TRCH Nov 19

Phlexx Records: "Music and creativity should be used to enrich the community; that's what they're there for."

25 October 19 words: Becky Timmins
photos: Fabrice Gagos

Since 2013, Trekkah Benjamin has been at the helm of Notts music label Phlexx Records. A&R Manager Maddy Chamberlain and Marketing and PR Coordinator Cate Grundy complete the Phlexx family, joining Recording Director Trekkah in 2017. Between them, they’ve got the industry nailed – but they aren’t stopping yet. We grabbed the trio for a chat ahead of our joint stage stint at the Hockley Hustle...

What began as a collective of artists releasing music and organising live events has steadily evolved into a fully-functioning, established record label. Phlexx Records are currently working with a diverse bunch of local acts including Benjamin Zięć and the Rarebreeds, Brown Lion Zoo, Do Nothing, Megatrain and Soft Girls & Boys Club. “It’s very much built on personality - if an amazing musician submitted their music to us, but they were known for not treating people nicely at gigs, we wouldn’t work with them,” Cate says. “And it’s whatever’s good,” Maddy adds. “I don’t care what the genre is — if it’s doing something different, I’m interested.”

Phlexx offers studios and recording expertise, marketing and PR, artist and events management – the list goes on. “We’ve discovered we need to do different things with different artists – it’s not a one size fits all approach,” Cate explains, with Maddy adding, “As an indie label, a lot of our bands have their first release with us, so they don’t necessarily know what they want.” Trekkah elaborates: “The DIY musician is as big as it’s ever been, so as a label we need to offer something beyond the release. That’s where our networks come in – we’ve been on the scene for years and have those influential contacts.”

The team are developing a rep for scoring big Spotify playlist places and radio plays for their artists. “It’s something we’ve worked very hard at – it requires a lot of legwork, but it’s so worth it,” Maddy tells me, “Our bands have been played on BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Radio One, and it’s always so exciting!”s says Cate. Trekkah adds, “It’s always a ‘wow’ moment; it starts off with this small seed and, with the help of the label, that seed keeps growing.” 

Phlexx have their fingers slap-bang on the pulse of our city’s music scene, and they proper rate it. “I think it’s one of the best in the UK,” Cate says, and Maddy agrees: “Everyone knows everyone, and so many local bands go to one another’s gigs.” Phlexx really care about the community they’re part of, too, with lots of their events supporting local charities. “It comes from a belief we share that music and creativity should be used to enrich the community; that's what they're there for,” Trekkah adds. 

They do harbour concerns in the light of the recent closure of The Maze, where Phlexx cut their teeth. Trekkah tells me pensively, “There are too many venues shutting and not enough opening. We need more venues where you can book it for free and put on a damn good party.” That’s not to say there aren’t venues in the city smashing it. “I love The Chameleon for that reason,” Maddy says. “They work so hard, don’t overcharge local promoters, and are doing really well.” Trekkah reckons it’s a political issue: “With rent prices and the council resisting events, it’s hard. You’re seeing iconic venues closing in Sheffield and Manchester, too. I don’t think it’s a creative thing at all.” 

Phlexx have certainly got big plans for the future. “We’d like to spread our wings into different cities,” Cate tells me, with Trekkah adding, “It’s not us saying ‘goodbye Nottingham’, but rather opening doors for our local bands. Ultimately we want to achieve as much as we can for every act we sign, whatever their goals.” And they’re also set on getting back into events which unite artists, musicians and creatives: “That’s where people can best feel part of the scene,” says Trekkah. “We love doing all the local festivals too, and we’re looking to do more,” Maddy smiles. We just know they’ve got some Phlexx-ceptional stuff up their sleeves…

Check out the LeftLion x Phlexx stage at Hockley Hustle on Sunday 27 October

Phlexx Records website

Celebrating Caterntide

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