Handstand Records is an independent DIY record label from Brooklyn, New York run by Will Cole. Originally just a distributor, Handstand became an official record label in 2000. It always has and always will be an independent label that emphasizes art over business and community over commodity.
HANDSTAND RECORDS started out like many other punk rock labels as a vehicle to release my own music. As a high school student in Alexandria, VA in the late 90’s, I had put out a handful of tapes over the years, but never had a consistent name to go by. I had also been gradually building up a mailorder distro which operated under various monikers, including Tron Distribution and Homemade Waffles.
In 2000, while I was attending college in Charlottesville, VA, I started looking into pressing CDs for my current and former bands (EXCITEBIKE and THE INFERTIL, respectively). The artwork and layout was handled in typical do-it-yourself fashion, which involved lots of cutting, stapling, and numerous trips to Kinko’s. After these two CD releases, my buddy Joe sent me a four-song recording of a project he was working on, but was having trouble funding an official release. I loved the songs and decided it would be just as much fun to release music from my friends as well as myself. Thus, the first IN ARCADIA EP was born.
Now that I had a couple CD releases out, I decided it was time to tackle my primary fetish: vinyl records. Enter the Northern Virginia thrashers CRESTFALLEN. I had been friends with these dudes for years, and we had always talked about doing a record together. They had already agreed to release their CD on Magic Bullet Records, but we all agreed that a proper vinyl LP was in order. I helped oversee the entire process, from recording to layout to production.
Early 2004 saw the move of Handstand Headquarters from its native state of Virginia to the big apple of New York. I spent a year in Manhattan attempting to cram my extensive distro and all my computer and music equipment into a tiny studio apartment. Skyrocketing rent expenses prevented a new release until February of 2005, when I moved to a larger, cheaper apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I started a band called OLDE GHOST almost immediately and was finally able to release IN ARCADIA’s first full-length CD, as well as a couple vinyl releases for OLDE GHOST.
Now that I have a handful releases under my belt, I have no intention of slowing down. I am currently expanding my distro catalog, while planning new releases of my current musical endeavors, as well as those of friends. I’m not trying to be the biggest label or distro, or even the best for that matter. I just want the music that I love to be available at a reasonable price to those who want it. Handstand always has and always will be an independent label that emphasizes art over business and community over commodity.
– Will Cole