A Year in the Country

Location: Hay Under Wythe, UK (Est: 2014)

Potted History: “For years, I’d been working in left-of-centre urban-orientated pop/counterculture, while living in city locations,” says label founder Stephen Prince. “One day I found myself drawn to the undercurrents of more rural, folk-orientated culture and the spectral parallel worlds of hauntology.”

None of this will sound at all surprising to anyone who already knows his mightily fine imprint. Add a formative interest in science fiction, as well as the paranoia of the Cold War and growing up in the countryside “quite literally alongside related infrastructure” and, well…

“Many years later I found myself living in the country again and plans   for A Year In The Country began to take shape, in part influenced by my surroundings and the hazily half-remembered memories of the events, atmospheres and culture from when I was younger.”

Mission Statement: “I’ve long been fascinated by work that creates its   own world or dreamscapes and contains a sense of exploring hidden half-known stories and interconnected pathways that have sometimes become buried in the cultural undergrowth over time,” says Prince. “A Year In The Country and its releases are a reflection of that fascination.”

Key Artists & Releases: “I tend to think of the releases and the work created for them as being part of an interconnected project and I value and appreciate the various contributors’ work equally,” says Prince rather diplomatically. “Our releases often take the form of themed compilations   based around, for example, the flashpoints of history and conflict in the landscape, the faded dreams of the space race or imaginary lost films.   They have featured new work created for the albums by, among many others, Field Lines Cartographer, Pulselovers, The Heartwood Institute, Howlround, Vic Mars, Listening Center, Grey Frequency and myself working as both   A Year In The Country and Stephen Prince.”

Future Plans: “There are still a fair few pathways to wander down, including some further flung corners and nooks and crannies of interconnected culture,” says Prince, cryptically. “Where that will take me and the label is difficult to say as often that “wandering” can arrive at and discover some unexpected and intriguing places.”

Any advice for anyone setting up a label?

“It’s worth remembering that there’s not necessarily a “proper” way to set up a label, and the flexible distribution and promotion allowed by digital technology alongside the availability of smaller scale and/or bespoke production methods means there’s a lot of freedom to do things in different ways and, hopefully, carve out your own particular niche.”

For more, visit ayearinthecountry.bandcamp.com

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