Kerri Chandler’s Madhouse Records is closing down after 31 years, with the boss taking his catalogue with him – so what’s behind the decision?

Mervyn Medalie might be a name that doesn’t ring any bells to the average dance music fan – but many within the world know exactly who he is. That said, little has been written publicly about the Irishman – who was born in Dublin in March 1935.

His career began in the late 1950s working on a number of different films. Medalie later moved into the music world – Paul Oakenfold revealed in a 2004 interview that “He’d come from the 1970s pop era – he used to hang out with huge pop icons like Gary Glitter and the Beach Boys – and needed advice about what was going on in the modern field. The new fashion of the time was dance music and he didn’t know much about that.”.

Medalie set up Champion Records in 1980, where Oakenfold worked for a time, and he was instrumental in persuading then rising star Kerri Chandler to set up Madhouse Records in 1992. We understand that Medalie met Chandler by chance in New York in 1990 – with Chandler himself in the city visiting Todd Terry at Brooklyn’s Idler’s Studio.

Chandler himself provided the label’s first release, and numerous others since – but as of this week, Madhouse is no more…

So, what was the exact relationship between Madhouse and Champion? After all, Chandler did a significant number of remixes for Champion during the 1990s – for releases such as “Show Me Love” by Robin S, “Make My Love” by Shawn Christopher and “Make The World Go Round” by Sandy B – due to his connections to the label.

The relationship between the two is described as “a joint venture” – it’s unclear exactly what this means, but Ears To The House understands Madhouse isn’t a sub-label within Champion Records. And the statement gives little away as to the reasons for this decision – other than general manager Raj Porter saying “it just seemed the right time.”.

Industry sources have told us that there are two reasons behind this. One said “It’s a time thing. Kerri’s workload has picked up massively since Covid restrictions started going away, and he just doesn’t have the time and energy that Madhouse needs and deserves.”.

Another source – who’s actually worked with Champion in the past – suggests Medalie played a role in the decision, saying “Mel is now in his late 70s. I don’t know if it’s in him to retire, but I suspect he wants to streamline things a bit. Madhouse has had a good run, and Kerri’s even been allowed to take all his masters with him. It’s a big win for both sides.”.

All of Chandler’s releases from Madhouse are now moving to Kaoz Theory whilst everything else will be subsumed into Champion…

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