Rain & Shine Records
Enjoy this exclusive mix from Rain & Shine Records boss, Jeremy Morris:
You’re slowly garnering attention all around the world for your work reissuing long forgotten and rare music, what are the mechanics around that? Is it just a matter of incessantly looking at old phone directories from far flung places?
Jeremy: One of the principles that we wanted to follow was to always license music the “right way” E.g. find the owner of the master recording (master rights) and publishing (songwriting). This was in response to discovering that the majority of popular compilations over the last 10-15 years were largely unlicensed, along with the unrelenting string of bootleg disco 12″s that come out of Italy and France.
However, I’ve since changed my views slightly on this.
I’m more relaxed about the history of unlicensed comps. They were hugely influential, and many were pre-facebook when it was a lot harder to track people down.
I’ve got a lot of time and respect for BBE and Z records, they quickly put right any licensing issues, and are still putting out incredible comps!
So in terms of Rain & Shine, how do you track down these guys and convince them that there is still an audience for what is often quite obscure?
As you know I’ve managed to track down people where others have failed or given up. I get obsessed about things. For example the Le Stim record that we licensed to Melodies International consumed my life for a year. I listened to the record everyday at the gym and was literally in tears when I managed to track down the lead singer, drummer, bass player and then son of the late producer
There are no secret methods, I just use the internet
For example I recently used newspapers.com to find a Delaware band called Sunstreet
That led to my discovery that Sunstreet are actually a subset of members of the Minnesota band HAZE
Sunstreet? They put out that record, ‘Lovin’?
That’s the one… One of my favorite disco tracks.
That truly is one hell of a disco record
This is where I find the research really interesting and rewarding. As it turns out there are a number of unreleased Sunstreet songs that we are restoring at the moment. Speaking to the brother of late songwriter (David Harper) was such a great moment. He was overjoyed.
We also found a photo of the band!
That’s beautiful Jeremy. Do you see yourself as an archivist, an enthusiast or just an obsessed record collector?
Despite re-issue having a bad stigma associated with it, I get joy out of preserving the music, meeting the musicians, and being able to pass them some $ for records that were made 30-40 years ago.
So in that sense I guess a psuedo archiver, but I’m also a DJ and collector
I only started collecting seriously about 7 years ago, so a lot of the stuff I need is $$$ so generally if a reissue sounds good I will buy it
Plus there are a lot of good labels out there: backatcha, kalita, AOTN, melodies to name a few
I’m real excited for what all of those labels have to come. I was fortunate to finally acquire a copy of Bobby Wright’s – Blood of An American which, i’m led to believe, Melodies International reissued.
I wonder, how hard is it to recover costs? The whole releasing/reissuing records is somewhat of a gamble and the label is also non for profit. This must be a tricky thing to navigate
Yeah they did Bobby Wright earlier this year, a great 7″ !
We managed to sell 1500 RSR001s in a quarter, which was great for Chain Reaction. The songwriter is 70 years old and still drives a forklift so was cool to be able to wire him some money. Ultimately there isn’t a lot of money in records. And doing it as not for profit has been a bit ruinous but I’m hoping to recover my initial investment in 2019
Shit, 1500 is actually a lot of records even for a fairly major independent record label.
What are the plans for the label over the next 12 months?
Well, we have enough music licensed for 12 months of releases and that’s if we release 1 record each month. We are also launching a side label RSRLTD focused on one-off limited pressings. Initially I was against the idea but as it’s turned out the only way to convince some artists to re-release their music was to do a one off run. Strictly limited. No repress.
I’m also spending November in the USA (Chicago, Detroit, NYC). This will be my first record digging trip (better late than never?) and have dates with various bands and musicians, mostly to restore and listen to previously unreleased music. I’m also very happy that I’ll be able to meet and catch a DJ set of one of my favourite and influential DJs, Tone B. Nimble !
Dr. Charisse Nelson from The Nelson Family, a band whose record we reissued wrote and produced a song for my kids! That made my heart melt. I’m meeting her in New York in November just to hang out together.
That’s a grand gesture of thanks and respect.
Tone B. Nimble, is one of my favourite Chicago DJ’s and his latest cassette tape series, “Soul Is My Salvation”, is one of the best things i’ve bought all year. Are there other DJ’s that you look up to?
Skymark, Ill Dubio, Tone B. Nimble are top 3
Skymark in particular was one of the reasons I started the label, inspired by his mixes over the years. He is also a really nice guy/father/talented producer with an insane record collection !
You’re also a father right?
I sure am… my daughter Rita is almost 7 and my son, Theo is almost 4.
Shit, that’s my mothers name. She must be a little queen
Did you name your son after Theo Parrish?
No, although I do like Theo Parrish! I also like Teddy Pendergrass!
It’s impossible not to like Teddy.
You can keep up to date with Rain & Shine via instagram: @rainandshinerecords