Music Label

Yellow Eye Music 1991-2005

Historical overview from 2005 .

YELLOW EYE MUSIC was born around September 1991 by university students Simon Vare and Steve Cournane, both musicians with acoustic punk lad crazies THE WEETBIX BOYS (see EYE001 although not a true indication of their obvious humour and weirdness . . . wait for EYE013 . . . you've been warned). The initial vision was to promote and release Dunedin music and groups (the South is where its at!) as all the established labels had moved or were now situated in the North Island and only dealing with existing signings or new bands from their own regions. The label was fortunate to receive a Business Development Grant from the Ministry Of Commerce to get the ball rolling as $$$ were limited. This 18 month grant led to the first CD release from Dunedin in the beginning of 1992 the compilation OUT OF THE YELLOW EYE featuring 4 bands. The grant enabled us to follow a work/research, learn as you go approach to the whole process of releasing a CD from go to wo.

Some 4 years later it spawned the highly successful YELLOW EYE DISTRIBUTION operation, now run by Simon which specialises in music distribution throughout the South Island. The end of University studies and the need to make a career choice led Steve in1995 to leave town for the Wellington Polytech Jazz course, leaving the day to day running to Simon, (with support from partner Lynn). Over the years the label has kept in touch with Steve and our collaborations have resulted in the Jazz releases on the label, beginning in 1996 with TREES Wellington Jazz Compilation. A second such compilation is planned for in the near future, along with a debut TARDIS album (EYE014 late 2000) and follow up C.L.BOB and SYZYGY albums.

During the years 1996 and 1997 a second phase in the labels somewhat slow development took place when we entered into a partnership with Mike Pearce and his Strawberry Sound (16 track ADAT RECORDING STUDIO). Under the controls of engineer and producer Tim Kitto (FOLD) six releases were recorded, beginning with the Dunedin triple (EYE005-007) . . . BUT I CAN WRITE SONGS OKAY which celebrated the modern history of Dunedin music, that we could locate, from 1958 onward. The disc was released in association with a six month Dunedin music exhibition at the Otago Settlers Museum. This time period was also notable for the beginning of a long lasting  relationship with artwork designer, co-ordinator Leighton Anderson of Ratbrain Records. By 1998 Tim Kitto had left for computer based work in Sydney, while the recording studio has been in limbo and pretty much unused ever since.

With limited promotional resources and the small New Zealand market, the label has remained hobbyist in nature since it's inception. Looking back on this snail pace development, seventeen  releases across a dozen or so years , you can see this as a reason for our continuation and survival, in keeping the energy and enjoyment to this challenge of running a record label from the bottom of the world. The nature of this has meant the time we spend with our bands makes it all the more important to get on with each other at a personal level and to really enjoy the music, hence the wide variety of styles on this label, and besides we're too small to concentrate on any one genre to survive on a local scale, the old eggs in one basket scenario!

 We are trying to develop a record label that provides live support for its musicians, promotion, marketing, distribution and management with the aim of creating our own music industry within the South Island and not to pander to the Auckland based music-media industry and its vampiric nature on the New Zealand music scene. Hopefully the days are numbered when the talent of the South is forced North to realise its obvious abilities. As we build and develop towards that ultimate goal of a full time running operation the website takes us that little bit closer.

Thanks for visiting and getting the lowdown on YELLOW EYE. I hope it inspires some of you to pursue your own dreams and challenges,. . . And remember children, for you to buy is for us to survive, a big thanks to all who have a YELLOW EYE title or two in their collection.


Yellow Eye Music : Full Catalogue