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Mike Coles talks about Malicious Damage and his favorite books – Page 2

Mike Coles talks about Malicious Damageā€¦

READERSVOICE.COM: What practical steps were required to get the Malicious Damage label up and running?

MIKE COLES: I just designed the sleeves, posters, adverts and t-shirts – the other guys handled the business side of it.

RV: Could a label be started from scratch the same way today and why?

MC: I don’t see why not; anything’s possible if you set your mind to it – there’s no magic involved.

You just make records and ask people to buy them.

RV: I read one report that Malicious Damage was owned equally by the members of Killing Joke and their manager Brian Taylor.

Who came up with the idea for Malicious Damage and who owns it now?

MC: Brian, myself and three others were the original members, but I think Killing Joke and Alex Paterson had some shares, too.

I’m not sure who, but somebody saw a sign about causing malicious damage on a bus stop.
RV: What would a typical day involve for you at Malicious Damage in the early 1980s?

MC: Constant squabbling, drugs, rock n’ roll and sex when you had the time.

I wasn’t being paid so I still had to work freelance in graphic design studios.

RV: What clubs did you visit to see bands, and what sort of bands did you see back in the late 1970s, early 1980s?

MC: Popular venues of the era were: The Venue, Moonlight, Clarendon, Hammersmith Palais, Camden Palace, Lyceum, Dingwalls, Acklam Hall, Music Machine, Rock Garden.

Bands I saw around the time were: Killing Joke, The Clash, Joy Division, Psychedelic Furs, Aswad, Doctor Feelgood, Stray Cats, Police, Theatre of Hate, Ski Patrol, Red Beat, Ian Dury, Elvis Costello, The Records, The Cramps, The Beat, The Specials, Penetration, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Pretenders, The Jam, Adam and the Ants.

RV: What band members did you meet and what were your impressions; for example did you get to know Ian Curtis of Joy Division when Killing Joke were supporting them?

MC: All the after-show stuff is a bit of a haze these days.

I did speak to Ian Curtis a couple of times, but nothing profound.

RV: What lessons did you learn from the previous Malicious Damage incarnation, which reportedly disappeared in 1982 after the single Chop Chop by Killing Joke?

MC: Never set a up company with your mates.

But I have no regrets whatsoever, as I met a lot of good people, many of whom I’m still in touch with – I also met my wife back in 1980 and we’re still together.

RV: What did you do to reinvent the label when you started it this year?

MC: I started off selling a few Killing Joke t-shirts, and then raised the money to do Chaos for Breakfast – a boxed set of replica early Killing Joke singles and outtakes from the first album, all in miniature sleeves with the original inserts and stickers.

Then I went on to do what I wanted to do in the beginning – release new music by new bands.

RV: What does a typical week entail for you?

MC: Last week: packing cds into sleeves, tins and boxes and sending them to SRD, my distributor…

Sorting out the orders from the MD website and packing and posting them all…

Meeting with Alex Paterson about releasing the first Transit Kings album, and designs for a new Orb album…

Meeting with Youth about the Transmission ep…

Meeting with Belka and Strelka to discuss new mixes for their debut album…

Meeting with Barry Andrews to discuss Shriekback progress, egg production, and drink too many beers…

Arranging shipping for the new Teledubgnosis v Nic release on cd and vinyl; trying to sort out a press release for the same…

Mastering Bob Meyer’s acoustic blues album at Patrick Bird’s studio and sorting out the sleeve design for it…

and I’m also working on an art project to take place in Whitstable in January/February which involves me plastering the town with posters and flyers and exhibiting some work in a gallery…

and making a few phone calls to try and find some paid work…
and trying to do some Christmas shopping.

And that is a fairly typical week in the land of Malicious Damage – apart from the Christmas shopping…

RV: How did you hook up with some of the bands currently signed to Malicious Damage, like Shriekback and Headcount?

MC: Headcount sent me a demo, which I really liked, we got Martin Radcliffe to record it in the cowshed where they rehearse, Paul Raven produced it and the rest is history.

I met Barry Andrews of Shriekback through a mutual friend who said he was recording a new album but didn’t know what to do with it – I told him what I was up to and he liked the idea.

RV: Malicious Damage’s compilation The Clock Machine Turns You On features 16 mainly British bands from all sorts of musical genres. What sorts of things do you look for in music; in general what makes a good band or song in your view?

MC: First of all I have to like it, but the main thing for me is that the passion has to be there.

It doesn’t really matter what sort of music it is – I’m a punter, not a musician, so I don’t look at things from a musical viewpoint – if it can entertain me then I’m sure it can entertain a few other people too. It’s all about passion…