'The Archive' 1978-1983
“Geographically speaking, Swansea, in South-West Wales, was the last frontier. Except, unlike the Wild West, no one of any importance could ever be arsed to go there. The train tracks from London Paddington might as well have ended fifty miles earlier in Cardiff for all we knew of that strange and inhospitable place” - Anonymous record company executive, 1983
Much like the rest of the nation in the late seventies, a dearth of public funding and lack of governmental interest in promoting youth culture left the kids of Swansea and the surrounding area to make their own fun. For some, this came in the form of cheap Woolies guitars, battered second-hand shop amplifiers and anything resembling a drum kit that would fit into the back of someone’s car. Bedrooms and lounges became rehearsal spaces, while youth clubs and parish halls became venues. Amongst the audiences and musicians of this pre-smartphone generation, precious few had the presence of mind to hit the record button or snap a photograph
What music did get captured for posterity was either recorded and mixed during a day of frantic activity at a phenomenally expensive ‘real studio’, or more likely committed to tape on someone’s dad’s battery-powered cassette recorder during a rehearsal or gig. Thirty-plus years later, the few tapes that remain are rapidly oxidizing and the accompanying photographs fading fast beside them
One night in the pub we realised that if we didn’t act now to preserve what little remains of a scene committed mostly only to the memories of those who were there, that it would soon be gone forever. Hence, welcome to Punkhouse Records.
Our mission is to archive, restore and release original period music and images from the Swansea Punk and Post-Punk scene of 1978 -1982, in the format it would have been released on if anyone had had the dosh to do so at the time i.e. vinyl and some form of print. We are a not-for-profit venture, meaning (in our case) that we are never going to make any money from this. All the bands and artists on the label have contributed their music and other resources in the knowledge that whatever funds raised by the sales of Punkhouse records and publications will be plowed back into further preservation of the archive.
Mitchell Edmond - Former lead singer of Bishopston pop-art punk combo the DC10s, Edmond went from working at the Swansea Virgin shop on Union Street as a teenager to managing some of the largest Virgin Records retail outlets in the country during the 1980's and 1990's. Archivist and curator of an unparallelled collection of late-seventies local music memorabilia, Edmond is currently working on "SPEEDINISIT?" - a hardcover coffee table volume of photographs and stories covering the early days of the Swansea Punk and New Wave scene. Now at Disney, Edmond can be seen most nights of the week at a live music venue somewhere in the capital.
Stephen 'Haggis' Harris - Former bassist of teenage punksters the AUTONOMES and co-founder of Swansea's Fierce Recordings (with mentor Steve Gregory). Harris left Swansea in 1985 to join Zodiac Mindwarp and The Love Reaction shortly before their rise to fame. After a stint with The Cult in 1987 he formed The Four Horsemen and signed with Rick Rubin's then fledgling Def-American label. Following the band's break up in 1992 Harris left the music business and went on to earn his living as a rock climbing instructor at a facility in lower Manhattan. Shaken by what he witnessed as a result of the World Trade Center attacks he returned to school in order to pursue his ambition of becoming a doctor. Harris returned briefly to the music industry in 2002, recording a solo LP - Songs From The Mission Of Hope - with the help of friend Francis Dunnery. He is currently training as a physician at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. His 2013 self-directed documentary film on women's healthcare in post-civil war Liberia Lay Your Trouble Down contains music from both his solo album and The Four Horsemen as well as original compositions by Dunnery, who acted as producer and music supervisor on the project.
Glenn Evans - One of the earliest participants in the Swansea punk scene, Evans founded THE NOISE with 14-year-old brother Greg, virtuoso punk guitarist Dai Monk, and WHAT TO WEAR drummer Nicky Boyle. Legend has it that the band debuted at the SSA bar on Union Street with only two songs. Joined by secound guitarist Jenni Rogers for a subsequent appearance at the Circles club, Monk reportedy smashed his only guitar before walking offstage. Left with a guitarist without a guitar and Evans' mother's growing displeasure at Greg's declining school performance THE NOISE disbanded soon thereafter. Evans went on to co-found VENOM with Monk and fellow Mettoys worker David 'Snakey' Cooze, as well as playing in several other Swansea acts such as Lo0P and THE CURTAIN during the early eighties. Still a Swansea resident, Evans founded the Swanseapunk website and is generally considered one of the elder statesmen of the original Swansea Punk and New Wave scene.
James White - One-time bassist with West Cross punk combo VICTIMS OF INCEST and subsequent groundbreaking electronic band THE LOVE NAZIS MEETS RUN CND, White left Swansea in the mid-eighties. Having distinguished himself in accountancy at The University Of London, he went on to a highly successful business career at both Polygram and Universal records, culminating with his rise to the position of CFO at Island Records during the heyday of Britpop and beyond. An itch for creative fulfilment led to White's decision to attend The Chelsea College of Art & Design where he subsequently earnt a first with his own unique brand of conceptual art. Today White splits his time between Finance Director roles with creative companies and his continued work as a respected member of the London art scene.