Factory was a record label in Manchester who produced pop records and went out of business 15 years ago.
A bastion of woolly logic and fulfilled dreams, Factory built up an iconic aura that has long outlasted the actual label. Even now, Northern bands strive to shrug off the Factory influence, whilst a third film about the label sits on the release schedules.
Factory released its first record in 1978, quickly earning a reputation for thoughtful post-punk music. Its roster included such seminal groups as A Certain Ratio, The Durutti Column and Joy Division. The label survived the death of Joy Division’s frontman Ian Curtis to become a leading cultural force in the 80s and 90s through releases by bands such as New Order and Happy Mondays. Then in 1993, the bubble burst and Factory filed for bankruptcy.
So why Factory? Clashmusic.com will this week run a series of features on the label, getting to grips with the facts, exploring the real highs and lows of the label as seen by those who were involved in it. More than one office staffer wears a t-shirt emblazoned with a Factory image, and the stereo regularly pulsates to a re-issue by one of their bands.
Factory remains iconic because of its ethos – they cared. Whereas other, major, labels merely churned out formulaic pop Factory produced records that formed part of the cultural tapestry of a generation. From the record sleeve to the production, everything Factory did was different. Then after a few years of releasing wonderful records they decided to branch out and bought their own club – “The Hacienda must be built”, they said. So Factory built it, and changed the way British youth spent their weekend forever.
Factory remains iconic because they cared, and their fans in turn cared about them. Thirty years on from its humble beginnings as a punk night in the city’s Russell Club, its time to tell the real story.
Welcome to Factory week.