Egg Records is an indiepop label from Glasgow. Formed by local fanzine writer Jim Kavanagh, it initially released eight 7 inch and 12 inch singles and EPs between 1988 and 1991.

After a long hiatus, Kavanagh began releasing records again in 2003, starting with a compilation 'An Introduction to Egg Records', and then moving on, under what he has termed "the Egg Records Restoration Programme", to restore to CD some of his old vinyl releases and adding in each case various bonus "basement" tapes.

Egg Records' eight releases in the late 80's and early 90's featured mainly bands from Kavanagh's native West coast of Scotland-the Prayers, Remember Fun, the Bachelor Pad, and the Church Grims-and also one Toronto group, Change of Seasons.

He has now extended the Egg Records Restoration Programme to cover several other acts from the era and has put out retrospective albums and EPs by Scottish bands Baby Lemonade, the Submarine, the Hardy Boys and This Poison ; Australian groups the Widdershins, the Palisades and Let's Go Naked and Canadian act Tugboat. He has also released influential New Zealand the Bats' first album of original material in over a decade, 'The Bats at the National Grid'

With a second compilation, 'Souvenirs from Egg Records', now out, and compilations from other Scottish and Antipodean bands of the late 80's and 90's including the Bachelor Pad, Remember Fun, Even as We Speak, the Lighthouse Keepers, Let's Go Naked and Riot of Colour all planned for release in the next year or so, Pennyblackmusic spoke to Jim Kavanagh about his once again thriving label. He talked to us about its early years, the Egg Records' Restoration Programme and his future plans for it.

PB : Egg Records originally existed between 1988 and 1991. You were originally a fanzine writer. What made you want to start a label ? You have said in article about the Close Lobsters about today’s youth that it is “important that they have a contemporary soundtrack to their good times.” Was Egg Records simply a contemporary soundtrack to your own good times ?

JK : I hadn’t thought of Egg Records like that but, yes, it true. It was not just the bands on Egg Records. A whole host of bands were that soundtrack.

The label grew out of my fanzine, 'Simply Thrilled'. I originally got involved in a fanzine more by accident. I was seeing a lot of great new bands, primarily at Splash One, which was a club in Glasgow run by Primal Scream and their friends between approximately '85 and '87. The likes of the Loft, the June Brides, the Pastels, Primal Scream and Felt would headline and the support were acts like the Soup Dragons, the Submarines, the Shop Assistants and the Bodines. Somewhere along the line there was a private joke with some friends about doing a fanzine to reflect what we where seeing and eventually I thought why not.

'Simply Thrilled' went onto to release three flexi disks, two bands on each. This was part of the Sha La La flexi label. I use the word label loosely as it was just a group of fairly like-minded fanzines coming together and distributing flexis with the ‘zines. I originally got involved in that as one of the other guys, Matt Haynes, who went onto form Sarah Records, told me of the idea in a letter and I liked it and thought count me in. Eight flexis were released in all.

By 1987 or so flexis were so ubiquitous that the point in them had been lost. It seemed natural to try a normal record. I loved the Prayers and hence the label was born (Their single 'Sister Goodbye' was Egg Records' first release-Ed).

PB : You released eight vinyl 7 inch and 12 inch vinyl singles and EPs on Egg Records. They featured five bands in all, four of whom-the Prayers, Remember Fun, the Bachelor Pad, and the Church Grims-came from the West of Scotland and one, Change of Seasons, who appeared on the final initial Egg Records release, who came from Toronto. Where did you discover the Scottish bands ? Was it just on nights out in Glasgow ? What about Change of Seasons ?

JK : I mostly heard the bands before I went onto to meet them and, yes, had many a good night out. Bands would send me demos when I did the fanzine and some I also heard for the first time on Radio Scotland’s 'Beat Patrol', a great show of the time, that played and championed most of these groups.
I didn't just wan to release only Scottish bands. It just turned out that way. Obviously I was hearing these bands early. Several English bands agreed or recorded material so that they could be on Egg Records but for various reasons it never happened.

The guys from Change of Seasons had bought a fanzine of mine in Rough Trade in London and sent me a demo, which I loved. Cameron and Mike subsequently moved from Toronto to Glasgow for a year around 1989 and recruited a local bass player and drummer who went on to form Larmousse a few years later.

PB : Why did you stop releasing records in 1991 ?

JK : It petered out rather than suddenly stopping. There was a few minor factors. In general I had become fed up with it all. It wasn’t fun for me anymore. Records were not selling sufficiently. Tastes were predominantly changing away from what I liked, I didn’t want to take on bands that would have sold but I didn’t like. Once I had taken a break from it, I didn’t have any desire to go back.

PB : What made you start up again twelve years later in 2003 ?

JK : Remember Fun had just released a posthumous EP on the US label Matinee. Word had reached me that they had trouble tracking down master tapes and so I looked out what I had and decided to transfer some old vinyl and reel-to-reel tapes in my loft to digital format. This was mostly done for the sake of preservation and for my own listening; I no longer had a turntable and hadn’t listened to these tracks in a while. I was really pleased with the sound of the CDs when the transfers came back and enjoyed hearing it all again. I thought of offering the tapes to another label to make a compilation but wasn’t sure how much interest there would be and so I did a small run myself.

PB : During the twelve years you were away the internet started up. Is running a label now a very different proposition to what it was fifteen years ago ?

JK : Most definitely. Firstly there is the lack of obvious press/radio outlets. Back in the 80's there was the main music press-'NME', 'Melody Maker' and even 'Sounds'- and Peel. A couple of promo copies to them and you had reached a high percentage of your potential audience. Now, with the changes to the media world, it is so fragmented.

Also I feel there isn’t so much of an underground, an alternative today. I could be wrong ‘though. In the 80's, there was no appealing alternative and so we created our own. There was very much an “us and them” attitude and if a band stepped into that underground they had reached an audience.

On the positive side the internet makes selling overseas easier. There was always a big interest in Egg abroad. It was difficult, however, to reach these people via traditional means, although we achieved if via fanzines.

PB : What were you doing while you were away ? Were you still involved in music in any capacity ?

JK : Just the normal things, getting on with life, uni, job, marriage, kids. I wasn’t involved in music in any way. A bit of a boring answer I know. I should have lied and said I travelled South America or something.

PB : You have recently resurrected ‘Simply Thrilled’ which you run as an attachment to the Egg Records website. How long has that been going again, and is that an on-line only fanzine. Have you been involved in any other fanzines in the past ?

JK : 'Simply Thrilled' did four issues as a paper ‘zine from '86 – '89. I resurrected the name when deciding to do an online zine in 2004 or so. I did another fanzine 'Do It For Fun' in '89 – '90, two issues of that, one of which came with a Bachelor Pad vinyl EP. I couldn’t decide which name to give to the online ‘zine. I should have gone for 'Do It For Fun'. The ICA used that title for their 20 years from C86 exhibition/gigs last month. 'Do It For Fun' is from a Bachelor Pad single but originally taken from a DH Lawrence poem

The idea of the online ‘zine was to re-publish some of the old articles and interviews I did and to write a few new articles. I haven’t spent as much time on that as I would have liked and have never got around to resurrecting the old stuff. Those are the only ‘zines I have been involved with.

PB : Since starting up again you have put out CDs by the long broken-up Australian bands, the Widdershins, the Palisades and Let's go Naked, under the Egg Records Restoration programme. You've now got records by the other Australian groups Even as We Speak and the Lighthouse Keepers planned, and a further Let's Go Naked release, this time an album rather than a single. Were you always into Antipodean rock or is this something that you have got into latterly ?

JK : No I have loved Australian bands for a long time. Like many people I guess this stems from the Go Betweens, My favourite band of modern times. About ‘88 or so I was swapping a lot of records with 2 DJs in Australia, I was sending Egg discs and bands on the likes of Narodnik Records and 53rd and 3rd in exchange for Australian bands. I loved what I was hearing. In some respects I preferred the Australian discs from that time. In general there was less of a punk rock, lo fi, thing going on, more influences from folk, country, the Byrds (my favourite not so modern band!) which appealed to me at the time. I compiled some of my favourites in a semi official cassette compilation called 'Like Flies in the Face' that was advertised in 'Do It For Fun #2'. That fanzine also carried a lengthy piece on Australian bands and also on New Zealand’s Flying Nun label which I also love. In a lot of ways the Egg Records Restoration programme reflects my taste around this time, 1989 rather than, say 1986.

PB : As well as releases by bands who were on Egg first time around like the Prayers and the Church Grims, you have also released a whole succession of CDs by “lost” Scottish bands of the same era like the Submarines, This Poison, Baby Lemonade and the Hardy Boys. Were these all bands that you remembered from the time, and perhaps wished that you had put out releases then, maybe if you had had more finance ?

JK : Only the Hardy Boys, of that list, were ever planned for an Egg release. These were bands I remembered from the time, that I knew I could track down the band members and also they were bands I felt had been forgotten, almost written out of the history of the period. I feel that is important, preserving this. This may sound pompous, but I feel that there were these guys like Alan Lomax who went around making fields recordings of Appalachian folk ballads or guys resurrecting Cornish sea shanties or whatever and I feel this music should also be preserved. It is my folk music, music of a time and a place that deserves as much preservation as other eras and genres.

PB : Egg Records’ first release after it came back in 2003 was a compilation, ‘Egg Records : An Introduction to 1988-1991’, Your latest CD, ‘Souvenirs from Egg Records’, is also a compilation, and features amongst it 27 tracks 7 songs which appeared on the previous compilation. Why did you decide to release these again so soon ?

JK : The first CD was a short run CD that sold out quickly. The new CD was originally planned as a Japanese release only (There is an 'Egg Records Japan' – some releases have been co-released in Japan), but, however, by the time we got all this organised I had then decided to release elsewhere.

PB : You’re also working on a Remember Fun compilation at the moment. Is it true that they have reformed especially for the occasion, nearly 15 years on from when they broke up, and will be recording some new songs ?

JK : Reformed is not really the correct word. When we agreed to do the compilation the band wanted to record one or two new songs to add to that. It made sense since they didn’t have that many recordings in the first place. With the band members spread out around the UK it has, however, not been easy and thus there has been a long delay with this one. Some progress was made last Christmas and I am hoping some more will be made this Christmas. It seems that is when they will all be together again. I guess they are home visiting their families. There are plans to do a launch gig when the CD is finally released.

PB : You also released the New Zealand indiepop band the Bats’ first album in over a decade, ‘The Bats at the National Grid’’, last year. Do you have any other plans to release any other CDs by current and still surviving acts, ?

JK : The only plan is Lets Go Naked. I will do a retrospective, 'Insides' with them, and then a new album. They have reformed and the new material is sounding great. They are from Brisbane and did a LP with Sydney’s Waterfront Records and a couple of singles. This band is obscure to the UK listeners, but, however, I love what they have done and are doing. I like the way you can hear the band evolving through the retrospective.

I have had the opportunity to release new bands, but, however, I want to keep Egg Records loosely within the niche of retrospectives; bands associated with 80's and early 90's. If the band is still going/reformed I will then just judge it on merit.

PB : You have also got plans to release various other retrospectives by the Bachelor Pad, Riot Colour and the Lighthouse Keepers. Do you know yet when these will be released ?

JK : Dates are a bit up in the air. Even As We Speak are next. This CD compiles their Australian singles, which are hard to come by on vinyl. The Riot of Colour release is well advanced. They will be the first English band on Egg Records. They did some releases with Dan Tracey’s Dreamworld Records and I have licensed a Peel Session for this one, which is a first for Egg. Let’s Go Naked and the Lighthouse Keepers I hope to release at the same time. We are working on the covers for them. Maybe early spring 2007.

The Bachelor Pad is still at a stage in which we are compiling tracks. I was hoping to track down some people to help with tha, but, however, I think I we have now given up and we will plough on with the original plans.

From there I may look at some compilations. I would love to do an Australian 80's indie comp and maybe even a Scottish only one. I think that would be easier received than the label sampler. These things take time though.

PB : Thank you.

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21503 Posted By: Nick Clarke (Cambridge, UK)

Hi, I run an online record store, and have an order for an Egg Records release. I can't find a current email address for Jim. Please can you get in touch if you have one.

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