Label Profile: Independiente

Independiente’s artistic and commercial breakthrough came remarkably quickly. Riding the Britpop wave, Travis’s 1999 release
The Man Who was soon sitting in one in eight homes in the UK, opening the way for Coldplay and Snow Patrol.

Andy Macdonald, Independiente’s founder and managing director, signed the Glaswegian band in 1997. “I heard a cassette of All I Want To Do Is Rock and Funny Thing; one was a manic feedbacky song and the other a gentle ballad so I was intrigued to see what else the group could do,” he says.

Impressed by their range and maturity, Macdonald signed them, putting out the first album, Good Feeling, in September of that same year. The first record did not bring overnight commercial success, but Macdonald, who measures success by cultural impact as well as sales figures, was confident.

He was proved right. The second album broke the band, selling over five million copies. Despite being ridiculed as musical suicide by some reviewers at the time, and still disliked by many today, it would be hard to deny that Travis are an important link in musical history. The phenomenally successful Britpop era was running out of steam and Travis’s soft guitar tunes paved the way for the melodic rock of recent years.

The next artist to join the label was Paul Weller. Macdonald had released his albums on his previous label, Go! Discs. Although not as touted as Wild Wood, on Independiente Weller released the number one album Illumination.

In the early noughties, Macdonald made a further similar signing with Embrace. “I had Travis playing at T in the Park and an hour before they went on stage I nipped across to another tent to see Embrace and thought what they were capable of live was amazing.”

At the time the band were signed to Hut but their manager rang up when they were looking for a deal and Macdonald was impressed by Danny McNamara’s writing. He signed them and put out Out Of Nothing in 2004, followed by This New Day in 2006. Both albums went to number one.

But with post-Britpop music passing out of fashion, will Independiente’s profile diminish? Macdonald is confident it will not. “That music is still doing well if it’s good enough,” he says, “and we’ve never been genre-specific despite the label’s first few signings.”

A look at Independiente’s roster provides testimony to this – the guitar bands are augmented by a number of diverse acts. Macdonald signed South London UK garage collective So Solid Crew in 2001. “They were all teenagers or in their early twenties, but they didn’t really need development as there is lots and lots of talent there.” Debut album They Don’t Know included the number one single 21 Seconds.

Independiente has also released records by the late R&B diva Aaliyah, Swedish singer Stina Nordenstam, as well as British musician David Ford.

In May, Martina Topley-Bird will release her new album, The Blue God. Macdonald describes her as “a phenomenal singer with a really beautiful voice and good writing talent.”

He is also enthusiastic about African band Tinariwen. “Some music is just so beautiful that people should be exposed to it.”

This year the label is returning to guitar music, developing a rock band from Australia, Howling Bells. But as well as putting out good music, Independiente is committed to the industry and what it can do for good. 2005’s Help! A Day in the Life was the label’s contribution for the charity War Child.

In the future Macdonald wants to keep Independiente’s roster down to about seven artists. The music business may be in trouble, he says, but music is not.

“The music coming from the UK is just about to be very good. The stuff I’m hearing on a weekly basis includes a whole raft of interesting bands. Music is so ubiquitous – the whole world is turning into one big jukebox.”

Introduction: When Go! Discs was taken over in 1996, Andy Macdonald decided to found a new label.

History: Travis (above) signed in 1997 and brought the label success two years later with The Man Who. Paul Weller joined a few years later followed by Embrace, Gomez, former Tricky vocalist Martina Topley-Bird and David Ford. Recent additions include Howling Bells and Tinariwen.

What they say: “I like to find culturally interesting music and artists I get on well with,” says Andy Macdonald.

Notable acts past and present:Travis, Paul Weller, Embrace and So Solid Crew .

Top tips for 2008: Topley-Bird releases new album The Blue God on 12May.

Pub fact: The Independiente building is haunted by the ghost of a soldier.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump


Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas