delsine will perform with two bands
Eric Delsine will perform with two bands

My final question to Holly was to ask when will he be arriving in the UK.  “We arrive by plane into Manchester on Friday morning, before making our way up to Blackpool,” he said, “One band is making the trip in a van, with all their equipment!”

In my opinion, this is a fantastic opportunity for Blackpool music fans to sample something quite different from the norm. It would be good to see the music loving public support the festival ethos and checking out what Hyphen Records is all about when their artists play live at the Blue Room on Saturday night will provide an insight into this passionate independent label from Belgium. The bands and artists from Hyphen appearing on the night from 7pm until 10pm will be Emmanuele Gattuso, Polucse, Hermetic Electric, Bathernay and Eric In The Kitchen.

Admission on the night is absolutely free, as with all venues involved in the festival. Fill your boots.


Images courtesy of Hyphen Records and the Blue Room.


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    Blackpool based self-confessed music fanatic involved in the local music scene around the Fylde and particularly passionate about promoting and assisting new upcoming bands and artists breaking through.

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