Student's charity record label aids endangered species

Sven Lohrey

15 January 2014 

The only record label in Europe to donate all of its proceeds to environmental charities has been set-up in Birmingham by an Aston University student. 

Oaken Palace Records was established by Sven Lohrey with the intention of raising awareness of and generating money for endangered species of animals across the world.

Each band or artist who signs up to have their music released by Sven’s label is asked to choose an animal from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s endangered list. The cover artwork of their record will then incorporate the animal in some way and all money raised from its sale will be donated to a specific charity dedicated to saving it. 

Sven, a Work and Organisational Psychology PhD, said: “I thought about starting an independent record label for a very long time. It was only when I started at Aston in 2011 that I felt I had the security to really start it up. The market is so saturated with different record labels so I wanted mine to be really special, and I hope it is. 

“All of the bands who have released music on the label have accepted a much smaller fee than is normal in the music industry, which is very generous of them. It is important they share in the ethos of Oaken Palace or I wouldn't take them on.” 

The label mainly specialises in ‘drone’ music – an offshoot of the ‘metal’ genre made famous by Brummie band, Black Sabbath. To date, it has released six albums by a host of respected bands, including Nadja and Eternal Tapestry. 

Each record is produced to be as environmentally friendly as possible, using 100% recycled sleeves, non-toxic printing colours, and carbon-zero vinyl pressings. 

“It has been a fantastic experience so far,” added Sven. “As a practising Buddhist, the concept of giving is very important, be it money or just your time and effort. Setting up Oaken Palace Records has helped me put this into practice in my day-to-day life, giving myself and others the opportunity to send financial support to many different environmental organisations. 

“At the same time, I get to work with some brilliant bands. My favourite record so far is probably by a band called Parallel Lines, who chose to support polar bears. It sounds fantastic – they recorded in a big cathedral in Canada and it is totally improvised. I like it very much.” 

Sven plans to release more music throughout 2014 and beyond. Oaken Palace Record’s first release this year is by a UK band called Plurals, who will donate their album to the bumblebee. 

For more information about Sven and his record label see its website here


For further media information, please contact Jonathan Garbett, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or [email protected]