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Record Label Profile: Best Wishes Records

Illustration by Chun One

Best Wishes Records only got on my radar a couple of months back via the excellent No Brainer, a hardcore band No Echo had the pleasure of covering on the site recently. Since then, I've been playing catch-up, going through the Australian label's back catalog of releases. There's a beautifully wide range of hardcore styles being released through the label, everything from metallic xvx to NYHC-inspired stomp to melodic hardcore.

I chatted with Best Wishes Records co-founders CJ and Danielle about the label to get some insight on how they pull it all off.

Tell me a bit about how Best Wishes Records started and what inspired you to do the label in the first place.

CJ: I pretty much never had any intentions on starting a record label really, was more started to help put out a friend’s demo and then trailed on from there. Probably about 3 releases in is where I was like alright, I really want to do something with this and help provide a platform for smaller/newer bands. Adelaide had a really great hardcore scene when I was originally introduced to it but sadly was in a bit of quite spot and I wanted to see what I could do. Danielle came into the label about six releases in and now four-ish years into it, still doing what we’re doing.

Danielle Annetts: I jumped into the label a few releases in to help CJ out with a few things… then I just didn’t stop, I guess? I’m typically a creative person and around that time I wasn’t really doing much and really wanted to contribute more plus the whole DIY aspect of running a label is really fun and I like being busy. I also really admire everything Life.Lair.Regret Records do and all their hard work in the hardcore scene to make it what it is today so they all definitely inspired me to be a part of the label with CJ full time.

How do you go about finding the bands you want to work? Would you say there’s a certain thing that ties all of the bands you’ve released?

CJ: Australia is quite small in the sense of everyone kind knows everyone to a degree. Either we know someone in the band, or they know us, so they just flick us a message and go from there. Think there is one or two bands that have emailed the label. Tried to stick to one to really just hardcore or the heavier side, but then I (CJ) heard Colourblind’s demo and thought this could easily be out on the label. Though now more often or not happens to be hardcore / metalcore but there are some releases that are on the softer side.

Danielle: Also, I get so hyped when I find out friends are starting new bands and annoy them to put it out because I’m so proud of the music they create as I am far from musically talented in any way, shape or form. We both like a wide range of music, so we just put out we like and that’s probably the thing that ties them all together.

Warpath (Photo: Steven Cook).

Of all the label’s previous releases, which one would you say got the most traction, in terms of visibility and sales?

Easily xUNWORTHY OF LIFEx purely because it was straight up '90s metalcore, vegan straightedge worship and it came out when that trend was at its peak. XVX isn’t a huge thing in Australia anymore and surprising it really ruffled the feathers of people that shit on vegans on social media. So much so one guy said he was going to eat a raw baby chicken or some shit in spite of the release. It ended up selling out really quickly, got a European pressing, and now they’re doing something with Catalyst Records.

Plus, Colourblind from my hometown of Adelaide did extremely well, our allocation actually sold out the night of release and we ended up having to ask if we could pinch copies from them to meet demand.

One of the label’s newest releasees is the Soul Step EP from No Brainer. What was it about the band/material that made you decide that you wanted to be involved? 

No Brainer was on our radar back in 2017 after their demo came out on Bad Noose, straight away I really wanted to work with this band. Musically, they are probably most in line with a majority of hardcore we are both keen on, and then when they emailed us it was a yes straight away. After we put out their 3-track EP and Danielle brought them over to Melbourne, one show in we looked at each and knew we wanted to do a 7” with them.

Personally, speaking I think in 2020 people are wanting craving a dash of ‘fun’ with hardcore, has been a bit of a serious tip with hardcore, especially with the myspace metalcore hype train that blasted through. Not to say I have anything against those bands, but there seems to be a wave coming in with bands like Buggin Out, Dare, Wild Side, Friction, etc. riding it.

Members of No Brainer with Danielle from Best Wishes Records

As someone living in California who isn’t well-versed on the current Australia hardcore scene, can you give me the lowdown on the last couple of years or so? How healthy are things at the moment? Do you get enough touring bands coming through?

I would assume a majority of well-known Australian stuff would be our metalcore exports? Parkway Drive is pretty much one of the biggest heavy band to exist it seems, but I Killed the Prom Queen, Iron Mind, The Others, Miles Away and most recently Primitive Blast have made it over.

The last couple years have been good. Robert, Michael and Nicole in Life.Lair.Regret and Maddo in Last Ride… they have really been knocking it out the park. Much respect to those four. To date 2020 has seen Integrity, Knocked Loose, Jesus Piece, Malevolence, Kublai Khan, Regulate and Krust come through, with Candy and TUI coming up soon. Brick & Mortar Supply (clothing store) have hosted some really fun shows as well, locally here in Melbourne which have a really great AA vibe.

Volatile Ways (Photo: Aidan Griffith)

What other stuff can we expect from the label in the coming year?

Besides No Brainer, we have put out a tape for Future Primitive from Brisbane and Volatile Ways from a few places across the east coast of Australia. Future Primitive is dead on straight up early Cro-Mags worship, while Volatile Ways is some FU, pissed off beatdown. At the moment we do have one more confirmed release, so bands please feel free to email us if you want to work with us!

Which Best Wishes release do you think deserves way more attention than it has received so far and why?

All of them maybe, some have gone on and done well for themselves, whilst some maybe wasn’t out at the right time. Faitheater is some aggressive D-beat with lyrical content covering veganism and Warhammer. Really do hope their EP sees the life of day as the artwork was on another level and the tracks where their best to date, but I think they’re coming back? 

Second was Painkiller’s demo tape, which sadly the band never got its chance to truly shine. Again, more aggressive hardcore, but more akin to Sex Prisoner or Mind Eraser. Would highly recommend both to anyone.

Whilst we have the spotlight would like to say listen to the following current Australian bands: Speed, Excarnate, Nova, Kid Presentable, Trenchknife, Broken, Porcelain, Engage, Denial, The Chain, Histamine, Succ, Gee Tee, Self Harm, Rapid Dye, Honest Crooks, Crush The Demoniac, Crave Death, Dress Code, Paradise Club, Ill Natured, Warpath, Facecutter, Volatile Ways, Culture Shock, TALC, Hacker, Nosedive, Warcycle, Ubik, Cold Meat, Reactions, Sleep Talk, Cold Blood, Geld, Nerve Damage, and World View.

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