AnalogueTrash will be ten years old as an entity in 2019, and we’re already planning for our tenth birthday party. AT has changed a lot over the past ten years and it’s prompting a lot of reflection and introspection from everyone involved – so much so that I’m sure Ady will write a separate post on that at some point – but for now we look back on 2018 with a fond smile.

It’s been an interesting and exciting year for us here at AnalogueTrash. The increasing workload at the label, blog and radio station alongside day jobs, health woes and personal commitments has seen us bring a few more people to help us keep things running smoothly – a big thank you to Gary from Nature of Wires for the help on the radio front, Mark Lawrence with social media and Emily Oldfield on PR. It took a while, but we’ve got some great people on board and we hope to expand the team moving forward.

The roster has expanded significantly over the year in both numbers of acts signed as well as the genres on display, with the beat poetry of STOCKSNSKINS bringing something very new to the label while quality electronica from Spray and The Frixion has also been added to the mix. Geographically there’s been real a North American and Canadian flavour to the more recent roster additions too – The Cowls, Shanghai Beach and Paragon Cause bringing indie-electronica, dark electro, soulful trip hop-infused ambience and more to the table.

A personal highlight for me has been the release of Frédéric Scarfone’s Way Bach Machine with its sumptuous blend of baroque melodies and analogue sounds, its ability to be left field yet accessible encapsulating much of what the label is about.

Gary from Nature of Wires has seen his profile as a remixer grow through the year, with the band graduating to headliners in their own right – something The Frixion, Goteki, Factory Acts and Vieon (now featuring label head honcho Ady on live visuals) have also done with increasing regularity.

Albums from Archipelago – another recent signing, Room 1985, St Lucifer as well as the aforementioned Frédéric Scarfone were all well received and it’s a sign of how much the label has grown that our latest sampler compilation – the fourth in the series – contains no less than 21 tracks!

Of course, we still have Factory Acts producing great post-punk sounds and their track Are You the Singer? was a political and musical triumph. Advance are grappling with parenthood and other projects but fear not:  new material will come forth in 2019 and there’s new music to come from label old guard Atomzero, Neonsol and Vain Machine too, the latter teasing us with some fantastic new material towards the back end of 2018. It’s a tribute loyalty of the bands and acts on the label that so many of them have stayed with us over the years, and that is something we really appreciate.

We ended the year with two highs – a spectacular Foundations Festival 2018 and the release of the 4th edition of our Label Sampler series. Both these things felt like a statement of intent in many ways, with Foundations establishing itself as a real hub for local creativity and collaboration in Manchester and our sampler suitably laying out our stall with 21 diverse, brilliant tracks that really encapsulate what AT is about as a label and collective.

We’ve not been without our share of challenges either of course and it’d be disingenuous to present everything through a rose-tinted, positive lens. Like most others working away at the grassroots of the music industry we’ve seen income from music sales slow down considerably due to changing consumer habits and economic uncertainty. The whole GDPR thing pretty hit our mailing list hard, while increasingly unhelpful social media algorithms have made it more and more difficult to keep in touch with people interested in what we’re up to.

And then of course there’s Brexit which, let’s face it, has the potential to cripple the UK’s music industry bar those big touring artists already at arena level. It’s already had an effect this year – adding to the creativity or some of our artists and politicising others, as well as adding a huge layer of uncertainty as we plan for the year ahead. It may end up affecting plans for gigs and tours depending on what rules are put in place come April next year, but we’ll going full steam ahead in 2019, come what may.

So, 2019 promises to be both a challenging and exciting year for us.  With your continued support – through buying music and merchandise, signing up to our annual subscription option, streaming and sharing our releases, coming along to gigs, spreading the message of our label and giving the bands as much support and encouragement as you can though, we can do this.

We’re feeling confident, inspired and humbled moving forward – everyone we’re working with deserves a platform and deserves to be heard, and that’s what will keep us going no matter what.

Thanks for reading and for sticking with us. See you in 2019. xx