Part 1 of a series on local record labels
Paradise Palms Records has been operating from the small, unassuming, yet typically neon-illuminated office above its namesake bar since 2016. During that time, the label has churned out a steady stream of electronica releases providing a platform for local artists, as well as three installations of their sun-soaked compilation series ‘Bonnie Tropical’. In anticipation of the fourth Bonnie Tropical release, we sat down with label manager and retired hot tub salesman Jacuzzi General to talk about the origins of Paradise Palms Records and what lies ahead.
Following on from where previous label manager Nikki Kent left off, Aaron Main (General) has continued the labels founding ethos of promoting local artists. He explains “I think with smaller cities comes a greater responsibility for labels to be able to provide a platform to whatever music they support, otherwise there’s a lot of voices in the city which might go unheard”. In only a few short years the label has finely tuned a deeply idiosyncratic sound; “lounge-y, languid and loose” as Main himself puts it. “Every label when they start out they’ve got kind of broad horizons of where they see themselves, and that is quickly honed-in after three or four releases”.
Paradise Palms Records’ unique sound derives from the labels willingness to experiment and take a chance on emerging local artists. As Main says: “a lot of labels can end up just going the same way, but if you’re able to expose different routes, that’s quite exciting.” He continues: “I think the sound starts to find itself after you’ve started to release music, certainly with the last string of six, it seems to be like a progression. And then it feels like its making sense.” The tropical melodies which Paradise Palms Records presents us with are far flung from the glacial streets of Edinburgh, they are groove-generating, and consistently danceable.
The label has already seen releases from the likes of Eyes Of Others and Maranta, who fit seamlessly into Paradise Palms Records particular brand of experimental and ethereal electronica. This unmistakable sound is a feature of the record label which Main is enthusiastic to continue in one of the label’s upcoming releases. He tells us; “we’re doing an Eyes of Others single with a Manfredas remix, which has just been confirmed, and I heard that yesterday and it sounds f*cking great, like really great”.
The label has a lot planned for the next few months, Main teases; “we’ve got a Makeness EP coming out in February, and El Ghoul EP, a lot of exciting stuff, and I’m going to release another Jacuzzi General EP as soon as possible”. Now into its 20th release, the label, which is run by a tight-knit group of people in its modest office space, manages to persistently produce high quality releases.
Main has no intention of slowing down. “Continue putting out music, that’s the aim really, to keep up the momentum” he tells us, when pressed for his outlook on the future. Since its conception in 2016, Paradise Palms Records has integrated seamlessly into Edinburgh’s music scene, “It’s certainly one of the benefits of having a label in such a small city, is that you’re gonna know the other labels and have access to everyone”. Having hosted the Talbot Rice gallery’s annual ‘After Hours’ night in recent years, the label is granted an opportunity to showcase the delectable releases it has churned out in the past year.
Paradise Palms Records has also worked closely with local community radio station EH-FM since its beginnings in 2018. Main explains: “EH-FM has been a fantastic platform, from being part of the station and seeing how it has promoted the confidence of local DJs and producers, and connecting the dots within Edinburgh”. It is this sense of community perhaps which situates Paradise Palms Records so comfortably in Edinburgh’s thriving musical scene.
The venue itself is a hub for local talent; the record store which situates itself at the end of the bar has seen some of the city’s best DJs leafing through its vinyl, alongside those just starting to get involved.The home of the label, Lothian Street’s resident dive is a catalyst itself, in bringing together musicians and artists from all over Edinburgh to exchange ideas over a pint. “[It’s] more than just a venue”, as Main describes it to us. The bar and record label, alongside resident zine shop, all shared a common aim of uniting a community and providing an easily accessible platform for the local music and arts scene.
Considering the success of their Bonnie Tropical series, and other releases by local Edinburgh artists, it is apparent that Paradise Palms Records has gone beyond these aims, and established themselves as a visceral part of the local music community. We strongly advise keeping one’s eyes peeled for their latest releases.
Image: Courtesy of Aaron Main