The Leaf Label is an independent record label based in Yorkshire, United Kingdom. Initially known as an electronic music label, releasing mainly instrumental music, the company's approach has broadened over the last few years and now features an eclectic range of artists, with a focus on strong live performers.
The Leaf Label was created in late 1994 by Tony Morley, at that time, Press Officer at 4AD in London, along with friend and co-conspirator Julian Carrera, then working for music press company Stone Immaculate. The pair ran the label as a hobby until the end of 1996, during which time they released a series of eight 12" singles, of mainly electronic music. The label debuted in early 1995 with a 12" release by Boymerang, aka Graham Sutton of the influential post-rock band Bark Psychosis, and early releases also included two volumes of the 'Invisible Soundtracks' series of EPs. Following his recovery from a serious road accident in September 2005, Morley decided to leave 4AD at the end of 1996, setting up his own independent promo company No9, and parting company with Carrera around the same time. The company's first office was in Battersea in South West London, later moving to larger premises in Brixton, South London.
The label's first album release was 1997's Silence FM by The Sons Of Silence, a group which consisted of members of O Yuki Conjugate. OYC also spawned the label's second artist album release, by A Small Good Thing. The label followed these releases with key artist album releases by Faultline, Susumu Yokota, Eardrum and 310 in the late 1990s. Yokota's ambient albums, licensed from his own Skintone label in Japan, remain some of the label's most successful releases.
In 1999, Morley set up the PostEverything mail order operation with Colin Newman (from the band Wire) and web designer Dorian Moore. Morley resigned as a director of the company in 2005, and the site closed in 2008.
The label's first real success of the 2000s came with Dan Snaith's Manitoba, who released two albums under that name in 2001 (Start Breaking My Heart) and 2003 (Up In Flames). Following a lawsuit by Richard "Handsome Dick" Manitoba of The Dictators, Snaith was obliged to change his artist name, and subsequently became known as Caribou, with his third album, The Milk of Human Kindness, released under that name in 2005.
The label followed the success of Manitoba with a run of critically acclaimed debut albums by Murcof, Boom Bip & Doseone and Asa-Chang & Junray in 2002, Colleen in 2003, and A Hawk And A Hacksaw, Psapp and Efterklang in 2004. The label celebrated its tenth anniversary with a week of events in London in October 2005, along with the retrospective 2CD compilation Check The Water.
The company relocated to Horsforth in West Yorkshire in the spring of 2006. Significant releases since then have included Polar Bear, Vladislav Delay, Nancy Elizabeth, Oh No Ono and Wildbirds & Peacedrums.
The label moved office again in September 2010 to its current premises, also in Horsforth. The company now also manages a number of artists, and Morley sources music for the Velvet Ears music library, owned by music supervisor Liz Gallacher.
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