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*Where did the name 4AD come from?
*Who is Ivo?
*How does Ivo pronounce his name?
*What is the hidden meaning of 4AD's catalogue numbers?
*What about the mysterious code 3oo 5oo that appears on some CD releases?
*Is there a complete 4AD discography?
*What is Eyesore?
*What is detox?
*What is the Guernica label?
Where did the name 4AD come from?
As far as we know, it's a contraction of "Forward": Forward -> 4wArD -> 4AD. Ivo originally named the label Axis but someone else already held the trademark so he had to change it in a hurry.

An alternative explaination is given by Tym Rourke: "I've heard a different story on where the name came from. I was told it was a play on words. The label was created to act as a one-off label for Beggar's Banquet, much like Guernica for 4AD (Bauhaus was the only band to follow this route). So bands were originally going to be on the label for only one release...For A Day...4AD...".

It seems likely that the former explanation is correct as the new 4AD mail order catalogue (circa December 1998) has the following text in the introduction on page 1:

"1980 FORWARD. 1980 FWD. 1984 AD. 4AD"

Who is Ivo?
Ivo Watts-Russell is the man behind 4AD: the creator of the label, the president, the guy who decides what bands to sign based on how cool he thinks they are. He has also produced a few records (such as the Cocteau Twins' Garlands) and is the driving force of This Mortal Coil (he selects the songs, writes some of them, selects the musicians and singers, plays some keyboards, and produces.)

How does Ivo pronounce his name?
"Eye-vo", not "Ee-vo". This FAQ retracts its earlier statements to the contrary, at the insistence of the omniscient Brant Nelson. What Liz Fraser is singing in the song Ivo (on Treasure) is actually "Peep-Bo", which was the original title of the song.

What is the hidden meaning of 4AD's catalogue numbers?
Warning! This question and answer is only for the seriously deranged amongst us. The alphabetic part indicates the format:

first four 7'' singles
7'' single
Double LP
EP (up to four listed songs, more may be hidden or unlisted)
Mainly used as a re-order code for Record Shops in a promotion called The Perfect Antidote, which has re-issued virtually the whole back catalogue as mid-price. Some of these GAD re-issues contain extra tracks not on the original pressings.
Used only once, for the UK reissue of Burning Blue Soul, possibly a sarcastic reference to the Kollektor Skum who had to buy it due to the new artwork on the reissue.
Only used three times for mini-LPs; Birthday Party / Lydia Lunch live mini album, Lush's Scar EP and His Name Is Alive's Nice Day EP.
Mini-album (more than four songs)
Postcard Set
Temporary release, only one pressing. There have been only seven: Throwing Muses' The Curse, Swallow's Blowback, Michael Brook's Live at the Aquarium, Lisa Germano's Inconsiderate Bitch, Kristin Hersh's The Holy EP, Anakin, the preview of 1998 releases and Kristin Hersh's Like You EP.
Video cassette
Poster Set
Poster Set or Calendar

The letters CD appended indicate a compact disc, and CS indicates a cassette. An appended D indicates a double or special limited release.

The numbers indicate the year and release sequence. In a three-digit number (used through 1989), the first digit is the last digit of the year; in a four-digit number (used since 1990), the first two digits are the number of years since 1990. The last two digits are always the ordinal number of that release in that year (1 means the first 4AD release of that year, 12 means the twelfth.)

There are a few exceptions. The 13 Year Itch CD is numbered "(shuffle)". Other funny numbers belong to non-musical releases; see above. Promo releases are numbered oddly - the alphabetic part is usually an abbreviation of the band's name, and the numbers are sequential across promos by that band. There may be a CD suffix indicating a CD release, but not all CD promos have it. Thus, TMC 1 CD is the first This Mortal Coil promo CD, PIX 3 is the third Pixies promo.

There is also the grey area of freebies. HNIA 1 was given out at record stores (7''), KH1 given out with initial copies of Red Heaven (CD), KH2 was given away by postal application, etc etc. There's far too many promos for compiling a complete discography, although some hardy (people) attempt it; ask on the mailing list if you're interested.

*The Perfect Antidote catalogue

*The Perfect Antidote flyer

What about the mysterious code 3oo 5oo that appears on some CD releases?
That indicates the RPM - CDs are played at a constant linear velocity, which means the angular velocity goes from about 500 RPM at the start (inside edge) down to about 300 RPM at the end (outside). It's a joke, son.
[300-500 RPM]
300-500 RPM

Is there a complete 4AD discography?
There was one on the Lonely Is an Eyesore compilation, accurate as of mid-1987. Various more up to date ones have been printed in Melody Maker, Spiral Scratch, and Dewdrops. For the most up to date information, check page 2 or 3 of Dewdrops or consult....
*Dewdrops fanzine

What is Eyesore?
Eyesore is an online database of 4AD discographic information (right on down to track listings and personnel) maintained by 4AD-L list member Lars Magne Ingebrigtsen. You can also query it via e-mail, and the source code is available for Unix systems. Contact Lars for more information. There are four eyesore sites, use the one nearest you for fastest access.
*eyesore europe

*eyesore US

*eyesore australia

*eyesore south africa

What is detox?
Detox Artifacts was a record label run by at least one member of staff at 4AD UK, and had a number of releases between 1996 and 1997. Most notable was the release Signs of Life by Aeroplane which had Heidi Berry on vocals. Some of the sleeves were designed by v23. More information in the archive. A limited discography:
DTX 9601
TOUCAN - Shine EP (1996)
DTX 9602
STELLAR - Stellar EP (1996)
DTX 9603
AEROPLANE - Signs Of Life EP 12"/CD (1996)
DTX 9701
Thrush Puppies - Let It Lie 7"/Lullabies From Levenshulme CD (1997)
DTX 9702
Ajax Disco Spanner - It's Over 12" (1997)
DTX 9703
Suckle - Symposium 7" / Harmonal Secretions CD (1997)
For a limited time some of these are available through 4AD mail order; check mail addresses section for ordering information.

*detox archive

What is the Guernica label?
Guernica was an 4AD-offshoot that releases one-shots by bands not otherwise signed to 4AD: e.g. Bettie Serveert, Underground Lovers. Unrest's Imperial FFRR was released on Guernica but their later releases were on 4AD. Guernica have not released anything in several years, and are thought to be dysfunctional now. (Tidbit: All of the vinyl Guernica releases included a 7'' with additional tracks along with the LP.)

[the guernica logo]
the guernica logo

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