A symbol of Athens’ great 1990s underground music.

In the late 1980s, rural Louisiana high school students, Bill Doss, Jeff Mangum, Robert Schneider, and Will Cullen Hart formed a friendship around exchanging homemade cassette tapes and counting down the days until they could venture out to find the creative community they longed for.

The group relocated to Athens in 1993 and found the community they were looking for in a myriad of local, underground bands. With Schneider at the helm, Elephant 6 was born. Defining Elephant 6 has proven difficult for members, fans, and critics alike. At times it is referred to as a record label, a collective, and even a family. In the early days, as more bands entered the fold, they began meeting at potlucks in Doss, Hart, and Mangum’s attic apartment to rehearse songs and discuss their music.

For a time, Elephant 6 served as an actual record label, specializing in seven-inches and cassettes. Members of the Elephant 6 collective include bands like Elf Power, Neutral Milk Hotel, Of Montreal, Olivia Tremor Control, and so many more. Today, Elephant 6 continues to be a nostalgic symbol of Athens’ great 1990’s underground music, and the logo still appears on the back of album covers and mysterious flyers in vintage record stores.

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