My label is called Rising Beast Recordings, and itís based in Los Angeles, California. It has been active since 2006.
2. What led you to start a label? Were you influenced by other labels around you, or did it slowly evolve from another underground activity, such as a distro, perhaps a fanzine or something?
It slowly evolved, as I first began releasing my own music on CD-Rs. As I kept going, I started releasing cassettes and some vinyl, then I started releasing other bands music besides my own. I also began trading a lot with other labels and growing a distro. But more recently I have re-focused the label to how it used to be. Now I only release and distribute my own music.
3. Why did you choose this label name, and what does it mean for you?
The name ďRising
BeastĒ comes from my old black metal project Lord Foul. Itís the
title of the first song on my 1993 demo ďKilling Raping BurningĒ.
4. Which releases from your catalog are you the most satisfied with? Some releases don't happen how you imagined it to, and some finally look better than expected... Some bands aren't too exciting to work/ communicate with while some have a lot of things to say... Finally satisfaction can appear at various levels !)
Running my label has been a constant learning process, and I feel like Iím always improving and getting better in terms of the layout and design, and my production values. So while Iím satisfied with most of my releases, the newer, more recent ones are the ones I am the most satisfied with.
5. Do you generally do everything yourself, or you cooperate with other metallers for the layout, some promotion or other activities?
I do everything
myself. It gives you tremendous freedom in a creative way to make
all your own decisions, but itís also a huge amount of work to do
yourself, between making the music, preparing the releases, trying
to promote, running a webstore, packaging orders, social media,
etc. Sometimes I wish I had help, especially with promotion and
publicity. Thatís my weakest area as I am too shy and hate trying
to push my stuff on people.
6. The fact of starting a label can initially come from dreams, something great you have in mind and you'd like to finally materialize... Even if it's quite private, and I know some labels don't like to talk about it too much, you can perhaps tell us about the craziest dreams you would have in mind for a label... For a couple of minutes we can forget about the material/ financial problems and imagine we are in 2005, everything can be possible and you can talk about it now! AhAh
I started out
with a boundless youthful idealism, imagining that I was contributing
to underground music, and I wanted to do it all Ė release my own
stuff, release other bands, have a huge distro, and work my way
up from doing CD-Rs to cassettes and eventually vinyl. Since then,
the painful reality is that the amount of work involved does not
always equal the results you are hoping for. I am now too old and
jaded, and I have scaled my operation down.
7. What's the best way to distribute a release in your opinion? Is it about online sales, trades, sales during gigs, or do you use the services or an official distributor perhaps?
enough, my physical sales have slowed down a lot but my digital
sales on my Bandcamp page are great. Itís causing me to rethink
my strategy, and I wonder now if physical releases are even needed
or desired, especially considering the work and resources it takes
to achieve a physical product.
8. Are you releases generally limited to a small amount of copies, or you try to push things a bit further? Sometimes it can take quite some time to distribute more than 200 copies of a tape... But if you limit a release to 50-100 copies it's very few and we can wonder about the use and efficiency of "100 copies only" (Some copies sleep eternally in some distros, some copies are never listened to... So how many copies from the 100 are really listened to?)
I started out doing 200 to 250 copies of a release, and a few of them were justified but others took a long time to sell out. These days I like to do 75-100 copies, itís less to worry about!
9. Do you believe it's important to support and release bands from your area/ and or country?
Itís a nice thing to do but for me I donít focus on bands from my area or country, I just release whatever I like.
10. Do you only run a label, or are you also involved in other underground activities? Sometimes I realize my distro/ label is only a part of "something bigger" and I would rather see it as a medium of communication/ promotion for underground bands: A small label, a distro, plus a webzine, a youtube channel, a couple of facebook pages, lots of music posts on forums, facebook and other social medias, and other stuffs... In 2017, at the end I rather feel like doing communication than doing a label, and this said label even sometimes seems to become "A reason to communicate" lol
label I also have a blog, a YouTube, and many social media accounts,
but I am not that active on any of them.
11. I know some peoples are making a living from selling underground metal CDs... sometimes it's even small underground labels ran by only one guy. In the current situation where it's harder than ever to sell CDs, considering all the compromises one would have to deal with to make a living from running a small label, do you think we can honestly say these guys are still underground? Isn't there too much of compromises and need-for-cash to use the word "UNDERGROUND" anymore? (Underground in the initial meaning of the word, not the modern Nuclear blast/ Century media version...)
I think ďUndergroundĒ and ďMainstreamĒ are harder to tell apart these days. That being said, I am very bored by what passes as ďextreme metalĒ these days. It seems itís an endless circle-jerk between the bigger labels and metal press and itís hard for a smaller ďundergroundĒ band to get noticed unless you have a lot of hype behind you. To me the most interesting music is the most obscure, the less people that like it the more I want to hear it.
12. To dig deeper in the underground, do you believe "Do it yourself" releases still have a future? Once again I'm using a word in its initial meaning, and I see fewer labels release and produce tapes all by themselves (Dubbing tapes, printing and cutting covers), as almost everyone seems to choose the pro tape format (Sometimes it's not better than carefully made DIY tapes), and the old CDr release seems to be bashed by many, while it's not that bad sometimes...
I still love
cassettes, and as my job and financial situation has improved I
have tried to raise the quality of my releases. I can afford better
pro-tapes, plus itís much less work when they are already assembled
14. Vynil, vynil, but is it so good to release vynil? Personally I prefer to stick to tapes and pro CDs, because vynil is more expensive to ship (I even don't want to imagine the postage for trades lol) and this would create too much stress around the monetary problem, so the state of mind would be less relaxed and not too underground anymore... (You know, money, money, money...)
I think vinyl is overrated, and here in the States we have ďRecord Store DayĒ which has taken a DIY/Indie market and relentlessly exploited it for profits. I only buy a vinyl record if itís a band I really love, otherwise I look for cassettes. As for my label, I donít plan to do much vinyl in the future but you never know.
15. Do you send promos for reviews? Due to smaller incomes, labels rarely do physical promos anymore, and there are more and more digital mp3 promos... But most of the time digital promos aren't reviewed (When it's about small labels that release unknown bands... Most of peoples will naturally choose what they know, or what seems quite "in"...) So what should we do?
I have the
same problem, I usually send out digital promos but most of the
time they donít get reviewed. I donít have an answer for this, itís
16. Which bands/ albums/ demos did you listen to the most the last months? Are you only into metal, or also dig other genres of music?
I like lots of stuff, ambient/drone, shoegaze, punk, prog rock, noise, neofolk, I have many interests. Lately Iíve enjoyed recent releases from K.L.L.K., NO JOY, ROPE SECT, BLACK CILICE, FELIX AXEMO, MORTUALIA, OLD TOWER, SADNESS, TURIA, WILDHONEY, THE WRAITH, just to name a few at random.
17. What are the next plans for your label? Do you make a lot of plans, or do things "as they come" with not too many expectations on more than 6 months?
I pretty much do things as they come and donít look too far ahead. My next release will be ďDeformerĒ Demo #4 by my side project VORPAL SWORD, although I am debating on whether to do a physical release or not.
18. This is the last question, feel free to add what you want, and conclude with underground power! :)
Thanks for the interview Gabriel! Follow your instincts and find your own voice Ė this to me is more important than fame and fortune.