Label Spotlight:  DS catches up with DIY hardcore label Trial and Error Records

Label Spotlight: DS catches up with DIY hardcore label Trial and Error Records

Trial and Error Records is a Melbourne based label that has been responsible for some of the best Australian hardcore releases for well over 10 years now.  Owner, Nigel Melder, took time to tell DS about all things Trial and Error, from where it started, to where it is now and all the hard work in between.

Check out the interview here.

Who and what are Trial and Error Records?

A label that was born out of necessity, it’s just me.

What are you currently working on?

At the moment Samsara are on tour with Dropsaw , both have new albums with Samsara’s being the freshest.  I have new releases coming up from Phantoms, 4 Dead, Antagonist AD and Against.  The Hopeless 7” has just sold out pretty quickly.

What is playing on your stereo?

The new 108 record, love it.

When did you get started?

1996 I made the decision  but the first release didn’t happen until 1997 as I was waiting on a vinyl pressing that took forever to come back to Australia. That was Credulity by Mindsnare.


No one was interested in releasing Mindsnare records. Someone had to make it happen so it was me. Once the label and distribution was established, it made sense to release records of friends bands. It all snowballed from there

What bands are on your roster?  (Current and previous)

There is a list on I am typing this on a plane and I would hate to forget someone! I am always forgetting people when making lists.

What releases have you been responsible for?

I think I am up to about 90 records now, all of them my work.

Of those, which is your favourite?

I can’t pick favourites, way too hard.  I do wish I had pressed more on vinyl over the years but it was harder to sell pressings back then, that’s really turning around now and I’ll be doing more on vinyl.

What are the challenges you’ve faced as a small label?

Lack of funds and time, mind you lots of big labels mishandle things just as poorly sometimes.  It’s getting harder and harder to sell cd’s but that’s just the times.

What are the perks of running your own label?

Having a pressing come back of a new release, that’s always a good day to open that box and see the finished product.  It’s a good feeling to release a debut record of a young band, helping them get a finished record.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone wanting to start their own DIY label, what would that be?

Just go for it and ask everyone as many questions as you can.  I called the label Trial And Error  as I really didn’t know what I was doing, it seemed fitting.  I’ve learned a few things along the way but am by no means an expert.

What are 3 things that the world should know about T&E?

None of the records have been released because I thought they were going to be profitable.  Everything has been released as I really liked the demo, the live show or the band in general.  In the past I have been offered records that I know would sell but didn’t sit well with me in regards to what I listen to, those I never released.  I always suggested other labels and kept it true to what I like.  All past records I still like and nothing embarrasses me in terms of style or sound.  I don’t think that’s three things but I think it’s important, I’ll always have that.

Any last words?

Support bands and buy records/merch/anything.  It’s pretty hard for the bands to tour and get around, help them out if you dig it!  Whilst it’s cheaper to make a record than it used to be, it’s also a lot harder to sell them and record deals aren’t as good or the bands don’t see as much coming back as they used to.  They need all the help they can get.

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