Origin of the Species:
Amish Records emerged out of the fertile soil of southeastern Pennsylvania (with fertilizer supplements from Delaware and the borough of Queens) in late 1994. Part of a groundswell of labels that many-though no self-respecting-critics were then dubbing "indie rock," two friends with college radio shows that bumped against each other began a long conversation about the best and brightest records and live shows they each had happened upon in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York. With the naïve optimism that only one's Yuengling-fueled early twenties can provide, Amish put out a handful of 7"s (a medium they still enjoy) in its first six months and, in early 1996, crossed over into the land of the full-length, a shift that corresponded with the label re-settling in New York, the place we continue to call home.
From these humble beginnings, we have had the good fortune of working with some of our favorite artists, releasing LPs, 7"s, CDs, and other assorted digital detritus. Though we've seen many fantastic labels come and go (where to even begin? How about with our friends at Flydaddy for starters, one of the fucking greatest back catalogues to have ever disappeared on us), Amish is proud to have persisted, maintaining both our self-respect and spirit of independence in the wake of increasingly difficult times for those of us who value interesting and well-crafted releases.
Today we work with a solid stable of diverse acts that draw on a variety of genres and styles. Amish prides itself on not pining the label's identity to any one musical trend-releasing the minimalist drone-work of the Azusa Plane, the downtown Gods/Fugs-inspired Hall of Fame, the country-inflected rock of Oakley Hall, the British-Folk revival of P.G. Six, the German psychedelia of Metabolismus, the outsider madness of Theo Angell, the Sonics/Black Flag invective of Pipe, et al-a range that, naturally, reflects our broad record collections. It never made much sense to us when a label or band is identified exclusively with a particular "sound" or "scene." We learned an important lesson from the many touring bands that crashed our old Chinatown headquarters: you don't want to be the last kid from Iowa City still sporting a white belt and arguing about the "true" origins of Emo.
Rule Number One:
Know something about the label before sending anything. We don't want you to waste your postage and product on us if you have no real awareness of our history (see above) or only an elliptical sense of our past projects. Also, beware of the music press and blog culture's general laziness in writing and thinking about music (also, see above). The last thing we want to read in your one-sheet is that you are part of a "Freak Folk" scene or that your music draws on "electro-clash." It's rare that musicians or artists put the cart in front of the horse when discussing their work and hopefully, if you've read this far, you recognize that we'd rather be listening to records than reading what blogs and/or bad music writers are championing as the "new best thing since [fill in the blank]." Though these terms are often bandied about as signifiers of cool or as a coded form of insider-speak, very little holds up through time. Don't embarrass yourself or your music by catering to these trends. Have you seen what today is being pimped out as "New Weird America"? To us, it looks like a bunch of kids dressing up for Halloween and playing Manson while their parents are away on business.
Rule Number Two (which, in many ways, should have come first):
We strongly discourage sending soundfiles, links to your website, Myspace pages or connecting with us through the horrible sounds of an MP3. We don't care how good your monitors sound on your computer, it sounds like crap on ours. Would an experimental filmmaker like Stan Brakhage ever have encouraged folks to see his work on Youtube? We hope to hell not, though we read somewhere that Jonas Mekas posts a new short each day on his website for free download-an admirable project, but there must be lots of filler.
Now the official policy statement: we welcome hearing your work. We can't respond to each submission, but we'll listen to it eventually. We won't bore you with instances when we waited too long to finally get to a demo, or eventually purchased a record that we came to love, and later realized we had it already in our "to be listened to" pile. That might be your project someday. Contact Us>
We welcome your business, though we hope not to return to our Maximum Rock n'Roll roots when we were scrambling after well-concealed cash in envelopes postmarked from East Germany, Japan, Australia and suburban enclaves in the U.S. But with so many of our valued distributors closing shop, we might be persuaded and look forward to seeing some Euros in our P.O. box soon.
Identify and justify yourself and we'll see what we can do by way of promotion. We don't have a massive budget, but if you are interested in our various projects, we'd be happy to begin a conversation.