Thanks so much to Andy Freiberger for the interview! Check Little Teddy Recordings here!
++ Why did you decide to start the label? What year was that? Did you expect back then that the label was going to last this long and release so many records?
I was in a band – The Bartlebees – back then and a lot of musicians we knew were struggling to find a platform to release their creative evocations. So instead of sending out 200 demoes with no chance to get any feedback or even a deal we took that demo budget, borrowed a bit more, and started the label. That was Armin, the Barts drummer, and me back in 1991. Since I do appreciate a certain amount of independence and finding it hard to work for others I kept the ball rolling until another option would pop up. Well, it never did, so I simply kept the thing going, kept DJing and promoting bands alongside. I work as a sound engineer and graphic designer as well. So it all came together really nicely and along the way we released a 100+ records. Thumbs up and let’s hope for loads more…
++ Were there any labels or people that influenced yours?
Classic indie treats like Rough Trade, 53rd&3rd, Whaam!, Bi-Joopiter et al. The sort of labels that were built on the PunkRock and DIY ethic from the late 7Ts early 8Ts really. Well, I do prefer a label like K Records with an open minded approach towards music rather than a straight one-style label like Sarah. Running a label is a lot of work, but a lot of fun as well and I dig a diversity of sounds. So I guess I’d rather call those labels inspirational. The influences come from the artists we signed.
++ Why did you call the label Little Teddy? Were you a big fan of these children stories?
As far as I recall Armin came home with a book about the history of teddy bears he bought for his elder brothers birthday. Before handing it over we went thru it and we got stuck with the illustrations and background stories of one Mrs H. C. Craddock. It read: “Big Teddy and Little Teddy (UK 1916) were an inseparable pair who appeared in stories in the years between the two World Wars and were very popular with young readers. It was thought that Mrs Craddock based her books on the toys and teddy bears owned by her own daughter Margaret. Little Teddy has the distinction of being the only literary bear to have some of his limbs missing.” So we had that unique brand we were looking for. And I like the teddy as a symbol of childish naivety. Idealism, the source of any indie label, is naive in a way, but who wants to grow up anyway.
++ You’ve been home to many Television Personalities releases. What do you think of Dan Treacy? Have you met? Any anecdotes you can share? Favourite TVPs song?
Dan can be really sweet, but he can be a real cunt. He’s got his pros and cons and he’s got to live with them. A moody human being after all. He has a unique way to absorb artistic influences, make them his own and reassemble the bits to create something new. Similar to what David Bowie did in the 6Ts and 7Ts. Since we went on tour with the TVPs on a number of occasions I learned a thing or two about him, but his life is his own so if you wanna know about Dan ask himself. At the moment I really dig “You’ll Have To Scream Louder”, but fave songs change a lot. He wrote a sack of classics so I reckon he’ll be never ending fountain of favourites.
++ Are you fond of any of your releases in particular? Which one of your releases was the toughest to make it happen?
Just like good parents we love all our kids the same. One of the longest in the making was the Luna EP only to be beaten by the Go-Betweens Able Label reissues that I’ve been working on for a decade now. I’m still looking for a mint or near mint copy of “Lee Remick / Karen” to master from since my private copy and all other masters are rather crackly. The original master tapes have been destroyed in a fire some 30 years ago. A tough one, but I won’t give up. If you really want something to happen you need to fight for it and stay true to your school.
++ You have released many albums on their vinyl version while other labels have released the CD version. Why is that? Maybe because your love for vinyl is bigger than anything else? But isn’t this quite risky?
Why I prefer vinyl to CD? Cos CDs suck! No, honestly. It’s like the difference between intercourse and sex. It has something to do with devotion and love. You can’t copy an LP while dubbing a CD is easy. CDs are good to compile tunes, like we used to do with tapes in the past, to hand over to girls we liked. Is it risky to tell somebody you love him? Of course it is, but what is live without love. CDs will be gone anytime soon, but vinyl will stay. Even if it’s just for the collectors. As long as it feels right we’ll keep on keeping on.
++ What would you advice to someone who wants to start a label?
Think twice, do a lot of research, ask questions, ask more questions, think again, DO IT!
++ How come Armin left the label?
Cos he’s a lazy old sod!
++ Honestly, what’s the best band to come out from Munich? and Germany?
Munich has a very small rather superficial scene. It’s more about posing than about art and music. To be honest I don’t really know why I’m still here. Maybe I hope that I can finally do something about it. Most of the smart bands from Munich do not originate from this town or at least their musicians come from elsewhere. Just like the Barts. We were two austrians and a Armin is from Kiel, north of Hamburg. At the moment I work with two local outfits. Sickcity and Dudeman. Both bands feature band leaders from other parts of the world than even Europe. My fave german band in recent years is a combo from Hamburg that goes by the name of Superpunk. Carsten used to be in this fab five-piece called “Fünf Freunde”. A perfect blend of Pop, Beat, Punk and Soul. Smashing!
++ You also do a radio show, right? Care to tell me more about it?
I used to do that on a regular basis with no money involved for a private local network that would let me play my blend of tunes. Now I only do it on occasion.
++ What about Popclub? Still going strong? How come do you decide to make such a party in Munich?
Popclub is doing okay. We’ve seen better days, but that is a common problem in Munich and elsewhere. The part of town where the venue resides isn’t too hip right now, but time will tell.
++ Are there any releases already lined up? What can we expect in the future from Little Teddy?
I’m working on a number of things right now. We’ll see what I’ll be able to manage. As always a number of cool things are coming your way.
++ Munich is famous for Oktoberfest, so… which is your favourite beer Andy? And what’s the best traditional dish of your city?
I do like to support privately owned breweries so I go for Augustiner and Tegernseer Lager beers. Both are by far the best beer that money can buy round here. And they beat just about every lager I had in my life so far. The local food is all rather meaty. So nothing for seven days of the week, but I do appreciate a lovely Schweinsbraten with potato dumplings every now and then.
++ Favourite quote?
“I have no special talents, I am only passionately curious.” (Albert Einstein)
The Bartlebees – No Stories