AMA with Blood Music
TedsAsteriskEmporium: Any plans for a US synthwave/retrowave tour? Long shot follow up: Texas?
Blood Music: Yes, absolutely, this is one of the most urgent things on my / our list. We are in conversation / holding pattern with a professional booking agency in the USA who is going to help make this a reality, but it takes time. It’s a big investment to do such a thing, so we have to be patient. As far as which cities / states? I don’t know. But I hope we can get these guys to SXSW at least at some point. I should mention that GosT has played Texas several times already. :]
TedsAsteriskEmporium: Is the pentagram cover for The Uncanny Valley an alternate cover art or a slipcase/box carrying the album and EP?
Blood Music: Fun fact: that pentagram is actually an alternate that was designed at the same time as the ‘known’ pentagram – Perturbator sent me a batch of them at the start of our working relationshp. I busted it out this time and said let’s use this one cause it’s awesome and just sitting there. So, he agreed. It appears on the outer box for the 3xLP (yes, it’s a heavy duty box) and foil stamped (shiny silver embossed) into the front cover of the hardback 2xCD book. No slipcases, I’m not a big fan of slipcases, they prevent you from opening the music package – I want to make things that people are excited to open and play. :]
BippityBotty: If you could, would you sign that grumpy bum Carpenter Brut to your label?
Blood Music: We talked a lot about it in the past, around the same time as signing Perturbator, but we simply didn’t see eye-to-eye about things. No big matter, it happens. I don’t think we would work together but not out of hatred, we just view things differently and that’s okay! He’s good friends with all of my synth artists.
I know everyone is waiting for the collaboration between us, but I doubt it will happen, sorry to disappoint all. :]
TreasurerAlex: I think independent record labels are so very important to keeping music original. What’s your opinion on Record Store Day and fake limited edition demand creating a bubble of vinyl prices. It feels like baseball cards and beanie babies right now.
Blood Music: Yeah – it seems like this kind of ‘middle ground’ of independent labels is experiencing a real renaissance right now. We’re getting the best quality from labels at a similar level to mine (give or take a few thousand fans) because it’s done from the heart by most.
Regards to RSD – I’m not a fan of this day, and I’m sad to say it because I realize this is one of the most significant things keeping independent record stores alive. Limited editions – very okay and can sometimes be cool (I’ve pressed my fair share of them). But I was not happy for instance that I bought the Flaming Lips box set for 180 EUR one RSD and then all the same pressings came out individually for cheaper a few months later. There wasn’t even any attempt to make that box set special, and I feel I got ripped off. I think that was probably my last foray with RSD and that was years ago.
On top of that, it has clearly been taken over by larger labels because most smaller labels don’t have the access to the kind of distribution necessary to participate and get featured – and not only that, they tend to put out their most unsellable properties on those dates. Cover songs by bands of other bands we never wanted to hear, EPs that are mostly just bland remixes of previously-released tracks, etc. I know that if I participated in RSD with Perturbator, etc. we’d do a killing, but I don’t want to support this free-for-all, I’d rather that we press records sensibly to meet demand of high quality music.
The worst part of it all is how backed up the plants get. Indie releases get delayed up to 6 months because of RSD. It’s the last dying wish of the majors, in my opinion.
I think the RSD committee should impose stricter rules cause I want to see indie stores survive, but in a more sensible way. This day is a cool idea, but it’s gone astray.
TreasurerAlex: Any update on a Sleepytime Gorilla Museum release?
Blood Music: the vinyl masters are all finished, the layouts are mostly done – they will be out later this year. :]
fifou76: Will we ever be able to order Perturbator merch that is not limited ? I need some time to gather money whey i want to buy something, and it pisses me off that Perturbator’s cool stuff is always gone very fast.
Blood Music: I can’t believe this is still going around :o. But yes in the beginning it was hard to obtain Perturbator merch because it was hard to predict the demand! But over the course of the last 1+ years, everything has been pressed and repressed, virtually everything is now in print, so I wouldn’t worry about it. All the vinyl has been pressed at least 3 times, the CDs all at least twice. I pressed enough of the new album that at least some variations should last for a while. It’s just hard to predict when a new genre is emerging how to plan for it!
There are only a few things (and specialty colors) out of print at this time for Perturbator. I’ve repressed virtually everything I’ve can multiple times. I’d like to keep early vinyl colors special, but you should be able to obtain the music on virtually every format now. :]
Also – surprised to hear about that at the gig, but I’m not in control over how much they bring to the merch table. I keep them as stocked as they ask me to! Maybe they wanted to save merch for future nights on the tour … ? Sorry to hear about that!
angeredtsuzuki: How’d you get into this business? It seems like you would need a lot of $ to set up all the logistics. Also who was your first band/artist to sign?
Blood Music: The basics are that I’ve gone through three heavy vinyl phases in my life. As a child, in my teenager years (into hardcore/punk), and as an adult. I started getting back into vinyl again right before the ‘boom,’ which luckily coincided with the beginning of the label.
I was going back and digging into all the metal bands I’d been listening to for years and trying to pick up vinyl. But I was very unsatisfied with the pressing quality (especially audio) of certain vinyl, as well as the lack of availability. I was having a hard time finding work at the same time (I had been a freelancer before in the media world), so one thing led to another, and I started it up as a hobby.
I made a shortlist of bands I wanted to work with, and if I remember right – it was maudlin of the Well, Lykathea Aflame, and Sigh. I wrote all three of them, and they all worked out. But I lucked out because another label held the vinyl rights to maudlin of the Well’s double albums “Bath” and “Leaving Your Body Map.” They were trying to make a box set from it but out of funds to produce the whole thing. I offered to basically kick in the extra funds in exchange for learning the ropes of releasing records. So, I got the basics from someone who’d already done a handful of releases before, and I helped kick in some huge amount of time and energy I had on my hands and we made it work.
From there, I split off and just decided to continue doing my own thing! I never ever ever intended for it to get this far, but it’s such an addictive thing when you see bands you admire build their careers off your help. I don’t like the spotlight (no surprise there, hence why I prefer to be in the shadows) and so this is a fantastic way for me to be part of these projects and help others whose work I admire.
And yeah – it’s so fucking expensive to do. The first release was done off some savings I still had.
OhFuckBalls: Speaking of bringing the Dark-synth Brotherhood to the physical realm, do you know any whereabouts about a possibility of them haunting the UK in the near future?
Blood Music: This is something very high on our list. I know a tour in UK would do amazingly, and I think it’s in planning right now. I was actually in the UK last summer, and it’s an amaaaaaaaaazing country (or countries). I told them to go hit London, Bristol, Edinburgh, etc. all the usual haunts. I am quite sure it will happen within the year. But don’t hold me to that! But do anyway.
GrooseMoose: How are the sales looking for the Uncanny Valley physical copies and merch? All good I hope
Blood Music: Sales are fucking crazy, man! It’s the biggest release by the label by far. Good thing too, all that merch and those variations, it was quite a risk! We really put everything we had into it, emotionally and financially. I think we’re going to break even eventually, emotionally and financially, haha.
grishnackh: Are there further plans to release black / extreme metal, or are you looking to branch further into synth?
Blood Music: For sure, both. There are several unannounced metal projects, and the next releases coming for order are 2/3 metal. I’d say the label is just expanding and there isn’t any particular planned logic to it. It happens illogically based on my likes and when I see eye-to-eye with a band who also likes the label.
Irreversible Mechanism, Aquilus, Akhlys, Ifing, etc. there are a lot of metal bands still on the label and I have no interest in abandoning them. Still as excited about metal as ever.
But there will be more synth too. :]
Nice_To_Eat_You: How well is the “Name Your Own Price” strategy working? I always try to donate as much as I can, but I have to confess I have bought some of your stuff for a minimum price, which makes me real ashamed of myself :))
Blood Music: This is something I was really skeptical about in the beginning, and I’m still sure it wouldn’t work for every artist/label. But I doubt I would ever change it for myself.
I was convinced to try it, and I am very happy with it. I don’t put any pressure on how much someone is willing to give. What you give is just distributed amongst the label and the artist. I can see the statistics that some albums might be downloaded 1000 times but only have 200 donations. I would rather those 200 people donate what they can instead of locking out 100+ of them. This is the way of the modern world, and I would rather those folks come get it straight for the source rather than through a pirate site who actually MONETIZES their users, so the pirate site which produces no media at all gets paid for illegally sharing the content.
This was my main motivation.
You know, wouldn’t you rather let your kid have a couple beers at home with you rather than having them go out and sneak some beers at a party and maybe have 10 illegitimate children and get into a drunk driving accident?
I’d rather everyone come get it from me / us with a trusting hand. :]
gustr15: Any chance at all of a Part the Second repress, CD or LP?
Blood Music: it’s something I’ve considered, and we’ve gone under discussion between myself and the band about doing represses on the CDs. I have all the layouts – it would be okay to go and do it, but I’m not 100% sure whether the demand is there or not. I’ve been dwelling on it or some time, but I don’t think it’s yet urgent. But I wouldn’t rule it out from happening eventually.
josah: Do you plan on pressing Wrath of the Code on Vinyl?
Blood Music: You bet! The plan was -> great digital support -> great cassette support -> great CD support -> VINYL
And we made it through all those stages. :] I have the test pressings here and actually was spinning them for fun yesterday. The layouts are done and the record will be sent to press shortly and come out a bit later this year. I can’t wait!! What an album!
Dan sent me a new track today, it sounds fucking killer.
issimon: Do you know roughly when you’ll be releasing the Carbon Based Lifeforms records?
Blood Music: Orders will begin in not too long! They are pressing right now. :] The layouts took a little longer than expected, but we’re gearing up to go – just waiting for the vinyl to catch up because pressing times are slow now.
yf-23: Have you ever thought about smaller merch? The pins and patches for Uncanny Valley were a great start, but I’d be super interested in both Gost, Perturbator, and Blood Music stickers, and maybe a Perturbator pentagram patch or something like that. I’m super excited for GosT’s new album later this year. It’s gotten a lot less hype but I’m really excited to see what direction he takes this next album. Thanks for doing this AMA, all your answers are very interesting to read!
Blood Music: Thank you! I have thought about doing stuff like that, but do people really buy stickers? And what if I make the stickers and then I don’t send them fast enough and people yell at me?! Argh!
But I really love how the pins and patches came out – I have the final ones here already and have the Perturbator pentagram pin on my jacket. People keep staring at it around the city. I’m also really glad to see the reaction on those, so I wouldn’t rule out other smaller merch in the future for select artists.
And well – I never announced it anywhere, but I made some Blood Music patches. I’m really bad about sometimes making some items and never getting them for sale cause I think other things are more important.
GosT’s album is amazing! I really hope people dig it – I think he’s done something no one else in this genre has done before – it’s really wild and out there, and I’ve heard his new compositions after the next album beginning already and it’s getting more mental! He’s fantastic at pushing his work.
illuminerdi: The video for Sentient was amazing, btw. Do you think you’d ever try to fund something even further along those lines, like making a video game with music from your artists and art by the people who did Sentient?
The video was already 1/2 way there, it doesn’t seem like a complete leap, which is why I ask. I’d play the hell out of that, for sure 😉
The other reason I ask is because games have been pretty instrumental in helping artists like your own Perturbator and other artists like Mitch Murder and Kavinsky find larger audiences, so it seems like there’s already some crossover appeal…
Blood Music: I actually was in discussion to work on producing/co-funding a video game, but we just did not see eye-to-eye, so it sadly didn’t happen. I wouldn’t rule it out in the future!
However, there are some possible plans for things beyond “The Uncanny Valley” album, but Perturbator made me promise that we would wait to see how well the final album does. If it’s a big explosion then we might have some further developments there, but nothing yet to talk about. I really hope though because my interests lie also far outside music. I spent a lot of time working with Valenberg on the “Sentient” video and would like to put those skills into developing further media outside (but tied into) the music!
Drakowicz: Is it true that Perturbator and Dan Terminus had to sleep with you while blasting Gost’s Behemoth in order to get signed?
Blood Music: Actually, the real story is that GosT was locked in my cellar for years. I only fed him breadcrumbs. Perturbator and Dan came over to sleep with me after replying to one of my Cragislist ads, and things just started happening from there.
Shpouiten: What’s your process like for finding new music to add to the label? And how do you juggle discovering new music and listening to the awesome stuff you already know of? Also I’m must say I’m a fan of the label ever since I ordered both motW vinyls and the poster, and I really like the fact that tapes are something you do now. They work really well with the synth music you release, but also for stuff like Corpo-Mente.
Blood Music: I actually don’t do anything particularly special, which is what weirds me out about a lot of larger labels having no signing skills whatsoever. But in reality, something I’ve learned over time is that young/new bands are just harder to work with in every way.
They haven’t learned the ropes, they don’t have a fanbase, etc. If you watch, there are some labels who literally just swoop in and try to grab establishing bands off small/mid-size labels.
Why? Breaking bands is HARD. It takes more than just money, it takes talent to spot the great ones and drive to promote them.
It used to be that something that just jogs my interest was good enough, but I’m drowning in requests these days, so it usually boils down to something I hit play on and grabs me within a minute. Sounds like not enough, but I was sold on Perturbator within 15 seconds. I just know what I like, and I’m surfing around the internet like everyone else, clicking on links that friends / bands / blogs post. I don’t overly follow any one page, just cruising like a normal internet user. And keeping an open mind. That’s the best policy.
If it drives me to excitement and no one else is working with them, then I want to get that band out there and help drive them to their potential! I almost always steer clear of bands on other labels.
squidthesid: So, the Emperor Bot Set is certainly quite the investment at over 700 Euros. How did you come up with the idea to release such a lavish box set? How worried were you that it would fail commercially? How has the reception been so far critically/financially?
Blood Music: Well, the initial idea was simply to release all of Emperor’s works in a complete box set – nothing more than that. I landed the project and that’s when the fun (and fear) began. I started planning it along with the band and realized that their albums’ lengths (roughly 40-50 minutes) fit perfectly to cutting at 45-RPM. In addition to their catalog being so powerful yet limited in the amount of releases they’ve done, I realized it fit perfectly to releasing an ‘audiophile’ style 45-RPM box set, as is commonly done in jazz and blues circles – something that has never been done before in extreme metal and could probably never be done again with a significant band’s catalog.
It ballooned over time due to currencies crashing, real-world inflation and other rising factors, so it became the monolith it is today. I was not too worried that it would fail commercially to be honest until the very last minutes. I was ready to accept that it might hit a loss (and it’s still slightly in the negative but I guess it will get to break-even eventually). It’s one of my favorite bands of all time and I really wanted to push the envelope of what can be done with a physical release.
The critical reaction has been extremely strong. The fan reaction has been mixed. I had no doubts that would happen – it is a bold release and a bold experiment and one that most people simply can’t afford to buy. When things get pricy, people get angry. But there wasn’t a way to pull this off gracefully without going all the way in my opinion.
squidthesid: So, how did you meet up with Dynatron? He’s certainly very different than all of the other artists you have on Blood Music. How did you know that he was “right” for your label? What metric do you use to judge if an artist fits your label or not?
Blood Music: Good question! This is one of the rare instances where the artist came to me and I said yes, although as the label gets more known, the quality of those artists gets higher.
Dynatron came to me a few days before “Aeternus” was released and asked me to release it on vinyl. I had already decided to stop doing vinyl-only releases, so I just straight up told him I couldn’t consider it.
So, he went through with his release plans, but he dropped me a link to download the album. I’ve been playing it for months, so sometime during my holiday I dropped him a line and we just talked about upcoming stuff. He sent me links to some stuff he was working on and “Aeternus” was sinking in with me more and more. I like the fact that his music is dark but not EVIL – so he is exploring a very different dimension of the same universe as the other electro guys on the roster. I became very convinced this would be a strong partnership and him too. It wasn’t more complicated than that, I got really into his stuff, and I liked chatting with him and where he was going and how it fit within the context of the label.
squidthesid: What synth artists have you been listening to lately, if at all? Any you’d like to work with in the future?
Blood Music: I listen a LOT to the guys on the label – I’m HUUUGE fans of their stuff, and hey … they also luckily throw me a lot of links to unreleased tracks to check out and give commentary on. A lucky bonus of the job. :]
As mentioned in another thread, I really like Makeup and Vanity Set. I also listen to a LOT of ambient electronic, such as Carbon Based Lifeforms (who I’m working with), Aphex Twin’s ambient material, Connect.Ohm, Asura, etc.
squidthesid: Why do you think Vinyl is making such a re-emergence? Also, how do you think HD Vinyl will affect your label? Why do you think Vinyl is seen as being so luxurious?
Blood Music: Oh, I think we’re seeing a re-emergence of so many different forms of analog media. People are really precious about movies shot and projected on film as well, even rotary analog phones are a bit of a thing. The ‘retro’ movement makes a hell of a lot of sense. The digital realm has enhanced our lives greatly on certain levels but on others done absolutely nothing to advance us. A good example is video games. Although the graphics and gameplay is insane compared to 10-20 years ago, have the games gotten universally better? I don’t think so – the core values are what matters deep down, and I think compartmentalizing everything powerful into tiny devices has drawn a heavy nostalgia into people to go back to devices and delivery engines which feel like actual products, pieces of art, things that remind us of a physical world that we inhabit or have inhabited and that show how real we are. I really feel like computers are sucking a bit of our humanity a way, just a bit.
squidthesid: How do you feel about services like Spotify? I’ve heard that they provide very little in terms of royalties to artists, so many don’t bother. Do you think Spotify is good for the industry?
Blood Music: I’ve heard this too and for many metal bands and probably most other genres it’s the case. But for the darksynth guys, it’s also been an invaluable tool for spreading their music, and I must say that if they get played a lot, the payout is fine. I think a lot of the negative propaganda comes about because of the obligatory royalties that are paid out to artists by law – and those are TINY. And that is all that many artists receive from major labels.
I’m assuming that the bigger deal is that those artists do not have good deals with their labels – they should have better royalty splits with their labels on streaming / digital sales to capitalize on that profit. I guarantee major labels are making a mint on streaming.
squidthesid: How’s it been working with Bandcamp? I’ve heard nothing but good things about it from the business end. What about other storefronts like Google Play and Apple Music? Would you like to see PWYW (Pay What You Want) on those services so more people could legally access your music? How has this affected piracy?
Blood Music: I am pretty happy in general with the way digital distributors are set up now. I don’t think they should necessarily all be PWYW (Pay What You Want). I like that Bandcamp is the direct-to-artist or direct-to-label format that has not currently been over-exploited. I think it’s fair to have one service that’s pay what you wish and the others are at standardized pricing, I have no issues at all with any of these stores – so I watch a lot of negative propaganda come in, and I think the fights are about other things than the basic payouts themselves. It all seems overblown to me.
squidthesid: I’ve noticed a lot more games using the Blood Music artists. Hypothetically, if I wanted to license music for my game, what would the process be like?
Blood Music: You just gotta ask, show me your project (proof of concept is very important, visuals, story-lines, timelines, etc.) and how much you offer. It’s not very complicated in the end other than the game developer/publisher trying to do a little tap-dance to get the licensor interested in licensing.
Essentially, I can say no to every single game if I want, and I do say no to most people in order to preserve my artists’ integrity. So, a game could say WE WILL PAY YOU 1 MILLION EUROS TO PUT ONE TRACK IN THIS GAME, and I can say no with no questions asked or even ignore them. Thus, the licensee has to puff up their feathers a bit and attract the mate with a good pitch.
squidthesid: You’re known as a very active and very vocal user on social media and you generally avoid most “PR speak”. How have your peers in the industry reacted to this (if at all)? Do you think that more labels should be as open as you are?
Blood Music: I can’t speak to how others should do things at all. This is just natural for me, I am a to-the-point person on most matters and that puts some people off. But it also lets others know that what they’re getting is the straight up truth. I don’t like beating around the bush cause it wastes time and energy. If we’re going to do something great together (artists/labels/fans), we should cut through the bullshit. But there are plenty of labels I think are doing a great job, and they don’t go anywhere near the subjects I do. I think labels should promote what is comfortable to them because being natural is the most important thing!
squidthesid: What’s your favorite food?
Blood Music: It changes daily but I’d say the thing I eat most consistently is chocolate and tea, haha.
squidthesid: Any plans for upgrades on the webstore? It seems like it’s quite limited in its functionality (e.g. I can’t merge orders in anyway to cut down on shipping).
Blood Music: Yup! Plans on everything but only limited time. That one is on the to do list, but it falls back to the wayside when I see the more urgent things that come up.
MetalAges: What do you see for the future of Blood Music, what’s the “next step” you’re wanting to take?
Blood Music: Herein is the strange part. I had a kind of vision which was based on the initial steps of the label and that lasted virtually up until the Emperor box. I was really thinking of calling the label entirely quits after the box was finished.
However, Perturbator threw a wrench in the plans. I did not actually expect to have a kind of ‘hit album’ like “Dangerous Days” was and now “The Uncanny Valley” looks to be heading towards. In the meantime, a lot of growing bands came on board, which threw me for a loop.
I guess I’m now in this pattern where I can plan the trajectory of artists and help them figure out where to go philosophically, but the label itself has taken on a kind of life of its own. So, I think as the label grows, I have to start focusing on the more micro tasks of keeping the artists and fans satisfied and filling desires for where the universe is just pushing things to go.
I sign things as I see them that I think are amazing (on a personal level) and where the artist is also interested to work with me.
So, at this point, I’m slightly directionless, just freestyling. But I do have a vision for the darksynth guys at this time which I’m pushing towards, but I don’t know the end goal. I believe at some point that scene will splinter apart and get more into soundtrack composition and things, but I don’t know when.
neonarrow2044: I read an interview recently with you discussing the Emperor boxset and it struck me how much you seemed to really care about your releases and getting shit done. I’ve worked in record stores for about two years and encountered lots of indie label people and they all seemed to be tremendous arses. It was a nice surprise to read what you had to say about Emperor and Blood Music in general. I don’t actually have a question, I just wanted to give you four thumbs up for the stuff Blood Music do. Bring on the Uncanny Valley!
Blood Music: Thanks a lot for the kind words! I literally drive myself to the brink of insanity to get things done correctly, but I think it helps because I used to work in a creative-centric position before. Now that I’m in more of a producer role, I think it’s very beneficial that I’ve gone through the ropes of learning precisely what it’s like from the artists’ angle. I guess the ‘money people’ are usually just dudes or then come from business/legal backgrounds. But, I come from a creative background, and so I completely get who the artists want to see in their corner – the person who I never had! The one to properly finish off their material (that final finesse before bringing it public) and one that will also die for the material / champion it til the ends of the earth.
I think Emperor is astounded how much brain power I put into that box. I never realized it til I met them in person a month or so ago. They were so cool to meet in person!
I wouldn’t do this work if I couldn’t put my all into the releases. I’d rather sit around and spin records and not put my logo on them if it had to be done at half-effort.
WigglesGalore: Where did you first hear Perturbator and Gost’s work and how did they come to join the label?
Blood Music: Actually, there is a Blood Music forum that was private for approximately 4 years (it only had ~10-15 original customers from the label on it). One of the people on the forum posted Perturbator in a “Post what you’re listening to” thread. I didn’t always check those but I hit play, and I was floored. I wrote Perturbator then and there and didn’t stop until he agreed to work with me.
Perturbator shortly after referenced GosT, and I listend to his EPs. I liked them but wasn’t totally sold. GosT himself wrote me and asked to work with him, to which I said no. He later wrote again when he had “Behemoth” finished and sent me the entire album. It’s a good thing that he had perseverance because I loved the album! I told him yes pretty much right away, and we’ve been building it ever since. He is is also brilliant in terms of how much each release of his leaps ahead of the last.
I’m very happy to be working with both those guys!
Yellrag: Most of your currently signed metal artists are well established in the scene and more or less renowned, whereas some synthwave artists are beginners or new to the genre, is this intentional or simply the result of opportunities you had?
Blood Music: Wow, I wouldn’t see it that way at all. Irreversible Mechanism had 200 Facebook fans when I signed them on. Aquilus had 800. Kauan had 2000. Perturbator 4000. Akhlys 2000. Dan Terminus 400. GosT 1000.
I tend to grab bands that are developing or not yet developed because I’m generally not interested in ‘easy rewards.’ I’m not into it to cash in but I want to push the artists I admire to their fullest extent. So, if you see any further development on those bands, I think a lot of it has had to do with me trying to push them out as hard as I can.
It’s important to me to be a big part of a band’s success, it makes me feel like I was there and able to help them achieve something they may not have done on their own. Just pressing a record and putting it into distribution is something anyone can learn to do, but actually becoming the number one champion for an artist, who can help push their visual identity or push them sonically and make them be the best they can be – that’s a rare and exciting thing to be a part of!
Lanttu: The day Moonsorrow calls quits (which I hope never happens), you will do another boxset to complete rest of their discography in an aesthetically unified form, right? I need them in my life! Still sad that you left out Varjoina as it’s sold out everywhere. Even if, in all honest, I will never listen to them if I really want to experience the album as a whole. Flipping vinyls would destroy that lovely trance I can fall into when listening to them.
Also, may I wish you a small, very polite fuck you as well from my wallet? Your label isn’t the smallest of factors why I eventually fell for vinyls, now having spent more than 1000 euros (around 500 of that on you webstore) on them after last summer. Oh, and pass on the greetings for Perturbator as well, I want my 250 euros back!.
Oh, and just out of curiosity, how much Finnish do you actually speak? As I have this impression you are from somewhere else originally (don’t know where). Ihan näin kännissä ja läpällä.
Blood Music: I don’t think I would ever approach any of the box sets again, they were complete labors of insanity and there’s no need to touch any of those subjects again, haha. Even if the demand is there, maybe my energy isn’t.
Now I think it would’ve been cool to add in Varjoina, but at the time it had been available for years and was nowhere near sold out. I think the box set helped the band get a lot wider attention outside of just the folk metal scene, so that probably drove a lot of interest to the Varjoina record. But what’s done is done!
I did see Mitja the other day and he graciously gave me a free copy of Jumalten Aika (I would’ve absolutely paid for it – the record is brilliant, so it was an incredible surprise) and he mentioned what a great boost the box has been for the band and how grateful they are.
Suomi sujuu aina, kun huvittaa. 😉 Mutta olen halunnut pitää bisneksen kansainvälisenä, joten en usein käytä siinä yhteydessä suomea.
thenefilim: Any plans to splatter release Nocturne City, Sex and Night Driving…
Blood Music: There aren’t any particular plans to do such a thing, when I planned the color configurations on those with Perturbator, we collectively decided to make them slightly different than the albums, hence the flood fluorescent colors on the back of the LP jackets and the more muted vinyl colors. So, we wanted to make a slight distinction between those and the albums. By that notion, I guess a splatter edition of those won’t happen, sorry to say!
thenefilim: Any black metal releases planned?
Blood Music: Yes – Grey Aura, Akhlys, Lychgate, Ifing, and another band which hasn’t yet been announced – announcement coming later this week. People are pretty excited about it behind the scenes.
fradastio: Who are you favorite outrun style artists outside the label? I know Gost and Dance with the Dead do shows together, as well as Carpenter Brut jumping on shows with your unholy trinity. Thanks!
Blood Music: Truth be told? I think the only artist whose stuff I really admire in a crazy way off the label is Makeup and Vanity Set. I’ve tried to sign him three times to no avail. 😀 He is in a different situation than the rest of these guys though in that he is also already a professional composer, so figuring out a deal with him is much more complicated than these guys whose main focus is building albums. We came really close right now, but it didn’t work out again. So, I think it probably won’t ever. His stuff is not in the same realm as the rest of the producers though, it’s way more related to actual soundtracks and so I understand why those with a consistent beat are gaining more heat than him. There are other good producers in the scene but so far I’m really digging the guys I’ve signed. :]
ubernause: Is there any chance is hell of you putting out a Windir collected works on vinyl? I’ve been waiting a very long time for one to appear and you seem like the best person to possibly work on that!
Blood Music: Truth be told, I was working on that for years, and I got somewhat close. A lot of people asked me to work on that after the Moonsorrow box was announced, but I had already been working on securing the rights for Windir since almost the beginning of the label. I’m such a massive fan of all their music, and it would be amazing to have it all out there on vinyl.
The fact of the matter is that the rights are owned by a company who is reluctant to budge about much (look at how long it took Ulver to get reissued). And the band themselves are in a bit of a tough spot because I don’t think this is something they care to relive too often.
After a while of working on the label, I just realized when some deals are too hard, it’s better to walk away. So after about 2-3 years of trying on Windir and actually coming close with the rights owner and then falling further back, I just gave up.
Side note – I was never able to get in touch with the band, though I tried through various methods. Several customers of the label also tried messaging the remaining band members on my behalf. The general reply is that they knew I was trying to get ahold of them. But they never wrote me, and nothing ever happened. On that front, I don’t think it would even be wise to go forward if they aren’t on board.
The sognadal scene is incredible though, a real pity. If the band came over to me and put the rights in my lap, I’d do that box in a heartbeat though.
Scartastic: You listed how much your artist made this last year. The figures were pretty solid. You keep mentioning that you are the only person at blood music. However, with the figures you listed it is confusing why this is still so. Why have you been reluctant to expand your operation????
Blood Music: This project is such a personal endeavor for me. In fact, it was never supposed to be a business. I started it as a method for keeping myself sane during some difficult times finding work. I would never have registered it as any kind of entity if there were no sales involved. But of course, due to law, when you sell anything, you have to register. So, it was set up as a non-profit originally with the label just intended to be a small part of it. In fact, I never thought it would make any money.
The label just took off unexpectedly, and I wound up having to register it as a business after short time. And from there, I started to pay the bands more and more. I don’t take much salary from the company. I leave most of the funds in the company so that I can pull off insane projects. The Perturbator “The Uncanny Valley” release and the Emperor, Moonsorrow, and Strapping Young Lad projects were all hellishly expensive to pull off and things that are better done if you have a buffer in case of failure.
I would hire someone if the right person popped up, but I have to say that because this is such a personal thing, it’s like inviting someone into your one person band. It has to be perfectly the right fit, and not only that but for the right price. Budgets are tight on underground records. Even if you have a big success, you can have 10 that aren’t and things need to be run intelligently. If I found a jack-of-all-trades like myself who also is into working hard and not needing a rock star salary, then I would hire them, but I don’t personally know anyone. And I think the jobs I have to offer are not as exciting as most people would want to do. I want to keep all the best parts for myself.
So, if I want to make these crazy investments and try out all kinds of daredevil release stunts, it’s better that I wait for that right person to emerge.
Pelonite: What are you thoughts on this HD vinyl that’s been in the news? It’ll supposedly be cheaper to produce, have more capacity, better fidelity, and be compatible with existing turntables.
Blood Music: I am interested for sure. Just because I gained notoreity for the label by making analog vinyl pressings, it doesn’t mean that I’m opposed to bringing new technology into the turntable spectrum.
I think because the information is still new, we’re running off maybe one or two interviews from the company introducing it and some patent information, we can’t be quite sure how it’s going to go. I posted it on the label Facebook page, and there were a lot of reactions back and forth.
Nearly every (not every but almost every) album release these days is cut with a digital stage at SOME POINT, and so I don’t think that’s a reason to kill the idea just yet. I am waiting to see what are the benefits with pressing times. It is stated in articles it’s going to free up pressing plants, but upon further inspection, I saw that they said lacquers/stampers will be produced faster, but that isn’t really the bottleneck right now. It’s the pressing machines.
And it sounds like those records are pressed using traditional methods, so I actually very much look forward to more information on the subject, and even sent it over to my contacts at the plant for looking at. They were a bit more skeptical than me. :]
Metalapin: Any news for the Grey Aura double album? Is it still coming or not? :3
Blood Music: Absolutely. Just to note, this delay wasn’t on me. :] I pitched the idea of a crazy deluxe 60-page hardback book to the band, and they said layouts would be done in two weeks. A year later and here we are. :] It’s done, it’s pressing, it will be one of the next records to be released on the label. So the waiting is nearly over. Breathe easily! I think we’ll start to roll out the first information next week.
SinnieOnFire: I thought that Blood Music is more like metal label and it still bugs me that you started publishing synthwave producers. are you planning to focusing on some specific genres or will go on exploring? are there more synth guys you’ve contracted already and planning for release?
Blood Music: No doubt this is something I knew would bother people from the get go – but both are styles of music that have been very dear to my heart for a long time. On top of that, I’d say that Perturbator has been responsible for ‘saving’ the label, as I was intending to close it this year. Because his last album was a runaway hit, it gave me the encouragement to continue pushing on and trying things with new bands of all varieties.
I do not have a particular allegiance to one genre or another, I grew up on a lot of different bands and styles. And I guess even if you don’t like the developments, I think it must still be refreshing to have a label that can champion completely non-metal music and make a go of it while also championing the extremes of metal. It’s something I think was lacking – is a label that has the balls to do both and do it well.
So yes, I will keep on exploring. :]
MetalAges: How do you determine the initial quantity you are going to press (and the number of color variations) of any given release through Blood Music?
Do you ever worry about offering too many choices? (I’ll be honest, I dread each new release, being a completist I am – too many choices damn it 🙂 )
Blood Music: Tough question, tough answer! The initial pressing quantities are intended to be determined by my ability to move them. A lot of people balked for years at the limited pressings of the albums, but I had virtually no distribution for the first years of the label, so a startup label had to move several hundred copies of each record out the door – and that’s a LOT for most bands!
It now tends to come down to how popular I think the project is and how many copies I can move. For someone like Perturbator and GosT and Kauan who are now continually selling records, it suits to have extra copies on the shelves. But for other projects which have a finite amount that you can move then it suits to try and hit the precise point where you can just sell out and no more demand is needed.
Of course, hitting that point is an impossibility, so some records you wind up having extra for years that you didn’t need and others you wind up selling out way too quickly but demand is only there for 50 more copies, so you’re shit out of luck.
I try to keep the amount of variations limited to the basis of the release and the amount of copies pressed. For instance, if I press 2000 copies, I’m OK to do a handful more variations. But if it’s 300 – then three different color configs not only makes a headache for the collectors but for me too! I have to also make separate webstore listings, stock them on the shelves separately, etc.
It’s done on a case-by-case basis. Rarely perfectly but always with the best educated guess. Running a label engages heavily with the art of risk!
Shadowy Figure: You guys and Rosso Corso have really done a lot to bring Outrun into the spotlight. Keep up the good work brother!!
So, what’s the next step for BloodMusic?
Blood Music: Thanks!! Next step is to try to find a way to keep the workload manageable! It’s never becoming less. But in reality, it’s just to finish each year with grace – there are always a million things to do. I can’t wait to release “The Uncanny Valley” – been working on it straight for approximately 9 months! And later this year, releasing GosT’s “Non Paradisi.”
I’m always pushed by the challenge of artists turning in killer music, then it’s my job to try to one-up them and see if I can do a better job than them at pressing and getting it out there.
I have also been looking to expand into other forms of media (video games, film) but no project has fully stood out as THE ONE yet. Although there is one project that’s a maybe, we will see later this year. :]
foamed: How was the production and planning phase for the Strapping Young Lad box set? Was it a lot of stress and did you work closely with Devin at all (or did he solely trust you alone on that project)? If you ever got the chance would you work with him again?
Blood Music: That project was complete stress and chaos for me because before that point, I’d only built a few vinyl releases, so I was stepping into very uncharted waters. I was lucky that Devin and his manager insisted on using Travis Smith (who’d done some of the original SYL artwork / layouts before). He knew precisely what to go for from my ideas, and we worked all the details out together.
Because the label was still new, a lot of coordination was done between Travis and Devin and Devin’s manager, and I worked between Travis and Devin’s manager and Jed Simon. I did have contact with Devin at some points, but I believe he was knee deep in releasing Epicloud at the time – so his time was limited. Nevertheless, it all worked out perfectly. I did finally get to meet Devin to sign the posters for the die hard sets, and he was very gracious.
If I had the opportunity, I would surely work with him again. But, as he seems very firmly signed to another label and I’ve decided to move on with artists signed to my label, I doubt I’ll be doing that DTP box set everyone’s been clamoring for. 😉
That was a very significant release for me personally, and I’m so happy with the way it came out and how much everyone enjoys it. I never expected it to go over so well.
Wormsy: which album or even track by one of your artists do you think is the best to lift weights to?
Blood Music: I don’t lift weights. :[ But I guess Irreversible Mechanism “Infinite Fields” / Dan Terminus “The Wrath of Code” are pretty much wall-to-wall powerhouses. If you can’t gain muscle to those, I don’t know what will help!
TheOne-ArmedMann: Mainly just curious about one thing that other people have not asked. I see a lot of genre names thrown around; retrosynth, synthwave, outrun, etc. Which do you prefer?
Blood Music: This is a really complicated question because it’s on the one hand very tiring for me to have to try to narrow down how I’m going to call each project. But at least I don’t have to write outrun over and over when talking about each artist.
I actually generally leave this up to each artist to say because a lot of words are being thrown around. I think that Perturbator, GosT, and Dan Terminus ALL prefer being called darksynth, so that’s what stuck with me. They are all inspired by retro sounds and atmosphere, but they are trying to push their music into its own realm, not influenced just by Ferrari commercials from the 80s, but something new inspired by those aesthetics.
So, I think darksynth is what will stick for these guys and they will start to splinter away a bit from the rest of the scene. Synthwave seems pretty accurate to describe the more ’80s feeling’ music.
KaiserKnuckle: Considering the great reception to your releases with GosT/Perturbator/D.T. so far, what exactly do you see as the future to the genre of synthwave as a whole given the current throng of high-quality musicians out there?
Blood Music: This is something that we actually discuss a fair amount internally (myself and the artists). It’s clearly in an upswing and how and when it levels off is anyone’s guess. I feel like I have such a good relationship with my artists, as well so many other artists in this scene are so interested in keeping control of their music, that I’m not sure if it will ever rocket far outside of this current underground. I can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t continue to grow in popularity but stay firmly planted on indie labels, such as IDM did the 90s. My question is how long will the retro interest in this specific time period last?!
KaiserKnuckle: Apart from Dynatron, what other rising/underrated synth artists would you see as possible signees?
Blood Music: Welllllll …. there is another signing not yet announced, it’ll get out there soon. Not someone that anyone would expect likely. 😉
KaiserKnuckle: You have repeatedly said that apart from friends acting assistants, you are the only person who runs Blood Music and you have to deal with things that halt productions on occasion; Do you have any plans on having any forms of legitimate employees? If you aren’t/this is a personal thing, then I understand.
Blood Music: I am trying to find ways to work around this because it is not the wisest way to do things from an energy perspective. But for me it’s important that the parts are all done properly, it requires someone very reliable with a variety of skills on a budget – and I just don’t know anyone to fit the bill now, so it continues on like this so as not to spoil the quality!
KaiserKnuckle: What are the plans on TUC’s digital release? I apologize if I am annoying you about this (as I emailed you previously about it).
Blood Music: Do you mean The Uncanny Valley or have I misunderstood? It will be coming out via all services (Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, X-Box Music, Deezer, etc.). The main album and the EP will be released separately. :]
KaiserKnuckle: Do you see any ‘spiritual’ side to the types of music you are interestied in listening to/releasing onto Blood Music?
Blood Music: Knowing the artists fairly well on many releases helps me know more deeply what goes into the music. I do believe that some artists are composing and performing from a spiritual plane while others are operating from the perspective of using sounds and imagery as a kind of fantasy / provocation tactic. I guess knowing the artists themselves takes away a little mystery, on some level it must be enviable to be a fan without knowing the artists at all cause you have a completely different perspective than me!
methshin: You have signed pretty much all the top Outrun artists. Any chance of bringing them all together for a north american tour? France gets all the shows :(, Toronto wants some loving.
Blood Music: Thanks for the kind words! I believe Perturbator played somewhere not too far from you before one time, but we would love to get them all to Canada. Do remember though that it’s several guys between them all so getting schedules to coordinate perfectly isn’t always easy! Everyone has their own lives in and outside the music, so I can only hope they’d go around as one unit.
Here’s an answer I wrote to someone about USA earlier, and I think it also applies to Canada:
“Yes, absolutely, this is one of the most urgent things on my / our list. We are in conversation / holding pattern with a professional booking agency in the USA who is going to help make this a reality, but it takes time. It’s a big investment to do such a thing, so we have to be patient. As far as which cities / states? I don’t know. But I hope we can get these guys to SXSW at least at some point.”
Dragovic: What is your favorite MANOWAR album?
Blood Music: Who can choose a favorite? But I just threw on Battle Hymns in your honor!
Kyosama66: Would you rather have the added exposure of your artists through means of piracy (bittorrent/peer to peer vectors) hoping for conversions to paid customers, or the removal of all content from p2p services?
It seems to me that having content out there is the lesser evil, but I could also see it from the side that at least with Bandcamp/Youtube plays, you still have some idea of the “value” of your product, at least in the form of some analytics or ad revenue. These are my thoughts from the consumer side, so I’m curious to how you feel about it.
Blood Music: I can’t say that I have any definitive answer with regards to p2p sharing, etc. I’m not sure I have a fully formed opinion over whether the world is better or worse off because there are massive positives and negatives to it, and it is simply the world we live in.
I just wish those that were engaging in such activities had greater knowledge of what those actions meant and were more respectful when bands or labels don’t want to engage in those activities. I keep everything Name Your Own Price so no one has to engage in piracy, just come get it freely from the source. But there is often a rush to be “FIRST TO LEAK” an album or first to load it on YouTube or to load it on pirate sites, Bandcamp, etc. without the artist’s permission, and I think some “fans” take this too far.
p2p is not the end of the world in my opinion, but I think there needs to be a bigger re-education with some fans so they know how to treat the artists and labels more respectfully. I think the music industry will survive with a greater knowledge of the internal system by the fans (and a greater knowledge of the external system by the biz).
MisanthropeX: There seems to be a huge crossover between the darker end of outrun (do you, personally, call it Darksynth?) and metal- hell, Metalsucks runs a synthwave column these days. Up until now you were primarily a metal label; can you speak with any intuition why the two genres seem to be so intertwined?
Blood Music: It was an accident, and I probably started it by introducing Perturbator, later spurned on by his booking at Nidrosian Black Mass and Brutal Assault.
Fact of the matter is that some of this music is very influenced by retro horror and sci-fi films, which a lot of metal fans are into, so it isn’t a larger leap than one would expect.
I can’t obviously take full credit for it, but I imagine that MetalSucks column is based on a suggestion I made. I was working with a publicist on GosT “Behemoth” and asked him to push to MetalSucks. MetalSucks rejected it, and I told the publicist to try again and remind them how many people were into Perturbator in the metal scene and that I thought it would fly over really well. They replied that we were absolutely right and said fuck it and wrote about it. Then they started supporting Dan Terminus from my release and went off to write about a lot of other projects. :]
Metalheads secretly like a lot of stuff that they won’t tell you about. I’m glad to see that most of them are very open to the concept of dark electronic, there is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s great to do work to, it’s great to drive to, it’s great to work out to. It sucks to listen to black metal 24/7. There’s so much great extreme metal, but you need music to clear your head between it, otherwise all the music blends into itself and you get stuck in one atmosphere inside your head and become your own worst enemy in my opinion.