Attendance Record: A Brief History of Here We Aren’t Records

In so many ways, Here We Aren’t is a joke that never ended…

My first band, Absent, had pressed up copies of our debut EP ourselves. We were looking for a title and I was sat in the kitchen of our bass player, Grant, with his father Malcolm, brainstorming titles. I suggested ‘Here We Are’ – I thought a good title for a first release and it played on our name a little too – but without missing a beat Malcolm returned “More like ‘Here We Aren’t'”. We both laughed for a good while before I went back to the PC in the study at their house, took a stock image of some postcards and added that new title. It looked passable. The band liked it.

Fast-forward a couple of years and we’d taken the bold step of recording our next record ourselves. It was an ambitious task considering the basic equipment we were using. But we succeeded in putting together an album (‘Wasted Graffiti’) of which I remain proud to this day.

We remained unsigned and once again were pressing it and releasing the CD ourselves. So I created the artwork and as a way of continuing the joke, I chose four words to adorn the sleeve: ‘Here We Aren’t Records’.

We released two more CDs as a band following that and I kept that ‘fake’ record label name on each one. When I started my next band, End of Part One, I used the same label name as I made my first foray into digital releases. Seeing the label’s name on iTunes felt like a turning point. This ‘fake’ label was now ‘real’ to me.

So I decided why could it not be? What was to stop it being a real thing? So I set about my first ‘signing’; seeing a young band called A Girl Called Kate open a show, I knew they would be a worthwhile addition to the fledgling label. I put out a single for them (‘Jigsaw’) and then they shortly after disbanded…

I added more releases over the coming years to the discography, from Absent guitarist Darren Leeder and a few of his various projects (i.e. ‘Split-Second Decisions’, ‘The Waheys!’, ‘Hypertensions’) and then in 2012 Darren and I began playing music together again, which became the basis for The Pocket Symphony Orchestra (TPSO), our band which is still going strong to this day.

The label handles TPSO releases and we’ve added prolific singer-songwriter Andy Wild-Hughes to the roster of artists on the label. The label became an official member of BPI in 2020 and looking now to build that roster further.

Malcolm passed away at the end of 2021, but his wit lives on in our name and I hope this joke will never end.

– Barry Walker
Founder & Managing Director, Here We Aren’t
11th October 2021