On August 23rd, Rough Trade Shops and Mute are releasing a double CD of indie pop classics featuring everyone from McCarthy and Felt to Talulah Gosh and The June Brides. Sean from Rough Trade Shops has been a familiar figure on the indie pop scene for the last couple of decades, so who better to compile this must-have release than him? Here's the man himself talking about the album and the music it celebrates.
I was told by my bosses at Rough Trade and Mute that I had to do it or else I'd get a kicking.
What approach did you take? What were the criterea for inclusion?
I guess compilations are just like mix tapes in that you put on songs that you love. Whether they work together is another thing but I love every track so it sounds good to me. The only track that got changed because it didn't fit was the Wedding Present which got changed to an early single 'Once More' because it sounded sharper and more vibrant that tracks from 'George Best'.
Were there any songs you wanted to include but couldn't?
Yeah loads. No one claims to own the Soup Dragons back catalouge. The Primitives catalogue is owned by bmg and they said they didn't want to licence a track for a compilation that sold under 50k. I'm sure they've got them queuing up to licence Primitives tracks. And the only band we got turned back by is Belle and Sebastian because they don't give tracks to compilation albums which I guess is fair enough.
What's the appeal of indie pop for you?
It's almost as good as Big Brother
Is this simply Eighties nostalgia or is there more to it than that?
It's not nostalgia. Indie pop is still alive and kicking today but mostly in Japan, America and Sweden. The new bands on the compilation include Love Is All, Juniper Moon and Modesty Blaise and they are all as good as any of the old stuff
Which current indie pop bands do you rate?
Whoops I think I answered that in the above answer. Everyone should go out and buy the Juniper Moon album on Elefant. It's the best album that Talulah Gosh never made. I loved it so much I learnt Spanish so I could sing along with it.
Are there sleevenotes with the comp? Who wrote them? What are they like?
Sleevenotes are as important as the music for me. I wrote lots of them and then The Legend!, Stephen Pastel and other people from the shop wrote them. Here is a taster
I had just started at Rough Trade when
Postcard were releasing what seemed like a classic 7" every
week - Aztec Camera, Go Betweens, Orange Juice and my personal
favourites, Josef K. So I knew that they had recorded their LP
but they weren't too happy with it and that it was going to
be pulled. I also knew Bob Scotland, production manager, had
already pressed up a few white labels so I persuaded him to let
me have one. It took a lot of asking but eventually he let me
have one, with a finished sleeve thrown in to make a young fan
I can remember queuing up outside Covent Garden's Rock Garden from six in the evening just to get a look-see at these mysterious, darkly attired Scotsmen with a fetish for playing their guitars as trebly and rapidly as possible. They didn't disappoint. 'Sorry For Laughing' (and also 'It's Kinda Funny') stayed with me through many lonely winters and springs as a failed student and screen printer - and without Josef K, we'd never have experienced the nascent joy of The Wedding Present. (The Legend!)
Is indie pop noise pollution?
if the Pooh Sticks say so, then of course it is
The full tracklisting for the album is