Legendary student-run record label Electric Honey celebrates its 30th anniversary in June 2022, and marks the occasion with a birthday party showcase at Glasgow’s Oran Mor.
The label, which is managed by students from Glasgow Kelvin College’s HND Music Business course, was formed in 1992 at Stow College, and is famous for releasing Belle & Sebastian’s first album ‘Tigermilk’. Its roster has also included chart-topping acts in Biffy Clyro and (under their previous guise as Polar Bear) Snow Patrol.
With releases acting as ‘projects’ for the students, the label put out at least one single or album per year, so far totalling more than 40 in all, as well as forming two offshoot specialist imprints – Gdansk, releasing electronic-based artists including Mylo, and Root 8, specialising in world music typified by Mungo’s Hi Fi.
Other well-kent names from the Scottish indie scene to pass through Electric Honey’s doors included Pupkin, Odeon Beatclub, How To Swim, The State Broadcasters, and more recently, Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5, and Be Charlotte, the latter currently signed to Sony Colombia.
Many of the students who contributed to the label have also gone on to successful careers in the music industry at organisations such as DF Concerts, Performing Rights Society, The Ivor Novello Awards, Musicians Union, Resonate, and 23rd Precinct and more. And it’s the career success of the students which is the real purpose of the label.
Electric Honey student alumnus Bjorn Sandberg, once of indie act Wake The President and current UK Head of Streaming at Domino Recording Co, said of the label: “My journey from college under the guidance of estimable mentors such as Douglas Macintyre and Ken McCluskey has taken me from Glasgow to Chicago and to London in music marketing roles with Tennent’s Lager, Thrill Jockey Records, FUGA and now Domino.
“Had I not joined the Music Business course I can say with 100% certainty that my life would have taken a different path.”
The longevity of the label is particularly notable as it has survived enormous changes in the music industry. Lecturer Ken McCluskey – himself a member of chart-topping act The Bluebells – said: “We have embraced the digital era while maintaining an interest in releasing physical product, such as the Awkward Family Portraits debut album which will be released on vinyl for Christmas.
“Helping to run Electric Honey Records with the students has been a labour of love and it’s great to see how students enjoy learning how to adapt to changing markets and demands of the modern day music industry.”
And it’s the current crop of students who will present the birthday showcase which features the latest Scottish talent, including Awkward Family Portraits, Land of Rubber Men, Scunnurt, Slowmove and Jeshua.
Electric Honey’s 30th Anniversary Showcase takes place on Thursday 9th June at Glasgow’s Oran Mor, from 6.30pm. Tickets £6.