Culture Trips

Record label Young Turks changes name to avoid connotations of genocide | Music

The record label Young Turks, home to the xx, FKA twigs, Sampha and more, has changed its name to Young to avoid connotations with genocide.

The Young Turks were a diverse group of intellectuals and revolutionaries who formed amid tensions in the Ottoman empire in the early 20th century. They helped usher in the 1908 revolution that deposed ruler Sultan Abdulhamid II and brought democracy.

Later, after a split into two factions, members of the Young Turks allied with the Committee of Union and Progress party were involved in genocides that targeted Armenians and Assyrians in the mid-1910s.

The term “young turks” has sometimes since been used as a generic term for young provocateurs or upstarts.

Caius Pawson, who founded the Young Turks record label in 2005 after running a club night of the same name, said he had originally named it after the Rod Stewart song, and said it evoked “the solidarity of youth … it seemed to perfectly sum up what we were: teenagers, wanting and waiting to do something, anything. However, we were unaware of the deeper history of the term.”

He added: “Through ongoing conversations and messages that have developed our own knowledge around the subject, it’s become apparent that the name is a source of hurt and confusion for people. We loved the name for what it meant to us, but in retrospect should have listened more carefully to other voices and acted more quickly.”

Its logo, formerly an image of skull wearing a fez, has been changed to a simple Y design.

Pawson announced that Young had made a donation to UK cultural organisation the Armenian Institute, “in memory of those who were killed and those who survived” the genocide.

Young was originally an imprint of the larger independent label XL Recordings, and now sits alongside it in the Beggars Group of labels. It has also released music by Kamasi Washington, Sbtrkt, Jack Peñate, El Guincho and more, plus solo projects by members of the xx.

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