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Glitterhouse Records is a German independent record label and mail order company based in Beverungen, North Rhine-Westphalia. It was founded in the mid-1980s. From the late 1980s until the mid-1990s it was the European branch of the American label Sub Pop. Since 1997 the annual Orange Blossom Special open air festival takes place in the backyard of the Glitterhouse HQ.
1981 founded by Reinhard Holstein and Rembert Stiewe, the Fanzine „The Glitterhouse“ laid the foundation for the correspondent record label. The magazine contained mainly 60’s garage and psychedelia, extensions of punk, weirdo folk and similar genres. After a vacation in Australia Holstein imported a number of singles from Citadel Records, which were distributed through the company’s mail order business. First own release was a tape featuring German garage bands titled “Battle of the Bands”. 1987 the “Hipster’s” 7”-single – “Sound of The Young Soul” and the compilation LP “The Declaration of Fuzz” were the first vinyls released by the label. German artists followed, such as Surfin’ Dead, The Strangemen and Shiny Gnomes. Through business registration Glitterhouse Records turned from a simple hobby to a business enterprise in 1984.
In 1987 a cooperation with the record label Sub Pop from Seattle started. Among others this label had signed Nirvana and Soundgarden, later on it was named the trigger and forerunner for the success of grunge music. This cooperation provided Glitterhouse increased popularity and a better market position. Green River, Mudhoney, The Walkabouts, Tad, Supersuckers and Seaweed, later on also the Afghan Whigs, The Spinanes, Codeine, Big Chief, Pond and many other groups of the label from Seattle were marketed through Glitterhouse in Europe. The cooperation with Sub Pop endured, at last as a common transatlantic Incorporated, seven years and was ended 1995 with a bilateral agreement. Nonetheless, in this formative period, Glitterhouse's finest moment was the signing of Canberra's The Real Gone Lovers in 1988. Parallel to Sub Pop Glitterhouse also placed products of Amphetamine Reptile Records in Europe. Among these were Helmet, Cows or the God Bullies. This cooperation ended when Glitterhouse couldn’t identify with the musical contents of the American noise label anymore. Additionally Glitterhouse published its own signings, such as Monster Magnet, Sylvia Juncosa, Sister Double Happiness or Bitch Magnet.
Starting in 1994 it was time to give the label its own direction again. Next to alternative rock and various American musicians Glitterhouse signed many new bands of Scandinavian and English origin.
Since then a broad variety of musical styles has been covered by Glitterhouse Records: widescreen-pop (Midnight Choir, The White Birch), indie-electronica (Lilium, Ai Phoenix), avant-garde (David Thomas & Two Pale Boys, Pere Ubu), dark indie folk (Wovenhand, 16 Horsepower, Chris & Carla, The Walkabouts, Dakota Suite, Savoy Grand, Willard Grant Conspiracy), rock (BigBang, The Great Crusades) and indie rock (Lampshade, Mount Washington, Seachange embrace the stylistic field of the label as well as modern singer-songwriters (Scott Matthew, Caroline Keating, Christine Owman, Nive Nielsen & The Deer Children, Andrea Schroeder) and embracing world music acts (Tamikrest, Lobi Traoré, Dirtmusic, Ben Zabo). Glitterhouse Records was the first German Indie label autonomously covering all inner-European and non-European export markets with exclusive deals.
Until today Glitterhouse has released about 750 records. Once a month a mail order catalogue containing approx. 1300 titles is released. Glitterhouse has 10 permanent employees, one apprentice and three interns. These days the “Glitterhouse Projects GmbH & Co KG”, a limited company, governs “Glitterhouse Records” as well as its branches “Glitterbeat” (specialised in world music) and “Stag-O-Lee Records” (specialised in Garaga Rock’n’Roll, vintage R’n’B and everything weird), the “Glitterhouse Mailorder” and the “Orange Blossom Special” open air festival.
Since 1997 the Orange Blossom Special takes place in the backyard of the company office. The annual open air event hosts 1,800 visitors and 20 international bands to create a cosy atmosphere purposely in contrast to strongly commercialized major events.
Rembert Stiewe about Glitterhouse: „Glitterhouse is way more than the sum of its parts. We are family.”