The story of the Scottish post-punk scene is told in a new book which focuses on the two record labels responsible for some of the most important music to emerge from the country.
‘Hungry Beat’ – which takes its title from a song by the legendary Fire Engines – is subtitled ‘The Scottish Independent Pop Underground Movement (1977-1984)’, and focuses on that period where Fast Product and Postcard emerged in Edinburgh and Glasgow respectively, joining other culturally-significant regional imprints such as Rough Trade, Factory and Zoo in making indie music widely available.
The book, published by White Rabbit, is co-authored by Douglas MacIntyre – head of current indie label Creeping Bent as well as a musician with a plethora of acts throughout the years. Co-writer is filmmaker Grant McPhee, responsible for documentaries Teenage Superstars and Big Gold Dream, which cover some of the seminal acts of the era and beyond. The third member of the team is journalist and promoter Neil Cooper, a familiar byline on music features in newspapers and magazines throughout the years.
Author and indie music fan Ian Rankin supplies a foreword, and says of the tome: “Hungry Beat is the story of an all-too-brief era where the short-circuiting of that industry seemed viable. But hell, the times were luminous as was the music these artists made. The songs and many of the players remain, and here they tell their story and lick their wounds.”
Hungry Beat was largely built on interviews for the ‘Big Gold Dream’ film and includes contributions from Bob Last, who along with Hilary Morrison, founded Fast Product, before eventually finding worldwide success managing one of the first acts to join the label, The Human League. A parallel thread is followed where, in Glasgow, Postcard Records was established, and founder Allan Horne along with Edwyn Collins are interviewed, alongside members of Orange Juice and their labelmates Josef K and Aztec Camera, while the book also features contributions from Paul Morley, members of The Human League, Scars, The Mekons, Fire Engines, Josef K, Aztec Camera, The Go-Betweens and The Bluebells.