1. What motivated you to create the label at the basis? (bands, fanzines, the fact of meeting some peoples...). Was it a trigger or was the idea running in your mind since sometime?
Well, you and I were in contact some years ago when I was working at my former label, Mortal Coil Records. So I'm sure you know how poorly that label was run and how generic our few releases were. I was very unhappy with the direction that label was going in (actually... it wasn't going in any direction, it was going.. nowhere!), so when Billy offered me the chance to start working with him on a new label with more of a theme and a focus on horror movies, and releasing more extreme music, I naturally jumped at the chance.
2. Why did you choose the Razorback name for your label? Does it link to something special, or was it choosen only because it sounded good?
We tried for many weeks to come up with a name, and we hated everything we came up with. Somehow we always came back to the name Razorback, because we both always liked that word for some reason. Around that time, I had purchased a horror movie poster for the film "Razorback" (both Billy and I have a fondness for horror movie posters and advertising art, and we actually collect horror ads and one sheets), and the slogan on the poster said "A Hog Wild Tale of Terror". It soon became obvious that this was the best name for us, it reflected the theme of the label perfectly, not to mention, it gave us leeway to have a slathering werebeast for a logo, haha!
3. I can
feel a very strong horror comic like touch in the layout of your
website, plus there is somekind of a Brutal and cynical circus thing
great, "a brutal cynical circus", I love the way you said
that! That's us, a circus. Yes, we love old EC comics. Razorback
is like one big Tales From The Crypt comic, if you could see our
"office" filled with horror posters and dvds, videos,
and old toys and comics, you'd think you walked right into the decaying
curio shop from the Ghoul CD. As you can see from our website, we
also have an affinity for the Cryptkeeper's really bad puns and
plays on words. We prefer really old comics, we're not so much into
the newer comics, though I guess Billy has a large collection of
Lady Death comic books and such. Personally, I suppose the last
"new" comic I bought was a Conan The Barbarian comic book,
probably about 10 years ago (I have like 300 of them), so I'm not
much up on the comics today. Of late we've been buying those cool
EC anthology books.
4. I know you were also running a webzine before (and maybe a fanzine, didn't we trade some paper issues around 1998?). Why did you stop it? Was it because a lack of time?
I Spit On Your Grave was the name of our paper 'zine. It's very easy to become enthusiastic and get "Zine Fever", as we call it, but as you know, it's quite hard to maintain that enthusiam, especially when you're so excited about the CDs you're putting out. Who knows, maybe I Spit On Your Grave will return for another issue, you never can tell.
5. It seems obvious you can't afford to send promos to every zines asking for it. How do you choose which fanzines/ webzines will receive your promos? What is the most important: the number of copies sold (or the amount of visits in the case of a webzine). Do you focus on underground publication or do you also send your stuffs do big magazines who aren't so much in touch with the metal underground?
It's very hard, I get so many requests per day. Some people don't even leave their names or their addresses in their emails, I can't spend time tracking every possible lead down, I guess a lot of them are just people trying to scam a free CD. In order to get put on our promo list, a zine or website doesn't have to have a huge print run or get 10,000 hits on their site counter a month. What matters for me is if the zine or site is well designed and if the editor works hard to promote their work. I send to big magazines as well as small ones.
6. I take
care of the promo of GERBE OF LIFE and I'm also their webmaster.
In a review of AVERSION ONLINE , the guy told us G.O.L would fit
wery well with the kind of bands you release. So I sent you a promo
CD, and I never receive any love letter from you, lol... what is
this shit?? (laughing!)
Ha! I'm truly sorry if I didn't respond about the promo, I am probably the most disorganized person in the world! If you look at bands on our label like Ghoul and Frightmare- those are exactly the types of bands we are looking for, in image, sound, quality, lyrics, personality, etc. Of course we stray from the formula every now and then when the band is so great we can't resist putting the CD out. Certainly Birdflesh and The County Medical Examiners are not the typical Razorback fare (image wise), but there is a certain indomitable quality about both these bands that just blew our minds, and musically, we personally think both bands are incredible. Not to be cheesy, but a band really has to hit us in the heart for us to put out a CD, I mean, everything about them has to meld together and seem as if its a part of Razorback already.
7. Your website includes lots of images and stuffs everywhere, plus also some little flash stuffs to make it more alive. It looks cool! But we all know most of the metallers haven't got lots of money and can't afford to buy big modems like the DSL... Aren't you afraid a good amount of the guys who may have surfed on your website doesn't visit it so often because it may be a bit long to download it?
so right! I do the whole website by hand in notepad. I'm not very
good at web design, and so our site is not optimized for anyone
or anything. I wish I had the capability to make our site really
high tech and flashy and yet easy to navigate, but I just don't
have the know how. However, I very much prefer doing my own site
to having to rely on someone else to do it who may not have the
time to make updates as frequently as we need them. Our website
is updated nearly every day and our mail order is always maintained
so that no one has to receive an alternate CD instead of the one
they wished to order (I hate when that happens to me).
8. Is there a special history or something that happened with the label that you may quite and that could make us laugh a bit? Lots of exciting things may happen when you run a label...
Lots of things happen to us every day, Billy and I are always laughing when we're together. I guess though that most people wouldn't find the stuff we do funny. But I guess you could say that the funniest thing that ever happened was when we met Ghoul in Eastern Europe. Of course they didn't really want us there, and thought of all sorts of clever and unique ways to get rid of us quickly and efficiently, but we outsmarted them every time. The highlight of their efforts was when one of them lost a couple of fingers while testing out a malfunctioning device that was supposed to decapitate Billy.
9. You label and distro stuffs seems to work quite fine! Do you earn money from this, or do you still have to finance some of the things hardly (adds in zines, CDs pressings) because it leads you do some big sacrifices in your personal life? Aren't you afraid your label gets too much big one day, and it betrays the Grindcore "Do it yourself" spirit of the beginning?
We don't make as much money as people think we do. We earn enough to pay our bills, to keep ourselves alive and keep the label going. We do sacrifice a lot, because it's so expensive to keep the label going. We're lucky in that the only vice we really have is collecting horror and martial arts movies. Other than that, we're happy to spend our money on the label expenses. We have to make a little money if we're going to eat. But I think we'll always run the label ourselves. Don't the members of Cannibal Corpse, the biggest band in death metal history, still have to work day jobs or something? If that's the case, then there's no danger of us becoming rich off of this business. It's just not going to happen, not in this industry
do you await from a review?
I like honest reviews. I post all reviews on our website, whether they are good or bad. The kind I like best are the kind that point out all the good points of a CD as well as all the bad points of it. The only reviews I wouldn't post on our site are those that are so negative they just rip the CD to shreds. Probably the most negative review we got was for the IHR CD.
11. Are you close to the bands you sign? I mean, do you send them all the reviews their CDs get in webzine, zines... Or does it work any other way? (Tell us everythings about it!)
Yes, we're good friends with all of the bands on our label. We always send them the reviews and news, I think that's important to let them know what's going on with their cd and what you're doing for them. We're especially close with Dopi and Machetazo. Dopi is our true brother, even though he lives so far away, we're of one mind most of the time. Every band on our label has been great! Oh except of course for Ghoul who for some reason hate our guts and wish us horrible deaths.
12. How many time do you spend each day, each week to look for the fact the label and website works positively?
Billy and I work probably 9-12 hours a day packing orders, answering emails, updating the site, etc. Depending on which day of the week it is, things can get very busy. Monday is always a really busy day for us, we hardly have time to rest. Then Tuesday, things slow down a great deal, only to pick back up again the rest of the week. Of course it's only the two of us running the label, so naturally we need to work twice as hard.
13. Are you playing or did you play in a band beside the label? What are you doing in your professionnal life?
I have tried being in a couple of bands, none of which worked out. I have no talent! In my professional life, well, it's not very professional, haha! I am attending college for my MBA, and helping to organize a Martial Arts film festival which will honor some of my favorite Hong Kong actors.
14. Are you listening only to metal or are you attracted, do you interest yourself to other musical styles? And if it's not the case, why?
For a long time, I used to be the type of person who would be like "I only listen to Death Metal. I hate everything else". That got boring after awhile because I wasn't being true to myself. I've rediscovered my old Metal roots, and have been listening to all my old Metal albums from the 80's for a few years now, and I'm so happy. I don't waste my time trying to be brutal anymore, haha. I just listen to what I enjoy! Of course I still enjoy lots of bands, the ones on our label, and Impaled, Engorged, all my old Death Metal faves as well. Also I really like classical singers, Monserratt Caballe and Sarah Brightman, Andrea Bocelli, and some modern HK singers, such as Andy Lau and Ekin Cheng
15. Can you give us a few good ideas to make the promotion more efficient?
Hmm.. well, I'm not the most efficient person in the world, but I would say to keep your mailing list and promo list updated, so you only send to legitimate zines and webzines, and that you're not wasting money sending to a fanzine editor who quit doing his zine five years ago or something!!
16. Give us some confidential infos about your next releases and newly signed bands.
Well, The County Medical Examiners "Forensic Fugues and Medicolegal Medleys" should be out in about ten minutes! We're waiting for the phone call to go pick them up, so you're the first to know, haha! Also we're going to be doing full length CDs with Frightmare, WTN and Embalming Theatre, and there'll be another Ghoul album soon as well!
17. These last words are yours, something to add?
Thanks a lot for the interview, I'm happy to be featured on your website that you work so hard to promote! If everyone worked as hard as you, the Underground would be revitalized! Everyone check out www.razorbackrecords.com!