Fight! Who was the most important label, Creation or Factory?
Fight! Who was the most important label, Creation or Factory? amy Britton claims it was Creation...

Fight! Who was the most important label, Creation or Factory?
Fight! Who was the most important label, Creation or Factory? amy Britton claims it was Creation...

CREATION VS FACTORY: THE CASE FOR CREATION

What a racket. What a completely glorious, unrestrained, squalling, squealing, ear-shredding racket. I refer to that landmark moment of brilliance, the Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Upside Down.” A song which felt like it spent 76 weeks at the top of the indie chart. A song which showed that there weren’t any rules. A song which launched Creation records”¦

These days, Creation is so heavily associated with Oasis that it is easy to forget how many fantastic bands they had on their hands even before then. For all Alan McGee’s ambition (and eventual place at the top of the industry pile, with Creation becoming a part of Sony), most of these bands were definitive of “indie” in its real, old-fashioned, truest sense, before it became appropriated by the mainstream.

Creation’s heyday was in these glory days of indie; three years after the labels launch in 1983, the scene was summarised by the NME’s “C86” compilation, “the indiest thing that ever existed” (to quote Andrew Collins.) Creation provided many of the key bands on this compilation ”“ the innocence and charm of the Pastels was definitive, whereas Primal Scream’s contribution “Velocity Girl” proved one of the single biggest influences on bands like the Stone Roses.

But even when things did not look like they were going in Creation’s favour, it was always a wonderfully patient label, something which paid off for them time and time again. Many labels would have given up on My Bloody Valentine’s “Loveless” as they went far over the original deadline and ran up huge studio bills (Creation’s Dick Green nearly had a nervous breakdown over the record) but once it arrived, it was an exercise in innovation. Pressure was also placed on McGee to abandon his friends Primal Scream after their weak second album; but he stuck by them and their third album, “Screamadelica,” was a brilliant instant classic. You don’t get this with major record labels, who tend to have an impatience that borders on ruthlessness; a social Darwinsim of sales quotas.

But lets not trouble ourselves with thoughts of majors right now; this is about Factory vs Creation, the battle of the independents. Now, my own case for Creation is not to take anything away from Factory’s own glories; they signed some truly incredible bands ”“ obviously Joy Division are the key ones to mention, but the Duruttin Column remain the UK’s most underrated act. But, pound for pound, I believe Creation to have signed a larger rostrum of interesting acts ”“ Felt, House of Love, Super Furry Animals, the Telescopes, My Bloody Valentine, the Mary Chain”¦I could go on. And it adds to the depth and involvement that it was a label run by musicians”¦McGee first came to attention in Biff Bang Pow! And some of Joe Fosters music (go listen to “I’ll Follow You Down”) still sounds fantastically visceral.

If a stories beginning and ending are anything to go by, then the case for Creation is huge ”“ its first big release was “Upside Down”, its last Primal Screams very fine album “XTNMNTR.” Now, with these and everything in between, I think we can just about forgive and forget about Hurricane #1”¦

6 COMMENTS

  1. Nice piece! However…I don’t like to be picky but “Upside Down” was the 12th release on Creation. “73 in 83” by The Legend was the first. Not quite so glorious a start (although a fine statement on intent).

  2. btw C86 was a low point, some kids on blogs now go on about it like some great lost artefact, but after some great post punk in the early 80s (C81 now theres a tape !), this C86 anorak/shambling scene was just sh**e. just look at the bands on it and see how bad and amateurish it all was, (although I did like big flame and age of chance). Thank god Acid House came along 2 years later and blew it all away and things got innovative and interesting again.

    • A lot of the music on C86 was poor, but I’m afraid the alternative snobbery in me appreciates they way it stands for a different age, before “indie” could mean something which sold bucketloads and was used as a buzzword by bandwagon jumpers

  3. It’s a close run thing, and I cherish my vinyl from both, but the fact that Creation gave us Oasis makes Factory the winners in my book.

  4. Bit harsh on Hurricane#1, they were grafters, looked good and did good tunes, alongside that Alex Lowe is a lovely geeza.

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