This month we got the news of a brand new record label sprouting out of the Melbourne/Naarm suburbs, and for a real good reason! Off The List! Records is a disability-led label that work to promote accessibility and inclusivity within the music community and industry through their shows and music releases.
Ableism in language and shows is a big and important conversation to be had, and that's what Off The List! Records is here to talk about. Working within the DIY, experimental, and indie music spaces, they are leading the charge and showing us how dismantling ableism is done within the music industry and community.
To find out a bit more about their new venture and what's to come in the future, we chatted to Dave from the label who shared with us some important information and exciting news.
First of all, tell us about the people involved in Off The List Records
We're a collective of disabled artists, arts workers and able bodied allies, working together to host shows and release music in accessible formats and spotlight disabled artists and disability-led bands. There are six of us in total and we've all got some experience in the industry, either as punters, event promoters or musicians. Most of us are Melbourne based but we've also got one in London and one in Brisbane.
How did the conversation begin around accessibility and inclusivity in music that lead to the creation of the project? It came up fairly naturally in conversation between three of us, all of us being fairly passionate about music and noticing the lack of access in the industry. Having lived and seen the impact of this lack of access and inclusivity, we wanted to do something about it.
What are some of the accessibility and inclusivity practices promoters and artists should be thinking about in terms of live music? Great question, here are some things we'd encourage folks to consider:
Be considerate and respectful in your approach allowing for a safe and comfortable platform for folk to disclose any access needs.
Where possible consider booking a more accessible venue over a less accessible venue.
Provide information on accessibility for your events - no place is perfect but providing as much information as possible on logistics, stairs, entrance points, strobe lighting, etc is always helpful and encouraging for people with disabilities to attend.
Play and book shows with artists with disabilities and pay them the same.
Provide details for an “access” person that can be emailed/contacted for access related questions ahead of shows.
And away from live music, what are some other practices we should be considering? Respect is the key - treat people like people. It's about learning and understanding the value of respectful interactions between disabled and able-bodied members of your community.
What are your plans for the label and what do you hope to achieve? We've got a release in the works for Slumlawwd this year, a disability-led band from Brisbane. We plan to host a few more accessible shows and plenty more releases. Our intention is to work with artists with and without disability, as disabled artists are often ghettoised, working only within their community. At the crux we just want to be a label that's accessible, disability-friendly and community-driven. If we can help shift attitudes and behaviour towards disabled artists within the industry and get bookers, venues, artists, promoters, PR people and labels to be thinking more about accessibility and inclusivity, then we've done our job.
And finally, what can audiences expect at your launch show at The Post Office Hotel on May 14?
We're super excited for the launch. We've got Slumlawwd coming down from Brisbane for their first interstate show as well as Melbourne sweethearts Baby Shower playing. We'll also have some pay-what-you-feel zines, stickers and other merch to sell. The event access information is available on our website at www.offthelist.com.au/shows.
As mentioned, Off The List! Records have a free launch show coming up on May 14th with Slumlawwd from Brisbane and local stars Baby Shower down at The Post Office Hotel. Make sure you catch those two great bands playing for this great new record label!
Poster by Ella Clifford