Play It Again Sam

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This article is about the record label. For other uses, see Play it again, Sam.
Play It Again Sam
Parent company PIAS Group
Founded 1983
Founder Kenny Gates
Michael Lambot
Distributor(s) PIAS, RED in the U.S
Genre Various
Country of origin H.Q in London
Official website

As you can probably tell from the name, Play It Again Sam started it all for [PIAS] 30 years ago. It continues to be recognised as a leading independent label, with a roster including Agnes Obel, Balthazar, Editors, Enter Shikari, Ghostpoet, Lord Huron, Melanie De Biasio, Pixies, Other Lives, Roisin Murphy and Soulwax/2ManyDJs.

Play It Again Sam’s London based label team only signs artists they completely love. That’s why they never stop putting their heart and soul into building long-term, international careers in music.


The label was founded in 1983 in Belgium by Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot.[1]

Play It Again Sam was part of a wave of influential labels that emerged during a fertile generation of European independents in the early eighties along with peers like Factory, Mute, Rough Trade and 4AD. Play It Again Sam was initially known for being one of the drivers behind the emergence of EBM and Industrial music with artists like Front 242, Meat Beat Manifesto and Young Gods. The label later broadened its musical horizon with releases by artists including The Sound, Soulwax/ 2ManyDJ's, Sigur Rós and Mogwai.

The first release on the label in 1984 was the mini album 'Faces in the Fire' by the cult experimental psychedelic band The Legendary Pink Dots. This was immediately followed by the 'Four Your Ears Only' EP, an aural map of Northern England, featuring Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Red Guitars, Party Day and Luddites.[2] This laid the ground for releases from many other artists with very diverse musical backgrounds and geographical origins including the Butthole Surfers, Parade Ground, The Neon Judgement, The Sound, Skinny Puppy, Taxi Girl, Bill Pritchard and The Cassandra Complex.

In 1988 the label released the groundbreaking album Front By Front by Front 242 including the single 'Headhunter' (with a video directed by Anton Corbijn). The album became a classic and an inspiration for the industrial music scene that developed into the influential underground movement called Electric Body Music During the next few years the label launched the careers of some very important European alternative acts, like The Young Gods from Switzerland, one of the most innovative and powerful bands of their time, or Meat Beat Manifesto from Swindon, U.K., a real avant-garde project driven by Jack Dangers experimenting with techno, jungle, industrial, dub and jazz fusion, while influencing major acts such as Nine Inch Nails and The Prodigy.

With these bands, the then Brussels, Belgium based label gained its first front pages in the UK music press (Melody Maker, Sounds, NME), before signing New Fast Automatic Daffodils (aka New Fads), one of the leaders of the new emerging scene from Manchester followed a few years later by another British indie-rock act, Moose, formed in London by Russel Yates and K.J. McKillop.

Play It Again Sam also released a number of albums by American artists under license e from various US label partners. From the Michael Stipe produced Magnapop to Barkmarket (the band of producer Dave Sardy), the Kelly Deal 6000 (the band of the lead guitarist of The Breeders) and Pixies frontman Frank Black's project Frank Black & The Catholics.

In 1994, Play It Again Sam signed a young Belgian band named Soulwax. Fronted by Stephen and David Dewaele, Soulwax released 3 critically acclaimed and successful studio albums. Their real moment of global success and glory however came in 2002 with the release of the DJ mix album "As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 2", their one and only official release as 2Many DJ's, still considered today as a revolutionary and unique masterpiece selling over 600.000 copies across the world.

In the year 2000, the label's headquarter moved from Brussels to London and was renamed [PIAS] Recordings. [PIAS] Recordings in the UK took a stake in labels such as Fat Cat (which became a group owned sister label) and released the first two albums by Icelandic band Sigur Rós (which became one of the best selling acts in the label's history) and Mum. The Scottish band Mogwai signed to [PIAS] Recordings UK in 2001 and released 4 albums on the label.

[PIAS] Recordings continued to license US artists to the label including My Morning Jacket, Dinosaur Jr. and Joan As Police Woman and also started to develop local operations in Germany, Holland, France and Spain, signing more local repertoire in these countries as well as licensing artists from the UK for continental Europe including in 2005 the Birmingham band Editors. British singer-songwriter Charlie Simpson recorded his debut album Young Pilgrim at the studio.

[PIAS] announced at the end of 2010 that it would be re-launching Play It Again Sam as a frontline artist label.

Current roster[edit]

Former artists[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]