Flood The Earth Records Interview

Greetings!Please explain the aims with which you constructed your label?From what kind of source of inspiration you gave life to your label?

The inspiration for Flood the Earth came from being sick of what I saw going on in the underground. All of the gimmicks, trends, and especially all of the mediocre bands that emerged and contributed nothing new to justify their own existence… all of these factors were driving me away from something that had at one time been special to me. Rather than turn coat I took it upon myself to start a label and release music that I would first and foremost enjoy as a music lover. I find it much more rewarding to release and promote bands that I feel are worthwhile instead of doing nothing and bitching about ‘the scene’.

 

Can you present the bands that dwell under the wings of your label?With which bands you have a current signings at the moment?Do they have all something in common,or are they all different from each other?Can you present the bands on your rooster?

 

All of the bands we have released have been quite different from one another. We do not confine ourselves to any particular genre, though we definitely tend towards the darker side of the music spectrum. Our most extensive dealings so far have been with Vinterriket, having released the US versions of Winterschatten, Der letzte Winter and also a split album with Northaunt. We are big fans of all CZ’s work and he has proven to be a  very honorable and reliable person to work with, so I hope that we can be a home for Vinterriket well into the future. Our most recent release was Karsten Hamre’s Broken Whispers album. The album is very bleak, minimalist dark ambient. Karsten has been a force in the dark ambient/experimental scene for some time with his work as Penitent, Veiled Allusions, Arcane Art and other projects.

 

Some releases we have coming up include:

Hacksaw to the Throat – Excellent Bay Area death/thrash metal. Introspective and morose, meshed with rip your face off intensity.

 

Ordo Tyrannis – Very interesting project that pushes the boundaries of black metal, doom, dark ambience and industrial. The band features Michael Ford of Black Funeral/Valefor notoriety, but Ordo Tyrannis absolutely stands as its own entity.

Until Death Overtakes Me – Symphonic ambient funeral doom, the follow-up to their acclaimed Prelude to Monolith album.

 

Avernus – Hopefully this band does not need introduction as they are semi-legendary in the doom metal scene. Plagued by misfortune and setbacks throughout their career, they are now on track and recording their first true full-length album since 1997(!) for Flood the Earth. I have heard one 10+ minute track and believe this will be the album fans have been waiting for Avernus to record.

We have a lot of other signings in the works, anyone wanting to be kept up to date on our label happenings is encouraged to sign up on the website to receive our newsletters via email.

 

What is the biggest point that you care about much when signing with a new band?To make the answer more extended and specific,can you mention about the other subjects as well regarding the qualities that you seek in a new band or your current bands?

Besides of course enjoying the music, the first thing I notice about a band is whether they really want to be on our label or if they are just trying to squeeze us for all they can get. This becomes apparent very quickly and any band that is not really into being on our label, we do not want to work with. Don’t get me wrong, I expect that a band will be looking out for their own interests, and I do my very best to take care of our bands regarding royalties, promotion, etc. But when some unknown demo-level band starts telling me that I have to front them a studio budget, book them a tour, advance thousands of dollars for said tour, and print up multiple shirt designs for them… some of the requests I get are pretty laughable really. If I had that type of money to throw around I would be trying to sign Katatonia and purchase the Burzum catalog, not fund some teenager’s black metal rockstar fantasies.  

How can you define your relationships with your bands?Can we talk about a friendship here or do you just think about the business side of the stuff?

 

Well, I am a very introverted and private person, so I do not have many people I count as friends, maybe four or five at most. Also most of the bands we work with are not living anywhere near us. Still I get along just fine with all the bands currently on the roster and I would not say it is strictly a business relationship, as I do enjoy discussing politics, music (in general) and other things with some of our artists.

 

Besides the great extend of scene-knowledge,scene-conciousness,having a label also requires great amounts of dedication.What do you think when you can’t find the required dedication in the bands with whom you have a deal ,eventhough when you are much more interested in the related subjects like promotion,managements etc?Don’t you think that bands should also follow the movements of the label from a close perspective?

I do my very best to determine the level of dedication before we sign a band, and if I am not sure I will ask them how they feel about answering interviews, playing shows, etc. These are not necessarily prerequisites, but it is best to have an understanding of how things will work before you get involved. It is pretty obvious if a band is hard working or if they just want things handed to them. I honestly do not have any problems or concerns with any of the bands we are releasing, I think in part because we are working primarily with veteran artists. Karsten Hamre, Michael Ford and Avernus have all been doing this for over a decade, so there is no question that they are dedicated to their art. Also we tend to only sign our artists for one album, so that if either party is unhappy it is a simple thing to part ways. Life is much easier when you surround yourself with motivated, hard-working people and I certainly take this into consideration before signing anyone.

 

A classic one,what are your plans for your label’s future?

Once we have a few more bands on the roster I would like to be more active in organizing and promoting shows. Besides that, I just want to improve and expand on all activities of the label. Flood the Earth is less than two years old and there is still plenty of room to learn and grow.   

 

What is the meaning of the name of  your label?Or,in other words,what does it stand for?With what motivation have you chosed it?

There is certainly some meaning behind it but I prefer to leave it open to interpretation.

 

For you what is the importance of the magazines,fanzines in the scene?Meantime,with frank words,what do you think about the Frost Magazine?

Magazines and fanzines are more important now than ever because there are so many releases, it is really impossible to keep track of them all, let alone to blindly purchase albums to see what is good. Zines have a responsibility to sift through the heaps of bullshit albums and promote the most innovative and worthwhile releases. Many fall short of this ideal and succumb to plugging albums for advertising dollars, but those who are truly passionate and spend countless hours just to support the music they enjoy are very admirable in my view. Of course I only have kind words regarding Frost Magazine, who have shown much interest and support of Flood the Earth. It is refreshing for a zine to really have some substance to it instead of the typical questions and metal idiocy. Also I think there is a great selection of bands interviewed. In many zines I will be interested in one or two bands only, but Frost features many bands which I have an interest in.  

 

Webzines VS Printed Magazines?

I will always prefer printed magazines over webzines. There is something more satisfying about having a real magazine. Material on webzines can be edited or removed, very often they are difficult to navigate or simply disappear. A printed zine is something that is concrete, it is not going to change or vanish, also they typically have more personality and seem more sincere. It requires a lot more effort, dedication and sacrifice to make a real magazine instead of a webzine. There are some advantages to webzines, however. They can be updated instantly, so they are useful for news. They also tend to review material much faster than print zines. The problem that I see with webzines is that any idiot can have one. Perhaps they could have a print zine too, but will they invest the time and money to produce one? In most cases no. So while there are some very good webzines out there with professional reviewers and great interviews, the majority are just crap. Webzines are like CDr labels, there are some good ones but most are done by kids who want to feel important but have nothing of value to offer.

 

Being a label owner,may i take your opinions about the this free-music thing?Mp3s,file-sharings etc?For you,what forces people to lead in such ways-expensive cds? or what?

I have mixed feelings about Mp3s. They are a great promotional tool and expose people to music they may otherwise never hear. I can also understand wanting to hear a few songs before purchasing an album, as there are so many terrible bands around. But there is a world of difference between a label or band offering some Mp3s for people to check out, and people who possess nothing but stolen albums for which the label and artist never receive a dime. This is theft, there is no other way to look at it, and I think these are rather shameful individuals. Maybe Metallica or Slipknot will get by allright with a dip in album sales, but when you are talking about real underground musicians, they are not earning much to begin with. I think a lot of people ‘get it’ and if they like a band they will buy the real thing, regardless if Mp3s are available or not. But I do worry that it will get to the point when it is no longer feasible for underground artists and labels to exist. This is fine if you only enjoy music on major radio stations or MTV, but if you are a fan of innovative, original music it will be a dark day indeed. I do know of some underground labels that have already gone under and blame the rise of Mp3s and the subsequent drop in album sales as the sole reason. So it is the responsibility of real fans to support the labels and artists they care about so they can continue to produce great music. I know as a music lover I always prefer to have a real album. Mp3s and CDrs sound like shit to me and I would rather have the album packaged as it was intended, which is in most cases an extension of the artist’s vision. Plus who wants to be in front of a computer downloading music all day? Fuck that. So I cannot identify at all with these people who only have burned CDrs and Mp3s in their collection. I do not think it is a symptom of overpriced CDs, most mailorders in the U.S. do not sell CDs for more than $10. I think they are just cheap bastards that would rather horde a few dollars than show some support. Pathetic.

 

Now i want you to be honest,can you earn enough money from the label?

 

 There is much more chance to fail than succeed, but certainly it is possible. Even though prices have dropped a bit, there is still a very high markup cost on CDs, so you do not need to sell very many copies to get your money back. If you are asking me personally rather than just in general, Flood the Earth is my full-time work, I do not have any sort of job on the side. We release about one album a month now, sales have increased, distribution has improved, we are gaining more exposure and doing just fine.

 

Can you tell the “normal jop day” of you?How is the daily life with your label?What generally you do in a single “jop day”?

I am a full-time university student so my day is typically balanced between doing label work (shipping orders, answering emails, etc.) and school work. I am studying history so there is a lot of reading and other research involved, it can be very time consuming. Most days I start doing label work as soon as I wake up and will continue throughout the day until 2am or so. The days are long but they go by very quick. When there are no pressing matters to address I will try and seek out new distributors, ask zines to feature our bands, contact radio stations, send promos out everywhere, design an ad, look for new bands to sign… there is always something to be done.  

 

I think that`s all what I wanted to know for now. Thanks for your time and the answers! Finish this interview quoting the words of a man you admire the most, please!

Many thanks to Frost Magazine for supporting Flood the Earth, we surely appreciate it. I admire most those who do not say much at all.

 

 

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