Push your shoulders and hands under the surface of the water.
Who: Craig, Scotch Bonnet Records
Where: Glasgow, Scotland What: Record Label
Can you tell us a bit about how and when the label started?
We launched the label in 2005, partly from getting mucked about by a previous label and partly to just have a go at doing it ourselves. We started it as an outlet for Mungo's Hi Fi tunes and are expanding more and more to release other artists. The label has developed over the years and now is a structured business, but in essence it's a few pals releasing music and learning on the job.
How did the name come about?
The name came about because we wanted to have something that connects Scotland and Jamaica. We are predominantly a reggae label and we are based in Scotland. There is a history between Scotland and Jamaica which we are discovering more and more of all the time. A Scotch Bonnet is a chilli grown in the Caribbean that resembles an old Scottish tam hat, not only that but it's the hottest chilli in the Caribbean!
Are there any particular genres that you specialise in or is it just about music that you like?
As I said before, we specialise in reggae music, or to take our sub labels into the equation we are all about sound system music. Scotch Bonnet has a reggae focus that spans from ska up to dancehall, our sister label Scrub a dub is more for what has come after that and mainly focuses on dubstep.
With Scotch Bonnet we are very picky with what we release. We have to obviously be into it, but when we are looking for tracks, they have to have a certain quality and a human touch, something that makes them stand out. Sometimes they can be authentic in style and other times have a quality that makes the track feel modern.
Can you tell us a little bit about the city in which you are based and what influence, if any, on the label?
We are based in Glasgow, which rubs off on life and the label without a doubt. Glasgow has a vibrant club life and although it is predominantly known as a techno city it has a thriving sound system and reggae scene. The crowds in Glasgow have the best, most up for it party vibe and it is often the place to road test new tracks for the label and see how they go down. Many of the lyrics featured on our releases were written in Glasgow, sometimes on the spot in the dance. We run a weekly club called Walk n Skank which is advantageous for a label for meeting people and testing new music.
What formats do you sell?
We sell vinyl, CD, Digital and stream
These days every musician can get connected to their own social-media channels and Bandcamp, etc and promote and publish their own work. Do you think this has changed the role of the independent label or don't you think too much has changed as a result of Bandcamp, Soundcloud and co?
I think there have been major changes in how music is sold and presented. 30 years ago you could press vinyl in the tens of thousands and now it's more like one to two thousand if you're lucky. The traditional model of artist>label>distributor has come away at the seams. We are both Mungo's and Scotch Bonnet which works for us, but to be just a label I imagine is a struggle. Not only with artists selling direct via Bandcamp but also on how people interact with artists and music they like. Twitter and Facebook make the world seem smaller and people can get in touch directly. It has also made collaborations a lot easier. Even the digital download has nearly had its day. Streaming is king now and unless you are DJing there is little need to have a copy of a track on your hard drive anymore. Saying that, it's still enjoyable to press records and we all still love it and are record collectors. But it can't be denied that sometimes it's easier to find the track on YouTube if you just want to listen to it.