The independent record label, ideology and longevity: Twenty years of Chemikal Underground Records in Glasgow
Percival, J. Mark
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Percival, J. M. (2018) The independent record label, ideology and longevity: Twenty years of Chemikal Underground Records in Glasgow. In: Bennett, A. & Guerra, P. (eds.) DIY cultures and underground music scenes. London: Routledge, pp. 207-218.
This chapter explores notions of independence in the record industry through a longitudinal case study of Glasgow, Scotland label Chemikal Underground. Drawing on a series of personal interviews dating back to 2000 with the founders and directors of Chemikal Underground, I explore the development of the label over 20 years and situate it in a milieu of cultural production that increasingly depends on the power of social and cultural capital to enable and transform economic capital. Chemikal Underground Records was established in late 1994 by Glasgow-based indie band The Delgados (Percival, 2011), and its first release in February 1995 was The Delgados’ ‘Monica Webster/Brand New Car’, on 7-inch vinyl. In 2018, the label is still in business in Glasgow and is still wholly owned and run by the original four founders. At the end of August 2014, Chemikal Underground had completed its curatorial role in organizing and programming the East End Social, a series of music-centred events taking place in East Glasgow before, during and after the 2014 Commonwealth Games, largely supported by a grant from Creative Scotland. This was a high-profile example of the label’s gradual transformation from a company whose traditional core activity is releasing new independent music to one that has diversified into management, community engagement and events organization.