Interview: Small Labels React to London Riots, Warehouse Fire

Photographer via Reuters
August 11, 2011

We checked in with the UK's Angular Records Director, Joe Daniel, to see how small labels are dealing with their crippling loss of stock due to the fire at Sony/PIAS distribution warehouse in the London's Enfield neighborhood.

What neighborhood do you live in, and what's currently going on there? Is there any sign of the havoc abating? Dalston is where my office is. I was very worried about it being looted or torched, but the local Turkish community lined the streets in their droves wielding baseball bats and when the rioters turned up they were chased off pretty sharpish. I feel pretty indebted to those guys now. I'm immensely proud and very much in awe of their tenacity. The Dalston turks saved us, total fucking heroes.

Were you shocked by the sequence of events or had unrest been visibly building? When did you really get a sense that things were spiraling out of control? Were people very obviously frustrated? I don't think anyone had any idea that it would kick off like that. It's a combination of frustration from the Government and the Mayor not caring and taking away from those communities, but also the fact that thugs love an excuse to kick off.

How is the general public dealing with the rioting? Are people trying to go about their day-to-day, or are they sequestered at home? A bit of both, the streets have been very tense.

What media outlets have you been watching? Who do you feel is presenting the most accurate and thorough coverage? On Monday night I watched it all unfold on the BBC and twitter. My friend and I were glued to it for about eight hours in Kings Cross as it creeped closer and closer to our neighbourhood. We were shocked and terrified. I guess the BBC is okay. Twitter was more up to the minute but there were some scurrilous rumours—at one point we heard that they'd let all the animals out of London Zoo!

When did you first hear news of the fire at the warehouse in Enfield? How has Angular been effected specifically? I watched it on TV, I'd been so concerned about my office that I'd not thought for a second about where all our stock is kept. It was an insane inferno, it didn't seem real. It was obvious from the TV footage that we'd lost everything. Everyone lost everything.

Do you have any sense how the labels are moving forward? Is everything protected by insurance? We are covered up to a point but it'll take a while to come through. The immediate future is a concern but there's all sorts of talk about benefits and fundraisers and people are being very kind and buying mp3s to help us through.

Most importantly, how can people support Angular and other small labels? Are there any formal organizations, or would you just recommend that people show support by downloading digital copies of the records? The latter really, the next couple of months will be tough but people can definitely help a lot by buying MP3s.

To help support Angular, visit their online shop.

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Interview: Small Labels React to London Riots, Warehouse Fire