Spread across six volumes, Rental Yields is a typically broadminded concept from Justin Watson’s Front & Follow imprint. In what he describes as a ‘landlord / tenant’ model, the project found each participating artist borrowing sounds created by another, and using those sounds to create their track – creating a home in someone else’s house, if you will, without ever actually owning it. Squatter’s rights, perhaps.
A glance down the track lists of the three volumes released to date acts like a roll call of some of the most exciting artists operating today – Bone Music, Camp Of Wolves, Elizabeth Joan Kelly, Runningonair, The Incidental Crack, Dave Clarkson, Rupert Lally, Letters From Mouse, Graham Dunning, Kemper Norton, Audio Obscura, Robin The Fog and countless others.
As Watson busily readies the fourth eclectic volume in the series, Further. distracted him from his elaborate project planning spreadsheet to ask him a few questions.
Where did the idea for Rental Yields come from?
Rental Yields feels like a natural progression from our You Can Never Leave project, continuing the theme of inequity in Manchester, but also more broadly, and working with artists to explore (directly or indirectly) what this means.
The idea itself came from a desire to do another collaboration project, and a complete lack of acknowledgement (again) of the administration involved. As ever these things are a collaborative effort which emerge through real world and online chats, throwing ideas around (some more sensible than others) and seeking ways to using creativity and musical nonsense to have some fun, and hopefully contribute something positive at the same time
The specifics of the ‘landlord / tenant’ concept came from Stephen Buckley (aka Polypores), so we can all blame him. I think the initial idea was probably quite simple, but over time a series of PowerPoint slide decks and spreadsheets have turned it into what it is today.
Personally, I enjoy the convoluted nature of it (possibly more than the reviewer at The Wire…).
You seem to have a knack of collating these incredible collections – how did you choose the artists for this project? Did you set any rules for contributors?
All artists are self-selecting and it is as inclusive as possible – anyone can join in (as it should be), and we try and remove any barriers to being involved, or to people knowing about it and feeling they can be a part of it.
But yes, there are rules – I refer you to the previously-mentioned slide decks. They are really fun.
If we didn’t have rules where would we be Mat? And then where would we be without a series of annoying and pointless rules, created by someone who should have probably gone for a walk instead?
Were there any tracks that particularly surprised you?
It has been great to have so many submissions from people I didn’t know much about, or who are now doing amazing things. It feels weird to highlight anyone in particular, but Yol was my artist of 2022. Just incredible, and bringing something so refreshing and much needed at the moment.
This series is for charity. Can you tell us a bit more about the charity you’re working with here?
We’ve previously work with Coffee4Craig, another fantastic charity in Manchester, and before that The Brick in Wigan.
For this we chose SPIN. They were recommended to us by one of the artists involved in the project who also worked in the charity sector in Manchester. They are doing vital work, so it is great to be able to support them a little bit – with a bit of money (our target is now £2,000), but also with a bit of promo and maybe some more opportunities in the future. We keep thinking about doing some gigs…
Buy Rental Yields at fandf.bandcamp.com
Rental Yields Volume Four is released April 14 2023 by Front & Follow.
Interview: Mat Smith
(c) 2023 Further.
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