Over the past eleven years, Trustkill Records has risen out of a College dorm room into the world famous independent music brand it has become known for. A wildly successful DIY story, the Trustkill brand has attained status as the authoritative voice in the worlds of independent metal, hardcore, punk and emo music. Every year since its inception has been a success unto itself, with the past several years showing tremendous growth for the label. In 2006 Trustkill has had five albums debut on the Billboard charts, three of which landed in the "Top 200". Trustkill has now become a fully staffed company, with departments in marketing, sales, merchandising, new media, creative, and a self-maintained warehouse. The label itself grew out of the dorm room of Josh Grabelle, who at 19 years of age became interested in the music business when he was promoting hardcore/punk shows in the basement of his parent's house at the New Jersey shore. This suburban basement became the New Jersey stop for many legendary groups on tour including Earth Crisis, Hatebreed, Snapcase & Sensefield.
In the early 90's at Syracuse University, inbetween classes and shows, the restless Grabelle worked on a fanzine titled "Trustkill". In 1993, Grabelle released his first album (a split release with Watermark Records) which was a Tribute record to Ian Mackeye's (Minor Threat, Fugazi) influential but often glossed over pioneering emo project, Embrace. That record was "Land Of Greed, World Of Need" (good luck finding it ebayers!) and included tracks by Rancid, Avail and Lifetime. Something about this experience agreed with Grabelle, who began to sign bands that he enjoyed but had yet to reach past their own regions. Trustkill would go on to sign New Jersey favorites such as Endeavor and Nora, whom would reach worldwide notoriety. Other early signings included what would become the definitive bands of the mid 90's metalcore movement such as Harvest, Brother's Keeper and Despair.
After attending Syracuse Law School and balancing label responsibilities, Grabelle decided to put a career in Law on the back-burner so he could pursue his ever-growing passion in the label. That risk turned into a full-time career and entertainment empire that includes the label's current roster of heavyweight artists such as Bullet For My Valentine, Eighteen Visions, Bleeding Through, It Dies Today, Poison The Well, and Throwdown. Increased visibility and exposure with an eye on selecting talent has helped sales of albums to steadily increase including Bleeding Through, who have combined sales of over 200,000 albums to date. Their new album, The Truth, released in 2006 debuted at #1 on Billboard's "Independent Chart". Bullet for My Valentine who also released their debut album in 2006 scored Billboard's "Hotshot Debut" and has since sold over 125,000 copies in the U.S.
The success at the record label has allowed the company to grow and expand into other entertainment sectors including music publishing, film, mobile, merchandise/e-commerce, and touring. Bullet Tooth Publishing, the labels' boutique in-house publishing company has recently partnered with Universal Music Group Publishing to administer their entire song catalog. This strategic partnership will align Trustkill artists with many of the top soundtrack, gaming, and advertising outlets. This deal will also enable Bullet Tooth to sign other non-Trustkill artists.
MobileThreat, Trustkill's foray into the mobile music world is a strategic company that is branded as a "one-stop source for all "metal, hardcore, punk, and emo mobile content". This venture does not limit itself to Trustkill artists but will be a distribution platform for various 3rd party labels and artists. Recently MobileThreat has partnered with Cellfish Media for worldwide distribution. Cellfish Media, a pioneer in original mobile content creation and distribution in Europe and North America is a dominant force in the mobile industry with acclaimed brands including BlingTones and Barrio Moible.
Summer 2006 also marked the launch of the Trustkill "Takeover Tour", this new touring venture will package Trustkill only artists together for a major promotion, marketing and sponsorship campaign. The annual tour will incorporate retail, merchandise, and online. The inaugural tour featured Bullet For My Valentine, Walls Of Jericho and Roses Are Red.
The final sector entity includes merchandise and e-commerce. Trustkill has an exclusive partnership with BandMerch for all physical retail distribution for Trustkill apparel. In year 2000 Trustkill's two e-commerce websites were launched which included Trustkill.com & TrustkillShows.com. TrustkillShows.com, a fan and industry "live show" database, is equipped with everything from a national punk show search engine to band tour journals. This site has a 3rd party advertising element which allows consumer banner ad placement booked by an outside ad agency. Trustkill.com's online store is the online distribution component for selling all Trustkill artist products. These sites generate over 50,000+ unique visitors and 2 Million+ hits per day from over 75 countries! The website and web traffic was built on word of mouth "grass roots" marketing with no paid promotions for the sites!
Utilizing and keeping true to the DIY ethics gleaned from years of experience in the underground music scene has helped Trustkill grow and stand as an industry leading trusted brand for cutting edge music, merchandise, fashion trends, and more. Their reputation of experience, commitment and success stands strong with a history of millions of global fans. The Trustkill brand is the "pulse point" and breeding ground for all things rock!