The early 80’s was a very exciting time for music in general, and especially so in Scotland. The assertive 70's philosophy of punk gave many music fans the confidence to go off and form their own bands.

The early 80’s introduced Scottish bands such as the Fire Engines, Orange Juice, Josef K, the Associates, and Altered Images. The mid 80’s then saw groups such as the Jesus & Mary Chain, Primal Scream, and Teenage Fanclub all also forming.

All these bands would never have been be heard on a larger scale if it hadn't been for the little independent record labels that grew up naturally alongside the bands.Glasgow's Postcard was one of the most popular and influential Scottish labels and had on its roster Orange Juice, Josef K and Aztec Camera , whilst Edinburgh's Fast Product had the Fire Engines.

As much as punk influenced the 80’s, the 80’s then influenced the 90’s. And that is when the Scottish label Creeping Bent was first established by Douglas MacIntyre.

Douglas MacIntyre played guitar with various 80’s bands (Article 58/Jazzateers). He was a session musician/producer for Marina Records' and worked with the Bathers, Sugartown and Cowboy Mouth. He has been involved too with the Secret Goldfish and many other bands.He first decided to establish Creeping Bent. in 1994. Very early on the label met with support from people such as John Peel, and Alan Vega of Suicide. who has also released music through Creeping Bent. The Nectarine No. 9, which is lead by Davy Henderson of the Fire Engines, has also found at home on Creeping Bent. Since then MacIntyre has also become their manager.

The much acclaimed Vic Godard , who with his band the Subway Sect, debuted live on the same bill as the Clash and the Buzzcocks, has also released music on Creeping Bent.

This year, Creeping Bent is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Pennyblackmusic talked to MacIntyre about his music influences and his label's history.

PB: Before you set up Creeping Bent you were playing with other bands like The Bathers, Sugartown or Cowboy Mouth. Is that right?

DM: I was more like a session musician. I did session stuff for a few people but it wasn’t very enjoyable. The first time I actually was in a band was a long time ago. The band was called Arctic 58. I was about 16 and we released a single that was produced by Malcolm Ross and Alan Horne from Postcard Records. We also toured with Josef K who were on Postcard. After that, the only group I was in that I thought were any good were the Jazzateers, who were universally loathed!

PB: What inspired you that much that you wanted to be involved in making music in the first place?

DM: I think, like other people, punk rock. It was such a big thing. I was still at school when punk was happening and you suddenly felt you could be in a band.

PB: It must have been a very exciting time for music and new bands.

DM: Yeah, the early 80’s were great. Postcard, which was based in Glasgow, was very exciting. And then sort of immediately after that you got the next wave of bands like the Pastels and Primal Scream who were influenced by Postcard as well.

PB: I love Primal Scream. What did you think of them at the time? They are very different now.

DM: I thought they were good because they reminded me of the Byrds and I was a big fan of Byrds. I liked the Scream's ambition. You could tell they were real fans of music.

PB: It was also the time when the Jesus and Mary Chain broke through.

DM: I thought their first single ‘Upside Down’ was amazing (released through Creation Records-Ed). The early records were really good but after Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream singer and original Jesus and Mary Chain drummer-Ed) stopped playing with them and they started using a drum machine the sound didn’t work so well in my opinion.

PB: Would you say that Postcard influenced you when you decided to set up Creeping Bent? Had you always also wanted to run a label?

DM: The label was something that I always wanted to do. I had been influenced by all those labels in 80’s. There seemed to be a lot of regional independent labels after punk. There was Postcard in Glasgow and Fast Product in Edinburgh, Zoo in Liverpool and Factory Records in Manchester. That whole period I found very creative.

PB: How did you first set up Creeping Bent?

DM: I was really fed up with music and bored with myself. I didn’t like what I was doing and was very negative about everything. With Creeping Bent it was the first time I actually started feeling positive about something.

The label started up in 1994 but we didn’t put any records out in 1994. We did this big event in a arts venue called the Tramway in Glasgow. The event was called "A Leap Into The Void BENT 001" It was like a mixture of film and live bands and stuff like that, a homage to Yves Klein.

PB: That sounds great. Was it a similar sort of thing to Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground ?

DM: Yeah, everyone was influenced by the Velvet Underground. So it was complete rip of Andy Warhol basically. (Laughs)

PB: What were your first releases on Creeping Bent?

DM: The first releases were 7” singles. In fact, the very first release was a 10” single. I think we released about 3 or 4 7”. Our 4th release was a 12” single which was kind of a remix of a Suicide song .‘Frankie Teardrop’. That was probably what put us in a map because it was a NME single of the week and suddenly from being in a position in which we were struggling to sell music we started selling a lot of records.

PB: How did you get in touch with Alan Vega from Suicide? They are a worldwide respected band and it must have been a very big success for

DM: We put out the 12” remix of Suicide and then Suicide's old manager, a guy called Marty Thau, who once managed the New York Dolls, then got in touch with us. He had a record company called Red Star. He said he loved the track and wanted to help us and wanted to represent Creeping Bent in America which was such a great step. And so that way we got in touch with Alan Vega. Alan was very supportive and very into what we were doing.

We were just lucky. I totally loved Suicide when I was young and the Fire Engines,the Pop Group and Vic Godard and the Subway Sect.

It is strange how things worked out. We have worked with Vic and Alan Vega on many occasions now. We are putting out a record by Gareth Sager from the Pop Group. Davy Henderson, the singer and guitarist from the Fire Engines, is with the Nectarine No. 9 who we put out and I also manage.

But we also release lots of young bands who are doing interesting things with guitar and all kinds of electronic stuff, for example Colditz & Transelement. So it’s very eclectic. I think if we stuck to one particular genre we might have got more attention but because we have a non-genre specific approach it’s difficult to predict what we are doing.

A few of our bands also played the Meltdown festival. It’s always created by someone different each year and one year John Peel created it. It was at the Royal Festival Hall in London and he asked a few of our bands like Nectarine No. 9, the Secret Goldfish, Adventures In The Stereo and the Leopards to play. So we had all those bands on one bill! They are all completely different styles. It was sold out.

PB: Adventures In The Stereo are another well known band. They feature Jim Beattie who used to played in Primal Scream. How did you get involved with them?

DM: Someone introduced me to Jim Beattie and Judith Boyle (Beattie's co-partner in Adventures in Stereo-Ed) and we just started working with them and did 5 singles and 2 albums. Jim Beattie is incredibly talented. It’s a shame because I think he doesn’t get enough respect and wide enough audience for how talented he is.

PB: What is actually happening with Adventures In The Stereo at the moment?

DM: They have been signed to an American label and toured America about 3 or 4 years ago. They are just working on new songs and recordings at the moment.

PB: There is connection between Creeping Bent and the German record label Marina Records. Several of the bands you have done session work for such as the Bathers, Sugartown and Cowboy Mouth have all released their music on Marina records. How did that collaboration first come together?

DM: I was doing some session work for the Bathers and they were signed to Marina records. I got to know them then and they asked me to get involved with them writing and producing. So we did an album with Sugartown which I produced and wrote the material for. I have done a few things for Marina over the years. They are a good label.

PB: Is it true that you have actually never released anything on Creeping Bent by any of the bands that you have played with?

DM: I have been involved with some of them doing things like producing. I have been involved as usual, for example, in the new Secret Goldfish album. I have been heavily involved with them over the years. Also when Vic Godard was doing some Creeping Bent gigs I played with his band. I also play guitar on the new album by Future Pilot AKA, which is released on Domino/Geographic. So yeah, I’ve done some bits and pieces.

It’s good to play with bands as a session musician. I don’t want to be paid and just really enjoy doing it. It’s good fun. If I wanted to make money out of music I would become a lawyer (Laughs).

With Creeping Bent we have been completely independent for the whole 10 years of our existence. I’m very proud of that. We are not like a huge record company. We are definitely an underground label. We are not trying to be that careerist. I suppose we should maybe be more
ambitious but we just put stuff out when we feel like it.

PB: Running an independent record company nowadays must be very tough especially with major record labels leading the market. I imagine it must be quite hard for you financially.

DM: We have always made money and always sold enough records to survive. I think if we were trying to be more successful we would have to start signing bands that we don’t like that much and compromise ourselves. To me, bands like The Nectarine No. 9 are just amazing. It has been an absolute honour and privilege to be involved with them and to put their music out on Creeping Bent. They are now signed to Beggars Banquet but it works like a co-release between Beggars Banquet and Creeping Bent.

PB: Vic Godard is another very important act How did you first meet him?

MD: I met Vic at a Secret Goldfish gig in London. He just came up and introduced himself to me which was a massive thrill. I have released some stuff by Vic since then and have put on about 4 gigs for him in Scotland and every single one was just amazing. To me he is a genius. He is the king of skewed pop. (Laughs)

PB: Another of your artists that has quite a long and respectful reputation is Monica Queen. Could you tell me more about how you first started working with her?

DM: We became aware of Monica Queen through her work with Belle and Sebastian. We did an album with her and it was just great. It sounded a bit like Emmylou Harris and a bit like an old skool country and western record.

The other good thing about Creeping Bent is that we put out an album by a band and then they can just go and record another album with other label. We don’t tie people down like most big record labels do. I think it makes more sense for a band to sign with another label if they get a good offer. We are a small label and can only put out a certain number of records out.

PB: How many people are actually involved in running Creeping Bent?

DM: It’s really just me. I have people helping me but not very many. It’s definitely a cottage industry (Laughs)

PB: When you were first starting up did you think you would be here 10 years later?

DM: No! I didn’t think that. It’s been interesting because we started as 7” label. It seemed to be more obvious way for us to get started. And then we became a CD label. We are going to start putting things out digitally as well and that will give us freedom to put out more things and people can just download it. There is so much great music out there I would like to release but, financially, we can’t afford it.

I definitely embrace digital technology as much as I liked 7” vinyl and I think it will open up lot opportunities for small labels.

PB: Perhaps, if people hear the music and like it they will be happier to invest money into buying a CD or vinyl.

DM: Yeah, that’s it. We have always placed a lot of emphasis on the artwork and if there was enough of a demand we would probably manufacture some as well.

PB: Also there are a lot of people out there who collect CDs and vinyl.

DM: It’s funny because I’ve got every single that was ever released on Postcard but at the time I was just buying them because I liked them. I know a lot of people that have everything that has ever been released on Creeping Bent which is strange because I don’t have everything that has ever been released on Creeping Bent (laughs). I understand people’s interest in collecting.

It makes us proud that people recognize that if something is released on Creeping Bent that they are going to get something quite special.

PB: If you look back on the 10 years you have been running Creeping Bent what do you feel proud of the most?

DM: I’m proud of everything really. It was really exciting to be chosen by John Peel to do the Meltdown festival. He is such a lovely man. I’m proud of being involved with The Nectarine No. 9. I think in 10 or 20 years they will be viewed as the Velvet Underground are now viewed. They are really special.

PB: What are your future plans with Creeping Bent as regards forthcoming releases?

DM: We have just put out Gareth Segar 's album. We are, as I said, going to release a lot of stuff digitally It will be interesting to see how it works.

I would much rather we just sell music directly to people that like it but the music industry is just horrible if you are an independent label. Nowadays, if we wanted our music to be played on radio, we would have to pay a plugger. If we wanted press we would have to pay for a press agent and so on. You can end up spending all this money and you don’t get played and don’t get reviews anyway, but like I said we are not ambitious. We don’t want to be in the NME. We exist as an island of groovy in a sea of shit!

It’s much harder now then it used to be back when we started. People and media are so corporate. NME is now like the advertising wing of the music industry (laughs) you know…

PB: Here in London, media and people are always chasing after next thing that can be big.

DM: I think that’s exactly it. London is always trying to think of the next big thing whereas up in Scotland there are so many different artistes/labels, with differing aesthetic values, and
they all coexist.

PB: Nectarine No. 9 will be playing a few gigs around UK in April. Have you got any other dates confirmed yet?

DM: The Nectarine No. 9, Future Pilot AKA, and Gareth Sager will be playing up in Aberdeen (Saturday May 1st at Drummonds) and Glasgow. These gigs are part of the Triptych Festival, the Glasgow show is at the Tron Theatre and the event is dubbed, "PARANOIC CRITICAL The Creeping Bent Organisation 1994-2004".

PB: Thank you very much and good luck.

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