Bell X1 left our label, then helped create a successful charity album: Brian Crosby
Brian Crosby is the guitarist with Bell X1, whose contract with Universal Music ended at the beginning of 2007. Crosby is also the instigator of The Cake Sale, a fundraising album for Oxfam featuring Snow Patrol, Lisa Hannigan, Damien Rice, Bell X1, Josh Ritter, Glen Hansard, Neil Hannon and others. The album has sold more than 35,000 copies to date It was a year of change and exploration. Looking back, it seems like we had a bit of a loose start, but we have ended up in a very solid place.
Bell X1’s relationship with Universal was coming to its natural conclusion for some time before we parted company. There were some mixed reactions from friends and fans, but we were relieved that the end had come, and saw this as our chance to regain control of the situation.
I suppose we had felt stymied over the past few years. Wewanted to tour and release our records outside of Ireland and UK. We saw the parting of the ways as a breath of fresh air, a time to find another label, and to release our records internationally.
The first half of the year was spent working out the fine print of our contract with Universal, while also finding and negotiating new deals with other labels. It was a frustrating start to the year as we were waiting for the international stuff to get sorted out, but also quite rewarding, as we released a live DVD in Ireland on our own label.
It was great to do the big home shows over the summer in Malahide Castle and the Marquee in Cork. We were reminded in a very positive way just why we all are doing this. Just around the same time, we signed licensing deals with American and European labels. We were back on track.
At the moment, we’re writing new material and getting ready to release Flock in the United States and Europe in February.
Getting The Cake Sale album released abroad was exactly the same as putting any record out internationally. We started off by seeking friends in other territories, like labels and radio pluggers and press people. Getting people to listen to the album and be interested in it was made easier by virtue of the idea behind it, and the artists involved. We were lucky because we found a great label, Yep Roc, in the United States.
I had no expectations about how it would do internationally. It started out as an Irish-only project with Oxfam Ireland, and it was only after it had been so well-received at home that we thought about releasing it abroad and getting Oxfam International involved.
Getting Some Surprise onto Grey’s Anatomy is just great expo- sure for The Cake Sale. The music supervisor for the show is a fan of Bell X1 and I gave her The Cake Sale CD earlier this year. I don’t have any figures yet, but I would hope that this would result in some significant single track downloads.