Long Ago 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?
 
Hails! Well, the very first idea to establish a label had occured to my mind yet much earlier before the official constitution however  it did not come true due to lack of money. Later then in 1997 I came upon to publish a pure Black Metal zine which we together with my mate Lord Ogronios realised under the sign Eclipse magazine. That time there was a total lack of whatever Czech written publication concerning with Black Metal in the Czech Republic.  Up from the second issue we started to make an English version as well and the last two issues (5th & 6th) were released just in English. The biggest problem after realisation turned out to be a distribution, most of distributions were being interested just in trades only, anyone didn´t prefare to buy for wholesale prices. So, we were actually forced to run a distribution and sell the stuffs (mostly pure black metal) we got from the trades. The autumn 1999 became the time of getting started a regular publishing label under the name Eclipse Productions. The debut product was a T-shirt signed “Slavonic Power” made in a strictly limited edition of 100 copies. Later then we realised under the label Eclipse together 15 CD´s, 6 EP´s, 1 MLP and many T-shirts, stitchers and other merchandise up to now. The bands that worked under our wings were: Algor, Arkona, Astrofaes, Detonator666, Gottlos, Heiden, Immortal Hammer, Inferno, Ogmias, Silva Nigra, Stutthof, The Stone, Trollech and Tundra. In 2002 we stopped to make a magazine due to a lack of time for preparation and realisation from my side. Lord was not able to lead it himself so we tried to engage some new people from abroad to be interested, however we haven´t drafted anyone convenient we were forced to stop this publishing activity. Another important change came in 2005 as I have decided to change the name of label from Eclipse Productions to Long Ago Records. The main reason for this substitution was the existence of many other firms and mag of thesame and/or  similar name “Eclipse” and that we were used to face many confusions and misunderstandings due this fact.
 
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?
 
First of all I have to say that I never have and never will ask a band to subscribe for more albums. I got used to sign a band always just  for one concrete album. Not ever otherwise. I don´t wanna obstruct a band to leave if being not satisfied with my work and activities. And that is the same vice versa. I guess it is a fair conduct. At the moment there are 4 CD´s released out under the sign of Long Ago Rex. The first one has been (finally) the debut album”Ansia” of Italian horde Tundra playing fast and raw Black Metal in a vein of Darktkthrone and Dodheimsgard. Moreover, the vocal parts were screamed out by Barbarud of Maniac Butcher. The second product was re-edition of debut album “Imperium” of Polish Arkona. This already cult band need no comments. Album CD comes with new design and two bonustracks. The third CD of LAR is split of Polish underground hordes Moontower and Taran. Moontower performs classical fast and raw Black metal in the purest ug form. Taran uses influences from Swedish scene a´la Dark Funeral. Well, and the last release till now was Hromovlad from Slovakia with their album “Vladca lesov, skalnych stien”. It is a new band arising from the ashes of Immortal Hammer. The members of another band Algor contributed on the album (Slavfist on drums and Aldaron on additional vocals)l. It is raw fast BM with pagan metal influences.
 
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?
 
I got used to receive a lot of promos with a request for contract, but mostly I haven´t got even a time to listen to all that carefully. I always put the accent on the first sense. So if there´s a free place in my planlist at the moment and band impresses me at the first listening I try to come into cooperation. But I always deal with underground hordes whom I´d like to help to become more visible at the scene. The closest to my heart are the ones of raw and fast black metal a´la early northern style. However, at present I even do not look for any new bands to sign. There are many offers while a few bucks.
 
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?
 
Hah, hah… Of course, we rae friends with many bands. The closest friendship I suppose is with Inferno, Hromovlad (ex-Immortal Hammer), Arkona, Trollech, Algor. Then obviously I am on friendly terms also with other bands as Heiden, Silva Nigra, Ogmias (RIP), Tundra and many others. We can´t talk about real “friendship” with guys from many bands I release cause we don´t know each other personally, however we can neither talk just about “business”. Of course, I wouldn´t make this job if I haven´t earned some money from it, cause there´s so much work around that the plain interest only is not enough. Moreover, if I liked to make up a bigger money in the scope of “underground” (now I mean in the Czech Republic) I would produce death metal or grind core bands, cause here is very few black metal fans. I mention this fact cause absolute most of the customers is from the Czech Rep., just a very few ones are from abroad.
 
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 have never thought this way. It is a very thing of every band how approaching this problem. I personally make all thing can do and can´t rule if a band fucks on the way.
 
A classic one,what are your plans for your label’s future?
 
A lot of plans. Firs of all I will release CD of Inferno called “old unholy emotion”. It will include their two old demos “Hell on the Earth” and  “Dark Prophecies of Ancient Ancestors” with totally new sound with some additional vocals and supressed keyboards. The other releases that should be follow are new CD of Canadian Funeral Fog – again underground Unholy Black Metal, then Arkona “Nocne Arkonskie Hordy” – the same material as “Nocturnal Arkonian Hordes” but with re-recorded guitars and vocals in Polish language. Maybe you can look forward a live CD of Trollech. The future will show…
 
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?
 
I guess the name “Eclipse” is a closed chapter already, so let´s talk just about the new sign. I was looking for new suitable name for a long time, about one year and half. Having a lot of various suggestions I didn´t want to do it with too much haste to choose an one to change after  another month or some cliche one similar to clouds around. One can interpret the name “Long Ago Records” in two means: firstly it means “Long ago…” in the times of our pagan ancestors, secondly it means “Long ago…” in the times when underground used to be of a pure form, not the one of the present (contaminated by commerce, falcity, hypocrisy et cetera.)
 
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?
 
Personally I guess mags and zines are still an indivisible and necessary part of the underground scene. How could one read and come to know about various bands we listen to nowadays and through which we got into the deepest underground. For sure they are requisite and needful! Commercial tabloids ignore such bands, at least I have never found the music I like in such papers… I like your mag. The thing I may reproach is the graphics (layout) that could be more mature and the interviews could be more indepth. Besides that, the selection of bands is great as well as other things. Keep up good work.
 
Webzines VS Printed Magazines?
 
Doubtless I prefer printed mags. They rae kind of cult and in a way nostalgia. By the way, I have never read through a web-zine in my life and I dare to say never will. I don´t like to read from a screen. To read a paper is a kind of getting cool. To listen to some background music, to lie on a bad and “learn”. a “studoval”. It´s a kind of relaxation for me, although having not a time for it recently.
 
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?
 
Hmm… that´s a problem no. One. I don´t wonder if ones download and copy commercial music, but as concerns the underground scene I guess the distros have very fair prices. But I know a lot of people who buy original cd´s, vinyls and download MP3 files as well. The reason is to get an overview and knowledge about the scene and internet offers you the whole, then you can check out and the better ones to buy as original. 
 
Now I want you to be honest, can you earn enough money from the label?
 
If I take into consideration myself, underground and the space of the Czech Rep. it is not possible. I would have to produce more commercial bands, but that´s not my intention. The pure Black Metal is closest to my heart, so I want to support this one and not any commerce shits. And as mentioned earlier, there is very few black metal fans in the Czechia. Also the purchasing power of people here is not as good, so the mp3 downloading and copying rules. And actually, there is no real underground in our country, just hypocrisy, slanders, denunciations, and making things of others more difficult. I have already a chance to meet it personally as well as Ogmias band (our problems with police some three years ago). In that time I got to know what are my real friends and what are the hypocrites. .
 
Can you tell the “normal jop day” of you?How is the daily life with your label?What generally you do in a single “job day”?
 
In the time I was employing post box (I cancelled this service cause it´s pretty expensive) yet, so I attended a post every morning to take out and send the packets and letters. At the present post deliver all the stuff right to my home. It is every day about 9 a.m. I return home from post office (sending the stuffs – orders, parcels, letters – I settled up previous day) to get new ones which I start to handle at once. It deals about new orders, new products from other labels, promo-packets etc., in the meantime I settle up the e-mails (really lots) which take most of my time. It is really hard to imagine how to handle all the things without internet and manage all the correspondence through traditional post. Then I make some graphic work, web-designs and other things. It is really a lot of various things and most of people is not able to imagine how much time the managing label uses up. In addition to that fact I do it all  myself.
 
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!
 
Thanx for your support and space in your mag. I wish you and your enthusiasm long successful existence. If you are interested in quality products of Black/Death/Thrash Metal underground, get in touch or visit our web-site (www.long-ago-records.com).  Keep the flames of true underground burning forever.

 

 

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