“I sold my share of a label for a pint”

Steve Lamacq started his career at New Musical Express magazine before becoming a radio DJ. He has featured on BBC Radio 6 Music since 2005 and in 2013 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sony Radio Academy.

He also co-founded the Deceptive label in 1992, helping to shape the career of Britpop Elastica. Lamacq, 56, lives in south London with his wife Jen and their four-year-old daughter.

How has your education influenced your attitude towards money?

My father was the Assistant Treasurer of Essex County Council and was very good with money. I often joke that I was the only kid in school who had to negotiate their pocket money for the rate of inflation.

When I was 18 my dad sold me his Mini Metro for £ 500 and the deal was that I would pay him back £ 30 a month so I set up a standing order. Around 2006 my accountant said: “I found a standing order here for £ 30 to a J Lamacq. So I called my dad and said, ‘I’ve been paying you £ 30 a month for about 23 years! He said, “I was wondering when you would notice it. But, bless him, what he had done was put the money for me in an investment account.

What was your first paid job?

When I was 17, I refereed U13 football matches. I got paid around £ 5 to referee a match and that was enough to buy around three singles. This has always been my exchange rate: how many records can I buy?

Was there a time when you worried about money?

In 1992, the editor of the NME was about to change and I suspected that I would not like the new management of the newspaper, so I resigned in a fit of spite.

But I did it without looking at my bank account – I was overdrawn by £ 200 and had bills to pay including the mortgage on my apartment, so I had to go cap in hand to my dad. I wasn’t unemployed for long but it was a real shock to the system not to have any money at all.

You started a fanzine, A Pack of Lies, at the age of 17. Did you make any money from it?

No one ever makes money with fanzines! But it was a lot of fun. I wasn’t very good at selling my fanzine at concerts, because I was never the most social of people so I had to force myself to approach people.

I did this by driving to the concert with not enough gasoline in my car, which meant I had to go around the venue selling enough fanzines to get the money for gasoline at home. .

Was your record company deceptive, lucrative?

No, I sold my share of the label for £ 2.95, which is the price of a pint of cider in the pub where we closed the deal. But the reason the label was created was to prove that you could create a label in a different way.

As a champion of the independent underdog, how did you feel to see Britpop take over?

It was absolutely amazing. I felt for a short time that we misfits had suddenly won.

I vaguely knew Blur because we both drank at Hole In The Wall, the only safe place to drink in Colchester, away from all the trouble-seeking squads.

Watching a small local band grow into one of the biggest bands in the country was so gratifying.

About John Villalpando

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