Aus Dance Music Pioneer Andrew Penhallow Passes Away

17 May 2023 | 9:46 pm | Stephen Green

The Australian electronic music industry is in shock with news of the passing of Andrew Penhallow.

Andrew Penhallow

Andrew Penhallow (Facebook)

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Andrew Penhallow's passing was confirmed tonight in a post by Boxcar, one of the Australian artists released on his Volition Records label in the 1990s. 

Our hearts are absolutely broken. Shocked to learn our friend, collaborator, Volition / So Solid svengali and all round dear funny man, Andrew R. Penhallow is gone. All our love to Andrew's partner Virginia, brother John and extended family, all the Factory / Volition extended family, his gigantic group of friends, bands, electronic producers, DJ's et al. 
Won't be another, like him. A character, I'll always savour our last chat, its was good boxcar news, we laughed, a LOT - always. - Boxcar

Penhallow was one of the pioneers in the early days of Australian electronic music, firstly as the Australiasian arm of Factory Records, looking after Tony Wilson's legendary catalogue in Australia throughout the 1980s. Working on bands like Joy Division and Happy Mondays, the label were one of the UK's key tastemakers and Penhallow spearheaded their success downunder. In the late 80s he started his own label Volition Records, becoming an important bridge between the worlds of rock and electronic.

The label supported the growth seminal Australian electronic acts including Severed Heads, Boxcar, Itch-E and Scratch-E, Single Gun Theory, FSOM, Southend, Vision Four 5Sexing The Cherry and Robert Racic.

Volition also signed bands outside the electronic genre including Falling Joys and Big Heavy Stuff

The label pushed what would usually be seen as underground music into the mainstream consciousness with Severed Heads' Dead Eyes Opened remix reaching #16 on the ARIA Charts in 1994, South End's The Winner Is... hitting #9 while Sexing the Cherry and Single Gun Theory also cracked the top 50 singles and albums charts respectively. The label also saw success for artists like Boxcar in the US and UK while Itch-E and Scratch-E's Sweetness and Light is remembered as a true crossover point after winning the ARIA for Best Dance Release in 1995. So strong was the label in the scene at that time that the song won in a category which also included Boxcar and Single Gun Theory. 

In 1994 Penhallow co-founded the Boiler Room at the Big Day Out. Volition came to an end in 1997 with Penhallow re-emerging with publishing company Higher Songs and management company 2000AV where he steered the career of Love Tattoo. He also worked with Pulse Radio, Australia's first internet radio station and created albums with Grafton Primary, Waldo G and Pty Ltd via his A Higher Sound production company co-founded with Craig Obey

He founded Resolution Music in 2005, working with bands including Nantes and Quails and continued innovating with enterprises like club servicing platform Concrete Promo.