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Introducing The Blue Rider a new singles label by Julia Willinger and Hannah Overton

Though the name is based on an artist movement from the early 1900's, there is nothing old fashioned about The Blue Rider. Julia Willinger and Hannah Overton have launched a new singles label which will simultaneously release singles in the UK and USA. With Hannah based in London and Julia based in New York--and of course the access to communication that the internet provides--the ladies of The Blue Rider will be trotting into your city soon enough.

The first release from The Blue Rider is from Jagwar Ma--the A-Side 'Come Save Me' and the B-Side 'What Love?'--will be released on a limited 7" on February 27th but until then read our Q + A with founders of The Blue Rider Hannah Overton and Julia Willinger below.

Where did the name The Blue Rider come from?

Julia: The Blue Rider comes from the art history movement led by Kandinsky in the early 1900s. This time refers to not only a famous painting but also a movement towards more abstract art and the musicality of color. He discusses how art in general has to become more abstract in order to move forward. This was not limited to just painting and drawing, but to art in general, with a focus on music.

Hannah: I loved the syngery between art and music/music and art. To me it sums up what you need in order to be a successfully creative musician now--it's about more than just the music, there needs to be an holistic approach to the art as a whole.

Why did you decide to start the company?

J: Hannah and I always discuss the importance of helping artists to develop from early on. We constantly are finding new, creative artists, but it is just too early for us at XL to work on. This way, we can help artists early on in their career and see what develops. In a time when there is so much music out there, and everything is happening so fast, this is our way to hold on and make a difference with those artists that perk our interest early on.

What will the company do? And why is it different?

J: We plan to release artist's first singles ever both physically and digitally. Things may develop down the line, but for now, we feel having a UK/Europe as well as a US release, really makes things spread further. Most small labels are unique to their area and artists have to struggle to find other territories to release their music. Having a UK/Europe and US label head makes the artist seep through and get more eyes and ears. We will not be specific to any genre. We are going to sign and put out what we both love and feel deserves a bigger audience.

H: Exactly, being able to work our releases on a very personal DIY level in UK and America simultaneously are going to bring enormous benefits to any new artist.

How will you manage being on opposite ends of the pond?

J: Hannah and I speak all the time because we both work at XL Recordings. Because we have constant dialogue on other bands and have known each other now for two years, we know how to deal with the time difference and divide the work evenly. We are used to working this way through XL so it does not feel like a challenge.

H: Skype, iChat, Email... I speak to Julia more than to some of my best friends, that's the beauty of technology, distance becomes negligible.

What are both of your backgrounds in music?

J: I have worked at XL for a bit over two years now. Before XL, I was at an RCA imprint, scouting and doing online marketing, and before that in creative services at Fuse TV. While in college, I interned at Octone Records, Colombia Records and ran the Tulane Concert College committee, as well as was a marketing representative for Sony.

H: I've worked in music for over 10 years, I started doing A&R for XL's publishing wing and gradually moved over to work on the record side. I've worked with various acts including more recently Friendly Fires, Karen Elson and Jack Penate.

Favorite Bands?

J: Always a tough one, but Velvet Underground, Radiohead, The xx, Tame Impala, Tribe Called Quest, Nas (artist), Portishead, Dylan, Beatles, UMO, Hendrix

H: Recent favurites include albums from Oneohtrix Point Never, Laura Marling, John Roberts, Wu Lyf, Woods, Fleet Foxes but evedently I always come back to Dylan, Nick Drake, Belle & Sebastian, Phil Spector, Velvet Underground.

Most memorable music memory:

J: When I was around five years old, my dad would play songs on his guitar and my sister and I would dance and roll around. I would roll to "rolling down the river" and act like a monkey to "in the jungle". I have a vivid memory of getting LL Cool J and Coolio records for Hannukah when I was in fourth grade after begging for them. I loved the parental advisory warning, made me feel amazing. I also remember getting Dookie by Green Day from my aunt as a a gift and crying because I didn't want it at all...

H: As predictable as it is to say this John Peel and others of his ilk introduced me to a massive amount of music, in those few years before the internet started seeping into people's homes, BBC Radio 1 was my sole source of musical education as a teenager in rural England. I remember exactly what I was doing and where I was when I first heard Mark Radcliffe play Belle & Sebastian's 'The State I Am In' on his evening show, that in itself opened me up to a lot of bands, books and films that have become firm favourites. (Before this happened I should mention that I loved Green Days' 'Dookie', they were the first band I ever saw live... they blew my little 14 year old mind & eardrums, Julia - what was all the crying about?).

Theme song to your life right now?

J: " Bang on the Drum" and "Running" Gil Scott-Heron for the past 6 months

H: I have been quite obsessed with Oneohtrix Point Never's "Replica" it's such a powerful piece of instrumental music, it soundtracked the end of my 2011.

What do you have coming up with Blue Rider?

J: More singles in the next few months!

H: Watch this space:

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2 Responses to “Introducing The Blue Rider”

  1. Nikki V says:

    J is the raddest girl I know

  2. […] Kilo Kish, the singer/rapper who claims she can’t rap, releases her first music video for her song “Navy.” Self-directed with Ben Rayner, Kilo Kish cruises through New York City in snippets, hangs out in photo booths and hangs with her friends. The single is out digitally today, but will be available as a limited 12″ on October 8 simultaneously in the UK and US via The Blue Rider. […]

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