The answer is that before virtually anyone had even heard of them, they all brought out one-off releases on Electric Honey, the record label run by music industry management students at Glasgow’s Stow College.
Each year the students sift through dozens of wannabes then vote for their favourite act before attempting to turn them into the next big thing. Who would have guessed that X-Factor existed under a different name back in 1993?
The Class of 2008 have opted for local folk-rock champions THE STATE BROADCASTERS and, together with the previous two years’ representatives, they will be showcasing their talents as part of this month’s West End Festival in Glasgow for a special Electric Honey night.
Of course, this is the label that first gave the world Belle & Sebastian’s legendary debut album Tigermilk in 1996, one of the finest collection of songs in Scottish music history. And while we’re on the subject of basking in past glorious, back in my own heydey – as a mere Pop Cadet – I got an eye-opening look into how the Electric Honey project ran as manager of Pupkin, the band chosen in 2001.
All musicians remember the moment they get their hands on a finished copy of their debut single and proudly stick the CD on a stereo for the first time. For Pupkin, it was one of the worst days of their existence.
The first two songs on their Morning Light EP came back from the pressing plant the wrong way round, meaning the artwork on 1000 CDs was inaccurate at best, ruined at worst. Because the end of the semester was fast approaching, there was no time to get all the discs redone, so the college students spent days stickering each case with a note of the amendment. Utter chaos. Alan Rankine of The Associates was running the course back then – we hope that whoever is in charge these days is doing a better job of it.
Incidentally, the West End Festival, now in its 13th year, officially kicks off next Friday and the highlights includeTeenage Fanclub’s three-night stay at Oran Mor from June 14-16 (sold out) and a two-night run of King Creosotefrom June 24-25 at the same venue.
4 Belle And Sebastian – The State I Am In (1996)
4 Snow Patrol – Starfighter Pilot (1997)
4 Biffy Clyro – Justboy (2000)
4 Pupkin – Shell (2001)
4 How To Swim – (I Am A) Logical Man (2006)
4 Wake The President – Sorrows For Clothes (2007)
4 The State Broadcasters – Lets Make T-Shirts (2008)
b Wake The President, The State Broadcasters and How To Swim, June 19, Oran Mor, Glasgow (tickets)