Unbeaten Records is a label that has been getting a lot of love on No Echo in the last couple of years. Based in New York state, the company is owned and operated by Buddy Armstrong, a longtime member of the hardcore community from his work as bassist of the mighty Stigmata.
With such bands as Left Behind, Boundaries, Purgatory, Bruise, and No Victory on its roster, Unbeaten Records is poised for a huge 2019. Get to know Buddy and the label in this new profile.
Often times, indie labels are formed out of necessity when there’s a band looking to release a record and can’t get the attention they deserve. What was the inspiration behind starting Unbeaten Records?
When we started the label, I felt like there was big cross section of the hardcore scene that wasn't getting attention it deserved, either because of where the band was from, or they just didn't run in the circles with the "cool kids." I wasn't sure really. But I did know that there were a lot of bands worthy of peoples attention and they weren't getting it. I hoped we could help in that department.
Some of your early releases include records by Lowered A.D. and Left Behind, two bands that have worked hard. How did you come to work with them?
Lowered A.D. used to be called Crucifer and they went to The Pit in California to record. While there, they were hanging out with Brian from Xibalba. I was talking with Brian about how I was starting a label and he told me about Lowered A.D. and how they were out there recording and hanging out with him. So, I texted Taylor Young from The Pit and he sent me the EP to check out. It kinda went from there. With Left Behind, it was real quick! The guitarist for No Victory (Brian Pilla) said to me, "Left Behind is gonna be the biggest band in the world." I got the recording of Seeing Hell a few minutes later and I thought it was the best record I’d heard in years. I got contacts for the band and we started talking.
How involved are you in the creative process behind the Unbeaten Records releases? Do you get involved in that side of things?
I'm involved start to finish with everything. I'm lucky enough to have a team of people that helps and contributes greatly to the process, but yeah as far as everything goes, I’m in the thick of it.
Do you get inundated with band submissions? Have you signed a band that came from an unsolicited submission?
We get a lot of submissions and I listen to everything. Growing up playing in bands myself, all we ever wanted was for someone to listen to the songs we would send them and hopes for some kind of response—good or band [laughs]. I'm constantly listening to new bands. I love it. Up until just recently, we hadn't put out any band that had sent us a submission. That has recently changed and you will hear about it very soon.
What has been the biggest-selling Unbeaten Records release to date and why do you think that is?
So far, the biggest sellers have been both Left Behind records, with others in a very close second, for sure. I think records like Seeing Hell and Blessed By the Burn are releases that speak to tons of different types of people (hardcore kids, metal kids, doom heads, bikers). It's real music for real people. No bullshit. That speaks volumes.
How much of a learning curve has there been so far? In other words, have you made any costly mistakes, or stuff that in hindsight you would have done differently if given the chance?
The label has just wrapped up our 4th year. I believe there was a big learning curve seeing as though it was so new and we were figuring things out as we grew. I believe with growth comes knowledge and things are turning out great as we continue into 2019.
What’s on deck for 2019?
There are so many releases we are excited for. This will be the biggest year yet for the label. The new Boundaries EP, My Body In Bloom, is out Feb. 22. The new All Out War LP will start being recording in mid February. There will be new Orthodox and No Victory records and three other big pieces of news we cant share at the moment, so stay tuned for announcements coming very soon.
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