1. Hello! How do you do? Introduce your label to the voracious undergrounders!
Hail. Very well hehe. Old Temple is a label releasing extreme music (death, thrash, black) in non traditional way. I do not release cds in ordinary etuis. Till that moment I released cds in special thick color boxes, in dvd etui, with sheet metal, with hand painted box (this is the only one release where I used normal cd etui). First releases were cd-r and till today I released three things on cd Ė POGROM 1147, 3-way split SOULLESS / PANDEMIC GENOCIDE / ARMINUS and re-edition of first cd NORTH. At this moment I decided to put out new stuff only on cds but in very limited amount of them like 50 or 100 and then maybe the rest on cd-r. Those who are interested just go on our website www.oldtemple.com, where you can find info in English language, mp3 files and pictures of all my releases. If someone is interested in buying stuff from me there is no problem. We are sending cds to all over the world. You can pay on the bank account or through Western Union. It is said that Pay-Pal should work in Poland from 14 of September.
2. When did you create your label and what motivated you to run something like this? Did you consciously decide to create a label, or did it occur as a matter of facts? (As you might have been doing a zine and began a distro little by little... as you received more and more stuffs in trade...)
Iím a fan of extreme music since the early 90. I always dreamed as a young boy to have opportunity to release music. I managed to do it in the end of 2003 year. In that time I met Infamisía (HAIL!) whoís keeping alive his label with dark ambient, industrial and noise called Beast Of Prey and he show me that you can do it in the not traditional way and by yourself and that it is not that hard. Of course that this need lots of money but still possible. So I sais to myself that if he can do it then I can do it. And so my label was born.
3. What was the first band you released? Did you choose them or was it the contrary? Was it hard to convince them to work with you, as you were a very new label with no release?
First release was split Deception / Putridity. Iím very thankful to these bands, that they belive me that I can release them. I just liked their music. I think I made a good choice. Music of Deception is one of the best demo materials I heard in Poland of the last years. Of course I had to convince them to me because there were some troubles, the time was passing since the agreement and I wasnít releasing them. The problem was to do all the stuff to legalize your company what in this fucking country I really extremely complicated. And by the way it was hard to explain to them the way of the release gonna look like, hehe. But I made it and Iím fucking proud of it. At this moment Iíve got some copies left to sale. I remember that one of the Putridity members was angry with the way of releasing this split because he couldnít fit it on his shelf with cds, hahaha.
4. I think it's currently much easier for you to convince a band to work with you! But is it always so easy? Maybe some have too big expectations or something like that... How does it work most of the time? Is there a contract to be signed with the bands, or is it simply a mutual agreement?
Yes, we sign up all the bands we are releasing to avoid any further problems. I donít want to go in any high details of our agreements because it is only a deal between me and the bands. Youíve got right that it is easier to speak about it now, but believe me it wasnít so obvious as it supposed look like. Just at the beginning Iím saying what I can do for the band Ė about promotion or the way of releasing the cd. I never say shit about some golden mountains because I donít like to be cheated and I donít wanna cheat the bands as well. If the band will be satisfied with me then ok, if not then it will be defeat for me. If the bands have really highly expectations then Iím just not releasing them .It is often like that in Poland, that the bands think that if they found a label so for sure it has millions. I donít have these millions and I just canít deal with all expectations even if I really wanted to.
5. How do you choose a band you'll work with? Do you care only about the musical aspect, or are the motivation for promotion and the setting of gigs important? Much more numerous are the bands who do a lot of promotion online (spamming and blabbing the boards, always building a newer website) but play few gigs and finally do few promotional work (I mean: the real one! Lots of trades, lots of flyers, lots of promotional items sent everywhere!) Would you work with this kind of bands? Would you share my opinion when I say focusing the promotions on a website is quite illusionary as many guys who visit a website are there by hazard and don't give a shit about the music?!
I releasing the music which I like. If I manage to listen to one stuff lets say 3-4 times during the week and I like it then I beginning to think about releasing it. I not looking at it only through one criteria. I releasing different music because I just listen to different ones. Iím looking at a band in a global way, I donít take to my mind the reviews or opinions. Of course Iím interested also in what the members of the band are doing in their private life as well.
Iím not organizing any metal gigs in Poland because it is failure. There are not many people who are going on gigs and this is just sad. Now Iím planning to do something in my town but what it is going to be and if it is going to be success I just donít know.
As far for the last part of the question if you think about bands that recording their stuff at home, play less and are only in the internet then I can understand them. First thing there are so few bands in Poland that can afford to enter professional recording studio. The internet by itself is just a part of the scene now, it is just the development of the technology, progress that gives you the ability to contact with people and that is it. But I canít agree with you that some random people are entering to bandís web pages. I think that if someone is looking for the music in the internet then he is searching for those in which he is interested in. If accidentally he will visit some page thatís his problem, probably he wonít be interested whatís on it anyway.
6. Do you like merchandising (tshirts, patches...) and the fast or releasing the same album under various formats? (CD, classic Lp, picture Lp). If so, does it take a lot of time and energy to work on all this shit? Do you consider it as a real plus, or simply a little extra?
Everything you mentioned is a part of metal scene. In a theoretical point of view it is all concerned with normal way of promoting the band. Metal fans like to wear t-shirts with logos of their favorite bands on. Iím wearing some different shit as well. Iím in the middle of process of creating new NORTH t-shirt and Iím gonna work my ass of just this is gonna be good stuff and not some shit that will went grey after two washings.
Music released on vinyls its very great thing but mainly colectioners thing. Nowadays it is not so obvious to have a vinyl player. And often the prices of LPs are really high so not many people are into it and thatís why vinyls are limited editions only.
Of course what is non-typical release is taking more time to prepare. It depends of how and who is doing what in this matter. If you glue together, cut things by yourself and so on you are sure that your evenings are busy. Personally for me it takes loads of time to glue together, cut and print but it gives me a pleasure as well.
7. If your label has a main line of integrity, valours, and principles, tell us about it! Or maybe you're rather free to do whatever feels right?
If I understood you well, the main principle is just releasing the bands which music I like, bands which whom I can talk easily and I see in them the passion and commitment of what are they doing. The main sign of ours is non-typical releasing ways of cds. I think that there can be disgusted that Iím going to release debut album of NORTH in digipack, but from the other point of view is still non-typical way.
8. Do you think too numerous (sometimes illusionary) positive feedbacks and too long extensive tours might influence a talented band in the decrease of its musical quality? Do you think a band that receives too many good reviews from all these ass-suckers of zine editors might finally get flooded into the "objective positivity", and think everybody loves them and make no effort for their next compositions? Many bands that were killer, once underground and appreciated by a limited audience, lost a lot of their greatness and crushing talent once the success and extensive tours came in the spot! That's why I ask your opinion.
It is interesting thing youíre saying. Youíre right. It is often that bands cannot do better stuff then their demo or first cds. I can see it kind of often that bands are ending with good ideas of making music and then it is hard for them to be back with good face. The fact of this situation is I think that they get many awesome reviews and opinions. Youíre starting to record music and then you see that everyone starts to praise it, so it is easy to be narcissistic. But you can see it very quickly what bands starts to be fucked up and begin to think that they are fuck knows who. You just have to be very careful and follow your own path.
9. On the other hand, musicians with a quite good potential might never compose the really great thing they might be able to in the future... if all the cock-suckers already hailz them to death once they're only playing average music! Some musicians might conveniently stay in their musical averageness and get the benefits from the no-effort-status... Why would they shake their minds to compose something great, emotionally deep or outstanding since they're already considered as gods?? ;-)
Then fuck them, hehe. But seriously I think that each musician earlier or later will begin to do something on side. Music is a part of art and it is really vital domain of life. You have to do something on side, search for something new. Only the musician who is doing something above his own first style can develop his own technique of playing, can make a progress. Of course everything must stay in the area of music youíre playing. Can you fucking imagine Deicide with female vocals and with flute? I canít hehe. There are not too many bands that experiment really hard and are successful now. And there is another thing like the fans still want a band to play awesome extreme music what puts the musicians in some troubles of decision. If someone really wants to experiment in other music then how to do it? Take a risk and do whatever you want to do? Or maybe create another band? It is hard decision, you know.
10. Since a lot of metallers really seem to confuse "talent" and "know-how" (Many bands who have know-how and passion are often considered as "talented" while it's far from being the case! They only like what they do, and they do it well.) give us your definition of these two words, and give few exemples of bands that would fit well for each. Do you think a talented band is necessarily innovative?
In theory those who are underestimated are many but these are often small
land young bands which didnít have a chance to be listened by many maniacs. It
is hard for me to point out some bands. I think that for a long time in Poland
such a band was Hell-Born. The band which recorded super albums and eps but were
simply just underestimated. Now it is finally changed for them what is good
because they really deserve it.
11. What's the best way to find a new band you might work with? Do you listen to all the demos you receive? Do you search on the web? Do you prefer to see some new bands live? Do you think the labels who exclusively listen to (a part) of the CDs they receive in trade with other labels might find THE killer band? I mean: most of the albums released are from bands that are quite known in the scene, or it's always the same bands that release something... but the bash of fresh putrid air comes from the underground and totally unknown bands! Right? So these labels who don't search much might always release the same rehashed stuffs...
I always listen to the stuff which I got received. If I didnít answer to someone then sorry, my fault. Iím trying not to listen mp3 files because I donít even have that kind of a device at home. To my PC Iíve got small speakers that mostly doing farting sounds then playing music. And if you asking about the ways of making a decision to release the band, these are different but mostly these are bands that have send me their demo.
Youíve got right. Point for me one metal label that will not be interested with releasing bands Darkthrone, Mayhem or Marduk. These kind of bands give more attention to your label and your catalogue. The best is to find that band and promote it that after few years it will be recognizable and that people will be waiting for its new future releases. It is hard shit to do it but worth to try. Underground very often gives you better bands that these from Ďhigher shelfí. So donít be afraid and try. It comes in two ways: to the band that you gonna release and to people that are going to buy their unknown album. I remember when one dude in shop recommended me first cd of Pan-Thy-Monium, but I was not convinced to this music after what he told me. I listened to this music at home and till today I think that this is the most genius album of heavy music. Just take a risk, you know.
12. Is the current situation of labels so hard and painful? Many owners of these full-time job of a label complain a lot about the bad sales of CDs and the fact it's not good to download mp3s... But on the other hand some of these who like to complain never answer when you ask them their list of wholesale prices, some happen to have higher wholesale-prices than consumer-prices (Incredible...but true! And it's a label from my suburb...), some labels don't stress that much their bands when they do not answer interviews, and some even don't hesitate to close the office and go on vacations for 1 month! (If the situation was so hard, there would be no room for vacations! For sure that would be: Work hard and keep it alive!!). I have doubts about all the situation, especially since the sales in my ďrotten tapes and CDrĒ distro are OK, so give us your opinion!
Yes, thatís true. The fact that people are listening mp3 files and donít give a fuck about the rest has big influence of less selling. The circle is closed, how to release a band while you have no money because youíre not selling cds. Unfortunaltelly I do not sell a lot, Iím not making money that I can live only from that. I donít care about other labels and theirs moves, thatís the personal thing of their bosses. Iím not interested how who works. I can tell only by myself that I try to send lots of promo stuff, push the magazines to the interviews with my bands, but without forcing anyone.
You can look at this case also from the other point of view. If youíre doing all this shit fully legally you have to pay taxes, but if youíre deep underground you donít give a fuck about it and you can sell your stuff cheaper. As far as it goes for my label I can do good low prices for massive sellings. You donít have to buy like 20 same cds. It is kind of a different while doing exchanges and you can push out you releases. Then you can do huge print outs.But from the other side try to sell some of your stuff and try to make money for the next release. Do good promotion, send some promo stuff, do some exchange with people from outside Europe, do adverts in magazines.
13. What did you have to do to adapt your label to the current metal situation? Did you have to focus on given styles of metal? To be more selective with traders? To work much more on the web?
I think the the nowadays requirement is to have website. The internet is a huge medium and I know that thank to it I have better and faster contact. I donít do exchages with everyone. There is lots of labels that are writing about exchages and doing it will cause filling my basement which I wonít sell for sure. I had few times situation that after halt a year a label was shut down and it was hard to find any info about this cds.
14. Do you or did you play in a band? Do you think it's helpful when you run a label? In a way it could help you to see easily when a band uses void-filling riffs or isn't as serious and motivated as they claimÖ How many copies of your own releases do you sell each month? Do you sell or trade most of it? How many distro-items do you sell each month, and how many orders do you receive each month?
I donít have such a good hearing to play In a band. That can help for sure, you play music and have your own label. Nowadays many more people are doing this. I sell really not too much. Mostly I do exchanges and sell stuff from it. In 90% of my releases are sent outside Poland. I donít have many orders. I hope that the coming times are going to change it because way too much of great music is going to fucking toilet coz the bands canít find a label and me personally, wellÖ I would like to release way much more stuff in future.
15. What would be the perfect band you secretly dream to release something of? Did you ever release something you had been dreaming of the intense way? So what was it?
Hehehe, good question. I doubt that one dude from Morbid Aniel, Deicide or Marduk will call me ĄHey motherfucker, you want to release our new Ep?Ē But my unbelieveable success are two things:
1. Getting in contact and made the agreement with one Swedish guy about releasing his own old stuff. It is the next one release and we will try to kill with it. I will not say any details about it but keep your eyes and ears widely open.
2. North Ė the legend of black metal from Poland. In July I will release on cd the first material of this horde. It was hard to get the agree about the way of releasing it but finally we reach it. I am really fucking pleased with it and I can tell you now that it is a digipack with 16 pages booklet. Cd will have the material without any new mastering or bonuses!
16. What's your opinion about tapes releases? Apart from the fact it takes time to copy all of this... do you like it, or do you think it's over and from the past? What's your opinion about "labels" who release only tapes and/ or CDr?
It is good that tapes are back to favors. It is good one and it has it own ďatmosphereĒ. Nowadays I have only a walkman and on it I listen to the tapes. Iíve got lots of friends that really like tapes and they listen to music from this carrier. I respect it. I donít think that tapes are anachronism. They are being sold really less now then some years ago, but the tape will be always present in metal music.
17. Is there a kind of metal labels you hate? Maybe you're able to give us few names?
There is one polish label which I donít like since beginning and their rules of working. I will not point out the name of it because it is not worth it and it is a waste of time. Even lots of abroad artists spit on them and thinks about them as fucking pirates. But this is tycoon on our polish market.
18. Since the Internet is becoming always bigger and bigger, I think some strange kind of cybernetic "labels" will take more importance: some websites offering musical downloads (sometimes for free) of stuffs you won't find another way (no CDs, no Lps...)... What are your feelings about it? Do you think this currently microscopic phenomenon will take much more importance in the future?
There are sites / labels like that. I saw even few with electronic music, but I think that bands that respect themselves will never do something like that. I had a proposition to give music from my label on sites where people can download it for really cheap money, but I always answer that Iím not interested in it.
19. Few years ago, when the Internet was even not a dream in the heads of most metallers, many labels of all kinds and sizes used to send promos everywhere to many fanzines... But what about now? Do you send a lot of promotional items to receive reviews? Do you focus on some websites? (maybe the biggest or the most regularly updated?) Do you still happen to send CDs to paper zines?
This standard way. Of course that Iím doing this. We sent promos to paper
zines, webzines, radio stations. It is so many of them that it overgrows my
abilities. Lately I receive once a week a mail from people from Peru. Is there
for fuck sake millions of zines?
20. What's a good review in your opinion? Does it need to be totally objective, subjective, or a mix of both? Do you think the reviewer has to bring some personal opinions or deliriums? Do you make a difference when you're the metaller reading reviews of the label-boss reading reviews? The difference of opinion could be very different. ;-)
A good review is the one that praises me and my release hehehehe. And to be serious the good one is written honestly and definitely. It is not the point if this guy liked this release or not. I often read some crap like that someone shit his pants because this band plays so fucking good. But what are they playing, it is not written. The band is fromÖ ? Not everyone must to know every band, there is a lot of metal novice. Who fucking need in a review that the reviewer did an argue with his woman or that there was a strike action in fucking mining industry. The review must be about music, band and the way of releasing it.
So if I read the reviews I always trying to get some info about band or cd. First thing Iím a fan of music. And by the way if someone has some reviews concerning my releases via Old Temple then please send me it. We are putting on the site all of the reviews, not only these good ones.
21. What's your opinion about paper zines? Do you still happen to read some, and maybe you have some for sale in your distro? Are there some good current paper zines you could advice us?
Sure, that Iím reading paper magazines. Iíve got some in my collection from the beginning of early 90. I respect and admire those who write and release another numbers of their zines. There is nothing better then to sit down in the evening with zine and read it. In my catalogue you can find some different zines as well.
From this what I find I can clearly recommend Mega Sin, 7 Gates, Haeretyk, Pure Evil Ė these are from Poland and Kaiser Frost from Turkey but whole in English.
22. How do you detect in few minutes if a zine would please or not your needs for alcoholic metal, objectivity and opinions? Do you rather have a look at the bands they interviewed, the notes given to the albums? ....Or the guestbook? Lol
As always in whole. I pay attention to the questions and also which bands are interviewed, quality of reviews, graphic layout and neatness of its own release. It will be strange to give a note only by bands, because the questions can be so boring that you will not reach the half of the interview. The point that you have interviews with leading bands do not bring the reason of being satisfied. The magazine has to got its own atmosphere, some idea to look good. It must not be released on quality paper but with some leading idea.
23. Do you think somekind of competition between labels is something good? To which extant do you think that should remain? Did you already have problems with other labels who were too greedy or "visionary"? (If so what were the stronger menaces?lol).
If there is a good rivalry between labels that is ok. It put the releases on higher level, often the prices are quite normal thanks to it. Because it is hard to surprise a price of 8 euro for one cd. It is not much money. I think that any reasonable man knows in which point he is a rip off in the way of rivalry.
Generally I didnít have any problems with other labels and I did exchanges with labels from all the continents. The only one which fucks me up it is in Rip-Off section on my website Ė check it for yourself. I think that after being on metal scene about a year you can send to everyone a cd without fucking lies or suddenly without responses Ė that is why this shit eaters are there.
24. Did you already read my webzine? If so tell us honestly what's your opinion about it (positive and negative points) as well as what I should change or not to please your tastes!
It is not a webzine that hits you down on knees. It is simple, raw and minimalistic. But most important is that you are doing something, that you act by writing reviews, interviews. That what really counts, that this page is alive, is still functioning and working. Keep it that way! Do you plan any changes with it?
25. What were the last 10 albums you listened to?
You have to ask from what kind of music coz Iím listening lots of different
stuff, but since it is a metal webzine Iíll try to point out only metal
materials. I will not write about old-school like Grace, Sinister, Gorefest or
Deicide because this for me a classic and these bands still kick ass and
destroying! From new stuff I listen lately to:
26. What are the last very good or killer bands you discovered? What will be your next releases? This interview is over, you can conclude and say whatever needed to convince more metallers to support you! Thanx for the answers. Greetz!
There are few realny interesting bands. From Poland Iím impressed with Anima Damnata, Deception, Taran, Massemord, good could be Perdition, Morior Axis. I received stuff of bands Ancestral Fog and Amazarak from France. Great materials! Thx for the interview. You really surprised me with this interview. I hope that someone is going to read it hehe. About future releases I wrote before. From this point I want to say thx to V.C. from Old Temple Magazine (www.oldtemple.com) and his own BlasphemousGoreVomit Webzine (www.bgv.freewebpages.org) for helping with translation. Hail the France underground.