On paper, Heavenly is a UK independent label founded by Jeff Barrett back in 1990, but anyone who really knows Heavenly is aware of its importance, its relevance, its deep-rooted brilliance and uncompromising naughty, chummy magic that flows throughout everything they do. The Heavenly family possess a borderline-spiritual love for music, expressed with an old-school friendliness that you just don’t tend to come across as much these days. For 28 years through an ever-changing musical landscape Heavenly have developed a sort of teflon cloak borne out of the purity of their intent and uncompromising quest for quality. Their unflinching dedication to good music and their razor-sharp ability to detect artists who can trigger specific, indefinable feelings, is second to none.
While their hedonistic history is one of infinite musical anecdotes, one thing they’re not keen on is dwelling too much on the past. These days they’re currently representing nearly 30 of the most exciting and loveable bands and artists recording today, in a roster that’s never been better or more far-reaching. From Australia there’s the raucous sweatfest of King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard who put out not one but five albums in 2017, shimmering shoegaze by way of new Heavenly’s brand new signing Hatchie, and the bonkers and epic Confidence Man who have somehow managed to invent a whole new style of dance music.
From the US you’ve got the fast-paced guitar seduction of Night Beats, the sweet and tender sounds of Anna Burch. Then you’ve got the Welsh contingency: the inimitable Gwenno and Huw Hawkline and then the newly-signed artist and Cardiff’s answer to William Onyeabor, Boy Azooga.
Two other exciting new signings come in the shape of Dan Stock: a young man from Milton Keynes who’s like a love-child of Billy Bragg and Bruce Springsteen, and audiobooks: David Wrench and Goldmsiths fine art student Evangeline Ling on a quest to create a collection of stone cold, avant garde party bangers.
Other new signings include Halifax’s finest The Orielles, Dutch pop wonder Amber Arcades and mesmerising Parisian artist Halo Maud. Elsewhere on the current roster lies the Prince of Tears himself Baxter Dury, the legendary Mark Lanegan, Liverpudlian trio Stealing Sheep, Duke Garwood, The Parrots and the new and very exciting 77:78. One more artist that the label is very excited about is Mattiel: a rather extraordinary multidisciplinary visual and audio artist from the US whose ridiculously catchy and upbeat songs are brought to you by Heavenly as a way of opening up the gateway to the summer. You can thank them for that later.
All those artists have this certain Heavenly flavour that’s as crystal clear as it is completely undefinable. It’s that certain characteristic that runs through all of Heavenly’s acts: a wild streak, a loving side, a splash of eccentricity. Heavenly continue to move through the world discovering people that speak their language and possess the unexplainable qualities necessary to be part of the ever-growing family. The family isn’t exclusive to artists – it’s open to people like you. People who have wandered lost through a festival and stumbled upon Jeff and Danny DJing to a crowd of happy dancers, people who have spent long nights holed up in The Social, people who have hopped on the train on a cold February afternoon to watch bands at the Heavenly Weekend at the Hebden Bridge Trades Club, and people who, most importantly, Believe in Magic…
Words: Liv Siddall