Saturday, February 28, 2009

Godflesh & Pitchshifter - like Prodigy?

Question: With The Prodigy new album being number 1 in the charts, do you think the bands you had back in the day, like PitchShifter and Godflesh could have been as succesful as them,because Pitchshifter shared a member with Prodigy.

Answer: Frankly speaking, the answer is no I don't think so, the bands Earache had simply were not talented enough to have the mass appeal of the Prodigy, plus they all came from different scenes.Prodigy and Pitch Shifter might sound superficially similar - the techno-ised rock beats and sneery punk vocals - but they were a world apart.The Prodigy came from the pure rave scene and were having UK chart hits from the get go, it was only later that the rock-ish elements came to the fore.Pitch Shifter were from the metal/industrialised rock scene, and they never had the skill to make the dancefloor beats suitable for mass appeal.Obviously it would have been amazing if our bands had broken through to chart stardom, Earache did encourage them to make the effort, and while both made an impression on the rock scene, none troubled the charts.Later when PSI signed to Geffen records they looked likely to make the breakthrough themselves, as Geffen did make the top 30 with them, but it wasn't to last.
Earache did actively sign some bands to try to fit squarely into that scene (The Prodigy, along with Slayer are my favourite band after all) we did albums by Generated X-ed and Adrenalin Junkies who sound pretty much like Prodigy clones, but neither caught on.
The Prodigy used a live guitarist Jim Davies on tracks like Firestarter - when he was ousted he joined Pitch Shifter.

Pitch Shifter- Genius

Godflesh Defiled

Generated X-ed Industrial is Dead

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lawnmower Deth and Bullet For My Valentine

Question: Which former Earache Records band supported BFMV in London last November? From:

Answer: Earache's 90s madcap thrashers Lawnmower Deth reformed for a one-off show supporting BFMV at London's Alexandra Palace a few months ago.Reason is that the long standing tour manager of BFMV is the ex- LD guitarist and I guess he either bribed or dared them into it!The band were incredibly rusty and have barely played their instruments in a decade but pulled off an amazing set, full of crowd participation led by singer Pete Lee - this was always their trademark and strong point.We hear rumours of a summer show being lined up for them in a tent in a field next to the village of Donington, Notts.

Witness some of that ol' lawnmower "magic"- 3000 snails in London.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Incantation- DM hall of famers? Err nah.

Question: In the last issue of Decibel magazine, the one with Darkthrone on the cover, was a feature on Incantation\'s \"Onward To Golgotha\" album being put in their magazine\'s hall of fame. In it, it was mentioned they were turned down by many labels, Earache being one of them. I\'m wondering if you now regret this. I can see why you may not have signed them at first, their demos and early 7\"\'s are good, but not as good as what would come, as Onward to Golgotha came out to be a fan favorite, a classic, and a unique benchmark in death metal history; as would the band itself despite numerous line-up changes. From:

Answer: Earache was fuckin snobby about music back then, still is in fact, I thought we had the best bands in the scene at the time, and Incantation didn't quite cut it, but this was a snap decision made at the time, probably on a quick listen to their first demo tape.

Looking back, its quite remarkable how we never signed a single one of the entire NYDM scene bands, I recall that I preferred DM bands with extreme drum speeds and nearly all our bands of the era had truly exceptional world class drummers, whereas most if not all of the North Eastern US area bands were ropey when they attempted higher speed, their natural pace was more mid-paced and gutteral.

The fledgling Relapse label did a fine job of picking up many of the North eastern area acts,as they were local to them. Incantation didnt properly hit their stride till 1992, which made them part of the chasing pack of latecomers by comparison to Earache & Roadrunners first wave of Death Metal acts, many of which were already charting and selling tons of records by that time.

Listening back to NYDM now, the drumming on Incantation still sounds ropey to my -admittedly shot-thru - ears, but I now really appreciate the gutteral vokills, in many ways they were trailblazing this style of vokill, and its probably the most recognisable trait that todays newer DM fans associate with the genre, thats why bands like Suffocation are winning the long overdue respect of masses of the younger fans I guess.

I answered a similar question a while back about another 90s North eastern DM band- Immolation.

heres Incantation- Golgotha:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Napalm Death's BBC 'Arena' documentary 1989

Question: In the 1989 napalm death live arena special is that you dig in the front row centre lighting up a fag just before they play you suffer? im wondering what was the show was for as lee mentions that its for the bbc before the band start the song? From:

Answer: Nah not me dude,my dreads were long gone by 1989,and I've never smoked. Y'know, I wish I could have been down the front of this gig, but sadly I was right at the very back, literally in the rafters of the Kilburn National Theatre (capacity 4,000) in London where this gig was filmed for the BBC's long running flagship arts series 'Arena'. I spent the entire gig stood next to the BBC's back cameraman and a gaggle of A-lister journalists because I had cite the name of each song during the set, so the tapes were properly labelled and reviews were correct. It was annoying at the time because this gig was the bands biggest crowd ever, it was a defining moment and was basically a culmination of the grindcore scene's unbeleivable explosion into the Uk public's consciousness.It went from Peel to NME to BBC in 12 unreal months.

The BBC is a remarkable broadcaster in that its funded by UK licence payers,which frees it up from purely commerical concerns- also part of its remit is to actively broadcast, promote and expose new UK music. Napalm Death were the hot new band at the time,plus thrash metal fans were unavoidable on the street - so what began as a documentary covering the Thrash scene became way more focused on Napalm Death, simply because the director of the documentary Helen Gallacher took a real shine to the youthful band. She was the reason that they got more screentime than say Black Sabbath. Remember also back then this was before Sky Tv, the hundreds of Digital channels didn't exist- the nation had a choice of just 4 channels to watch every night.The Arena show is highly influential, it legitmised the band as culturally relevant in the UK. The morning after it was broadcast,even taxi drivers knew what Napalm Death were all about.

Rock & metal music is nowadays massively under-represented on the BBC Television. After the passing of John Peel it seems the BBC has lost its only person who had the vision and openmindedness to embrace Rock/metal.They might cite Jools Holland on BBC 2 as covering rock, but Kaiser Chiefs are probably the heaviest thing on the show, and its not even barely rock/metal.

Forgive the rant, but the BBC TV's coverage of music is fixated on covering Glastonbury and the drum n bass/garage/dance scene, which to be fair are both massively important to the nation's culture and youth, but so is Metal. I'd argue that the metal/rock audiences for this summers Download, Sonicsphere, Hammerfest,Damnation and Bloodstock fests will even exceed the Glastonbury crowd, yet where is the BBC's TV coverage of new rock/metal acts!!? They should film Evile or Bring Me The Horizon right now.

Heres the highlights of the set which were rebroadcast as Thrashed To Death, the programme was hosted by 80s gothic vamp Elvira.

Danko Jones- Bad Taste?

Question: Does it suprise you when more mainstream acts namedrop earache bands as an influence? one of the more unusual i can think of danko jones of ultra trendy garage rockers danko jones frequently namedropping entombed(he took hellacopters on tour and mentioned entombed in the interviews to do with said tour), sleep( also high on fire- i know you never had them but inter related), fudge tunnel(and nailbomb). From:

Answer: Danko Jones? Never met the bloke but theres something fishy about the way his band's watered down rock n roll by numbers is fawned over by magazines as if they are rocks saviours.I can only assume his backers spend a small fortune on his promotion budgets.It's true to say, I'm not a fan,it sounds like garbage in my opinion. I notice his label is called Bad Taste,ha ha very apt.

As for him namedropping our old bands- that's cool I guess, though they have nothing in common with his insipid garage rock. The Hellacopters were a genuine rock n roll phenomenon in Sweden and across Europe when they came out in the mid 90's after Nicke left Entombed and it was pleasure to watch him make a major succces of his new band.It was quite a gamble because Entombed were very well established by then, charting in Swedish charts etc, but Hellacopters exceeded that by some degree.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Moby with Ultraviolence on tour.

Question: is it true Ultraviolence once toured with Moby? from:

Answer: Yes, that was in 1996 when MOBY personally requested Ultraviolence to support him on the UK stint of his tour in support of then current album "Animal Rights".It was a lucky break for Ultraviolence and a wonderful opportunity to play to more people.At the time we assumed it came about because there were lots of fans of Ultraviolence at Moby's UK label Mute Records, from the founder Daniel Miller to artist Mark Stewart, so we guessed Moby picked up on Ultraviolence that way.It was a nice surprise.
Moby himself had broken through in the early 90s rave scene and was well respected at that time- Moby's records would do modestly and maybe chart in the UK Indie charts but it would be a few more years yet before his massive breakthrough ambient-electronica album PLAY album hit the airwaves and TV adverts.That album camed out in 1999 and propelled Moby into megastardom and has sold 10 Milion copies to date.

Unfortunately this 1996 tour took place during Moby's short-lived rock period, he had recently released a basically Indie rock record called "Animal Rights" and the entire set was rock, not electronic at all.Moby fans were perplexed and the gig turn outs were much lower than expected. Ultraviolence went down ok-ish even tho the high bpm hardcore techno he played was a million miles away from what Moby fans had come along to hear.

Heres Moby in his rock phase:

Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins)- Morbid Angel fan?

Question: You have said before about earache nearly signing nirvana, did you have any interest in any of the other grunge bands? The one i can think of with the closest link to earache is smashing pumpkins being as billy corgan was friends with the guys from morbid angel and always praised trey highly as one of his favriote guitar players in interviews. From:

Answer: This idea that Billy Corgan is a massive Morbid Angel fan crops up from time to time, and in my best mythbusters TV show fashion i have to say: "this one's busted dude".
As far as I can tell from Smashing Pumpkins wikipedia (which is far from the truth in many cases, judging from my own wiki entry!)- yes Billy does express his love for Heavy Metal and the heavier end of the spectrum at that, but I've never once heard of Morbid Angel being connected to this.
Plenty of big acts do love Morbid Angel though- Korn and Slipknot have been seen wearing the shirts, and we are aware of the long-persisting rumour that Korn recorded a cover of Morbid's God OF Emptiness song, but there's never been any official record of its existance.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

How much money to record an album?

Question: Ive wondered when a band goes into the studio how does the label decide on how much studio time they are prepared to pay for? Is it a standard flat rate for all the bands or does it depend on which band it is eg a more seasoned band would get more studio time and a higher budget than someone recording their debut etc. From:

Answer: Having made over 450 albums I can assure you that the amount of money spent has no bearing on how an album goes down with fans, it certainly has no effect on sales.A standard typical budget to make an Indie metal album nowadays in the pro-tools/digital era would be £5000 but theres no hard or fast rule for this, though yes of course as bands get bigger their recording budgets expand aswell,mainly because they don't want to be rushed, but it sure does'nt mean the albums are any "better".

As an example, Napalm Death were on this label during the 90s and made their debut for £800 (Scum) rising by the time of their last Earache album to around £40,000 (Words from Exit Wound).Scum outsold Words album 10 to 1 and continues to do so. On a grander scale,the new Guns N Roses album cost a reported $10 Million to record yet the bands stellar debut Appetite cost a 'mere' $200,000, at the time, an extravagant amount for a debut.Which is the better album? I'll let you decide.
I firmly believe fans care more about the songs, the performance, and the feeling captured on the tape, than how much the studio bill was.

Nowadays recording equipment is basically software, its affordable to all, which means unsigned bands with home set ups can get similar sounding metal productions to the big guys, as the effects which shape the sounds of drums and even guitars can be literally added as plug ins to the software and 'dialed in'.Top producers like Andy Sneap are kind enough to share their knowledge, he offers tips and advice and even the exact modules he uses for sounds, on his website, and this digital recording revolution means most new metal bands we hear nowadays sound totally great.
The downside now is nearly every metal production is edited to perfection, and sounds incredibly similar, eerily so.It might be a different band name, but its the exact same crunch, exact same chug and exact same squeal.Increasingly, the personality, dynamics and hence the uniqueness of bands is getting lost.

By contrast rock and metal recordings made in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90's right up to around 1995 or so, were all necessarily analogue recordings put onto two inch reels of tape, not the laptop.I don't think its an accident that most of the all time classic metal albums were recorded in the analogue era - as flaws couldnt be easily edited out- requiring a razor blade and sellotape- the personality of a band was indelibly 'baked in' to the recording.I'm not a rabid analogue evangelist, because that era had its downsides aswell- studios had to buy bulky tape machines, huge mixing desk, outboard gear, hardware,and so were hellishly expensive to rent on a daily basis.The few remaining studios from that era now seem like technological dinosaurs.

A producer is the most important factor of an album recording in my experience, as they can help get the ultimate performance of the song out of a band, and they have a useful role bringing another opinion on the process, apart from the musicians themselves.Record production is a pretty tedious process involving endless repetition of the song parts, so many of the best producers are skilled in the dark art and technique for ensuring the album is the best it can be- a classic trick is recording the 'warm up' take, as it so often comes out the best version.

I recall a producer - who recorded approx 15 of the Earache albums of the 90s and is nowadays an A-list producer- who used to have an amazing studio trick where if a bands playing was lacklustre, if they seemingly were struggling or going through the motions on a particular song- he'd get the band to try a final run through, but would flick the studio lights off as he hit the record button.The band would unexpectedly be forced to play the run-through in sheer darkness.This was genius as it concentrated the bands minds on the audio, which most of the time resulted in a great rendition of the song.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Earache on

Question: Why have you removed \"Cult of Luna\" from Spotify. Please put it back.

/Anders From:

Answer: Earache is a fully signed up label for the Spotify service, where music is legal and streamed for free on demand to fans, we are led to beleive the labels get paid through paid for adverts which surround the page where the music streams, I beleive.Earache has signed on,through MERLIN organisation which represents UK Indie labels like us, but the service has only just launched so we've not submitted our complete catalog yet, maybe 20 albums are in the system so far, which leaves 430 left to be "ingested" into their system.

Like most labels we get approached by maybe 2 new-fangled music player platforms, usually advert-driven, per week, they have the code set up, and now want to go legit and acquire content.There's quite a boom going on with new online streaming-music sites attempting to intice labels to join their party, now that Apple's iTunes Store is the number 1 retailer of music in America. is one which Earache has signed up to them aswell, and The massively popular Torrents and P2P sites for music could be rendered obsolete very soon if these new legal online streaming sites take off, if fans embrace them as a place to hear music for free, but the advertising revenue pays the label/musicians some income.Its a win-win situation for fans and bands/labels..Well thats the thinking anyway.

However an alarming proportion of the new sites are run by new tech guys who seemingly have zero understanding of how Record labels operate, and have no regard for what we bring to the table (ie the music).In fact they mostly expect labels to line up to donate their prized music catalogs to their 'cutting edge software' service,paying for the privilege even, while making highly dubious claims of remuneration along the way.Many of these sites are blatant attempts to generate online buzz in order for the founders to cash in and be bought out by Google or Microsoft for millions.The interests of the labels/bands music is secondary.These types of sites we avoid.

As you can tell we are sceptical of the frankly dishonest claims of many of the tech start ups, and we are highly selective about who we sign to for online content, preferring sites which are honest about how the label gets paid.

Looking ahead, all the big 'major' labels are actively teaming up with the worlds-leading tech firms to deliver the holy grail to fans, I reckon it will be less than 3 years before all the worlds music will be available to fans for free on literally all kinds of devices-everything from Internet ISP Routers/ web sites/ gadgets/mobile phones/games consoles/Satellite boxes etc, anything that has a screen to display the advertisements will be a 'All-The-World's Music' player device. Music will be ubiquitous and always on, for free, so long as you are connected by wi fi, mobile network or satellite.The music industry will transform itself into a payment model akin to a TV or radio style media network, where the content is free, if you can stomach the ad breaks every 15 minutes or so, which most people do currently.

heres a clip showing how easily Spotify works:

Earache & Industrial Strength in the 90s

Question: Hello there, was just wondering what happened to your short but sweet collaboration with Lenny Dee\'s Industrial Strength record label? Was it always meant to be a short-term thing? From:

Answer: Earache licensed Brooklyn native Lenny Dee's traiblazing label (but extremely underground/DIY at the time) Industrial Strength Records in 1995 for a 5 year deal.We released a double CD/Triple LP Hardcore techno compilation including DJ mixes and full CD albums by Delta 9 and DOA (Disciples of Annihilation) and Oliver Chesler's (later Horrorist) Temper Tantrum.The records, particularly the compilation caused quite a stir and sold really well for a year or two, but by the end of the term we didnt renew, as Earache was onto other things musically by then, as were ISR.Signing The Berzerker outright to Earache was our single remaining link to the ISR scene. The Berzerker had debuted on an early Aussie Newscastle area ISR vinyl 12inch, which I adored.

Looking back, five years was just long enough to piss off and alienate the majority of Earache's early diehard metal/grind/death fans who definately did'nt appreciate this label releasing any form of that dratted computer music, however "extreme" it sounded. Five years was also too short because by the time the ISR label was reborn in early 2002 or so, to much acclaim, and the scene rightfully bestowed belated props to Lenny himself as a true innovator and originator in the HC techno/gabba scene, Earaches involvement was by then a distant memory.

Not many folks remember that Roadrunner Records in Holland was at this time during mid-late 90's also involved in the Hardcore Techno scene, through a sublabel called MOKUM, this was big news in Holland, spawning many chart hits like Uk's Technohead, which achieved a worldwide number 1 hit with "I Wanna Be A Hippy", a bouncy upbeat hardcore pop techno classic. Roadrunner was owned for that period of time by huge selling Dutch-based techno distributor Arcade I believe, hence the connection.

Electronic grindcore is what it sounded like, heres the best of the lot, Nasenbluten's Classic CUNTFACE

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ephel Duath on Earache- how come?

Question: This is somthing ive wondered for a while how on earth did ephel duath end up on earache? the band seem to have more in comon with the mars volta or the jazz rock interludes of the old cantebury prog scene than any earache band or the mathcore scene they have been put in with. From:

Answer: Yeah I see your point, the band's current output is fairly alien to the typical sounds this label puts out -Thrash/Grind/Death/HM etc - but the band have been through quite a few radically different creative phases before the current album "Through My Dog's Eyes".A lot depends at what stage you picked up on the band, because they have been extremely chameleon like on each album so far.Mainman Davide Tiso is a free spirit who explores the outer limits of his creative expression through music, I think he enjoys that no boundaries are set by this label so he takes full advantage of the freedom.In many ways he loves keeping his fanbase perplexed and dumbfounded by taking them on complicated twists and turns.No 2 Ephel Duath albums are alike, stylistically, and we are just fine with that.
In the beginning 2001 or so, Ephel Duath was signed to an Earache subsiduary Elitist Records, and believe it or not was regarded as an Italian up n coming Black Metal band, albeit a highly avant-garde one.Their debut for Elitist Re-phormula (a reissue of their Code666 debut) contained proto-techno & drum n bass remixes which was unheard of at the time, and marked them out from the pack.
First album proper was The Painters Pallette where a jazz intrumentation began to take hold, Davide seeks out jazz-trained musicians for his band it seems and this album reflected that- its free jazz and screaming/hardcore mixed, and the band toured extensively, including as special guests on a high profile Dilinger Escape Plan jaunt, which is where the mathcore tag comes from.I would'nt say its wrong- it just summed the band up at that time, and has stuck.
Follow up Pain Necessary To Know is similar but more structured songs.Then he threw everyone a loop by recording a remix album of drum and bass, dub songs. Newest album "Through My Dogs Eyes" is different again, we liken it to Queens Of The Stone Age channeling the spirit of Frank Zappa, and its almost basic stonery rock, deliberately so. Its Ephel Duaths most commercial work to date, even though the subject matter is how life looks from the viewpoint of his dog! Barking or what?.This maverick approach is what everyone loves about Ephel Duath.Which direction Davide will take his band to next -who knows?- but fans can expect surprises.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Covering a Massacre song

Question: I wonder which authorship organization is minding the songs on Massacre\'s \"From Beyond\" album. The reason: one of my bands, Thanatos, will cover \"Dawn of Eternity\" on their forthcoming album. I\'ve cleared things with my local rights management organization, but I\'d like to double check that things went the way they\'re supposed to from the other angle. Since this is the first time I actuallly am dealing with cover songs, I need to make 110% sure that I\'m in the clear. From:

Answer: Great choice of cover!You don't normally need direct permission to cover a song but you came to the right place for info- its owned by my song publishing company EARACHE SONGS. You simply have to credit the writers as Rozz/Lee and acknowledge the song is a Massacre original, published by EARACHE SONGS/ MCPS on any paperwork you submit to the presing plant/record comnpany.
As for collecting money, if you have contacted and cleared things with the rights organisation (STEMRA?) then they will contact Earaches rights organisation (MCPS/PRS in UK) to ask you to pay. How much you pay depends where the record is printed-its typically 8.5 cents for a song, thats in USA rates (ASCAP) or UK rates are 8.5% of the dealer price of the album, divided by number of songs included.If you pressed a 1000 Cds - we'd get 85 bucks less their fee = $70 thereabouts- we'd get it in maybe 18 months after you paid it to Stemra- because those organisations are slow as hell. But thanks for checking.
I wish you luck with the THANATOS album.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Scorn and Geoff/Portishead's Invada records output

Question: Do you think scorn could have been more comercially viable as a band if instead of trying to sell them to metal kids you\'d possibly tried to intergrate them into the bristol trip hop and drum and bass scene that was blowing up at the time? Although the influence of earache on the scene has become clear later on just check out portishead\'s third album clear influence of justin broadrick and mick harris ( possibly down to peter theobalds now being an invada signed artist). From:

Answer:This question had me stumped and bemused at first matey..because its complete news to me that Earache type stuff could be an influence on Portishead's new output, it seemed like you got yer wires crossed, so I dug around online for info..and the connection is INVADA.

Invada is a label I'd not heard of before- but I recognise some of the output, Blood Island Raiders is a band we follow closely, and Gonga containing ex-Akercocke member Peter Theobalds, who we once signed, means we have a slight affiliation right there.So its a hell of a suprise - gobsmacking in fact -to read its the label of Portishead mainman Geoff Barrow. This is a bloke who is crossing a hell of a cultural divide, and deserves to be applauded for that.I mean its not every day that a Bristol trip legend from 90's Chart toppers Portishead starts his own label to release what is basically small unknown UK Stoner/heavy rock bands. I still cant quite beleive it.More power to him.

As for Scorn in the 90s, well it was hard to make their music commercially viable, it was very dark, very heavy ambient dub (as we called it back then) made by Birmingham based metal musicians held in high regard in the grind/death metal scene, but unknown outsode of that pretty insular scene.They were experimenting with sounds- heavy blood indeed, and the full impact of what those guys created is starting to be recognised a decade later.You have to remember that back then, we had zero in common with the Pop scene, could'nt stand it infact.The Bristol trip hop scene Massive attack, Tricky Portishead were pop stars basically - they were world's apart.
Scorn at the time, did have some odd mainstream flirtations though, via remixes on the Ellipsis album, Autechre, Coil and Andy Weatherall were involved, but that was about as far as it went.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Heavy Metal Killers CD & LP 13 best new HM bands

Question: Hi I have heard about the new Earache compilation for Heavy metal- how can i bet my band on it?

Answer: Listen for your self all 13 songs are here:


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Fave old school Thrash band?

Question: More of a personal question than a label one but being as earache is responsible for a large amount of the new wave of thrash, which of the orignal big four is your favriote? From:

Answer: Thats simple: