Local Action is an award-winning independent record label releasing music from an international roster of artists.
The label was founded by Tom Lea in the Spring of 2010, as a joint venture with legendary London record store Phonica. The previous two Summers had seen UK Funky change the landscape of UK underground music, and nights like FWD>> were hubs of unbridled excitement and creativity. We were in the club every week and wanted to contribute to that story: that’s basically it.
Our first release came from T. Williams, an ex-grime producer who rolled with Jon E Cash’s infamous Black Ops crew and had reinvented himself as one of the country’s most exciting house artists. In terms of our tastes, it couldn’t be more perfect, and T was at the heart of this label’s ascendent years, releasing four of our first eight releases. As the label’s roster expanded, we become independent of Phonica and signed artists like DJ Q, Finn and Slackk, all of whom were instrumental to the label’s development. As our releases became fixtures in the club, we got to build our story live, hosting events at UK nightlife institutions like Fabric and yes, FWD>>.
We could go year by year from here on, but it feels like it defeats the point: the last decade has seen us expand what we do in every single direction. We released two albums by Dawn Richard, one of pop and r&b’s most inventive names who introduced this label to a whole new international audience. Yamaneko, E.M.M.A., Lena Raine, Eden Samara and 96 Back expanded the label’s sound — if there ever was one — to lean into ambient, bedroom pop and home listening. Finn released some of the biggest club anthems of our time and launched our Manchester-based sibling label 2 B REAL, giving us a home in the North of England and bringing in artists like Anz, Martyn Bootyspoon and Clemency. UNIIQU3, I. JORDAN, Ariel Zetina, Sharda, aya and others joined the family, dominating club music dancefloors and discourse alike.
We charted, several times. We won awards, several times. We got a studio, got an office, had release campaign billboards in Time Square and Shibuya Junction. But more importantly, we’ve built this whole family thing here that grows at its own natural pace, and by luck or design, just seems to work.
We always use the royal “we” when talking about Local Action, because although the label was founded by one person, it’s always been about conversations, collaboration and community — between us and our artists; us and our fans. And the longer we do this thing, the more we realise that family side is really what’s important to us — the rest just seems to fall into place.
This is our set-up in 2024:
Local Action, Est. 2010
2 B REAL, Est. 2017
Our first sibling label, operated and curated by Finn in Manchester.
Clasico, Est. 2023Our second sibling label, operated and curated by ELEANOR and focused on cutting edge dance music worldwide.
No Tags, Est. 2023A podcast and newsletter from Chal Ravens and Tom Lea chronicling underground music culture.
Mixtape Club, Est. 2021Our mixtape series, curated by Finn & Tom Lea. All contributors get paid.