Titled after the - now defunct - Camden Venue, 'The Flowerpot Sessions' captures the experimental efforts of a group of musicians brought together by Communion Records for a week during July 2010, to write and produce a musical melting pot of collaborations and covers within the two-story Camden pub. The result? 70 hours of golden recordings that have been edited down to create a 23-track compilation disc, along with some firm friendships, good memories and a strong message to the music industry.
Communion Records is the brainchild of former Cherbourg bassist Kevin Jones and Ben Lovett of Mumford and Sons fame. The outfit that began as a club night has grown to become like a warm hug within the music industry, noted throughout the UK and beyond in promoting and discovering alternative and talented musicians.
'The Flowerpot Sessions' is a mixed bag of varying tone and content that captures the ethos of Communion as a whole: from Lissie’s tranquil lulls on Mt. Desolation’s 'Dividing Line', to the upbeat joviality of 'How The Dinosaurs Talk' by Beans on Toast, the album demonstrates both a sense of intimacy and rawness whilst also maintaining the light-hearted ambience and spontaneity of the sessions themselves.
“What genuinely surprised a lot of musicians is how well they could collaborate,” explains Kev, “a lot of the barriers in people’s heads are very easy to break down; I think it was a very inspiring thing to see everybody by the end of the night, with their arms around each other, having just completed a gig with people they’d never even met that morning. I think that is a perfect representation of what we are trying to achieve.”
The album also includes a cover of Grease’s 'You’re The One That I' want by Damien Rice and Angus and Julia Stone and features the work of Mathew and the Atlas, Marcus Foster, Kyla La Grange and Ryan O’Reilly Band, who all unite to perform a beautifully emotive and somewhat haunting rendition of The Atlas’ 'Beneath The Sea'.
“It is really just a snap shot of a family of musicians that are more like-minded than like-sounding,” explains Ben. “Nothing has been dolled up; no music dubs. The first compilation was an introduction to the family that communion is, whereas the second was a bit more of a challenge. The purpose of it was to encourage artists to work together; it’s not about artists individually representing themselves but more what happens when they collide.”
This album is set to stand as a landmark within music, representing a group of artists likely to become household names within the next few years. Metaphorically, we can suggest that the ‘flowerpot’ title is indicative of more than just a venue name.
“It represents where communion was at, at that point in the summer last year,” explains Ben, “although it might seem like a collection of relatively unknown artists, looking ten years down the line, there is a good chance that the majority of these artists will go on to mainstream success and because we’ve got the honour of working with them so early on, it is great to get on board and support them at this early stage, as opposed to waiting until the public are told to listen to them by mass media.”
This is an idea that Communion are quite vehement about – a determination to fight against the commercial music stream and encourage fans to go fourth and find for themselves; crusaders for the lost art of independence within the music industry.
“Independence? I don’t think it’s something that is dying, I think it is something that died many decades ago,” says Ben, “and what successful or our favourite bands have done is stand fast through all of that. There are a lot of people out there trying and often they just need a bit of help. We have managed to get ourselves in a situation where we can help; we don’t really have any aim in terms of our profiteering out of it. We just want to see good music get out on stage or in record stores because somebody has to do that.
“It is a love of gifted song writers, which sounds stupid because that should be what it is all about but people often get distracted. Whatever floats our beautiful proverbial boat.”
The Flowerpot Sessions sets sail on June 4, coinciding with Communion’s first Bushstock festival in West London.