Monday, June 30, 2008

Getting back to demo bands

Question: How long do you guys usually take to get back to bands that have sent demos in? Is it a long process or do you guys usually snatch up the ones you want right-off the bat? From:

Answer: Like most labels, we dont have time to get back to you all,cos we are swamped- unless we are showing "interest"- it can take us up to 3 months to cotton on to your band, so if you hear nothing by then, you plainly didnt grab us.I've explained here before that most demo bands are pretty decent, but it takes something extra- like hearing good things about you from other sources,like from folks whos opinion we respect, or reading a great review online etc to grab our undivided attention...Roughly speaking we probably approach 10 to 12 bands a year,proclaiming "interest" and from them, we aim to sign maybe 4 or 5 acts- its common that other labels make rival offers to bands we are taking to, or often bands prefer to go it alone, DIy style..also some bands think they are Led Zeppelin and want financial conditions that dont match our assessment, also some dont feel comfortable with a record deal at all (which always baffles me, why did they approach a label then?)
Considering we get maybe 4000 aproaches a year the odds are long...this blog is full of helpful tips and techniques to lessen the odds of getting signed.If you delve deep into this blog and follow the advice,which is pretty simple- write great songs and tour them constantly, you will get signed.Actually if any NEW band reading this can prove they have performed 250+ gigs in a year, which is about the most any massively touring band on this label has ever done, and didnt self destruct in the process, we'd be extremely interested in you!

Noise bands on earache?

Question: hello,
i know Earache is full metal madness but i also digged into some un-usual releases like gabber electronics for example \"ultra-violence\",i have an offical album i would like to submit but it\'s \"noise\",i would like to know if you have door open for this genre.
best regards;)
E. Bohorquez From:

Answer: Grind/HC/Noise like A.C and the extreme techno/gabber of DOA/Ultraviolence is about as "Noise" as we have gotten on the label over the years.Some would argue that our entire output is unlistenable noise though ha ha.Now and again we wonder about how an actual experimental noise band would go down, so yeah we might be open to dabbling in the genre, and Birmingham's upcoming supersonic festival would be the place to perform, we might even catch you there.
Send us your myspace link dude.

Neurosis on Earache?

Question: Did earache really try to sign neurosis back in the day? as from what ive been reading justin broadrick and shane embury were both champions of the band and steve von till has said how they have been approached by nearly every label around the globe. From:

Answer:Well, thats what this little blog is for- dont beleive everything you read bro... Nah, that one is wrong, Earache never really crossed paths with Neurosis, I've known about em since day 1 when they were a HC punk band- but strangely I've never been a massive fan, and anyways the band have always had label before i even began Earache.Before Relapse they were on Dead Kennedys label Alternative Tentacles and since Relapse have been on their own label Neurot- Neurosis are strong proponents of the DIY way of doing business, which is fine.I dont think I've even seen the band- thats how little we cared, i consider them a bit too long in the tooth to be doing much fresh, tho people tell me the live shows are some of the most stunning ever.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

why no Morbid Angel DVD onsale?

Question: hi guys,i was wondering why there is no morbid angel dvd besides the altars of madness reissue.for example a dvd featuring a live show/videos/interviews etc.for a successful band with 8 full length albums i find it strange when bands with just 1 album have dvd\'s available!with m.a. being on a couple of different labels in their career could pose a problem but other bands have been in the same situation but still released one! From:

Answer: yeah I agree its kinda weird that a band who are as legendary and influential as Morbid Angel have no DVD instores AT ALL.The reason is this: the band are incredibly picky and perfectionist in everything they release to the public, from art to audio to video, it has to be 100% perfect,as they see it, before it can be sold to the fans.When the band recorded their live CD "Entangled In Chaos" they did not do the traditional thing- record a gig and release it, instead they recorded EVERY gig on a 20 date USA tour, in the process lugging a 24trk machine to every show (this was before protools/digital recording techniques) and the eventual CD is an amalgam/segue from 3-4-5 different gigs on that tour. Its an admirable stance, but Its downside is- still no DVD instores.

Earache has been the only label (despite wikipedia saying their first label was New Renaissance? huh - wrong- who writes that junk anyway?) that has released every recording by the band in its entire history so far,a period spanning 20 years, and beleive me we have tried to coax em into doing a DVD many times, but since we appreciate the stance of the members, we agreed to defer any DVD.Earache does have tons of footage of the band in the can- pro-shot, multi camera classic gigs- none have been deemed perfect enough, so we are waiting for the "okay".The reason the 1989 footage from Nottingham Rock City was released on the DualDisc of Altars Of Madness was because even tho its not perfect, its rarity and sheer archive value of the band playing songs right after the release of the debut, outweighed those concerns, rightly so.

The latest wrinkle in the negotiations is the fact that footage including the latter period singer Steve Tucker (F, G, H albums) is now redundant as original singer David Vincent returned to the Morbid fold after nearly a decade away.Fans checking out the latest tour will notice no songs from the F, G H albums are aired anymore.So its 2 Morbid Angel-eras in our back catalog now, which seemingly will never mix.

We are planning however on a Blessed Are The Sick special dualdisc edition, with footage and interviews with the members talking about the early days of the band.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Vinyl run-out groove messages

Question: Hey. I not too long ago bought a copy of Harmony Corruption. Atthe middle of the vinyl theres stuff carved in. This took me a few months to spot actually, cos i was blowing dust from the record and held it side on to the light and i could see the scribed stuff. It was MPO on both sides. Mosh 19 A^ and the A side and Mosh 19 B^ on the B side. But then its got some wierd stuff. On Side A it also has \"How Chuffed?\" scribed in and \"Utopic\". On side B it says \"What a doss\".

Do you have any idea of what this could be?
Dan From:

Answer: yeah its the identifying marks scratched into the vinyl during the manufacturing process- MPO is the plant that mass produced the vinyl (in france) Utopia is the cutting studio in London where the master tape is transfered to acetate (vinyl master).
The other words are a hidden message I added to the vinyl run-out groove during the Mastering/Cutting process, in the cutting process the vinyl acetate is quite soft plastic and can easily be etched with a simple sharp was quite common in the 80's/ 90's for bands to leave cryptic messages for fans in the run out groove.Usually they arre in-jokes or spur of the moment sayings..mostly nothing really profound.How CHuffed and What a DOss were sayings which Napalm death members used to use on a daily basis at the time, so seemed appropriate to add them, simply to raise a chuckle when the fans read it.Nearly every Earache records vinyl edition has some saying or other etched in the run out groove, cept in recent years when the idea seems to have gone out of fashion.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Touring or Stay at Home?

Question: Ive always wondered how esential to a bands survival is touring? I know that loads of bands talk about how through touring its how they make money, but on the other side of the coin look at a band like ulver or ewigkiet who actually have some mystique about them and are able to do other things musically because they dont play live, what side of the fence do earache sit regarding this? From:

Answer:For new bands, Its all about building an any means necessary, and touring is the most sure-fire way to do it that i know of.Music is booming, online and onstage- so any new band starting out which doesn't tour is basically a hobby band, and in staying at home, thats most likely how they will remain.I firmly believe touring is an essential ingredient to kick start the career of any professionally-minded band- professional in the sense that all the members would want to make a living from the band, no dayjobs.Plenty of bands we know have less lofty ambitions, people of course have different ideas on what constitutes a 'career' - sadly, we dont work with such bands for long.
The live circuit for bands is booming nowadays as kids download music for free and instead prefer to check out bands live, rather than purchase a CD.In many ways the sheer hard work involved in the touring aspect is what weeds out the serious bands from the wannabees.The band meets the public for real, in the flesh, and its this constant real interaction with the public which i beleive magically leads to success.

I admit there is probably a handful of examples of biggish metal bands who have never played a gig, but are quite legendary in the scene- tho I cant actually think of any right now, even Emperor did actually tour quite a bit in the early days.

In the internet era, message board promo, myspace fan interacting & youtube clips could in theory replace the touring aspect, but the merchandise income is what many band members live off nowadays, so no touring severly limits this aspect.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

South West UK scene blowing up bigstyle

Question: firstly i want to thank earache for signing Ignominious Incarceration and finally taking notice of the Bath/Bristol/South West Scene, Are there any other bands from the region that you are looking at out of interest such as maybe bristol deathcore band burning skies or swindon based dark angel style thrashers darkness descends? From:

Answer: thanks for the kind words...yeah we love what Ignom are doing so snapped em up- with luck, they could make Wellington Death Metal more famous than the Wellington Boots!To be honest its not like we notice where a band is from- great bands come from all over the place (cept London & New York where there are - alarmingly-no good metal bands whatsoever, beleive me, I've checked).

Some of the best most original music is made by bands on the fringes, in the suburbs..

As for Burning Skies we know of them- a good band, are doing well- but somehow they didnt grab us with the vocals, and Darkness Descends we've never heard of at all, cant even find a myspace. Bands from South West we have our eye on are Seregon, Terrahorn and naturally the biggest band lately is Trigger The Bloodshed who we, rather stupidly, passed on.


Question: Hello,

Thank you in advance for taking time to read my ranting bullshit. I do have
questions as well though

First of all, who was in charge of putting together the \"Metal: a
headbanger\'s companion\" sets? I ask because the first one was amazing. A
good collection of bands, and genres and even opened me up to some new stuff
that I loved. But the second headbanger\'s companion was shit. The bands and
songs were fucking awesome, don\'t get me wrong. But the so-called
\"genres\" they were divided into looked like a lame ass excuse to put
together a cheap ass sequel of the same stuff. Leaving so much untouched
potential in the world of alternative music (metal specifically) I mean you
could have gone with real, established, genres instead. Such as: Black
metal, Power metal, Power Violence, Sludge metal, doom metal, old
school/classic metal(admittedly harder understanding you would have to get
rights to that shit), Cybergrind, Industrial metal, gothic metal, Nu metal,
metalcore (despite those last two being rather shitty in my opinion) etc. A
collection with shit like that in it would be much better in my opinion, and
fit better with the first compilation. And I would be much more willing to
drop money on something like that. I don\'t mean to bitch; just my opinion.

Thanks again,
Jesse From:

Answer: well thanks for purchasing our box sets- glad you found them useful.I hope you agree both Boxes 1 and 2 are excellent value for money and an easy and cheap way to feed your ipod with 100+ tracks of quality metal for under a tenner.Both are also available on itunes store as download...i recommend it, its awesome to watch a 100 tracks d/l in one go into itunes, you have 6+ hours of metal in minutes, all tagged and high quality.
The first box was done by genre, the second was more by theme.
Regarding the compilers- I was the one who did the First Box set. Dan Tobin who is the label manager of Earache did the Second Box.You have to realise that 100% of the tracks on both boxes come from the considerable Earache back catalog/archives, spanning 20 years of extreme metal (we invented the genre after all), and its hard to fit them into the genres you mention, simply because earache itself during that time did not sign too many black metal bands or gothic metal acts , and had zero power metal acts. So you are right, to expand the series into a second box was a struggle for us to fit the bands into the genres.
Our next box will dig deep into the catalog and unearth some gems, compiled by country of it'll be a global metal comp, featuring acts grouped under say, sweden, USA, Uk, Poland etc. Watch for it around october.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Mick Harris-Napalm Death & Scorn, a legend 2x

Question: Are you aware that earache was credited in helping pioneer another genre which is dubstep in that mary ann hobbs branded mick harris and his scorn project the godfather of the genre being as many of the new bands seem to relate back to scorn, does it seem weird to you that now the trendy clubs and labels have only really started catching up with what earache was releasing over a decade before? From:

Answer: SCORN music is kinda trendy now and played by Mary Ann Hobbs on radio 1? Are you sure? we had no idea!- you mean cos its similar to the heavy bassline 'Grime' stuff, which is hella popular now, i assume?Fair play to mick for sticking at it, and getting the long-overdue props.
Going back to early-mid 90's, Earache were doing Fenetik and Dj Senator records in 94! DJ Senator includes Simon 'Bassline' Smith -and hes GOD of bassline ha ha
It's Mick Harris who is the pioneer, not Earache (I am more of a serial-dabbler into street scenes that seem fresh, original & interesting).As it happens, I was the first to introduce Mick to early 90's' UK jungle-rave'like ACEN back when he was still in Napalm Death- the quizzical look on his face when he heard the rolling earthquake-basslines was a picture. He bought a sampler soon afterwards and went headlong into electronic music as Scorn.
The SCORN album Zander is sheer bass-quaking genius, what Mick has done is add darkness & ferocity to the bassline- too many other producers use it in a polite way..its about time the industry handed out some gongs in his direction.I'm gonna make them do it.

heres the living legend quaking-up Budapest, on the wheels of steel in 2007:

Friday, June 06, 2008

Next Big Trend in Metal?

Question: Being as earache seem to be able to see into the future as to trends before they break and since you predicted the new wave of thrash whats the next big metal craze on the horizon then? From:

Answer: thank you for noticing- and for overlooking the fact that earache missed the entire genres of Black Metal & Gothic metal and Nu-Metal and Emo/Screamo (maybe that was for the better eh?) Sooo let me gaze into my crystal ball..aaaannnd its coming up with 8-bit Nintendo blip-grindcore dude.Like THIS.
You can take that to the bank dude.
Plenty of scene watchers predict the return of D-BEAT to prominence actually..its overdue, and Relapse has an entire compilation dedicated to the genre coming soon i hear.

Or try the return of NWOBHM !! yeah,that and Brootal Modern Death metal with sub-bass which is kicking up a storm already- sounding exactly like THIS THIS THIS- but not at the same time obviously, that would be plain silly.Also try THESE as a long shot.Its a fair bet the future of metal is somewhere in the picture above.
I am available for paid consultancy- rates negotiable, but only if it includes beer, and pizza on demand.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

(Metal + Punk) x Shred= BONDED BY BLOOD!

Question: Hey guys how are you doing? I recently discovered BBB from a youtube video I saw of their guitarist. I will get their album once its out here in the US. I\'m a big vinyl collector and I was wondering if there will be any vinyls of this album? Another quick question, Why are the UK and US dates so far part from each other? Anyways, I cant wait to see them Live and get the Album from what I heard on Myspace they are great. Music is played very tightly and they sort of have a punk attitude. Definetly a band to look out for. Im tired of the rest of the California scene BBB is a breath of fresh air. Thank You Earache.

-Fred Swanson

Answer: Welcome Fred! Glad you checked out BBB and like what you saw- you are damn right, they are a remarkable new band...I am playing the album constantly and It is simply devastating-hands down, the best of 2008.
FEED THE BEAST is true modern crossover--its a mix of classic punky snot-nosed attitude (some riffs- Mind Pollution or Civil Servant- remind me of old UK punk legends EXPLOITED) with tight, thrashy REAL DRUMS, which actually sound dynamic and lively, instead of the triggered/processed crap which passes for drums in metal these days.. and to top things off is the stunning OTT guitar shredder that is Mr. Alex Lee (who is incredibly humble about his amazing talents) which makes BONDED BY BLOOD a unique band in the new Thrash scene, and one, lets not forget, barely out of their teens.
To answer your question: CD is out JUne 24 in USA- hurry to get the 2 xtra tracks edition, June 9 in UK..the album is now on sale on Itunes Europe.Vinyl edition is coming ina few months- you'll have to get the CD first dude.The delay in the vinyl is so we can see how BBB sales are going- it will make us decide how lavish the Vinyl should be- either 2 x LP gatefold or single pic disc.Vinyl does not always sell out we find..its a tricky format to sell as retailers do not generally carry it, its a direct sale thru the mail usually.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

How big is a BIG metal act??

Question: my band recently played to 150 in my home town, we regularly get good crowds even out of state.MY question is, how big do we have to get signed to a label like Earache? From:

Answer: Thats a tricky one to answer, because "bigness", like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.150 kids coming to your shows is impressive in some ways, but it depends what kinda kids are seeing you-if its just family & friends you might be in the dreaded "local act circuit', in which case you are kinda stuck.Every town has them, even major cities like New York and London have their share of local scene bands, who draw impressive crowds, but never break out on the road, even regionally, and consequently don't generate any wider, national buzz or create new fans.

In Earache's own home town of Nottingham UK, there is a thriving 'local band scene'where some bands play maybe 4 times a year, and are treated like legends in the town.For these special events, they invite all friends and family, and its like a massive private party- the band knows personally everyone in the crowd and ham it up to the max, and everyone is entertained- after the triumphant show, they simply can't understand why Earache doesnt 'snap em up' immediately..Its cos they are too local.
Many local bands dont take the show on the road, preferring to lap up the adulation on the it doesnt grow any bigger.If the same band played even 20 miles down the road at say Derby, the crowd would be 5 people.
The bands Earache signs have to have wider appeal than being local 'superstars'.

Entwined -UK metal band from 98?

Question: So...Entwined is under your label. I followed them while they were underground almost four years ago, but then they kind of disappeared. No new albums or anything. What happened to them? From:

Answer: Well i think you have a memory-lapse dude, cos you mean more like 10 years ago surely?.In actual fact Earache did one album by this short-lived Uk gothic-tinged metal band in 1998!! No one really cared about them at the time,fans never embraced their type of unashamed METAL (they were ahead of the resurgence in true metal) hence the short lived career.Y'know, you might well be the first person to mention the name in a decade to us.We have no clue what the ex-members are doing now, its a fair bet they are not in music, and have 'proper jobs' now, because they were smart, educated dudes. heres a interesting WEBSITE circa 98 that was operating in 1998, and is still online- a real time capsule glimpse into what a metal bands website looked like, circa late-90's.