Joe Foster has come full circle in his life. Not only is he a highly estimated musician and producer, but also a record company executive. He was one of the ‘holy three’ (in shoegaze/noise rock terms) who founded Creation Records, along with Alan McGee and Dick Green. While a lot of the hype surrounding Creation is focused on Alan McGee, as the more flamboyant of the lot, Joe Foster played an extremely important role at Creation – he was the creative glue, so to speak, working as a producer with such immense legends in the British rock and alternative scene (whatever they may have been called at the time) as Primal Scream, Jesus & Mary Chainand My Bloody Valentine among others.
Musically, his contributions are no less recognized, as a member of The Television Personalities and Biff Bang Pow. Nowadays, Mr. Foster is always very involved with music, has his fingers in some very tasty pies, and is involved in numerous projects. One of these is his own imprint Glasgow-based label Poppydisc Records, which continues to issue new releases to this day. Another thing hasn’t changed with the eternal pro - he also continues to "foster" excellent music, often remixing and mixing new artists (such as Sleepyard, The Veldt and Latimer House), and putting forth healthy estimations of others’ works, such as occurred with the recent compilation ‘REVOLUTION – The Shoegaze Revival’ and recent releases by Ummagma, Maff, Malka and Lights That Change, among others.
We had the occasion to exchange a quick chat with him via email and, of course, we would have been silly to pass up the opportunity...
Joe Foster today
Hello Joe, how are you? Where are you writing us from?
Hello there, I am writing from Glasgow in Scotland…. where I am staying just now…
I’d like to start from your present, not from your past. Are you currently working only with PoppyDisc or do you have any other projects as a musician or producer?
I am working on a number of things... here is a big list of my history I was getting together... it is kind of up to date :-)
I am about to start on a whole bunch of new projects….
Are there any PoppyDisc records that you released and that you are particularly proud of?
I love them all :-) idk in a way the jazz ones I like, from Chet Baker to Sun Ra. idk my late father would have seen that as more serious music :-) but yes I love them all... Vivian Stanshall is one I am very fond of and proud of...
Do people remember you more as the founder of Creation (together with McGee and Green), as a member of The Television Personalities, Biff Bang Pow and other bands or as record producer?
I imagine if they remember me at all it is as all of those... idk it’s history…. interesting, and I like it, but I live in today..
You know Alan McGee very well. Could you tell us one of his biggest qualities and perhaps one drawback?
Yes I do... his qualities of believing in artists and letting them run with their dream is one of his many positives… negatives I cannot think of one everyone has failings but in the art and business we have done together he has never let me down nor as far as I ever saw anyone...
When I think of Creation I immediately think of two albums I adore, Adorable’s 'Against Perfection' and 18 Wheeler’s 'Twin Action', rather than thinking of Oasis, Teenage Fanclub or Boo Radleys. What are your memories about those two albums?
We loved all the artists on the label... sometimes the less obvious ones we loved even more... but we never saw a separation between them at all… they were all stars to us...
This summer Jesus And Mary Chain was in Italy playing Psychocandy and celebrating 30 years of that album. Did you ever think that they would have had such a big influence in the history of music?
We always thought that they especially and we all as a group of people were going to change the world... we kind of did I suppose… so happy to see them back and raging!!
It was a pleasure to ready your positive comment on the compilation 'Revolution – The Shoegaze Revival', released by Indonesian label Gerpfast Kolektif and UK label Raphalite Records. I was pleased because to see that there are 4 Italian bands included there. Why do you see the work they are doing as a continuation of Creation and 4AD? And how come you talk about “the rebirth of a shoegaze sound world”?
It is very much a label of the old school YET of the future which I like about them very much, and the comp showing a rebirth of the shoegaze and atmospheric sounds from a new young generation of artists is so positive.. and this is just their year zero!
It’s the 20th birthday of a wonderful record that was very underrated at that time: “Pygmalion” by Slowdive. Are there any regrets now that Creation didn’t give adequate support for such an outmoded (out-of-vogue) record in 1995 at the time that brit-pop was full on in popularity?
It had the same support as everyone else on the label we did not differentiate the same staff did the promo for everyone and they were exceptional at it... there is nothing to regret... just wasn’t their moment, much to our chagrin and disappointment, and theirs too... that’s life, that’s showbiz... I do find the idea there was a 2-tier system at Creation bizarre and slightly offensive... oh well :-)
Thank you again Joe. Is there a song that you particularly like and that we can use as soundtrack to end this interview?
Upside Down of course! :-)
Slaughter Joe's website
Poppydisc Records' website