As 2021 draws to a close, we can all agree that it has been another turbulent year. The ups and downs of COVID have been the backdrop against which our lives happened. Gigs started up again and it seemed like we could return to something approaching a normal, if more cautious, life.
The came Omicron, a variant that sounded like the name of a villain in the next Avengers film that has again disrupted our lives and threatens to start 2022 off with further lockdowns. At the moment we really don’t know what the New Year will have in store for us, but we can be certain that we are not out of the woods yet. Gigs and club nights almost certainly face more uncertainty, disruptions and cancellations.
One positive we can take from this is the way artists, promoters, club owners, record labels, etc. have responded to this. In fact we have been hugely inspired and impressed by the way the above catastrophes have been converted into action.
Whether this is Liverpool club District going to the trouble and expense of installing CO2 monitors to check ventilation levels inside the venue, record label Mai 68 launching a flexi singles club to circumvent delays at the pressing plants and make new music available on a regular basis or the new music that has been created in the most trying of circumstances, the people involved in the music business have not retreated or chosen inaction. They have instead chosen to do what they do best and what they love, they have chosen to continue.
In worrying times such as these we can all draw inspiration from their actions.
Moving away from the pandemic, 2021 has been Sun 13’s first full year of operation. In that year we have exceeded our most optimistic expectations and have been lucky enough to have people read our articles in their thousands. We have spoken to many of our musical heroes and have played, we like to think, some small part in promoting new records and gigs.
As a magazine based in Liverpool, we do turn our focus on to the city’s musical heroes, as shown in our reviews of the best local releases and interviews with some local legends, such as Bernie Connor, Phil and Pete Wylie, Paul Simpson, Mick Finkler and David ‘Yorkie’ Palmer.
Our Lost Albums features, looking at classic records that are denied their fair share of commercial success, have been a pleasure to write and an excuse to revisit such gems as Shack’s Waterpistol, Enablers’ Output Negative Space and Dalek I Love You’s Compass Kumpas. Part of the joy of these features is turning a spotlight on to records that have deserved a bit more exposure and a bit more love.
My highlight of the year has to be speaking to Simon Bonney, a man whose music I have loved for many years. I don’t tend to get nervous interviewing people any more, having done it for a number of years, but the nerves definitely kicked in for this one. I needn’t have worried as Mr Bonney was calm, charming and thoughtful. Viruses permitting, his 2022 tour will be something I will be talking about in our next end of year review and I can’t wait to hear his solo material live for the first time.
But the people I need to thank the most are the people who have read our articles and interacted with Sun 13 over the 20 or so months we have been around. Without you we are simply talking to ourselves, with you we are a community. That community is one of music lovers, people who still feel a thrill when they listen to music new or old. It is cool just to be part of that community, to be able to publish our reviews, thoughts and interviews and to have them read by an ever increasing audience.
We will continue to do the same next year and we hope you will still be there to be a part of this incredible journey.
To be honest, Banjo has summed it up perfectly, so these words will probably be like television static, so apologies in advance.
Those who know Banjo will agree when I say that he is a quiet unassuming gentleman who demands little attention, so he’ll probably be cringing inside at this. But it has to be said, a huge thanks goes to him.
To steer this thing alongside someone as knowledgeable and considerate as him is a privilege.
The response this year has completely bowled us over, exceeding all expectations. From positive to negative messages, the fact that people are engaging with something like this means they actually care, reaffirming that we’re not just howling into the void. So a massive thank you to readers who keep coming back for more. We hope that continues in 2022, however that may look.
We’re a picky bunch, all told. We try to listen to everything that is received, however as we both work full-time outside of Sun 13, it’s forever a juggling act.
We don’t publish content for the sake of it, clicks and traffic are something we don’t have an appetite for. That’s no criticism to other sites that do – each to its own. It’s just not our vibe, and instead we hope that our readership has a certain level of respect for what we do, whether they agree with our opinions or not.
While we deal directly with a lot of PRs and labels, I would like to take this opportunity to say a special thank you to Lauren at Rarely Unable, Rachel at Silver PR, Steve at Cruel Nature, Bill and Lisa at Trouble In Mind, Nathan at Riot Act Media, Fred and Simon at Drag City, the folks over at Constellation, and Owen at Human Worth.
Your help and patience has been paramount into how we shape the site, and without your work behind the scenes, Sun 13 simply wouldn’t be what it is.
Lastly, a thank you to all the bands who have taken time to speak to us this year. We understand that these last two years have been difficult beyond belief. We’re here to help out where we can and your time speaking to us is very much appreciated.
Like last year, we will be providing the odd piece during the next week, so keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, for those new to the site, below are some of our most read articles published this year.
Happy festive period to you all, and hopefully we’ll see you on the other side to do it all again next year.