I can't remember the exact moment I found out about Stardumb Records. In my memory, the label has simply always been there, releasing one solid release after the other and slowly becoming one of my go-to labels when it comes to excellent pop-punk. That is of course in no small part due to Stefan Tijs, the driving force behind the label he started back in 2000, an all-round excellent dude who is a lot of fun to work with and someone who is running a label for all the right reasons.
2020 marks Stefan's 20th year as music mogul and to celebrate the occasion he put together a compilation with a whopping 28 bands covering 28 Stardumb-released songs (EU pre-order / US pre-order). Including The Manges, Parasites, Kurt Baker Combo, The Creeps, Mikey Erg, The Jerry Hormone Ego Trip, Sonic Dolls, More Kicks, The Windowsill and many more! You can stream the whole thing below while reading what some of Stardumb's past and present roster have to say about what the label means to them.
Happy birthday, Stardumb! And here's to 20 more years of quality pop-punk!!
"I might not be completely impartial, but without Stardumb the world would suck a whole lot more. One of the most important labels in punkrock history. 20 years full of respect, hard work, friendship and love for the underground. A back catalog that can measure up to the Fats & Lookouts of this world. Stefan embodies the true DIY spirit and I'm proud to call him my friend. Goed bezig, verder zo!”
– Kevin (The Apers)
"I'm on Stardumb Records, still feels pleasantly weird to say. I had been a fan of the label for years, would have my local record store special order releases, and when I was on tours in Europe, I would snag up any of their LP's I would find at shows or in distro bins.
Fast forward to 2018. I had been releasing a series of digital-only singles (including my major trendy teen smash hit, "This One's Gonna Be Hot"). One day I got a message from Stefan asking what my overall plan for the singles was. Truth be told, I didn't have a plan. We started chatting, and he asked if I would want to do a record with him. I wasn't sure if he was joking or not, but of course, I said yes.
I couldn't be happier working on releases with Stefan and Stardumb. It's not just a record label; it's an extension of family and friends passionate about music, art, and supporting the scene. It's connecting with other musicians on the label. It's a positive culture filled with good vibes, fun jokes, and great slabs of wax.
Congrats to 20 years, and here's to 20 more. I should probably start working on my Christmas cards because of Stefan. The list has grown exponentially."
– Geoff Palmer
"We love Stardumb! The first real pop punk label that connected the whole Euro scene in the early 2000s, and proved over the years to be so much more than that. We’re proud to call Stefan a friend and wish him 20 more years of art and fun.”
– Andrea (The Manges)
"For us it all started with Apers and Retarded. Then we met Stefan. After a bit we were part of it. We had no words to express our gratitude. We met these folks around, at their homes, in different countries. Distance meant nothing, the spirit was all. Today, after all these years, here we are again. To quote one wise guy, "The Punkrock Don't Stop!". And this goes even beyond, true friends and family.”
– Stefan-Eno (ex-The Popsters)
"We've been fans of Stardumb since the early 2000s, always checking to see what new records they were putting out. More recently, our paths started crossing with Stefan at festivals and we became fast friends. We couldn't be happier to be a part of the 20th anniversary comp and finally join the Stardumb Records family!”
– Skottie (The Creeps)
“Growing up in suburban England in the mid-1990s, we always dreamed of the community of the East Bay punk scene that had spawned the bands we loved. But besides a few like-minded misfits, our rainy island felt pretty isolated from it all. Fast forward to 2001. We formed a band, wrote an entire set worth of daft Ramones-derivative songs within an hour, and immediately invited ourselves over to Rotterdam where an exciting new label had started up. Hanging out with Dutch, French and German punks, we made friendships for life and discovered a whole European punk rock scene that changed our lives forever. For us Stardumb Records was, and is, its heart and soul. Stefan's flat on Noordsingelstraat was our Gilman Street, Stardumb was our Lookout, Heineken our water. But Stefan's vision and creativity have made something entirely unique, and continually evolving.
Here's to the next 20 years of Stardumb. Of great punk rock records, inspiration, dear friends and perennial excuses to inflict ourselves upon the good people of Holland.”
– Will (Zatopeks)
"Congrats to Stefan and Stardumb Records for the 20 years. So many cool records and bands during their journey. I am so glad to be part of this amazing family. Raise your glass for the next 20 years.”
– Luis (K7s)
"Not only has Stardumb Records carried the punk rock torch proudly for the past 20 years, it has given dozens of likeminded bands the opportunity to let their music be heard by fans all over the globe. The support and sincere enthusiasm Stefan has shown for his releases have helped keeping our scene (and bands!) alive. For that, the Travoltas are forever grateful!"
– Perry (Travoltas)
"It's very easy to be cynical about the world of record labels, streaming royalty rates, the success of 'unworthy' bands etc. I made a promise to myself to avoid becoming the tedious band guy who says everything must have been better in the 90s. When you talk to a guy like Stefan from a label like Stardumb, that becomes much easier. It's a record label with the purest and simplest intentions. I feel like its motto could be: 'I wanted to hear that record so I released it'. We should be grateful that labels like Stardumb exist.”
– Sulli (More Kicks)
"From the great bands, the wonderful songs and all the way to Stefan's visual aesthetic and cover art, Stardumb Records has been a label that I've admired since discovering them in the early 2000's. I've always thought that Stardumb was like the European version of Lookout Records... not only is it a label, but it's a scene and it's a sound. 20 years later, Stefan continues to inspire us with all his top-notch releases and a positive attitude. Long live Stardumb!"
– Kurt Baker
"Stardumb is one of the few modern independent labels that I feel safe putting out our music. Stefan is not only one of the most passionate people in pop punk today, he takes the music very seriously, with enough whimsy and love, without muting the rebellious nature of the sounds and its meanings."
– John Jughead (Even In Blackouts)
"Stardumb is more than just a record label, it has always been like family to the Sonic Dolls. And as it is with family, even though it is not at legal drinking age for all parts of the world yet - not to say there weren't a couple beers spilled and "de Schurk" was never far either, it seems like it's been around forever. It brought too many things that we'd miss if it wasn't around. Great friendships, amazing shows, wooden chucks, frietjes speciaal with patat saté, absurd humour and in the end everyone ended up on the good old white leather sofa at least once! So, dear Stardumb family! Here we go for another 20, 30, 40 or how many years! Cheers!”
– The Sonic Dolls
"For reasons I’ve yet to comprehend, Stefan took a liking to my songs, so much so he actually releases them to the public! I don’t have any dirt on him so I don’t know.
Seriously though – releasing tunes on Stardumb is easy as working with a buddy, even though he’s on the other side of the world. Here’s to 20 more years and to Stefan not coming to his senses!"
– Lanny (Local Drags/Starter Jackets)
"We just can't say enough nice things about Stardumb! It was an absolute pleasure to work with a label that put out so many amazing bands and albums. We thought he was joking when he said he wanted to work on our album with us... but he was serious and he was as stoked as we were! Please go buy it! What an honor.. 20 years? Here's to 20 more! We better start working on our song for the 40th!”
– Dan (Four Lights)
"Stardumb has been there from the moment I looked beyond the Ramones Anthology. Proud to be on this record 17 years later!”
– Ricky (The Priceduifkes)
"We remember that night pretty well when we met Stefan and the Apers for the first show in Lingen in 1999. We had a blast, it was “supergutgeil“ (quoting Ivo Backbreaker).
When Stefan gave us the chance to put out a single on his label we were so happy!! Our band was rather short-lived, but Stefan did so much for European punk rock bands. Everyone knows that! Thank you so much for everything. The best damn record label in the world!”
– Florian (The Favorats)