HeartFirst records is releasing 7" vinyl with their friends' bands. And I trade with some of my friends' labels because I love my friends and they put out some killer stuff by their friends' bands.

You might want to read this info if you run a label/distro and you think you want to distribute HeartFirst releases but unfortunately you do not want to part with your hard earned cash. But trade for your own releases instead. so before you send off that email:

HeartFirst Records is cutting down trading activities and stalinist quality control is in place because

  • The space here is very limited -- and my taste is very narrow.

  • In 27 years of distributing records I have seen too many lame and unsellable records. My friends have basements full of dead stock of Italian emo records from the 1990s and splits of Croatian Grind. I like to learn from people's mistakes, not just my own.

  • Many records these days are lame shit, esp. when it comes to quality of recording and packaging. Most of my releases were recorded in expensive studios, the covers have some screen printed aspect to it. The kind of shtick some money grubbing labels do as their pre-order version for rich kids. I rather do the whole print run like that. So do I want to squander that kind of record and trade it for your release with Peruvian D-Beat in a xeroxed cover with a pile of corpses in 72 dpi that you found on the internet? You can maybe guess the answer.

  • I can only trade for something that will sell fast. As fast as some of my releases. Why would I trade the KRIEGSHÖG 7"s or BANNLYST LPs for something that will move much slower, like that demo recording of a Swedish band you found and that noone cared about in 1986, so why should I care now?  

  • It really helps when the bands are very visible, meaning that they tour a lot and have releases on various labels. For example, RUIDOSA INMUNDICIA play a lot, they have toured Japan and Australia, BURIAL have been to Japan, VAASKA have a least played almost a handfull of gigs in Europe, PEACEBASTARD play a lot in Europe. So even if your band is the best band in the world, people might not be interested because they only play the local squat.  

BUT trading is the best way to get your records around the world, so i do not have anything against it in general but need to enforce strict quality control on this end.

You get big PLUSes if:

  • We have traded in the past

  • You are putting out quality vinyl by quality bands that play live a lot

  • You put thought and effort into packaging and sound quality of your releases

  • Styles that always have been and always will be hot here at HeartFirst: Early 80s USHC, mid 80s Euro hc, 80s thrash, japacore.  

you unfortunately get thumbs down if:

  • you have sent out a mass mailing about trading which also reached me. at least try to make it look personal.

  • You are doing cd-only releases. you might have heard that the CD is pretty much a dead format -- it is indeed true.  

  • Speaking of formats: I like cassettes but I do not want to distribute them. I have a hard time keeping track of my records, so I must limit the tape section. I sell some tapes of my friends' bands occstionally. Still I do not want to carry your tape of Russian ska punk, sorry. Even if you sold 5000 copies of it already. 

  • You have any of the following musical styles: black metal, grind, crust with bad recording, stenchcore, generic dis-core (d-beat they call it today), metal punk (whatever that means). Basically everything that is influenced by 90s music or metal I do not want.

  • You are doing split releases. If there is one thing that is un-sellable in the world, it is split-releases by unknown bands, like Croatian crust bands that share the same rehearsal space. They might be your best drinking buddies and their music might be alright. But hey, in another country, noone can sell that record within the next five years probably.

  • The lyrics are dumb (homophobic, sexist, generic sXe, or exlusively about drinking, "the streets", satan).

  • You trade with everyone and their mother in germany already and all my friend's labels are already stuck with your releases.

  • You co-released the record with six other labels because everyone was too chicken to put their money down for the mediocre release. You can be assured half of the labels listed on the back of the record have written to me already and asked for a trade. And got turned down, or plainly ignored.  

quality control is the most important way to keep the diy hardcore punk scene alive and strong. if you read and understood all this and still want to get in touch:

If you do not hear back from me: I'm not deaf -- I'm ignoring you.