inside yala! records

Making use of the community of promoters, music producers and designers they had built through their own time in the music industry, former Maccabees man Felix White and Warner Music publicist Morad Khokar set up Yala! Records to provide a platform for new bands to get out there. We caught up with Felix to get the inside track on Yala!…

What is the label all about?

Towards the end of The Maccabees, it became apparent to us that the formative labels and nights that had helped shape bands like ours didn’t really exist anymore. We felt compelled to make an effort to begin to re-install that back into young guitar music a bit. Using our studio, where The Maccabees recorded our last two albums, we film and record live sessions with our favourite new groups, have a bi-monthly night in Bermondsey which has turned into an incredible thing, selling out immediately and irrespective of line-ups, and have released records this year from The Magic Gang, Yak and Feet.

How did you get started?

For a while, It was just an idea and a recurrent conversation. It really became a concrete thing when we The Maccabees split and there was a bit of time. Morad (Warner Music Press, one half of the label) and I had talked about doing something together for a while and, both having seen The Magic Gang a couple of times and fallen in love with them, felt like it could be a catalyst for something really exciting.

Where are you based and how does that influence what you do?

The studio and HQ is in Elephant and Castle and the night is a residence at Bermondsey Social Club, so we are predominantly based in south east London. South London has always been home, so it influences us in that we are trying to build something new within it, which has so far been a continually rewarding thing to do.

What’s been the highlight of Yala! so far?

There are already too many. Walking in to record stores and seeing The Magic Gang and Yak vinyls was as rewarding a feeling as it was seeing The Maccabees in shops for the first time. The nights are a very unique thing. Every single line-up has been special. As far as the sessions go, we’ve been proud to put together a really eclectic collection, the watermark session being Idles, one of the first we did. More than anything, being able to do it all totally independently and for the right reasons has been at the spine throughout Yala since our inception.

What are you listening to at the moment?

Photo credit: Hana Kovacs