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Trust Records: Hardcore Scene Veterans Launch New Record Label, First Releases Announced

Today marked the official announcement of Trust Records, a new record label dedicated to preserving some of the most influential records to ever come out of the hardcore punk realm.

So far, Trust Records has announced the forthcoming release of a 40th Anniversary deluxe reissue of Circle Jerks' Group Sex album. The company will also be reissuing the punk icons' Wild in the Streets LP from 1982.

The brainchild of hardcore vets Joe Nelson (Winds of Promise, Triggerman) and Matt Pincus (Judge, SONGS Music Publishing), Trust Records has also secured a deal where the company will be releasing key titles from BYO (Better Youth Organization), label co-founded by Youth Brigade members Shawn Stern and Mark Stern.  

2021 will see Trust Records dropping BYO albums from 7-Seconds (The Crew), Youth Brigade (Sound & Fury), and Agression (Don’t Be Mistaken). 

No Echo spoke with Joe Nelson about the new label and got some clarity on why so many important hardcore punk records aren't up on the streaming sites yet.

How far do you go back with Matt, and what was the catalyst behind starting Trust Records?

I met Matt when he was playing bass for Judge, so that would have been 1989. We’ve been friends ever since. When he started Some Records with Sammy Siegler (Youth of Today, Judge, Rival Schools) and Walter Schriefels (Youth of Today, Quicksand, Rival Schools), one of the bands on their label was Innaway whom I managed.

Everyone should go to Spotify and check their self-titled album out. That band was so good. 

Anyway, when Matt started Know Your Rights, which is a non profit music publishing company for '80s-era hardcore artists, he tapped me to handle the artist relations part. It was actually though that collaboration we both came to realize there was a real issue with this genre of music when it comes to this digital age we are in.  

Matt came to realize through Know Your Rights that there was a real chance we would lose some of the great punk and hardcore albums as label owners and artists started to die off. So, from that we formed Trust Records to try and ensure that never happens.

You obviously understood you had to make a statement with the label’s first release. Tell me how the talks between Trust and Circle Jerks commenced, and how long did it take from that point to the project’s completion? 

Matt and I have been working on this label for 3 years. So the answer is yes, there have been a lot of hurdles. Shawn Stern from BYO Records was one of the first labels we actually approached to partner with. That was 3 years ago! 

What happened with the Circle Jerks was about a year ago I was asked to advise them on a merchandise program as they were planning a reunion tour. That’s what I’ve been basically doing for the past 20 years, music merchandising. During the conversation I asked what they were doing with some of their back catalog, and here we are today.  

This Group Sex release turned out so great. I can’t wait for people to see it. The 20-page booklet is like a piece of art.

Our graphic artist, Robert Fisher, is a true master. He’s the guy who designed Nirvanas “Nevermind” so he sort of knows what he’s doing. 

Circle Jerks (Photo: Edward Colver)

You’ve already announced a wave of BYO releases, including The Crew from 7 Seconds, a record I’ve seen many people complain about through the years about it not being on the streaming sites. For someone reading this who doesn’t understand why so many pivotal hardcore/punk releases aren’t up on the streaming services, how would you explain it in simple terms?

This exact question is why Matt and I started this label. Some of the reasons are political, some are just basic neglect, and some are just because of internal fighting over a bands digital rights. You have to understand that all of this music we are championing was created where there was no thought ever regarding digital streaming.

There wasn’t even the Internet yet. So it only makes sense that music created in such an environment would struggle in the digital age. 

Matt is a wizard when it comes to digital music. His company, Songs, came of age during the streaming boom, so nobody is better equipped to not only navigate these waters but really help a band like 7 Seconds maximize their catalog on the digital platform. 

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