Episode 160: Andy Macdonald – Go-Discs – Independiente – Record Label Founder & Music Entrepreneur – World Exclusive Podcast.

Andy McDonald - Go Discs

In the dynamic world of music, a few trailblazers stand out, reshaping the industry with their audacious ideas and unshakeable passion.
Andy Macdonald – the maverick behind the Go Discs and Independiente record labels – is undeniably one such luminary.
With a knack for spotting raw talent and an unwavering commitment to artistic authenticity, Andy is one of the most successful UK independent music entrepreneurs of the modern era.

In this World Exclusive Podcast conversation, we discover how his early interactions with the music industry at Stiff Records exposed him to the inner workings of record labels and the art of artist development.
We learn how his journey in the business was kick-started through a strong passion for discovering and nurturing talent and a conversation that lit the fuse…

And for the first time, Andy shares his experiences with Paul Weller.
From signing him to Go Discs in 1992 and the release of their first single together “Uh Huh Oh Yeh!“.
This was the song that open up my world to Weller and what a journey it was in the 90s!.
That debut solo album (via a Japanese record label) to Wild Wood and then the huge success of Stanley Road.

We’ll hear how they continued to work together through Heavy Soul and Heliocentric, despite the Polygram takeover of the label, and then onto a new venture – Independiente with the album’s Days of Speed and Illumination.

Click your preferred podcast platform to listen…

EP160 – Andy Macdonald – Go-Discs – Independiente – Record Label Founder & Music Entrepreneur. Paul Weller Fan Podcast : Desperately Seeking Paul

In 1983, Andy Macdonald set up Go Discs. He quickly established the label as a breeding ground for innovative and groundbreaking artists with early signings including The Box, Billy Bragg, Captains of Industry, The Housemartins (Beautiful South would also be a massive success later on) and The LAs.

Andy’s vision was simple yet profound: to provide a platform for artists to express their creativity without compromising their artistic integrity. This ethos resonated deeply with musicians and listeners alike, setting Go Discs Records apart from its contemporaries.

Andy launched Go! Beat in 1992 as a subsidiary of Go! Discs, signing up Gabrielle, Portishead and Norman Cook’s Beats International.

Andy Macdonald & Paul Weller : A Legendary Collaboration

One of the most significant partnerships in Andy Macdonald’s career was with Paul Weller.
A collaboration that tied in with my own discovery of Paul’s music via that very first Go Discs release. Uh Huh Oh Yeh! backed with Arrival Time, Fly on the Wall and Always There To Fool You

Those four songs were enough to get me hooked…

The debut solo album on Go Discs soon followed (financed by a Japanese label ahead of the deal with Andy) and we had a second single from the album – Above The Clouds.

Paul Weller was back with a bang…

Confidence returning – backed by the faith of a label boss who believed in him – I was next blown away by another new single Sunflower… and then that incredible second solo album – Wild Wood – still a favourite to this day.

The album marked a departure, perhaps an evolution?, from Paul’s previous work, embracing a folk and soul-influenced sound with a blend of acoustic and electric instrumentation. The release once again showcased his willingness to experiment and grow as an artist. Well-crafted, introspective lyrics that touch on themes of personal growth, reflection, and the passage of time….

Such was the success of the platinum-selling LP , that we had another new single in 1994 – Hung Up – and a re-issue of the album with it added to the track-listing.

1994 on Go Discs saw the release of a new song – Out of the Sinking – backed by a cover of The Beatles’ Sexy Sadie and a fantastic Lynch Mob Dub remix of Sunflower.
1995 saw the biggest success for sales with the label through the release of what have become three classic singles The Changingman, You Do Something to Me and Broken Stones.
The album Stanley Road achieved huge commercial success and critical acclaim, reaching the top of the UK charts. Its impact was further solidified by its ability to capture the spirit of the mid-’90s Britpop era, cementing Paul Weller’s status as a musical luminary and demonstrating his adeptness at crafting songs that blend meaningful narratives with infectious melodies.
The album sold more than 1.5 million – making it the biggest selling album of his career – including The Jam and The Style Council.

1995 also saw the release of Go Discs’ Help album for War Child with The Smokin’ Mojo Filters – Come Together in a charity project lead by Andy and the label.

In February 1996, with Stanley Road having gone treble platinum (it had been in the Top 20 since release (10 months), Paul and Andy released the album version of Out of the Sinking, backed by 3 extra tracks, as a limited edition single for one week only.

In August of that year, Paul’s Go Discs career closed out with the release of Peacock Suit, which premiered on TOTP as a rare fully live performance on the show!.

In a heart-breaking development for Andy Macdonald, Go Discs were then taken over by Polygram.
He left the company soon afterwards and set up a new label called Independiente within days.

It’s not too high praise to say that these Go Discs releases changed my life.
The discovery of a singer, songwriter & musician that has connected deeply with me over 30 years now.

And testiment to Andy Maconald. These works not only solidified Paul Weller’s reputation as a formidable artist but also showcased Andy’s knack for nurturing talent and allowing artists to thrive creatively.

As you’ll hear on the podcast, despite the loss of his label, Andy continued to work closely with Paul, working on promotion for Heavy Soul and Heliocentric (both released on Island Records via Polygram).
Andy had set up a new label – Independiente – releasing albums from the likes of Travis, Vitro, Sunhouse, Roddy Frame, John Martyn, Gomez, Embrace and Martina Topley-Bird.
The label stopped releasing new singles and albums in 2009, becoming a catalogue management company.
It was acquired by Concord Bicycle Music in 2018.

Paul’s first release for Independiente came in October 2001 with his stunning Days of Speed project.
The ‘live and acoustic’ album spanned Paul’s career from The Jam through The Style Council and onto his latest solo work (this was off the back of Heliocentric). The album featured 18 songs, some of which Paul hadn’t played in 10 years. The tracks were recorded on a huge global tour.

It’s Written in the Stars came next, a new single released on 2nd September 2002, which saw the first sounds to come from Simon Dine (a former Go Discs employee). We were treated to a double CD single release with B-sides Horseshoe Drama (also created with Simon) and Push Button, Automatic (lyrics from Drummer, Steve White) on CD1 and Days of Speed tour bonus tracks The Butterfly Collector and Carnation on CD2.

Paul’s 6th solo studio album – Illumination was released on Independiente on the 16th September 2002. Once again, joining up with Andy gave Paul a chart topping album (Paul’s fourth).
He continued to push artistic boundaries, embracing a more electronic and experimental sound at times, while still retaining his signature songwriting depth. The album’s themes delve into introspection, love, and social commentary.

Another double CD single release saw out the deal with Independiente. Leafy Mysteries backed by Talisman and a live version of Wild Wood on CD1 , with live versions of Leafy Mysteries, Broken Stones and Peacock Suit on CD 2.

Independiente also released a couple of DVDs – LIve Two Classic Performances which featured the show from Hyde Park and 13 acoustic tracks from Later… with Jools Holland plus Live at Braehead which captured the Illumination tour with a show in Glasgow.

The Legacy of Andy Macdonald

Andy Macdonald’s impact on the music industry extends far beyond his role as the founder of these record labels. His dedication to authenticity, innovation, and artist-centric values continues to inspire both industry professionals and aspiring musicians.

His journey from a music enthusiast to the visionary behind these two labels is a testament to the power of passion and commitment. His unwavering belief in nurturing talent and allowing artists to express themselves authentically transformed the music industry.

Paul Weller – Go Discs


1992 – Paul Weller – UK Number 8
1993 – Wild Wood – UK Number 2
1994 – Live Wood – UK Number 13
1995 – Stanley Road – UK Number 1


1992 Uh Huh, Oh Yeh
1992 Above the Clouds
1993 Sunflower
1993 Wild Wood
1994 Hung Up
1994 Out of the Sinking
1995 The Changingman
1995 You Do Something to Me
1995 Broken Stones
1995 The Smokin’ Mojo Filters – Come Together
1996 Out of the Sinking (Reissue)

Paul Weller – Independiente


2001 – Days of Speed – UK Number 3
2002 – Illumination – UK Number 1


2002 It’s Written in the Stars
2002 Leafy Mysteries

In 1995, Go! Discs became the label partner of a hugely ambitious charity project to raise funds for the then little-known War Child. The Help Album, featured new songs and covers from Oasis, Radiohead, Blur, the Stone Roses, the Manic Street Preachers plus The Smokin’ Mojo Filters with Pau Weller, Noel Gallagher, Paul McCartney and others… The album was recorded, mixed and released all within the same week. It made over £1 million for War Child.

Travis signing to Independiente in 1997 marked a significant turning point in the band’s career.
The move allowed the band more creative freedom and control over their music.
It’s been said that the band was signed to Macdonald personally, not to the label—if Andy ever left the label, the band would have gone with him (commonly referred to in the industry as a “golden handcuffs” clause).

Under Independiente, Travis released their most critically acclaimed and biggest selling albums.
Kicking off with Good Feeling in 1997, which led to the band supporting Oasis on tour.
1999 saw the release of The Man Who, which included hit singles Writing to Reach You, Driftwood, Why Does It Always Rain on Me and Turn. The album’s success not only solidified Travis as a prominent British band but also demonstrated the benefits of their decision to sign with an independent label.
The Invisible Band followed in 2001 – selling over 3.5 million copies worldwide with songs such as Sing, Side and Flowers in the Window.
The band released 2003’s 12 Memories and 2007’s The Boy with No Name on the label.
The collaboration with Independiente allowed them to craft an album that resonated with audiences and showcased their musical growth without the constraints of a major label’s commercial pressures.

You can hear Billy’s own story on episode 114 of my podcast.
Billy was an early sign for Andy Macdonald and in total Go Discs went on to release four of his albums. They also reissued the debut and released a compilation…
1983 – Life’s a Riot with Spy vs Spy (re-issue)
1984 – Brewing Up with Billy Bragg
1986 – Talking with the Taxman About Poetry
1988 – Workers Playtime
1991 – Don’t Try This at Home

Published by PaulWellerFanPodcast

The World’s first Paul Weller Fan Podcast - For the fans by the fans. A musical journey from In The City to Fat Pop (Vol 1). A radio broadcaster who gave up his career with one big regret. Never getting to interview the legendary British musician Paul Weller. This podcast exists purely to solve that issue. Welcome to Desperately Seeking Paul...

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