"Do Your Best are the next exciting record label to emerge since Speedy Wundergound. The focus today is on their comforting lockdown compilation released April 12th last year. “Music To Stay Home To” features a generous 29 tracks in which every track stands out confidently and provides the listener with enough curiosity to investigate further into each artists personal discography and releases. Continuing to be at the centre of Withington’s weird and wonderful experimental, avantgarde music scene we have Kalum Winters, a modest person that really just wanted to see the gigs that nobody else was putting on. From starting just for that purpose in London he quickly moved to Manchester and continued with the same work, putting on a variety of gigs across the city, with bands like POSA, The Garden Centre, Chermansog, Tabu 420 and many more. However lockdown really got them out there with the creation of their country wide compilation, ‘Music To stay Home To’. We will look at their story and a deeper look at how they got to where they are today."
Listen to our conversation just here or read on below!
The Story starts after Kalum had finished his English degree and got , what he calls, a boring admin job in London, he knew he had to do something else, “To keep me alive”, he said. Then one night he went to see POSA play in a pub in North London, “They blew me away and I though, fuck it, I’ll start putting on shows just for you! So we started putting on gigs at The Windmill and then a few different places after that.”
Kalum and POSA got “Tiresome of London, we were having to commute two hours with all our gear just to go to a practise and it was so hard to find anywhere to practise to start with. It’s a bit breakneck in London, it’s where the hype machine is, it’s where the agents dominate all the bookings. But through gigs at The Windmill we met bands like Mould and The Starlight Magic Hour and then went on a UK tour with them. We then stayed in Manchester with Dan and really loved it. So on mass we decided to move to Manchester.”
Aren’t we glad they did!
Whilst in London, Kalum just put on shows and released one single from POSA’s catalogue, but wanted to take a different direction when getting to Manchester. So as well as promoting gigs for bands in Manchester he wanted to do more, but lockdown quickly got in the way. That is where the’ Music To Stay Home To’ compilation came from. Our very own Asa gave us a little review of it.
"‘To categorise the sound of this compilation would be underselling it. From the gentle and autumnal sounds mixed with spoken word by Jean Penne, to the lo-fi cacophony of joy by Algernon Cornelius, whilst not forgetting the dystopian sonic landscape permeating the airwaves by acts such as ALAN, it’s clear that “Music To Stay Home To” is here to throw all the rulebooks out the window of how a compilation should be constructed and digested.
With a DIY ethic akin to that of Flying Nun Records, Do Your Best Records are championing the sound of pure expression and integrity which is what the music industry and consumers are crying out for at the minute.'"
Kalum says, “In 2020 we all lost everything at the same time, which is quite rare. Some bands are struggling and some are doing great but everyone lost everything in March. The rug went from under us all. So I wanted to put out something for everyone, I wanted to put out something communally, so people had something to hold onto. So I messaged everyone I could think of from Manchester, London, Bristol and Leeds. I told them we are putting out this thing and we will all split the money, if you are being paid in lockdown then please give up your money for someone who isn’t.” This kind gesture did go really far, the compilation got downloaded a lot across the country! I know for myself it did kinda soundtrack my lockdown, showing me bands I knew of and had seen and then showing me new things I wish I had known for years! My favourites on it are Garden Centre’s Throwing A Pool Ball and Aldous RH’s Zodiac Thrills.
The compilation was then followed up by a continuous stream of playlists named ‘Music To Lose Your Wallet To’, “You know when you’ve lost your wallet and you’re really pissed off at this minor thing, but it’s not that important. It’s just a benign thing.” And that’s how lockdown felt. “All my mates had really started to listen to more music now they were locked up at home and people were finding some great stuff. Making these playlists was a way to make something quantifiable out of this extra time that we had. But I didn’t do it all myself, there was lots of collaboration.” Ella Skinner from feminist art collective SCUM, Theo from POSA, Horror Soundtracks from Chermansog, Sensory Deprivation from 6a6y 6 Collective and Magic Mix by Tim Blann are just some of the playlists that were put out over lockdown and can now be listened to by you on their Mixcloud page, which you can access via the images above.
“If there is one thing I am proud of, it’s that the shows don’t always resemble each other. I can put on Garden Centre and then God Speed You Peter Andre and it’s totally different. In some way it makes sense? I guess I never liked the idea of being a punk promoter or an indie promoter because it runs out.”
There is quite a long list of people that have been put on by Kalum such as Great Dad, Leatherhead, Beige Palace, Early Mornings, Organic Zip, Humint, Yossarians, 6a6y 6, Qlowski, Keg, Jean Penne, Bunny Hoova, Halfs, Pins, Yang, Aldous RH, The Lords of Destruction, Locean and so many more important names in Manchester’s experimental scene. At the centre of these gigs are two other important contributors: FUEL cafe bar, who are so willing to facilitate these gigs and more recently Wilderness Record Store and The Old Bank continue to make them possible.
“I love Great Dad, they supported Garden Centre on two shows in Leeds and Manchester. In Leeds almost nobody came and it was one of the most beautiful sets I’d ever seen. Everyone that went was a massive fan and we were all arm in arm and it was beautiful.”
So, it all started with Kalum falling in love with POSA, he subsequently became part of the band, but still says “I’m still more of a fan than a member.” He then continued with bands like Chermansog, he was once invited to play with them and was just handed a bass, which he had never played before, “We had to piece it together pretty quickly, but it works.”
The label plan to hopefully put out all their releases: Tabu 420, Chermansog/Adrian Steele and OWL on limited tape runs, but “Everything is so uncertain that nobody knows what is happening.” Good news though, you can buy the debut album from Another COuntry $$$$ right here -
There will be new stuff coming out with POSA very soon “Theo just writes stuff again and again and it always amazes me.” Do Your Best were also supposed to be curating a stage at Fair Play Festival this year with Big Joanie, ILL, Otis Mensah, Jessica Winter and Toni Njoku. There was also a stage supposed to be at Sounds From The Other City including: Nah, POSA, Humint, Nape Neck, Yosarrians and Organic Zip. But with so much uncertainty at this very moment, we just have to sit back and see what people put together. Hopefully we may see some online gigs in the not too distant future, but in the meanwhile check out everything they have already released on their bandcamp doyourbest.bandcamp.com/music or follow them on their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/doyrbest/