I’m sitting in my North London studio putting together this compilation and – as I am doing it – I realise how very proud I am of what Glasgow Underground has achieved this year. More tastemakers than ever before have featured our music in their sets (so much so that Glasgow Underground made this years list of Most Charted Labels on Resident Advisor), we have seen loads of our records championed by the likes of Pete Tong, Annie Mac, B Traits and Danny Howard on BBC Radio 1 and that in turn has given huge exposure to the likes of Illyus & Barrientos, Grum, Daniel Trim, Stefano Ritteri and – of course – our continued reworks of Romanthony’s back catalogue.
Our partnership with Toolroom Records that started with last years “best of” compilation for 2014 has – including this – released 5 albums this year; “97/07” the hugely supported retrospective that showcased my favourite releases from 1997-2007 and albums that celebrated the key events in the dance music calendar – Miami, Ibiza and Amsterdam.
As well as all the kind words from DJs, seeing the albums do well in the digital stores has been fantastic. The week the retrospective album came out I logged on to the UK iTunes store and saw a banner for the album next to Armand Van Helden’s “Masterpiece” and Ministry of Sound’s latest über-compilation and on Beatport the “Glasgow Underground Ibiza 2015” album was a particular success with several of the individual tracks hitting the charts and the album itself hitting the Tech House Top 10.
When I re-started the label back in 2011, I was in the middle of dismantling of the Breastfed label I set up to sign Mylo. The complications I faced trying to exit from that (with anything to show for it) meant I was almost done with the music business but, damn it, I had fallen in love with house music again and through my time spent on Soundcloud & the blogs I had begun to find artists I wanted to share with the world. I was unsure of what to do and so emailed some DJ friends to see what they thought to the idea of Glasgow Underground starting again. Thank goodness I did. The response was amazing. DJ Sneak said, “Welcome back , we seriously need real house labels back on the scene”, Matthias Tanzmann told me that he had “always been a big fan of the label,” and it was great to hear we were back. The list went on; Dubfire, Riva Starr, Tim Green, Steve Bug, all telling me the same thing, “Get on it!”.
After having spent a few years working on the more commercial end of dance music, the cut-throat attitude that pervades the pop business was really starting to grate. The responses I got from these DJs reminded me that this is what house music was like. I got the same feeling at the Amsterdam Dance Event this year. From the panels to the parties the over-arching spirit was the same; friendly, open-minded, eager to share and collaborate. I’m so glad I took the plunge in 2011 and I’m really happy with what you have here; 46 different tracks from 43 different artists & remixers – the biggest end-of-year round-up with have ever done. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have putting it together.
Kevin McKay, November 2015