Glasgow, Scotland’s Adam Piggot is the head of Touch Sensitive: a new online directory of underground and alternative music from Scotland, Spain and around the world. Piggot discovered THE BOMBER JACKET through a Spanish artist we covered. We got talking and decided it would be a good idea for Piggot to write a guest article on the website. On June 8, Touch Sensitive released its first compilation album, and we wanted to help get the word out! The compilation showcases some of the best alternative music from Scotland and Spain, and features six bands from each country. The Scottish bands are Burnt Island (Glasgow), Plastic Animals (Edinburgh), Randolph’s Leap (Glasgow), The Son(s) (Formartine, Aberdeenshire), Young Spooks (Edinburgh), and Zoey van Goey (Glasgow). The Spanish bands are Betunizer (Valencia), Chiquita y Chatarra (Gijón), Elle Belga (Gijón), Hans Laguna i Albert Balasch (Barcelona), La Muñeca de Sal (Valencia), and No Parfum (Gironella, Catalonia).
Words from Adam Piggot:
Whoa! Three days to go until our first-ever album launch. I’ve never organized a gig before. I’ve just been told that the CDs might not arrive in time…we still don’t have a bass amp…everything’s closed because of a holiday, and I’m beginning to wonder why on earth I came up with this idea in the first place.
My wife and I live in Glasgow. We’ve followed the independent music scene in Scotland for many years, and I’ve designed album covers for a number of influential Scottish bands including Arab Strap, The Delgados and Mogwai.
Back in 2005, we were given the opportunity to work for a year in Seville. One of our first priorities, once we settled in, was to find out about the music scene in Spain. Fortunately for us, the music distributor Green UFOs opened a record shop in the city not long after we arrived. It stocked a great range of alternative music, and with the help of David Cordero of the band Úrsula, who worked there at the time, we started buying records by groups such as La Buena Vida, Manta Ray, Pauline en la Playa and Nosoträsh, who we also saw live.
Despite being full of ideas about ways to establish musical links between the two countries on our return to Glasgow, Touch Sensitive had a long gestation period, however, after a couple of false starts, and it finally launched as an online directory of new music from Scotland and Spain in August 2011.
It’s very much a small-scale, personal project, run on a spare-time basis, with no budget. It’s completely independent, it doesn’t represent any of the artists or labels featured on the site, it doesn’t carry advertising, and we try to avoid anything which could be seen as marketing. It’s really just us saying “Here’s some music that we like–maybe you’ll like it too.”
We try to include a wide spread of musical styles and we don’t classify by genre. My interest in music was heavily influenced by listening to John Peel on the BBC. One of the best things about his show was the huge range of music he played, and the bizarre juxtapositions this often set up, which led me to buy records by artists I’d never previously considered listening to. In fact, that’s why we named the project Touch Sensitive. It’s the title of a single by The Fall–one of Peel’s favorite bands–whose music has always managed to capture a lot of what his programs were about.
I hope that the breadth of music we feature on the site is challenging, and I like the idea that nobody’s going to enjoy absolutely everything that we include. So we list artists whose music might best be described as pop, artists whose roots are closer to folk, artists with punk influences, rock bands, electronica, ambient music, dance music, and increasingly, experimental music. The thing that ties them all together–in my mind at least–is that all the artists involved work with a D.I.Y. ethic and produce music with real imagination.
The only rule that we have, is that artists should sing mainly in their own language, or the language of the country in which they’re based. For me, music loses a lot of its edge when it’s tailored for the mass market, and the way I see it, the use of English as an international language is just another example of that process.
Although we’ve put a lot of work into establishing the directories, we’d like to see Touch Sensitive develop into something more tangible than an online resource, and the launch of our compilation album 2×6 is our first tentative step in this process. In fact, we received such a positive response from the bands we invited to participate in the project, that we already have another two albums planned for release in the next year.
We are also very keen to expand on our international directory, and we’d love to hear from artists from non-English speaking countries who think that their music might appeal to us.
That’s all for later, though. The big thing right now is this album launch. I just hope everything comes together on time…
You can visit Touch Sensitive’s online directories of Scottish, Spanish and international artists on the website at: http://www.touchsensitive.org.uk.
The compilation album 2×6 is available as a free digital download from the Bandcamp site at: http://touchsensitive.bandcamp.com.
The tracklist is:
1. The Son(s), “Radar”
2. Betunizer, “Cedric Ceballos”
3. Plastic Animals, “Ghosts”
4. Chiquita y Chatarra, “Mami Mami”
5. Burnt Island, “Nightwatchman”
6. Elle Belga, “El Tiempo”
7. Randolph’s Leap, “Deep Blue Sea”
8. Hans Laguna i Albert Balasch, “Dissabte”
9. Young Spooks, “Himnusz”
10. La Muñeca de Sal, “Marfil 800”
11. Zoey Van Goey, “You Told the Drunks I Knew Karate”
12. No Parfum, “U”
Scottish Record Labels
• Cath Records: http://cathrecords.tumblr.com/
A very new, very small, very hip, punk/D.I.Y. label from Glasgow.
• Chaffinch Records: http://www.chaffinchrecords.com
Based in Wishaw, outside Glasgow, this label releases an eclectic mix of music from Scotland and elsewhere.
• Chemikal Underground Records: http://www.chemikal.co.uk/
Based in Glasgow, and probably Scotland’s most influential label of the last 10-15 years.
• Gerry Loves Records: http://gerrylovesrecords.com
An Edinburgh-based label which releases a wide range of independent music.
• Fence Records: http://www.fencerecords.com/
A folk-influenced label based in Anstruther on the east coast of Scotland.
• Olive Grove Records: http://www.olivegroverecords.com/
A relatively new label from Glasgow, which has put out some excellent releases in the last couple of years.
Spanish Record Labels
• B-Core Disc: http://www.bcoredisc.com/
A very well established Barcelona label with punk roots but which now features a wide range of independent music.
• Discos Buen Pony: http://discosbuenpony.blogspot.co.uk/
A Valencia-based label which specializes in experimental music.
• Discos Humeantes: http://www.discoshumeantes.com
An Oviedo label which includes some excellent bands from Asturias.
• El Rancho Casa de Discos: http://www.enelrancho.com/
Based in Seville, with a focus on post-punk and avant garde music.
• Foehn Records: http://www.foehnrecords.com/
A Barcelona label which features mainly mellow and electronic music.
• Repetidor: http://www.repetidordisc.com
Another Barcelona label which has an interesting mix of artists producing music from straightforward pop, to more quirky and unusual sounds.
Scottish Music Blogs
• Ayetunes: http://blog.ayetunes.org.uk/
Based in Paisley, near Glasgow.
• Peenko: http://peenko.blogspot.co.uk
A Glasgow-based blog run by one of the people behind Olive Grove Records.
• Song, by Toad: http://songbytoad.com
Based in Edinburgh, and probably Scotland’s most visible music blog, which also releases records on its own “Song, by Toad” label.
Spanish Music Blogs
• Afeite al Perro: http://www.afeitealperro.blogspot.co.uk/
Based in Madrid, and run by the illustrator Haz, who also releases records as Atomizador.
• Aplasta tus Gafas de Pasta: http://aplastatusgafasdepasta.blogspot.co.uk/
Based (I think) in Barcelona. A really great source of underground music.
• Detakon: http://colectivodetakon.wordpress.com/
The blog of the Barcelona-based Detakon Collective which is made up of experimental bands including The Murders in the Rue Morgue and Isards.