Released on June 1st, Lockdown Unplugged is a collection of 45 acoustic punk songs by some of the UK's best up-and-coming bands, with all proceeds going to support our services across the country.   

We were delighted to get some time with the team at Ripcord Records, the label behind this compilation, to ask about the collaboration, mental health and the future.

Could you give us a bit of background about Ripcord Records, why you started it and why choose tape as the main medium?

Ripcord started a few years ago with the vague idea of “doing something”. We were sick of procrastinating. We started off doing auctions with donations from bands that raised money for Rape Crisis. Then we did a few digital compilations, again for charity and then we made a mental health zine in which band members gave an account of their own struggles with mental ill health. We had a bit of a break as we decided where we wanted to go to from there, then at the end of last year we put on an all-day gig in aid of Rape Crisis again.

I actually just got into tapes a few months before starting Ripcord Records. I loved the DIY aspect of it. We don't send the files off to a company to then manufacture the tapes for us – we record the tapes ourselves and cut out the inlays and any additional pieces ourselves. So it's a real labour of love. I've always wanted to start a label, since way back in my teens so I just decided to go for it. It's a lot of work at times but it's so much fun working with bands and creating something. The label is our main focus now.

What have been the challenges and successes of producing something like Lockdown Unplugged?

It's always a huge challenge when you're dealing with a large number of bands. Bands can be a nightmare haha but I say that with love. You really need to keep on top of who you've contacted, who's replied, who's sent a track etc. Luckily I like maintaining spreadsheets haha so this wasn't too much of an issue for me but you do need to keep as organised as possible because it can easily descend into a confused mess. We ended up with 45 bands on the compilation but we contacted about 150! That's a lot of work in itself but when it started to come together, seeing how passionate the bands were about this and how much effort they put into it themselves with recording their tracks, it makes everything worth it. The bands really have outdone themselves and any success is due to them. Obviously being able to raise some money for charity is a huge plus.

Why did you decide to support mental health?

I think mental health awareness and the erosion of stigma has come a long way but there is still a long way to go and this affects people seeking the help and support that they need. I also think the help via the NHS for people affected by mental ill health needs a lot of improvement – more resources, shorter waiting times etc, which is why charities such as Support In Mind Scotland are vital. Also, I think awareness surrounding psychotic illnesses is way behind, which just illustrates the work that still needs to be done on mental health in general.

People with any mental illness can end up isolated and that's a very difficult hole to get out of so I appreciate Support In Mind finding ways for those affected to reconnect with family and friends and their wider community. Another issue is that of the need of support for carers. It can be incredibly difficult and challenging caring for someone with a mental illness and that's often overlooked. I think there is little support for carers on the NHS so this again is why charities such as Support In Mind Scotland are essential.

What has the reaction been like to the compilation from the bands and the public?

It's been amazing really. As I mentioned earlier, the support from bands has been incredible. We had band members all collaborating with their fellow bandmates via the internet so they could get a recording together. I'm blown away by that, that they'd go to such effort. I've done 4 other compilations before and this is by far the most popular, maybe because it was a cool idea but mostly (again) because of the bands being so cool and recording something new for it.

What are your hopes for the future of Ripcord?

To be honest, to just continue as we're doing now. We're always looking for ways to improve the presentation of the cassettes so it'd be cool to experiment with different packaging options. But generally, just to keep putting out tapes of bands we love and maybe do the occasional charity compilation too.

Lockdown Unplugged is available to download at this link for £5 and all proceeds go to Support in Mind. Keep up to date with all Ripcord Records new releases here.