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Reveal Records owner Tom Rose, of Southwell, celebrates 15 years of owning his own record label

The owner of a record label has reflected on his journey after celebrating 15 years in the music industry.

Tom Rose, who created Reveal Records in 2005 after leaving the Minster School in Southwell, has looked back on how he launched a record label — and how the label has survived during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 47-year-old discovered his love of music as a student and, during that period, borrowed records from his girlfriend’s older siblings, listening to the likes of Prince, The Cure and The Smiths.

“I was pretty hopeless and badly behaved so I left school early in 1989, initially finding work in a clothes shop in Nottingham and then signing up for a business studies course at Newark Technical College,” he said.

“My head was always so full of music and going out to see gigs and flicking through the racks of the local records shops.

“I treated college as a continuation of school but soon learnt they don’t have to tolerate any kind of bad attitude and people go there by choice.”

He later found work in Nottingham, where he was taken on full time by Dave Brett’s Way Ahead Records.

“I loved it there,” he said. “Dave and Sean, his business partner, really trusted and encouraged me to try and make a difference in the store.

“The following year they gave me a chance to run their Derby record shop, so I moved from Southwell to Derby aged 17, but feeling confident.

“Looking back that was the moment I really knew I wanted to dedicate my working life to unearthing great music and sharing it with other people.”

From there he created his own label, which he said has progressed naturally.

“Reveal have artists who have joined us as brilliant players, writers and performers and then progressed, taking more artistic risks because they are free to do so,” he said.

“I would hope they feel encouraged to put world class music and art first, that’s the mantra at the label ­— ‘world class music, world class human beings’.

“Life is too short to work with people you wouldn’t want to have round your house for dinner.

“In 15 years of releasing albums it’s more of a slow-burn success commercially, we don’t tend to bother the charts often.

“Joan As Police Woman just released a song with Gorillaz on their top five chart album, but our artists usually get amazing critical acclaim and the records are much loved by those who come to them. Most of the artists play concert halls, arts spaces and specialist music festivals internationally.

“The chance to look backwards for a moment whilst releasing our first compilation album makes me even more determined to never release a piece of music or a song I wouldn’t want to stand by forever.”

Tom, like the rest of the country, faced a new challenge when the coronavirus forced the arts to close their doors throughout most of 2020.

“Because Reveal runs both a label and an artist management company, initially in the first part of lockdown it was very hard on the management side to understand how we might survive, coming to terms with cancelling a year’s worth of concerts and festival work, re-scheduling all that only to later have to move it all again,” he said.

“It was tiring and deflating but on the upside I was able to encourage the label artists to use their time off the road creatively and they certainly have.

“We have been able to release and schedule lots of new music quickly, created during lockdown.

“People who love music have been so supportive and donated money whenever artists have hosted online concerts.”

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