Saturday, March 04, 2006
Elitist- what happened?
Question: What happened to Elitist Records and all of their bands? And what was Necrosis all about years ago? From: Unknown.
Answer: Elitist was founded as a Sub-label of Earache due to a chance meeting in 2001 between Lee (ex Candlelight founder) and myself (Dig, Earache founder). Lee was looking to try again with a label and needed financial backing as he was eyeing up some cool new bands.I thought, given Lee's pedigree in signings in the past ( the only thing bigger than signing Emperor and Opeth, is- arguably- signing Napalm, Morbid and Carcass etc ha ha ;-)), his undoubted A&R skills would bring some much-needed new acts of a different style in-house to the Earache roster.A deal was struck between us, and then Earache did not get too involved with the label ,beyond the actual signingof acts and stumping up the dosh-it suited us to leave the day to day contact with the bands, the Elitist website, and overall Elitist A&R planning mostly to Lee, working independently of us.
Sub-labels are by their very nature limited in lifespan.The sole aim from the outset was to unearth some new big selling prospects for my label, not fund Lee's A&R talents for evermore.This is an important distinction. Earache has done a similar thing in the past many times: In early 90's Necrosis was a similar setup with Bill and Jeff from Carcass doing the A&R- lasted 3 releases but released Mike Amott's Carnage tho.Also, I funded a 7" vinyl label called New Chapter in mid 90's, spearheaded by then UK A&R co-ordinator Mitch Dickinson, but that lasted about 4 releases but did unearth the mighty Coalesce, err and Resinate anyone?
As well as inhouse labels we also license a couple of established 3rd party labels -The USA Willowtip label is currently licensed to us, as is Uk's Codebreaker, tho that also ended recently too as Duncan chose to fold the Codebreaker to go work for Prosthetic.More longer term, Wicked World is the sole A&R of Dan Tobin, the UK Earache label manager( who signs the greatest proportion of the new acts on Earache anyways).Wicked World is 100% worked by Earache staff, and is Earache in all but name, specialising in the more Underground metal sounds.
In late-2005, circumstances meant that Earache chose to concentrate its resources on its main label acts as opposed to the sub labels.When we shake the tree, the dead wood tends to falls out.Most of the Elitist acts had never performed more than a handlful of live concerts,some had more albums out than actual gigs,overall sales were poor, and so my faith in the label had undoubtedly waned.After operating for about 3 years, the closure was messy- one was given the money for an album but never delivered, and some bands felt left high and dry because their plans were indefinately postponed or outright cancelled, meanwhile the two biggest selling Elitist acts- Biomechanical and Ephel Duath -moved up to Earache 'proper' and they appear quite content with that.Lee stood firm for the rest of his stable of acts-amid wild accusations,messageboards lit up with the outpourings of thwarted ambitions and crushed egos, but the writing was on the wall, my support for Lee and the rest of the acts had evaporated,Elitist was over, and that was that.
In time, I think fans will appreciate the eclectic cutting edge nature of the label from 2002-2005 (Rakoth's 'Tiny Deaths', anyone?)- it has left a great legacy of 14 or so highly innovative albums which was the original intention accomplished, I'm sure you'll agree. Now in 2006 we are gearing up for the task of making sure Biomechanical and Ephel Duath create a long term successful career for themselves.Of the others- some like Wolverine will sign to a new label (Candlelight) which can give them attention, and should do well, Carnival In Coal have quickly signed to an Osmose records offshoot, Equilibre.The rest will carry on furthering their 'career' to their adoring 'fans' via the medium of the messageboards, same as they always did.