U.K. DJ and producer Norman Cook’s label Southern Fried Records has found a new home Down Under.
Liberator Music will distribute the label in Australia and New Zealand after striking a deal with Cook — who records under various guises, the best known being Fatboy Slim — and business partner Garry Blackburn.
In years past, the label was distributed by Sony Music (as it was known then), and more recently by Shock Entertainment Group.
A number of Southern Fried’s artists already have a strong presence in Australia. Last year Boston-born DJ and remixer Armand Van Helden delivered two consecutive chart-toppers on the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) club chart, and scored mainstream crossover success with his album “Ghettoblaster,” which generated hit singles “NYC Beat” and “I Want Your Soul”.
Another signing, U.K. electro-pop duo the Black Ghosts, recently toured on the Future Music festival, and received heavy airplay on the Triple J youth radio network. The Whip, from Manchester, were this week confirmed to play on the We Love Sounds tour in June, while Italian house duo Crookers did the DJ remix for a compilation album for the One Love festival.
The new deal does not include recordings by Fatboy Slim, which is signed to Sony BMG Music Entertainment through Skint Records.
But Cook has a range of other ventures which are on the Southern Fried books. One of these is Mighty Dub Catz, whose track “Magic Carpet Ride ’07 Version” reached No. 7 on the ARIA club chart. Another is a hush-hush project called the Brighton Port Authority, which will feature contributions by Iggy Pop, David Byrne and Martha Wainwright.
Melbourne-based Liberator is a joint venture between Nick Dunshea and Michael Gudinski, chairman of the Mushroom Group of Companies.
“Southern Fried acts have one foot in the electronic field and the other in indie rock,” Dunshea tells Billboard.biz. “That gives us a lot of great opportunities to work them through compilations, DJs and (college and mainstream) radio. Most of them are also live acts, which gives us touring opportunities.”
Liberator’s direct signings include the Futureheads, Foo Fighters’ Chris Shiflett’s project Jackson United, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Morcheeba, Krafty Kuts and Moloko. It also has a partnership with Brussels-based Play It Again Sam, and runs the music company’s Australian/New Zealand office.