2020* and all that

It’s Cassette Week! We’re not doing anything for it this year, but I thought it would be a good time to let you know where we are and what’s happening in the world of Beanie Tapes.

Let me state the obvious. This year has been different. I won’t rehash all the terrible stuff that is happening in the world, the music industry, venues and so on. Personally we haven’t been hit too badly – I still have a job and our family hasn’t been sick. But we certainly lost some momentum with Beanie Tapes.

We had a few releases pencilled in that kept drifting later and later until eventually we just decided to wait until the music is ready and the time feels right. 2021 might be that time. Jack Goldstein has been working on an album that we hope to release on tape (as well as some amazing lockdown singles and the digital-only album he’s putting out this week!). Jules has almost finished recording the next set of Julia-Sophie tracks and I’d love to make a tape, maybe of two EPs. Max Blansjaar has been dealing with sixth form under lockdown which must be seriously hard, but will undoubtedly record another masterpiece when he’s ready. In the meantime he has released a few singles as Slappe Hap, recorded with his sister Silke. It’s a great side project – look out for a Slappe Hap tape one of these days. We even started some Candy Says recordings about a year ago, and one day we’ll finish them off.

We haven’t been in the headspace to be inspired by new discoveries this year, but there’s one Oxford band we already knew about who we’re talking to about a début release – that’s exciting. And it feels like just maybe our headspace is shifting a little. Not into a full manic tape label episode, but into a sort of autumnal hunkering down where we might start to make plans around the fire.

We’re really going to need plans. The Beanie Tapes release strategy centred around putting on a great launch gig (or a residency at The Library – can you even imagine that now?!), and that’s not going to be easy for a long time. We usually sell most of the tape run at the launch gig. The tape is a perfect reminder of the event that you can take home. So we’ll have to get creative about actually selling some tapes when nobody is gathering in the real world to be excited about music.

So there we are. 2020 will be the year with an asterisk for Beanie Tapes, as for almost everyone else. Let’s just hope there are enough bands, venues and music lovers left in Oxford after the plague that we can piece together something new, maybe even better, to replace the scene that we lost.

Happy Cassette Week!