Scuff & Scarper Records - The Story So Far...
Someone asked me the other day why start a record label? My answer: Why not?! Scuff & Scarper Records was born in January 2019 however that's not quite where it all started. This is a short intro in our story, and when I say 'our' it's really Nigel's story!
New music; it’s what keeps us all going! Yes, classic house is a staple part of any house music fan's playlist - no question about that! But finding a new sound that pricks your ears is an awesome feeling and then the hunt begins… In the days before Shazam and all traces of online music formats, no hang on! in the days of no internet at all, we were trawling record shops in the hope of finding THAT track, humming tunes to record shop proprietors, spying on dj’s record boxes, searching tracklists to radio shows, the list of funky tac-tics goes on… The prize? finding that piece of shiny new vinyl! Or often even better, finding a shiny new white label!
Slipping on 10 years or so (circa 2002 ish), I remember Rob Tissera nearly falling off his feet in a club (tbh that wouldn’t have been unusual) when he saw Nigel Clarke’s CD folders. Nige had more new music than you could shake a stick at! Although it has to be said, finding (and purchasing) new music if not kept under control, can quickly become an expensive obsession and a full time job!
It all started in the early nineties when Nigel was in his early twenties, back when hiring recording studios by the hour cost a small fortune so he built himself one in his Mum’s garage. Intent on getting on with making his first Speed Garage record asap, he filled his new studio with racks of equipment he had no idea how to use, including a Korg M1, an Atari ST with Cubase and an Akai S1000 sampler. After a evening down the pub plus 5 hours Tailspin: All Massive was born which was subsequently released on Nige’s own label Speedfreak Recordings (copies of which are now selling for £50 a pop on Discogs!). A month or two later, Nige’s younger brother Wez had spent a number of hours topping up his studio tan while perfecting how to operate each machine (oh to have had Youtube back then!) he had seemingly become a master with the Akai sampler! It was time for the next release on Speedfreak, Head Huntaz: Rip Da Freestyle (copies now selling up to £75, no I’m not joking!). Record pressing was another adventure (!) taking their tracks on a DAT tape (you might need to google that one if you were born after the 80’s) along to Tape to Tape in Parsons Green London, the boys had their tracks mastered and dub plates were cut for each track along with a stamper (effectively the mould which vinyl is pressed from). The boys got to keep their dub plates and the stamper was sent to the pressing plant to print the first 2000 records. All this back then didn’t come cheap but scraping together £2k they managed to get their first two records cut and off to Alphamagic distributors they went! Those first two tracks did ok, both being re-pressed a couple times.
Since then Nige has released a multitude of tracks from Garage and Two Step to Trance and Hard House, anyone listening to Hard House and Trance in 2002/3 may remember some tracks released under Re:Worx (worth a google). One pretty special white label sticks out though, a house remix of Billie Jean Funky released under OnePhatBillie with the same track name. Delivering boxes up and down the M1 took over our lives for that record, Hard to Find Records took a whole repress order which was unheard of! We re-pressed that track 6 times which wasn’t too shabby!
And what about Wez? – well, he got a bit more geeky, perfected mastering sound for other artists and recently won Grammy Award for his efforts. Not bad for two kids who once got chased out of a mastering lab for not have the right track permissions!!
So, back to the question: Why start a record label? I guess the real answer would be that we never stopped. This stuff’s in our blood, selling over 20,000 records in the 90’s and 00’s it doesn’t just go away, so we thought it was time to start banging some drums again! This time around we're also supporting new artists in getting their music out there too.
Here’s to new music! We hope you enjoy ours!
Check out our first new release Ghost EP from PRYZM: