Goodbye 2021, Hello 2022....
So this is likely the last blog post of the year, and usually people do recaps or something about the year gone by, I think? I don’t know. I have some skills in the music areas but not so much in the “how normal people behave” areas. Still, as you have read so far, why not do an enormously long blog about 2021? Exactly.
So let me start by saying, despite the long, irritating, and exhausting issues with vinyl, 2021 may well have been the best year I have had in this industry. It was relentlessly busy, but so much has happened that it is hard to even know where to start. So let’s do it via the people who made it all happen.
The Customers and Supporters
Right at the top is you guys. Yeah it’s cheesy as hell, but it is the base that everything we have been able to do is built upon. You guys have made this year not just possible, but incredible. The faith you put in my label, the outpouring of support and remarkable patience you guys have shown when issues have arisen, and the amount of music you guys have bought through my store and worldwide has been simply jaw dropping. It has enabled growth at a speed I would never have thought possible, and has created a base for future projects in 2022 which will blow your minds. The fanatical fans that have provided so much useful feedback and bought EVERYTHING (y’all are nuts, but big love to you) and the regular supporters who make it safe for us to take risks, and the fly by customers who add icing to the cake - you are all indispensable and you have made this year, and really, this label, what it is.
So Kniteforce and all its sub labels and business partners thanks you from the bottom of our bass bins! Big ups to you all.
Yes yes, I know I fairly regularly bang on about how I can’t do this all myself, and that’s only going to be more the case in the upcoming year. Already, a huge change from a year ago, is that Kniteforce now has “employees”. The casual relationship I had with the Council of Kniteforce has become a bigger working thing where everyone has their duties and salaries! I have to take a second here to thank Paul Bradley for all his work - as well as running Knitebreed and sharing label duties on 2DR, he has become our in house video and arts person, and will be taking over customer service and numerous other duties in 2022. Meanwhile Glyn Lowercase, who already manages Remix Records and is the other half of 2DR is going to be managing the forthcoming Kniteforce Events (we expect at least 2 this year, maybe 3 - but the first rule of Knite Club is…mention Knite Club vaguely but don’t explain anything lol). Lee Idealz has coped with the massive increase in vinyl packing and storage with his usual casual aplomb, having to go back and forth from our storage facility on the regular, as well as packing and sending a frankly obscene amount of vinyl through he post office. One week this year we had nearly 7000 records delivered, which, if any of you have ever moved and packed records, you will know is a LOT. I cannot state clearly enough how much he has been the backbone of much of what we do. I have taken over sharing the work with posting vinyl, and even with that, we have both been pushed to our limits just to make sure orders go out, and I will have to add more space and likely more people to this side of the business in 2022.
A newer addition to the Kniteforce Council has been John Zero, who not only hand built our website from scratch, but also handles all the Merchandise orders. The website is amazing - I have had a few over the years, and used Bandcamp and Discogs and Ebay, and the KF site is superior to all of them in my experience, as far as being able to upload and sell music without each release being a horrible chore to add to the store. The biggest issue we have had is making sure it could keep up with the leaps and bounds in usage. While handling all of that, he has managed to add an entire merchandise division and make it run smoothly and effectively. Not an easy job, and he has done it with a quiet competence and with a new baby on one arm. Impressive.
And lastly a huge thanks to Shane Saiyan, who handled the KFA and Malice labels for a number of years and right up until the end of this year, when he decided it was time to move on to other things. He will be sorely missed. I will always be very grateful for the work and effort he has put in over the years, managing KFA and bringing new artists and projects to the label, and while our paths have split now, I wish him every success in his future endeavours!
AWESOME PEOPLE WE WORK WITH
Massive thanks to SRD for all the hard work with distribution this year. Paul Rico is an absolute star, as are all the SRD staff that work so hard to make this a fun job to do, and who have helped no end with managing releases at a time when releases are very hard to manage!
Likewise, none of this could not be possible without Curved who cut and press my vinyl, and organise the artwork etc. Absolute stars who have navigated what has been a horrendous year with care and style, doing all they could to make a frankly impossible situation with the pressing plants as manageable as possible. If you need vinyl cut, you won’t find better, and if you need it pressed, I can’t recommend them enough. Absolute professional excellence from start to finish by people who bend over backwards to make sure you get what you need.
Ands of course, Jon Doe, an unsung talent in the Kniteforce machine, the man who masters all our music, and deals with all the issues we present to him as if they are nothing. Big ups Mr Jon sir!
Okay, on to the artists. Obviously, and without question, a massive thanks to all the regular KF artists. It says something that I am afraid to name names because I know I will forget people. It says 2 things, actually:
1. I am a terrible person with a crap memory, and...
2. We have so many wicked artist that I have to write this sentence lol.
But a deep and sincere thank you to every one of you. Whether they are new to releasing music or an old hand, every one of them has shown such passion and commitment, it has been overwhelming. Artists trust me with their music, to treat it right and release it well, and rarely a week goes by where I don’t pinch myself at the music we have coming. Whether it be a box set from Shades of Rhythm, a remix from Dj Beeno, a new EP from The Criminal Minds, a new track from Dj Stephano, you name it, I get to hear amazing things on a regular basis, old heroes and new heroes alike. Some of the KF crew have really excelled this year - Ant To Be and Abyss both breaking out into the wider world much to my satisfaction, I have to say. And I only envision more of this with the wealth of talent the label is releasing. Whether it is Ray Keith or Sub Fundation, DS1 or Acen, Scartat or Bay B Kane, Blame or TNO Project, Kniteforce has your back and is honoured to work with you. So thank you to everyone.
In the end, all of this is to say, a HUGE thank you to everyone involved. All the artists - musical of course, but lets not forget Mannik, HSI, Paul Bradley and Spudgunjuice and the original KF artist, Rebecca Try, for their visual skills as well. All the businesses who I work with and who have made this possible. All the labels who have supported and offered advice - JAL, Hectic, Moving Shadow, Blue Badger, Liftin Spirit, Out of Romford, MPS, Propa Talent, Time Tunnel, Overshadow, Ruff Guidance, Cantina Cuts, Vinyl Fanatiks, Deep Jungle - like the artists, it is too many to name and not miss someone out, and in fact, when you think about it, I genuinely cannot remember a time when so many labels and artists and businesses worked together with genuine care and respect for the artists, the music, the scene in general and each other.
Lastly, because without them I wouldn’t even be here, huge love and thanks to my wife Cindy, and my boys, Wilder and Phoenix. There wouldn’t be any point in any of this without them.
In the end, I am just hugely grateful for this amazing year with all you amazing people, and hope that 2022 is even better. But in truth, I am not sure how it could be, and even if all goes horribly wrong in the new year, I will forever be grateful for 2020 and 2021. They have, by far, been the best years of my business and personal life, which makes them the best years of my life full stop, no question.
Have a wonderful Xmas and new year everyone! And I didnt want to overwhelm you, so I have missed out any that the artwork is not finished on (such as Shades of Rhythm, Propa Talent and the next Acen box Set) but enjoy a small art preview of the next…err…101 releases….
JUST ANOTHER LABEL:
OUT OF ROMFORD RECORDS:
All of these are due on the 1st of March, 2022*
*I sincerly hope not...lol...these will be here throughout 2022! :)