Records With History And Future

90's Hardcore Punk and more

Possibilities in Documenting Hardcore

Although Hardcore can be perceived as a narrow field, there are many different ways to document it. The different ways to do this is what the following post is about. Hardcore is in my opinion one of the genres with the most active documenting public. There’s always the public and the bands, those two parties will always exist. And there’s almost always live-performances required too.

I won’t go further in that, this post is meant to bring you a reflection on the numerous ways of documenting Hardcore and it’s music, bands, culture, scenes, etc.

In my opinion there are roughly 4 main options in which you can document Hardcore in all it’s facets. These options are interchangeable with each other, they can have a mixed use. Every option has advantages but negative sides also. The four categories are:

  1. tangible music format
  2. paper printing in zines or books
  3. motion screens
  4. internet

First way is documenting the music and a band’s delivery through recording music and pressing it on a tangible music-format. Different formats can be chosen. The oldest is the vinyl record. This format is still in use nowadays, also for recent releases. Roughly said; thereafter came tapes and then the final format is Compact Disc. There are also other format affiliated like flexi’s, mini-discs,… But you get what I mean.

Because it requires skills and money to do so, labels came to existence. Not only do these formats need to be manufactured they also need to be layouted and distributed. The layout of a record can be by the band or by the label or a cooperation of both or even a third party designer. All three formats need to be preferably layouted and have covers. Preferably lyrics are a welcome facet also.

Also brokers and distro’s came to existence by the need to press recordings of sound on tangible copies so that they could be spread among the people.

Tapes or cassettes
Compact Discs ( CD )

Second way is in a printed paper (book-)format. Within the book-format there are many different types of documenting you can take on. There are several concepts that can fit in the book-format. I’m trying to elaborate some of them:

    1. First of all and the life blood of our culture are the paper zines. They can be made totally DIY and are not so expensive to be printed.
    2. If you have taken many pictures of bands and live-performances you can for example create a photo-book. The majority of the pages are filled with photo’s. Those photo’s are the main content featured.
    3. Another way to document the Hardcore scene is by making a flyer book. The main content here are promotional flyers from Hardcore gigs. Personally I find that an interesting take because you immediately get a view what bands played at which moment in time. If they are both on the same flyer that means they were both active in the same time-era and that they knew each other to some extent.
    4. The third approach to the perception of Hardcore for interested people is the (self-) written biography. There’s no collecting of material involved here, such books mainly contain plain text. And deal with the person’s life and if he or she is still alive and has written it by themselves, then it’s an auto-biography. For sure the author can use artifacts to recollect what happened in his or her life.
    5. Fourth is also a very informative way of bundling knowledge on a certain scene. These kind of books also lean on collections, in this case collections of zines. Zines are mostly written not long after a record’s release or a show that happened, so these are in my opinion the most knowledgeable sources.
    6. Fifth and last but not least are discography books. They give an insight in the existing tangible remnants of an era; namely records. Records pressing info’s are if known also included. So you can measure the popularity and or influence throughout the years of a release. If you get what I mean? If there were several pressings, that meant that it sold out and that it needed to be repressed and implicates that many people got them on different moments in time.
    7. There are mixed versions possible also. With texts, photo’s, flyers, discographies, etc. all mixed in one…
2 recent paper zines
PHOTO-BOOK example:
Adult Crash book (photo’s by Dave Brown)
Example of a photobook layout, live shots breath the atmosphere
FLYER-BOOK example:
Flyers in their entirety printed in a book
(auto-) BIOGRAPHY BOOK example:
Biography book written by Cro-Mags frontman John Joseph
Plain text
Following the exact same lay-out as the original zine (pictured is Schism zines compilation)
Compilation of all the Touch And Go zines
Compilation of all the H8 zines
Covers of records pictured and mostly accompanied by band info, pressing info. Mostly chronological and focusing on a certain genre.

The third way is if you don’t want to aim to a reader-public but rather to those who like to watch and hear on a screen of a TV or a computer. Those who film live sets of bands. Those who have footage of old performances can always put it on DVD’s. DVD’s still are the main format for anything with motion-screens related and audio related. Not only live-sets can be on a DVD but also interviews, documentaries and also movies about Hardcore.VIDEO-DOCUMENTARIES examples:


The fourth way is through the internet. This can be combinations of the above used methods. They can put photo’s, music, video’s and texts on the web. The advantage of this is that is wildly accessible to anyone that has access to an internet connection and a way to view and browse it. I’m talking about laptops, PC’s, smartphones, tablets,…

Examples of concepts are:

Nowadays with the up-rise of technology, internet became a huge role-taker in that field of preserving knowledge and documenting events like shows and record collecting. Download blogs definitely try to document the history hardcore in the musical way. They digitize music from CD’s, tapes and vinyl records, but also scan zines and insert or whatever can be digitized. Also VHS digitizing is done.

Many of those blog also blatantly copy and spread music while it’s still in print. I do not know the exact laws concerning all this, but I’ve personally got ethical issues with this way of handling. I mean without asking bands and or labels who actually paid all their savings to get the music on a physical bearer, because there was no digital format back then. And then comes that new generation comes and demands and or even claim the rights to all this… It just doesn’t feel right to me.COLLECTOR Blogs:

They also take advantage of the internet possibilities. But they first buy the record and then take pictures of the pressing characteristics of a certain release. And along with that they usually voice their opinion also. Also pressing info can be added to their writings.And many many more, such as:

  • news sites such as Punknews
  • online discography databases such as Discogs
  • price guiding sites for vinyl records and tapes such as Popsike, Collectors Frenzy

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