DIY for one decade - the people behind SINNBUS (Photo by Rosa Merk)

DIY for one decade – the people behind SINNBUS (Photo by Rosa Merk)

Quite a lot happened in the last ten years of music. Indie became mainstream, dubstep made it into the music charts, TAKE THAT even celebrated their comeback. Well, and much more of course. In this whole time one little DIY label from Berlin managed it to survive all ups and downs of the music industry. It’s name is SINNBUS and if you’re not familiar with them, feel invited to get to know them better. Being still around in 2013 is pretty extraordinary for a little independent label – formed in the year 2003 by members of various different bands (for example SDNMT, DELBO and KATE MOSH) in Berlin. So what’s SINNBUS‘ special skills? One for a start would be that it was formed by chummy musicians and not pretentious media people. They all had the same problem- no one wanted to book their bands. So why not launching their own label? No problem at all! Even if two members of SDNMT borrowed money from their parents to release SINNBUS‘ first record: a sampler which featured songs from all foundation members. Furthermore they launched their own concert night series.

And they managed to stick around even as the members didn’t have any offices at that time – everything was done at home. Pretty chaotic but, well, who are you telling these. NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION is used to these scenarios. But comes time, comes professionalization and the musicians somehow managed to get an office in Berlin – in a sanified old building. But still. ten years in the game, for almost every SINNBUS member, besides Daniel Spindler, the labelwork remains a hobby. Other, regular jobs help them to earn their money. One can say they basically kept it as ‘indie’ as possible. There’s clearly no lack of passion and spirit here, that much is for sure.

Sinnbus Sticker The label started with about thirty members – now there are only around ten left. Well, the course of the music industry remains a strange one but this number might be correct for such a little label. And there is another pretty special thing about the DIY firm: all signed bands are friends of the founders or friend’s recommendations. They never found one single band via demo-tapes. So don’t mind sending them files… probably. Or maybe do so. You’ll never know. Over the years the label became quite flexible in terms of musical genres for their little love project. It all started with post-rock but now they just require soulful music and passionate musicians. From the three electropo guys of BODI BILL, to the soulful duo HUNDREDS from Hamburg and the Swedish post-rockers AUDREY. There is a wide range of bands to discover. They might not have ‘that one special big band’ in their roster but that’s basically how they wanted it to be. And sometimes growth is not the only answer for a company. Integrity and dignity might be others. You won’t find many institutions like SINNBUS nowadays. They’ve got a specific spirit – the spirit to remain friends and music lovers, not only collegues. They managed to mix work and private life without getting eaten alive. But most of it they decided to work against the mechanisms of growth and mainstream fame. Well, at least we hope it was the intention.

Some might argue that it really is a shame that only Daniel Spindler can be salaried from the label’s work. But on the other side we need to stay realistic on these aspect. You can’t have it all. Integrity and payment? Well, still kind of hard in the German culture scene. But it doesn’t look forced. Same goes for the internation acknowledgement – outside its home country SINNBUS unfortunately isn’t that famous yet. But they’re trying to change that. Recently, BODI BILL‘s album Two In One has been released in France, the UK and the Benelux. And a special tour through selected other countries is also planned. But first of all it’s time to celebrate SINNBUS‘ tenth anniversary right in their home country. This happens in form of a unique festival, the Ten Years Sinnbus Rec Festival – of course presented by NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION. Terrific bands like THE/DAS, HUNDREDS, UNMAP, RUE ROYALE and LA BOUM FATALE will perform in different cities to do SINNBUS the honour. Events you should definitely not miss! Check the full line-up below and get the label’s great special compilation right here. And always be aware of the lesson in this little tale. Work hard, work with love and you’ll achieve …. well, not everything, but maybe a few of your dreams.


31.10. Hamburg | Uebel und Gefährlich – Hundreds, Unmap, The/Das, Rue Royale, La Boum Fatale
01.11. Jena | Kassablanca – Unmap, The/Das, Rue Royale, Bodi Bill DJ-Team
02.11. Leipzig | UT Connewitz – Unmap, Rue Royale, Miss Kenichi, Jan Roth
02.11. Leipzig | Distillery – La Boum Fatale, Thomalla, Freedarich, Sinnbus/Krakatau DJ Team
07.11. Berlin | Heimathafen Neukölln – Hundreds, Me And My Drummer, Unmap, The/Das, Rue Royale