27 Jul 2017
hallowed articles interview 
Hallowed Article 1-5

The hallowed articles independent record label was launched in 2013 by Mark Holt (ex-8vo) with his San Francisco-based nephew Matthew Holt who produces electronic music as 'Denley' and in the groups Broken Figures and Latent Sea. The first hallowed article, HA_01 featured Latent Sea's Serial Chiller with the b-side a remix by Oakland's BOATS. I caught up with Mark and Matt to decode the first five hallowed articles and to see what lies in store.

The hallowed articles roster, such as it is, is quite eclectic and spans a few genres. What was your approach to choosing artists to work with? Are there any other artists you would like to see on the label?

Matt: When Mark and I first decided to start a label, we were sitting eating sandwiches in front of the Cutty Sark in London and I asked him if he missed doing graphic design for musicians and if he'd ever want to start doing it again. When he said yes I just thought of how many talented artists I've met in my 11 years of making electronic music who's material never gets physically released and so we started there. I'd definitely say the broad genre of the label is electronic but we don't favor any one particular sub-genre within that. I have a personal connection to our first 5 artists, which was nice in the early days of the label, but by no means is that a pre-requisite. I love the music of Mo Kolours and provided there's no conflict of interest, I'd love to release two new songs from him.

What is the inspiration for the generic cover approach to the graphic identity? Other labels have had in-house designers (e.g. Peter Saville, Vaughan Oliver) but not many have used a themed design approach for every release.

Matt: Mark and I wanted a name that nodded at the fact that both my mom and dad's side of the family are from working-class north of England. I was raised on Kitchen Sink Realism films and my producer name, Denley, is a nod to Denley Moor, the town in "The Testing of Eric Olthwaite", the episode of Michael Palin's "Ripping Yarns" that parodies life in the north of England. I was looking through an old sheet metal cutting book that belonged to my grandfather, Mark's dad, and there was a chapter on how to make "hollowed articles". We switched "hollowed" to "hallowed" (greatly revered or respected) and the name was born. The generic cover approach speaks to this in that Mark describes it as a "boiler plate" approach. A nod to Mark's days at Factory where everything was given it's own FAC # and we hope the design appeals to the collectors and completists out there.

Mark: The "boiler plate" approach is like stamping something out - every time it's the same. That idea appealed to me a lot – the sleeve is the label, the disc is the music. All the music and musicians are treated the same. We are not trying to interpret the music by means of the sleeve. That's way too subjective. The graphic on the covers alludes to a series of sleeves sitting in racks – if you like, a library of hallowed articles – they are removed, listened to and put back. The graphic device is in fact the 'A' of the hallowed articles logo rotated. It's a flexible device which can be played with in numerous ways. It appears on the record centres and appears on our first T-shirt.

I have noticed a trend in the covers from 1 thru 5 given that the geometric arrangements are becoming progressively more minimal and wonder if the gradually receding graphics will reach an evolutionary point in HA_06 and beyond?

Matt: The shapes on the cover are meant to represent ones record collection, which we view as a living, breathing, ever-changing entity. If you have friends over and play records all night you may have a different number of records in your collection at any given time. A record collection is a collection of ones own "hallowed articles", music you've loved and return to over the years.

Mark: Yes, the sleeves have become minimal but only as a by product of this idea of music being removed to play. We may generate a different boiler plate at some point in the future but it is likely to contain similar graphic elements, and in so doing, provide the vinyl with a democratic vessel or container.

The 7-inch single was in danger of becoming extinct but is undergoing something of a revival. Why do you think that is and how key is it to HA to have a tangible physical product?

Matt: Both sides of my family love music, but my father and his brothers instilled in me how rewarding having a big music collection can be. I have great memories of my parents playing records in the living room, letting their friends hold the albums and trading stories about the artists, using the music to bring people together. My father passed away in 2002 and I think that on some level, by stressing physical product we are honoring his legacy.

Will there be any 12" singles or even a compilation LP?

Mark: Probably yes, but for the moment we are focusing on the 7" format – it's a common currency and probably the most hallowed.

Are there any plans for hallowed article 06 and beyond?

Mark: We are deciding on our next move. We are also thinking about packaging the first 5 as one. We want to continue to play our part in what is now the established revival of vinyl. As a label we are not driven by quantity of releases or by financial turnover. We put stuff out when we are ready.


hallowed articles 1 to 5 are available now direct from the label.

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