Inside Sticky Records, Iceland’s Only Pro-Bono Label - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Inside Sticky Records, Iceland’s Only Pro-Bono Label

Published June 30, 2017

Elías Þórsson
Photos by
Timothée Lambrecq

The cliché goes that record labels are run by stuffy men in suits who make decisions about the future of artists in penthouse office ivory towers, from where they look down upon the little guys. But that’s as far away as you could imagine from the setup at Iceland’s only pro bono label, Sticky Records. The label is run by Geoffrey Þór Huntington Williams, who’s also the label’s co-founder and only employee.

“We jumped on the idea mainly because Prikið had become a platform for artists,” Geoffrey explains, “and that the music we played was one of the few tightly woven brands in town. That’s why we took the step from just booking artists to also helping them produce music and finalise their stuff. To be a launching pad that allows them to take off.”

Non-profit

Sticky Records is basically run as a non-profit organisation, with the bar Prikið, which Geoff manages, being its source of funding. He explains that the label is meant as an expansion of the bar, allowing it to transcend its physical space and reach out to its customers outside opening hours.

“The growth of the Sticky brand has been incredibly organic.”

“Prikið is too small compared to how huge it is,” he says, “and this was a way for us to create more parity between the two. The growth of the Sticky brand has been incredibly organic. We haven’t spent any money on ads, because we’d rather use our money on the artists.”

The label doesn’t make any contracts with its artists, allowing them total freedom in regards to decision making. The musicians own all their music, with Sticky Records just providing support and an outlet for their craft.

Multi-genre

Most artists currently with Sticky are rappers—mostly up and coming—but recently they released an album with the well-known rockers HAM, fronted by Healthcare Minister Óttarr Proppé. Geoff explains that they want to make sure Sticky keeps incorporating more genres, and not get stuck in hip-hop.

“We will never stick any overheads on our artists, ask them to pay us anything back, or stand in their way.”

Beside HAM, the label has released two full-length albums: Emmsjé Gauti’s ‘17 Nóvember’ and Aron Can’s ‘Í Nótt’. Both have been hits, raking up plays across music platforms, with the latter in particular an overnight sensation. Geoff explains that it’s easy to have success when you do things you are passionate about—and don’t complicate things. “Our mantra is ‘no bullshit,’” he explains. “We don’t want any complexities, we just do what we feel like doing. We will never stick any overheads on our artists, ask them to pay us anything back, or stand in their way.”

The label is still young, and was born out of a passion Geoff shared with his boss Finni, the owner of Prikið. But when it comes to the label’s future, he’s tight-lipped to the max. “We never give anything up about our future plans,” he concludes. “Just that we promise this will only get bigger.”

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