After working at labels including Southern Fried and Underwater, Matt Stuart launched Gung-Ho! in 2005.
In its early years, the Gung-Ho! stable was famed for underground movers like Greg Churchill’s ‘Lesser Meaning,’ Luke Walker’s ‘Find Your Way’ and the GusGus long-player ‘Forever,’ before moving on to two albums from Burn The Negative, as well as Eddy Temple-Morris’ Losers.
Now, 2011 sees Gung-Ho! prepare for what could be their biggest hit to date with the release of The Japanese Popstars’ second album. “We’ve got a summer of live shows including Glastonbury, Bestival, Secret Garden Party, gigs at Fabric, plus 6 French festivals, 3 Italian shows and Spain, Belgium and Australia,” says label boss Matt Stuart.
The trio’s most commercial single to date - ‘Song For Lisa’ - is also slated for release this summer, and could translate the critical acclaim of the band’s first album into major mainstream recognition around their second.
In the last 12 months, Gung-Ho!’s progressive mindset has seen the roster span from stadium dance to the dark, anthemic pop of debut act The Rialto Burns, through to Losers and artists like Greg Churchill and Luke Walker. And then there are the label’s A-list collaborations with Brian Molko, The Cure’s Robert Smith, techno legend Green Velvet, The Editors’ Tom Smith and cult artist Morgan Kibbey of M83.
“Gung-Ho! is really influenced by labels like XL who would release The Prodigy one week and the White Stripes the next,” says Matt. “It’s too prescriptive to be limited to one genre.”
Matt also manages a healthy number of his signings including The Japanese Popstars and aforementioned The Rialto Burns. “It’s key in developing the label’s 360 degree approach,” he says. “Our aim is to build acts to the point where we can then sign them on to the right major, whilst still releasing music that we believe will be loved by at least a small pocket of people. World domination next, then!”
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