359 Music: New Welsh Label: Mr McGee
The founder of Creation Records, Alan McGee, has launched a new label in tandem with independent UK music company Cherry Red. 359 Music will be based in Wales, with McGee now looking to add artists to his roster. The Scottish exec was last year widely-tipped in industry circles to be launching a record company with major label backing – an idea he scrapped after due consideration.
In an interview with Music Week magazine last month, McGee said he was planning to launch an independent label called 1123. When asked if his former JV partner at Creation, Sony Music, would be involved, he said: “Nah, I hope not.” It is unclear if this venture has now evolved into 359. In a statement given to Music Week today, McGee revealed: “Recently I found myself reinvigorated by new music again after being five years away from music living in rural Wales, and from which there has been much talk about how I will return to music. As recently talked about in the press, my original plan was to do a deal with major label backing in Japan.
“But when it came down to it I realised that I didn’t want to come back to music through a major music label – that’s not what I want to be part of. That’s when I had a chat with Iain McNay from Cherry Red and we quite quickly put our heads together and developed between us a much better deal for 359 Music which will be a joint venture with Cherry Red. “The first ever person to ever approach me about music when I was 19 was Iain McNay from Cherry Red. That was 1980 and 33 years later Cherry Red still continues to send me publishing cheques for songs I wrote then. To me that just proves nothing but honesty and diligence. To me it makes sense and it excites me – it’s where it all started and where I will have my, more than likely, last record label.
“My vision for 359 Music is a launch pad for new talent and some ignored older talent. We intend to release on average a dozen new bands per year every year – maybe more if I find a lot of new talent I like. Hopefully some of the artists will stick around and make numerous albums with 359 but some will go on to other things and that is just nature of the musical beast. “Due to technology the world is much smaller these days and 359 Music will be run from rural Wales by phone and computer and the day to day engine room will be run by the Cherry Red team in London. So basically the day to day logistics of 359 Music will be handled by Cherry Red Records and the A&R signing policy and creative decisions will be my domain. “There is no agenda of ‘let’s be the biggest like Creation Records’ – if in 5 years’ time people who I respect and who love music can turn round to me and say 359 Music has put out some great music then that to me will be success. There really needs to be an outlet for new music artists that have been shut out by the system and I hope 359 Music will be that outlet.”
McGee effectively quit the record business when his Poptones label dissolved in 2007. At Creation, he signed seminal bands including Oasis, Teenage Fanclub, Primal Scream, The Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine. He will curate Tokyo Rocks, which is set to take place later this year in Japan, after being cancelled then reborn. My Bloody Valentine are scheduled to headline the festival.
Cherry Red Founder Iain McNay added: “Alan and I go back a long time, over 30 years in fact. Cherry Red celebrate their 35th birthday next month and we just continue to grow and grow. We released 623 albums (all on CD) last year, mostly catalogue but with an increasing number of new recordings. I only know of two other labels that have survived the late ‘70s Independent breakthrough intact in the UK; that’s Ace and Beggars. I like to think of the three of us as the ‘A,B and C’ of British Independent labels. “I have always admired Alan’s passion and belief in the music he loves. His maverick side will sit well with Cherry Red’s committed Independent stance. I have no doubt we will have a great adventure together. One thing is for certain, working with Alan McGee is never going to be boring…..”
Artists who want to be considered for 359 Music can send an mp3 to INFOAT359MUSIC@AOL.COM.