You Might Not Like This – But You Likely Might
As a kid, I remember watching all sorts of music styles on cable TV. It was OK to love Ozzy and Madonna at the same time, for pop artists like Debbie Harry to attend hip hop parties and for provocateurs like Marilyn Manson to be seen enjoying a Radiohead show. Later on, as I was entering the teenage world, the 1900s mashup was replaced by the tendency of demarcating oneself from the ‘tasteless mainstream society’. Suddenly, you belonged to a specific subculture and based your whole lifestyle on it. You could be a skater and listen to punk and hip hop, or be a punk rocker hating hip hop and hippies, or be a hippie and listening to Woodstock cassettes, and so on; and it took years before it was OK to listen to electronica, noise and Kanye West at the same time again.
Nowadays, the more experimental and so called deconstructed club music, chops and mashes up all sorts of genres. There are no guilty pleasures anymore. Even stars like Björk mix Rihanna with club music and acoustic recordings. Now there are record labels which have decided to step out of the established scheme of having a specific sound or direction, instead presenting cross-genre records (such as Quanta which we covered in a previous feature). But even with the post-internet pop culture blending all sorts of influences together, there still aren’t many platforms or labels which would mix together different music that appears to have pretty much nothing in common.
Art by Mark Penance
You Might Not Like This, a record label founded in 2016 and based in Manchester, aims to be as open to anything and anyone as possible. Apart from having miscellaneous musical backgrounds which enable the members to have a broad overview of various (sub)scenes, You Might Not Like This' desire to connect and present anything from rock to experimental electronica, is also linked to the current socio-political climate. One of YMNLT’s founders (musician & promoter BZL) highlights that “communities - albeit unintentionally - close themselves off to those who don't "fit in". We hope to change this through opening avenues of collaborative conversation in as many mediums as possible!”
BZL’s own musical background is in prog metal, opera singing and electro-acoustic composition, and he states that the whole YMNLT community has pretty varied tastes. “We tend to get feedback on the track selection and order from members of the community before public release. There are always different responses, which I love - especially finding out what tracks people think should be excluded! We've joked about playing a potential track to a committee, and if everyone likes it then it doesn't make the cut - but I think that in reality, this would make things really difficult.”
BZL suggests that what the label is doing is not so unusual, and each compilation is just like somebody’s music collection played on shuffle - “I'm just doing what DJs have been doing for years - bringing tracks together to create a journey for the listener.” However, to me it seems like the label is pushing this idea to the next level. The music they put out is often a weird and hybrid style that fits into no category, music which doesn’t really belong anywhere – which is now finding a home on this platform. “One day there may even be a YMNLT-rejects release – for music that is just too damn likeable,” jokes BZL. The latest compilation from August this year includes a lo-fi acoustic guitar tune by EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD DOES DRUGS, an Australian black metal song by Hziulquoigmnzhah, an experimental electro-acoustic piece by the German composer and sound artist Helge Ebinger, and my favourite song of the compilation, ‘A Cautinary Tale’ by Us, a raw hymn which sounds like something between The Soft Tigers and Team Rockit.
Until now, the record label was mostly releasing compilations, a medium which suits their intentions. You Might Not Like This has been also throwing events that showcase bands & musicians from their compilations, such as a psychedelic comedy band Camel Walk and a Scottish/Italian industrial rock duo Kabobo. And as you can imagine, the line-ups are as diverse as possible, putting prog-rock, psychedelic drone, piano music and soulful grooves next to one another. Apart from the audience enjoying a musical journey throughout the evening, BZL points out another advantage that is for the artists themselves: “A large part of it is for the artists - especially for underground acts. It's really important to have your music exposed to different kinds of audiences, as you never know who may click with it. Some other compilations have already been doing this, but when it comes to live events, there's still a tendency to put, say, four harsh noise bands together. I think this that can end up with a limited reach - preaching to the converted, as it were. Also, the YMNLT way gives every act a chance to have their full impact - e.g. noise is more effective after something totally different; chilled.”
So far, the YMNLT events have been welcoming bands and live acts, but they would also like to include DJs. ”We’ve been waiting for the right time – and are excited for NikNak to come over from Leeds to play a set at our collaborative event on October 27th, celebrating female performers & artists, body positivity, and LGBTQ+ inclusivity (more details here: Synthesis #2: Punk / Electronic / Body Positive / Lgbtq+ ). We’re collaborating with the nationwide Electronic Music Open Mic community, who are taking over one floor. The other floor will be live punk acts, such as The Baby Seals & Mutabase. All the performers & artists at the event are female-identifying, and profits will go to local charities MASH & The Horsfall, as well as to the venue itself, Partisan, to help it become fully accessible.” In the future, the platform also plans to put out more "regular" releases, and make their events more conceptual. “There will be events that break our usual format and stick with a theme. There will still be variety within this theme though – different methods of approaching maths in music, for instance. We’ve also been looking at collaboration with experimental theatre groups!”
(Video by YMNLT collaborator Mark Penance)
All of You Might Not Like This’ events have so far taken place in their base town, Manchester. “I would say Manchester has a really great balance at the moment - especially underground, there is so much going on. Perhaps even more so than London, depending what you're looking for. As for my favourites, shout-outs to Mutualism, Permahigh, Traffic MCR, WOM, DUGA3, Test Card, CITS, Other Sounds Society, Cute Owl, EMOM, Gameface, and outside of Manchester, Let's Go Swimming & Gloam Recordings - these groups are all pushing boundaries in their own ways! I also really want to spread awareness of Amps For Equality, a benefit compilation for LGBTQ+ in Chechnya organised by Javier (Wilderness Hymnal).”
Do they have any limits regarding music genres? BZL responds with the label’s motto: No Genre Left Behind. “There are definitely people who feel unsuitable - like their music has to be dissonant or complex to fit. It doesn't. There are already plenty of great labels catering specifically to complex dissonant music - the point is that a lot of those fans would despise anything "poppy", so YMNLT doesn't exclude that.” So, to the artists within our readership; feel free to send them your demos!