Music professional Mik Newton has two complementary roles here at Hull School of Performance Arts (HSPA). As a lecturer on Music and Music Production degree programmes and the head of our very own independent record label, Purple Worm Records, he is our go-to contact for any aspiring musician or performer.
With Purple Worm, a not-for-profit label that celebrates the best of the Hull music and champions the city’s homegrown talent, Mik promotes musicians from HSPA and beyond. He has secured global distribution for Purple Worm artists across 140 countries, in 90 online stores.
“You can buy all of our music from online stores including iTunes, Virgin Napster and Spotify,” he says.
“We’re currently working on releasing a Humber Street Sesh fundraising album in advance of the 2013 Humber Street Sesh music festival in Hull’s creative quarter.”
The Humber Street Sesh double album features 36 of the bands and artists from Hull, including EndofLevelBaddie, Street Parade, The Colour Line, Mono Life and Audio Subscene. The 2013 festival sees the introduction of The Purple Worm Stage.
The record label recently produced the Dr Skank’s Skool of Skunk album, featuring punk/ska acts including Counting Coins, The Talks, Double Down and System Paralysis.
It has also launched a new dubstep/drum’n’bass “sub-label”, Sub Cube Records, which features international DJs and producers from Ukraine, Bali, Poland and Italy.
Students on the degree programme also benefit by gaining hands-on experience at Purple Worm. Mik says:
“We teach work-related learning. This means the students are put into A&R teams to go out and source bands; then they put together and release a prototype single; after that, they release and market a compilation album; finally, they learn how to run a record label on zero budget.”
Running a record label on zero budget is exactly what Mik has been doing at Purple Worm since 2009. “We don’t have any funding,” he says. “All the profit goes straight back into the label and it gets bigger and bigger, year on year. I’m now researching the possibility of establishing it as a social enterprise.”
Mik is also working on the development of a standalone Purple Worm events company that would allow prospective sound engineers to progress and get first-hand experience of working in Hull’s live music scene.
His own professional network of contacts is diverse and ever-growing. Arriving in Hull as an engineering student in 1993, he soon picked up a residency at The Strand student union venue. Eventually switching his academic studies to a more musical path, in the early days he worked as a sound engineer for a touring Kylie tribute act, before engineering at Zenith Studios and Red Star record label, working with Hull bands, such as GST Cardinals. He then set up his own production company, Mik Newton Recording. As a result, he guesses he has worked with “most of the bands in Hull” over a 20-year period. Mik has a BA (Hons) in Music Production and a PGCE.
Mik has released his own alternative dance, hip-hop material, as Supercharge. He also DJs at venues including Fruit, Welly, Adelphi and Zest in Hull, and Sankey’s Soap and Boardwalk in Manchester. He manages music events, such as Hull’s Love Music, Hate Racism festival and Concrete Jam Skate festival.
You can listen to Purple Worm Records’ weekly radio show on West Hull Creative Radio (WHCR) 106.9FM, every Friday at 10pm.