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Communion Music is an independent music company, made up of Communion Records, Communion Presents, and Communion Publishing. It has offices in London and Brooklyn, NY. In its capacity as a label, promoter and publisher it currently works with a wide range of artists including Dan Croll, Michael Kiwanuka, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Ben Howard, James Bay, George Ezra, Bear's Den, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Daughter and Highly Suspect.
Communion was founded by musicians Kevin Jones (Bears Den), Ben Lovett (Mumford and Sons) and acclaimed producer Ian Grimble. It was born in the summer of 2006 as a monthly live music night at London's Notting Hill Arts Club. Frustrated by the overly competitive and often artist-unfriendly live music scene in London, the founders intention was to create a platform for their own and others music in an environment that was creative, collaborative and respectful. The night quickly grew into an active and supportive community of musicians and fans, and in 2016 celebrates its 10th anniversary.
Communion Records was started initially as a way to document and present the community of musicians that was building in and around the Communion Clubnight and others like it in West London. Accordingly, its first release was a compilation simply titled Communion. Released as a limited edition 12" vinyl, it featured previously unheard recordings by the likes of Mumford and Sons, J J Pistolet (Justin Young from the Vaccinnes), Johnny Flynn, Alessi's Ark and Peggy Sue. It also featured a number of emerging artists who would end up releasing music on the label later, including Elena Tonra (Daughter), Andrew Davie (Bears Den) and Matthew Hegarty (Matthew and the Atlas).
With the compilation as a launchpad the label released its first artist release (Matthew and the Atlas's To the North EP) in 2010. It went on to release debut EPs and singles by a wide range of artists including Michael Kiwanuka, Ben Howard, Gotye, Daughter, Matt Corby, Marcus Foster Nathaniel Rateliff and others. In many cases the label's founders were highly involved in the creative process, with Grimble often producing and Jones playing with the artists in the studio or live.
Via a 2-year partnership with Island Records, Communion went on to release full-length albums by Deap Vally, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Half Moon Run and Catfish and the Bottlemen, whose debut album The Balcony has gone on to sell around 400,000 copies worldwide and saw the band winning a 2016 Brit Award for Best British Breakthrough.
In 2015 Communion Records signed a new distribution deal with Universal Music's Caroline International, under which it is releasing music by its current roster, which includes Bear’s Den, Joseph J Jones, Rukhsana Merrise, Banfi, Syd Arthur, Foreign Fields, and Matthew and the Atlas.
Communion Records USEdit
In 2012 Communion launched its sister label, Communion Records US, under the stewardship of Ben Lovett. Initially distributed by Sony RED and now by Capitol Music Group, it has signed and released records by Tennis, Willy Mason and Rubblebucket, as well as been the US home for Bear’s Den, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Matthew and the Atlas.
Continuing the tradition started by the first release, Communion has gone on to release three further compilations.
- The Flowerpot Sessions (May 2011), which was the product of a week long collaboration between 23 artists. Communion took over the now closed North London pub for a week, and facilitated a week of live performances, writing sessions and recording on site. Artists included Angus and Julia Stone, Damien Rice, Mt Desolation, Lissie and Marcus Foster.
- New Faces (March 2012) Communion's third compilation, New Faces' was a cherry-picked selection of music that Communion was excited about – a look back at the previous year's best new music, and a look forward to what was coming next year. It featured artists including Michael Kiwanuka, Matt Corby, Bear’s Den, Dan Croll and Joe Banfi.
- Commun10n (March 2016) was released to mark the 10th anniversary of Communion. Released as a very limited 12" vinyl, side one features a best of Communion Records previous releases, and side two features a selection of new artists on the roster. It was released in conjunction with Record Store Day.
Communion Presents is one of London's leading independent concert promoters. Like Communion Records, it emerged from the Communion Clubnight, applying the same artist centric ethos and approach to career development. It represents a roster of around 150 artists, including James Bay, Ben Howard, George Ezra, Michael Kiwanuka, Half Moon Run, Matt Corby, Jack Garratt, Bear's Den, The Staves, Frances, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats and Chet Faker.
Communion Presents has its own 1500 capacity festival in Shepherds Bush called "Bushstock". Focused on new and emerging talent, it takes place in June across multiple venues in the Shepherds Bush area.
Communion Presents has produced a number of tours, most notably the Austin to Boston tour of March 2012, which was made into an award-winning documentary of the same name.
It also produces a bi-annual tour in the UK called "New Faces" which features four emerging artists on a rotating line up.
Communion Publishing is an independent music publisher, administered by Kobalt. Writers on the roster include Catfish and the Bottlemen, Bear's Den, Foreign Fields, Banfi, Joseph J Jones, Matt Hegarty and Richard Frennaux.
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