Chemikal Underground: A Potted History

Feature by Darren Carle | 03 Feb 2009

1994 The Delgados set up Chemikal Underground and release their first single, Monica Webster, in June 1995.

1996 – Bis play Top of the Pops, the first unsigned band to do so. They sign to Chemikal, allowing the label to expand.

Video: Bis - Kandi Pop

1996 – Arab Strap release The First Big Weekend. It receives extensive airplay and later an instrumental version is used on a Guinness advert. Their debut album The Week Never Starts Round Here is released later in the year along with Delgados' debut Domestiques.

May 1997 – Mogwai release their first EP, 4 Satin on Chemikal, followed in October by their seminal debut album Young Team.

July 1999 – Mogwai become displeased with Blur ahead of a joint headlining slot at T in the Park. T-shirts expressing their disdain are printed up for the event.

Video: Mogwai - Stanley Kubrick

Sept 1999 – Arab Strap leave Chemikal and sign with Go! Beat. They release Elephant Shoe before returning to Chemikal in 2001. “I don't think they realised what it was they really wanted until they left it behind,” laments Woodward.

March 2000 – Chemikal celebrates five years at Glasgow’s Garage with sets from its main acts. John Peel hosts and rather enjoys. Alun Woodward claims to have no memories of events after 7pm.

Nov 2000 – Fukd id, a spin-off label, is launched to release limited edition singles by bands not necessarily on the roster. Most notably, Interpol release an EP limited to one thousand copies.

April 2005 – The Delgados announce they are splitting but will continue to run the label.

Video: The Delgados - American Trilogy

Sept 2006 – Arab Strap announce they are to split after ten years together. They play their final show in Glasgow on the 4th December but secretly play their final-final show in Japan on the 17th.

March 2007 Ballads of the Book, an ambitious collaboration between Scottish authors and musicians, is released. A live extravaganza takes place the following month.

Dec 2008 – Mogwai reignite their feud with Blur and contemplate a new line of ‘Blur: Still Shite’ t-shirts.

2009 – Fifteenth birthday approaches. Alun promises “something special”. Albums by Aidan Moffat, The Phantom Band and De Rosa are released in the first quarter...

Video: De Rosa - Robin Song