Around the world in 80 labels: Soma Records – Glenn Gibbons

Where do you start with Soma Quality Recordings. Surely the name says it all? Founded in 1991, and therefore celebrating 20 years of busy house and techno business this year, the Glasgow-based, globally significant imprint has forgotten more about bona fide classics than most organisations can ever hope to know.

It might be early bombshells like Positive Education, or Alive. Perhaps it’s post-millennial fare like Silicone Soul’s Chic-o-laa (and H-Foundation’s devastating remix), or more recent work from the likes of The Black Dog, Percy X and Deepchord. Trying to pick a favourite from the ever-burgeoning archives of this particular Scottish gem is like attempting to point out the camp’s most prominent artist. But what else did anyone expect when Jim Moutune, Dave Clarke, Slam’s Stuart McMillan and Orde Meikle, and Glenn Gibbons decided to open up shop. Veterans to say the least, here’s the latter on how it’s all done… he’s the guy on the left in the mid-90s nostalgia shot, below.

Soma Records – UK – Glenn Gibbons

Describe your imprint’s output.

Soma is predominantly known as a techno label, probably due to the output from Slam, Funk D’Void and people like that, but we do release quite a lot of other styles of electronic music too, with house from the likes of Silicone Soul, electronica from The Black Dog… 

What would you say makes it different?  

We just follow our gut feeling about tracks and artists to sign and we live or die on those decisions. It’s folly to think about signing tracks because you’re thinking they will be huge and commercially viable propositions, as more often than not those fall flat

What is it that makes you keep looking for new talent to expose? 

We still get a buzz- after all these years!- from discovering new talent and seeing the heat build on a new artist over a period of time, until they really blow up into an established artist. 

What’s the label’s pinnacle achievement so far? 

There have been quite a few over the years; releasing Daft Punk, Slam’s Positive Education becoming a techno classic, Funk D’Void’s Diabla and Silicone Soul’s Right On entering the national charts, but actually reaching our 20th year I think is a huge achievement in itself, as many labels have folded in recent years due to the difficulties in running a record label in the current climate. 

If people were going to hear one release from your camp, what would you prefer it to be? 

My view on this changes all the time, as we always have current favourites, but if someone didn’t know the label I would say listen to CD1 on the new Soma 20 Years compilation with all of the label’s “big tunes” on there, including an exclusive never before released track from Daft Punk called Drive Unreleased 1994. If you like these then delve deeper to reveal more gems. 

All being well, skip forward five years, where would you like things to be?

Alive and kicking is a good starting point!! But, seriously, it’s all about survival these days, so to make it to a quarter century would be another milestone. I hope we will still continue to release quality, interesting electronic music from across the world. 

 

Recent stops 

UK – Fabric Records – Geoff Muncey

UK – 22 Digit Records – William Welt