A ‘Brief’ History of Lockjaw Records : Interview with Rob Piper

Head honcho Rob Piper gives an in-depth insight into the background of independent punk and hardcore label, Lockjaw Records.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Lockjaw Records is an independent punk and hardcore label, known for being at the forefront of UK skate-punk and melodic hardcore. Whether it’s releasing records from bands like Belvedere, Drones and Fair Do’s, providing distribution for myriad other underground bands, or booking shows  that introduce UK audiences to some incredible international acts, Lockjaw Records is one of the most hard-working labels the UK punk scene has to offer.

Lockjaw Records Logo

Lockjaw Records have recently announced some major changes to their team: moving from a two-person operation to a more community-based approach, now involving Sarah and Joëlle from the Shout Louder Team alongside Cedric Degruyter of The Affect Heuristic. This international expansion is accompanied by a new logo, a fresh website and renewed hunger for sharing the music we love with the world.

To understand more about how the label reached this milestone on it’s 20+ year journey, we spoke to Rob Piper, who’s run the label since 2011. Also known for playing guitar in Darko, he’s a linchpin in the UK punk scene, who kindly took the time to share the label’s backstory with us.

N.B. This isn’t an exhaustive list of Lockjaw releases and there are plenty of other amazing bands that have been part of the label’s history.

Lockjaw’s been established as a label for a long time, although it’s undergone a lot of changes. It started in 1997, right?

It was Jim, Ben and Sam Turner, three brothers who all played in the band Tribute to Nothing from Worcester. I assume it was an outlet to release their records, as most small labels are – somebody who’s been in a band and wants to do it themselves. Tribute to Nothing were well known early 2000s as a hardworking, touring post-hardcore band.

Do you know what sort of bands they had at the time?

Lockjaw had the first ever Muse track Balloonatic included on a compilation they released right at the beginning of the label. At the time, Muse hadn’t really gotten stated yet. They asked Lockjaw if they would like to put out their first record, but the label turned it down. And, as you know, Muse got a lot bigger!

Where did you first hear about Lockjaw Records, then?

In around 2009/2010 I started Darko in Guildford with a Dan and Chris and we’d started getting shows out of town and gigging around. John from Disconnect Disconnect put us on in Croydon with Company L and Laughing In The Face Of. We got on really well with with LITFO and they later took us on a UK tour, introducing us to bands like Fair Do’s and Almeida.

LITFO were just signing with Lockjaw Records at the time, to release Lubrication of Social Anxiety. That was probably my first introduction to Lockjaw – I think I’d looked at Lockjaw Records for Darko’s first EP but I wasn’t really following that scene at the time. That was the starting point. Continue reading “A ‘Brief’ History of Lockjaw Records : Interview with Rob Piper”