The man behind cult film Trainspotting has made a move into the dance music scene.

Irvine Welsh, the author behind the novel which inspired the Nineties' classic starring Ewan McGregor, has now set up a Brighton-based music label, Jack Said What.

Irvine and other label bosses told how they have made it a success and how its Brighton roots have given it an edge.

Speaking at the Brighton Music Conference, which has just ended, Irvine said: “Living in Brighton and London definitely helps. You don’t want to put stuff out without support so we have tried to keep the label around Brighton where there’s a scene.

The Argus: Left to right: Irvine Welsh, Steve Mac and Jon CarterLeft to right: Irvine Welsh, Steve Mac and Jon Carter (Image: The Argus)

“You can give the music a kind of profile and you can work. I’m from Edinburgh and my mates are saying ‘sign us up’ but that’s not part of our strategy. We want everything to be organic.”

Irvine set up Jack Said What alongside DJ friend Steve Mac in 2022 and the label has burst on to the dance music scene with recent releases from Serge Santiago and Jon Carter.

Speaking about getting into DJing, he called the experience a “full circle thing” after originally taking to music but leaving it as his writing career grew.

Despite being best known for his novels, Irvine’s love for music has allowed him to mix his passions by writing the music for the Trainspotting musical which is set to hit the West End.

He explained how the musical came about and how their tracks played a large part in the adaptation of the novel.

Irvine said: “Producers have always been at me to do a musical but I said ‘f*** that’ but then I realised I was getting older and once you’re on someone mantlepiece someone else is going to make a musical out of it.

“We wrote songs out of our comfort zone. We said ‘let’s just go for it and do it’ and Steve [Mac] is the only person I could’ve done it with.

"It’s great to have pals working on it and it's fabulous to be able to reunite the gang under this project.

“It couldn’t be purely acid house, it covers rock and roll, northern soul as well as house and techno.”


Lisa Moorish, one of the label’s artists who sings on the Trainspotting musical, said: “Irvine is a dear friend and I stopped making music for various reasons.

“He invited me to sing and co-write on a couple of tracks on the musical and Irvine is a particularly brilliant wordsmith. It reignited that spark in me and I started to write songs again.”

Irvine said the aim for Jack Said What now was to take the label around the country on tour while still holding on to the Brighton roots.

While the goal is always to grow nationally and internationally, Irvine stressed he wanted to keep a label where people could “feel part of a tribe” and keep the brand’s Brighton soul.