Bristol Archive Records Blog




Street Voice: First off what gave you the idea of setting up Bristol Archive Records?


A complete desire to provide an accurate account of all the amazing people who have made up the Bristol music scene since 1976/77.


Bristol is regarded quite rightly as the home of  Massive Attack,  Portishead and Roni Size, the home of Trip Hop. These bands deserve all the amazing recognition they get on a global perspective but Massive for example come out of the Punk , Post Punk scene in Bristol and therefore I’m sure took some of their influences from this underground, dynamic scene. The label is about the following:


We aim to showcase music from the diverse Bristol Music scene and provide a historical account / document of all things Bristol that should never be forgotten. Many of the artists and releases are rare, unknown or never before released. The material has been lovingly digitally remastered from vinyl, ¼ inch tape, dat or cassette. The original vinyl releases would generally have been limited to runs of 1000 copies or less.

We would like to thank the original label owners and/or the artists for allowing us to share with you their forgotten works and provide a statement of how brilliant bands have always been from the city of Bristol and the surrounding areas.


Enjoy and never forget the talented ones from the past, they deserve to be recognised & remembered.

A friend of mine Dave Bateman died suddenly in Spain and it got me thinking about all the other fantastic people that had slipped away or would die in the coming years. This label is about putting the record straight and plotting the scene as we know it in Bristol.


Street Voice: How long have you been going as a label?


Started in 2001 but really kicked off about two years ago


Street Voice: Will you be doing other releases apart from punk / new wave bands?


I’m really excited at the moment about a reggae compilation featuring Talisman, Black Roots, Restriction if possible and a whole host of other obscure rare tracks. It would be great if I could Daddy G from Massive to write the sleeve notes as these period in Bristol history was amazing with the St Pauls Riots on the Frontline, the links back to the slave trade, the Blues parties and the development of the underground dance culture through The Wild Bunch and then Smith and Mighty to arrive at what became Trip Hop. I’m sure these massive bands Talisman and Black roots had a part to play in the development of Black music not only in the city but in the UK.


Street Voice: Are there going to be any full albums released on CD or are you just going to do compilations?


I’d love to do a Talisman album. I’m waiting for The Cortinas album to come out on June 21st and then I’ll approach The Pigs. I’ve always promised myself I’d release The Various Artists album if at all possible so there is loads to be going on with, plenty to keep me on the straight and narrow. 


Street Voice: When you release your material on CD do they come with well packaged booklets telling the story of each band etc?


Bristol The Punk Explosion comes with an eight page booklet, 4000 words by Shane Baldwin and the sleeve is being done by a great Bristol designer Sam Giles so yes is the answer you are looking for.


Street Voice: There is some criticism that labels such as Captain Oi! and Overground have released much of the early punk material you’re working with in various guises over the year. Any comment?


Mark Brennan at Captain Oi has been most supportive with licensing the Riot City material but the early material from 1977 to 1980 has never seen the light of day before in most cases. I would therefore challenge this view as The Cortinas have never agreed to release any of their material before as they didn’t want to be showcased on a PUNK label. They think that the concept of Bristol archive is fantastic and they want to be involved with helping our label and spreading our music as Mark Stewart very recently is quoted as saying …’ Bristol boys make more noise’


Street Voice: What has the feedback been like from both the press and customers?


Amazing especially in Japan. I genuinely believe that most if not all people see the label as it should be seen, as an historical account, as story, a book, a journey an experience. There can’t be another city in the world that has pulled this together and managed to get everyone working together – It’s totally unique!


Street Voice: Are there going to be any DVD’s released of live footage?


Not that we have planed at this stage


Street Voice: Any plans on writing a book on the history of the Bristol music scene?


Yes we’ve just done a deal with Tangent Books in Bristol and we will have a series of books on the scene by photographers from the scene. Our first will be John Spink and I’m hopeful of a book from Stephen Swan, brother of Dan Swan from The Cortinas so you can guess what that book will be focused on – it’s all very exciting at the moment


Street Voice: Anything you’d like to add?


Keep an open mind, give Bristol music a chance and learn about history as you enjoy it


Mike Darby

April 2010


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