Peacefrog Records was founded by Pete Hutchison and Paul Ballard in 1991 in London. The indie label started as a press for “less well known musical nuggets,” thus its name, taken from the title of a “less well known musical nugget” by the Doors. Through it, Hutchison and Ballard wanted to provide artists with a way to make their music heard without losing their artistic integrity. Thus, Peacefrog has quite the eclectic roster.
In the 90s, the label established itself as the go-to for dance and techno vinyls, particularly as the European source for Detroit house music, like that of Moodymann, Theo Parrish, and the Detroit Escalator Company. With the rise in digital music, Peacefrog graduated from twelve-inch records and began to offer CDs and digital downloads as well, though they never let go of their vinyl. They also expanded in genre, incorporating folk, indie, new wave, avant-rock, and bossa nova.
The label has received mainstream notice lately since it signed Argentine-Swedish folk artist José González and Swedish electronic group Little Dragon, both of whom have had top 10 singles, the latter of which ranked No. 4 on the US Dance/Electronic Album chart with their 2011 album Ritual Union. The commercial success of several of Peacefrog’s artists, González in particular, is attributed to the label’s push towards film and TV synchronizations. González’s songs have appeared in commercials and television shows including Scrubs, Bones, House, One Tree Hill, Friday Night Lights, and 90210.
Paul Ballard left the label in 1992 following their release of the Lodger 303 EP, Pete Hutchison’s album under the pseudonym Pete the Lodger, but Hutchison himself continued on. He developed an interest in classical music, which snowballed into a desire to re-press decades-old records using authentic procedures. He founded the Electric Recording Co. to do just that, and the company is now known for its rare, high-quality, and high-price vinyl records with price-tags upwards of $4000. Peacefrog is still up and running, though, producing and distributing music in both digital and analog form for its small but admirable roster.