An open letter from Scottish record labels
Chemikal Underground, Rock Action and Soma on the PIAS warehouse fire
As London faced its worst rioting in recent history, the repercussions resonated far and wide, a fire at the PIAS warehouse annihilating stock, and ultimately affecting some of Scotland’s most important independent labels. Here Chemikal Underground, Rock Action and Soma look to the future
The losses incurred by independent record labels as a result of the Sony warehouse fire last week have been well documented. It’s true that Soma, Chemikal Underground and Rock Action lost significant amounts of stock in the blaze but devoting a large part of this letter to what has been destroyed would, in our opinion, only add to the wastefulness that characterised events at Enfield in the first place. What is much more worthy of discussion is the extraordinary response of music fans, the manner in which the industry has pulled together and the overwhelming realisation that independent music is actually valued and cherished, not, as some would have us believe, the withering adjunct of a dying industry.
From a practical point of view we still have challenges to overcome in terms of re-manufacturing older titles and while this may take some time, we are committed to restoring our back catalogues to their former glory. What has proved critical for us though is the extent to which these difficulties have been mitigated by the generosity of music-lovers up and down the country. We belong, in Scotland, to a relatively small, close-knit community; labels like ours were established, and are sustained still, by the unstinting support and loyalty of our fans close to home. So even though the goodwill for Soma, Chemikal Underground and Rock Action should, in theory, come as no real surprise, when it does arrive and continues (quite literally in this case) to materialise on a daily and hourly basis, it’s a humbling experience and we are hugely grateful.
Moving forward, there are important releases still to come this year, not least Soma’s 20th Anniversary 3CD which features a previously unreleased track by Daft Punk, Remember Remember’s album The Quickening, an album from Chemikal’s new signings Loch Lomond entitled Little Me Will Start A Storm and new EPs from Mogwai and Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat. With your extraordinary support and the invaluable role played by retailers – in particular our fantastic independent record shops – we can continue to release music that delights, confuses, soothes, exhilarates and, ultimately, enhances our lives.
It’s a great job and we’re lucky to be doing it.
Soma Records, Chemikal Underground Records. and Rock Action Records