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Raiders Of The Lost Archives Part 3: Livity Reggae

Raiders Of The Lost Archives Part 3: Livity Reggae

Raiders Of The Lost Archives Part 3: Livity Reggae

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"I told him it was a shame to see his LP go for 200 € on Ebay"


Every record has a story-and every reissue an even better one… Especially if said record was until its rebirth long-forgotten, or obscure, or highly sought after. Welcome to the “Raiders of the Lost Archives,” a series of behind-the-scenes interviews with today’s repress imprints that have been flourishing all over the roots map in the past years. In today’s installment, Lyon (France)-based record shop-turned label Livity explains how it’s sometimes hard to pay producers "twice", and the pivotal role Little Kirk played in its very existence.

Livity Reggae

When did you started the label?

Livity Reggae was created in 2005 so after three years, we wanted our company to begin in the production (& distribution) side.

What was your first release and why this tune in particular?

Little Kirk - Ghetto People BrokeIt was Little Kirk’s LP Ghetto People Broke- We chose this album because of the nice vibe we have with Little Kirk since the beginning, also as fan of all styles of Jamaican music we're most of all interested by the early digital era. Something also helped: since the LP was very rare and sought after so the risk was quite low and fully evaluated beforehand.

I was linked to Little Kirk by a friend for dubplate recordings. After 10 minutes of a nice conversation, I felt we could have a nice relationship together and I told him that the dubplates were just a side project of our company. Also, I told him about the shame it was to see Ghetto People Broke go for over 200 € on Ebay. When we talked about a reissue, he found the project interesting, so we started the label that way !

What would be your top 3 most successful tunes so far?

Beside this LP, I would say the Little Kirk Weed Them Out 12", and Sugar Minott’s Striclty Sensi.

Do you have sort of a pre-set « style » of tunes you want to put out?

Our vibe is more with rub a dub or early digital, so priority is done for those styles but it doesn't mean that we'd never repress other styles (we already done some roots...).

Do you always work from tapes?

Livity ReggaeThe most often possible but sometime tapes can no longer be used or need a long process to be cleaned and to get nice sound to make the vinyl press.

Did you ever have bad surprises?

The worst one was when we received the Weed Them Out masters... a bit like the Ghetto People Broke LP’s, they had suffered from bad conditions in the stocking... The LP took us 5 months to restore the 12 tracks (and we made a very nice job: regarding the original press our repress is better sound and more dynamic), but for Weed Them Out after 4 months on the 2 tracks (song & riddim) we never reached the quality we would like to have…

How do you pick up what tunes you want to put out next? Is it from songs you already own, or that you heard of before?

We have a few ideas for our future represses but sometimes people just come to us and ask for a repress licence with us - this happened with the last Trevor Junior 12" (Manchester Video and Joker Soldier)

Funniest or most random situation that you’ve found yourself in, from doing the label?

As we make our contracts and deals with the definition of a royalty per manufactured copy, we often have to update our payments to the copyrights owners. And most of the time they forget about that royalties part in the contract and ask why do we give money for this title as we already paid for it...

Why do you think the past years have generated so many "obscure reggae" reissue labels?

I think repress has always been part of the Jamaican music industry... The fact that many small labels repress some titles all over the world is because producers in Jamaica nowadays aren't productive enough to make it themselves. Also, internet helps to know the music faster where in the past, the hard-to-find records were not known, or only by a few. Nowadays you find nearly everything on youtube. That’s how knowledge of those songs increases. 

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