Vallery Jean | Mark Davis, Getty Images Fat Joe is wearing his heart on his sleeve…
- Posted on Feb 18th 2010 2:15PM by Stuart Berman
Each February for the past 12 years, Norway's by:Larm festival has showcased emergent Scandinavian artists to visiting international media and industry, hosting early-career sets from future breakout acts like Lykke Li and Ida Maria.
But at today's festival opening Q&A address, it turned the spotlight over to Alan McGee, a 49-year-old Scotsman who spends his days playing "house-dad" on a pig farm in Wales, and who's more interested in signing real-estate deals than record deals.
But then, McGee has more than earned his life of leisure, having founded Creation Records -- the label that defined Britpop through the 1980s and '90s with legendary releases from the Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine and Oasis -- and, more recently, the Poptones imprint that broke the Hives worldwide.
Not that he's one to revel in the increasing nostalgia for the Creation era.
Since dissolving Poptones in 2007 -- citing the increasing irrelevance of record labels in a digital, DIY world -- McGee has retreated to his palatial farm in Wales (purchased, he jokes, to live out his teenage, Led Zeppelin-inspired, rich rock star fantasies), emerging only for weekend DJ gigs at his roving club night and speaking engagements like this by:Larm stint.
"To be honest, [the Creation legacy] is something I've come to terms with," McGee tells Spinner in an Oslo hotel lounge. "Maybe because of the Britpop thing, it's something people will always be interested in. It's a bit like Andrew [Loog Oldham] with the Rolling Stones, and Malcolm [McLaren] with the Sex Pistols -- maybe there will always be somebody who'll want to speak to me about it."
Yet, despite McGee's best efforts to distance himself from contemporary music-industry machinations, the scepter of Creation Records continues to loom large over contemporary indie-rock. And by:Larm itself, with this year's buzz bands -- like Norwegian drone-rockers Serena-Maneesh and loopy Danish popsters Oh No Ono -- operating well-within Creation's psychedelic/electronic/punk parameters.
Given that the traditional 20-year nostalgia cycle has now come around to Creation's turn-of-the-'90s golden era, McGee is resigned to the fact his past will continue to bleed into the present, what with My Bloody Valentine's recent reunion tours, an upcoming documentary on the label and this week's news that Primal Scream plan to perform their landmark 1991 dance-rock classic 'Screamadelica' in its entirety.
"It's great for the Primals, if they want to do it," McGee says. "'Screamedelica' in 2010? I hope they make a lot of money out of it. I don't care, really. I don't really listen to any of the music I put out -- the only [Creation artist] I really listen to is Oasis.
"The Valentines actually depress me, to be honest," he adds with a laugh. "The whole My Bloody Valentine thing just reminds me of people squatting. It's squat-rock. Led Zeppelin remind me of mansions; My Bloody Valentine remind me of squats."