STREAMING: North “The Great Silence”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, lists On: Wednesday, August 15th, 2012


What would you ask Tucson-based North if you had the chance? Well, our first question would be: why name the band North when you’re from the Southwest? Seems a little geographically confusing. Where’s North from, you ask? The Southwest. Eh?! A more apropos moniker would be, well, Southwest. Then, North’s fans would always know where their favorite band is from at all times without having to pull the old Whatchamacallit skit from early ’80s television commercials.

All nonsense aside, North’s new album, The Great Silence, is a bonafide rager. Maybe a slow motion-ish rager, but a collection of songs that make me, you, and the person standing next to you at the bus stop stare at the sky in pure “Woah, dude…” ponderment*. They got the “universe is heavy” quotient married to the “what are we doing here?” question formula down like they got Ph.D.s from Harvard’s (or Oxford if you’re from that other country) School of Philosophy & Other Expensive Shit.

So, yes, you heard North’s new moon beams here. Of course, you did. It’s the Deciblog!

And, now, for a killer track-by-track commentary courtesy of the North dudes:

Nihil Novi Sub Sole“: Matt originally wrote the chords for the intro to sentience instead, as an extended intro for the song, but we decided to make it a separate first track and fade it into the next track instead. We like to have intros/segues, to establish some sort of mood for the album, this is the only one that appears on this particular album.

Sentience“: We jammed out this song in the middle of the writing process, it started with a lot of samples and guitars and keys, we titled it “Sample Song” initially. We originally had a different ending that we actually toured with, there’s a live recording floating around with that ending. When Evan returned to the band after a brief hiatus we added an additional 5 minutes to the track that we felt resolves the previous 8 minutes much better.

Inanimate Fathers“: Matt came in with the intro riff and the melodic solo part, this was written with a previous guitar player, Matt worked out all the twin guitar parts together on a looping pedal which is what most of the album’s guitar harmonies were written on. The rest of it was more of a collaborative effort especially the chilling ending, which also used to have a keyboard part.

Origins“: We called this “James Bond in Space” see if you can figure out which riff evokes that for you. It was initially supposed to be a shorter instrumental segue track but after jamming through we felt it needed more and it it ended up in it’s final form with the vocal harmonies you hear.

Pulse/Patience/Paradox“: This was the first song we wrote for this album. It was written as one “Mega Song” all together and eventually after we demoed it we figured out where to split the 3 parts. This song has to be at least 2 plus years old but we still really enjoy playing it. It was the first song written when we moved into our practice space so there was a lot of creative buzz flowing leading to the longest song we’ve ever attempted. We think this is one of the song(s) along with Sentience that really showcases all the extremely hard vocal work Kyle Hardy and Evan put into this record. They spent recording nights going back and forth working out their parts and it really makes the album special.

Où Est Tout Le Monde?”: Matt brought this banger into practice one night with the title “Inception” because the opening riff reminded us of some parts of the inception score. It was a tough song to learn and get the whole band on the same page. When we first played through the ending we thought the roof was going to fall in on our space, it was so epic and dreary. The whole package of this song from the music to the lyrics to the mood sums up our album concept and theme of the failed search for extraterrestrial life perfectly.

* Yes, “ponderment” is a made-up word for purposes of this bloggo.

** North’s new album, The Great Silence, is out August 28th, 2012 on Cavity Records. It’s available for pre-order HERE. Get all three colors (limited, natch) for $50, and feel like you’re stacking the proverbial deck for your future kid’s college fund. Either that or steal someone’s ISIS Sawblade EP.

STREAMING: Nihill’s “Trauma: Crushing Serpens Mercuriales”

By: adem Posted in: featured, heavy tuesdays, listen On: Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

kleur 2

To paraphrase the almighty David Lee Roth, “Summertime’s here, babe, need something to keep you cool. Better look out now, Decibel‘s got somethin’ for you.” Some frozen fuckin’ Dutch black metal on stick, that’s what we’ve got. Minus the stick. But full-on frostbitten, we swear. This premiere is guaranteed to drop the ambient temperature in your abode by about 40F degrees (or 20C degrees if you live in Canada).

This epic track—we don’t skimp on the premieres do we?—is the final one on Nihill’s latest album, Verdonkermaan, which is set for release next Tuesday, Aug. 21, on Hydra Head. You can hear another track from it here at HH HQ and pre-order it here.

Put on your coziest cardigan, grab a bottle of Jester King Black Metal and prepare to get kvlt with “Trauma: Crushing Serpens Mercuriales”.

Track Listing:
Vuur: the deathwind of resurrection.
Spiral: the tail eater.
Oerbron: returning to the primal matter.
Gnosis Pt. IV.
Trauma: crushing serpens mercuriales.

Into the Depths: John Tardy of Obituary

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, listen On: Tuesday, August 14th, 2012


On the upcoming Carnival of Death tour Florida death metal legends Obituary will shred a “fan-generated” set drawn primarily from the vile trinity of Slowly We Rot, Cause Of Death and The End Complete — including some tracks that have never before been performed live.

This seemed like the perfect opportunity to get Obituary vocalist John Tardy on the horn for one of our Into the Depths podcasts, and the seminal screamer was more than gracious as he walked us through the garage days of death metal, the writing and recording of those classic early records, their somewhat accidental union with producer Scott Burns, the vocal regimen that has maintained that snarling banshee wail, and what it feels like to still be churning out relevant, killer albums more than twenty years after the first lines of the Obituary were written. Stream or download the chat below.

Past Into the Depths podcasts are archived here. To vote on the Obituary Carnival of Death setlist visit the band’s Facebook or Twitter pages. (The tour also features a reunited Broken Hope!) Dates are after the jump. Two dollars from each ticket at the New York City stop will be donated to a September 11th related charity.

STREAMING: Premiere two tracks from Noisear’s “Turbulent Resurgence”

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, August 13th, 2012

noisear turbulent resurgence

Noisear’s debut Subvert the Dominant Paradigm was one of the finest grind albums to scar the planet last year. It was remarkable: not only was it a nerve-shredding compendium of white-hot dissonance, skronky grind and blast that recalled by-gone genre royality Discordance Axis, but it was written and recorded in little over a day.

Maybe that’s what makes the Albuquerque, NM, grind crew sound so improvisational, so unpredictable that they sound like they’ve been taken some of that blue meth Walter White’s been cooking up. In reality, they just smoke tons of pot and endorse the Brutal Truth ethos off rolling up and grinding out …

Courtesy of Willowtip, we’ve got two tracks from forthcoming album Turbulent Resurgence, out 25th September: “Born Alone Die Alone” and “Fiery Rebirth”. The evolution of Noisear’s sound may have been skewed by host of line-up changes guitarist Dorian Rainwater relocating to San Diego; plus with Noisear’s interstate personnel occupied in other projects, notably Phobia and Kill the Client, practice time is rationed. But Turbulent Resurgence is a focused of targeted blast-and-riff, more straight-ahead than its predecessor, that is similarly the result of a day’s writing, with 48hours for the band to put it to tape.

Yeah, these tracks are pretty short, but that hardly matters. Noisear play grind with the sort of intensity that once their jams reach terminal velocity time starts to stretch out to nothingness and lose all meaning. You can preorder it here.

Noisear “Born Alone Die Alone” by Decibel Magazine
Noisear “Fiery Rebirth” by Decibel Magazine

Insane, huh?
Another two tracks are up now on Willowtip’s bandcamp page.

Aleksi Munter (Swallow The Sun) Interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, August 13th, 2012


I’ve often felt STS songs are like album-form movies. At this point, where does the cinematic inspiration come from?
Aleksi: Mainly Twin Peaks, it has always been an inspiration, especially to the songs musically, but also lyrically to some extent. On Hope we tried to go for The Shining-type of vibes, but in hindsight that could’ve been more apparent.

If you were to pick three movies to describe Emerald Forest and the Blackbird which movies would they be? And why, of course?
Aleksi: This is a difficult one for me, as I don’t watch that much movies… but maybe something a bit surreal [and] dark tale like Pan’s Labyrinth, topped with dark humor of Delicatessen and then some dirt, hopelessness and violence from Se7en.

I also feel there’s a bit of innocence to STS’ sonic attributes. Like there’s a ton of doom and gloom, but there’s also hope and a bit of child-like naivety. Am I onto something here, or am I slightly crazy in my assessment?
Aleksi: There’s always a glimmer of hope. I personally think that sort of emotional contrast is the key element in keeping things interesting, I can’t listen to funeral doom albums that are all black. The heavy and depressing elements seem more so in contrast to some lighter elements. About naivety; well, there is always some really simplistic riffs there that can be seen as naïve. But hey, that’s heavy metal.

How would you compare Emerald Forest and the Blackbird to New Moon? A major development or an album of tweaks and twists to the recipe?
Aleksi: Major development for sure. Like, we took all the things we started toying with on New Moon (and already on Plague of Butterflies) and took them a bit further, such as the black metal influences and the acoustic, ballady-type of songs.

You recorded at a few different studios. I heard the Drumforest studio was in the middle of, if you’ll pardon my American expression, Bumfuck, Egypt. You’ve said it was dream-like and impossibly remote. Did that experience influence the album at all?
Aleksi: Well, actually I recorded my parts in a different studio in Helsinki, but yes, your American expression regarding the location is correct. Though almost every place in Finland is like that. I’ve visited there on another project, and I have to say it has certain appeal to it. It’s very idyllic and quiet there. And the studio owners are awesome.

There are two different female vocalists on Emerald Forest and the Blackbird. Aleah and Anette. Did you have particular voices in mind for the songs/atmospheres?
Aleksi: As we have worked with Aleah before it was obvious she’s going to be singing the background vocals, but for “Cathedral Walls” we wanted someone new. Juha was going through female singers and when he heard some of Anette’s solo production he decided to ask her, as he heard that her voice is very versatile. And honestly, I had no idea what to expect, but I think it turned out perfect.

Is there a song on Emerald Forest and the Blackbird that speaks to you? I think the “Cathedral Walls” track has a particular magic to it. As does “Labyrinth of London”. To me, anyway.
Aleksi: “This Cut is the Deepest”, “Hate, Lead the Way”, “Labyrinth of London”, and to my great surprise, “April 14th”. I hated that song when we recorded the demos, but it turned out to be one of the strongest songs on the album.

What the hell does Emerald Forest and the Blackbird mean? Nonsense or are things to pick out for listeners by separating words to create different meanings?
Aleksi: It’s the story the narrator of the first song is telling. Juha got inspired by this old Finnish lullaby called Sininen Uni, The Blue Dream.

Why hell did it take so long for the U.S. release to follow the European release? These days, there’s no reason for territorial restrictions.
Aleksi: Don’t ask us. We’re as baffled as anyone else.

I think STS is one of the few Finnish metal acts to tour the U.S. without major breaks. And I also think the lineup pairings are always a bit off. Has the constant touring and lineup diversity helped STS grow in the states?
Aleksi: Most certainly, we’ve grown a decent fan base there, and it’s mostly thanks to touring because our distribution hasn’t always been top notch in there.

Of course, this time around you’re with Kreator and Accept, two old-school German metal acts. I guess you’re not into preaching to the converted, so to speak.
Aleksi: It depends. Touring with a band that’s in our musical genre is good in a way, that we’ll get to play to people that might’ve not heard from us, but are already into this type of music, so it’s easier to perform for them. Then again, the chances are lots of them have already heard of us, at some level at least. On varied lineups you get to play to the completely new audiences, and thus it can expand your fan base more, but they’re harder to impress. Anyway, in states the lineup diversity doesn’t matter as much in Europe. Here, people are often really stuck to one genre in their listening habits.

What’s the one thing you’d want a new fan to walk away with after listening to Emerald Forest and the Blackbird?
Aleksi: A boner.

For Those About to Squawk: Waldo’s Pecks of the Week

By: andrew Posted in: a fucking parrot previewing new releases, featured On: Friday, August 10th, 2012


Welcome to the dog days of August. Fuck dogs (do not do this – ed.)


Uh, there’s a band called GAYTHEIST, and they are releasing a record called Stealth Beats on Good to Die Records. What’s this about? Is it music for gay atheists? Is it music written by a gay atheist? Is it Atheist covers with anti-Chick-fil-A lyrics? Who knows? Is it heavy? Yes! This is the kind of thing that seems to sprout up from the Portland area every couple of years. This is reminiscent of Tight Bros From Way Back When, Karp, Red Fang and that sort of thing, a kind of sludgy rock metal amalgam that seems to be only bred in the Pacific Northwest, but derives from that sound sometimes with high-pitched and/or screamed vocals and downright silly guitar parts. Check them out, it’s kinda cool. Although one would TOTALLY understand if this wasn’t your thing. I mean, it should be checked out based on the name alone. Blare this at the nearest place where the Westboro Baptist Church is hanging out. It’s kind of a mishmash of punk, metal, whatever. 6 FUCKING PECKS.

Let’s play Master and Servant. Paul Speckmann and company are back at it again, as MASTER come at us with The New Elite, and although I’m not too sure what the record title refers to, they are one of the first death metal bands, so it’s cool. There’s enough diversity in the songwriting to make this thing not TOTALLY sound the same song to song, so it’s a peck above 2010’s The Human Machine. These records are pretty interchangeable, but when one employs this formula, it’s a little hard not to be good. This is old-school thrashy death with growled vocals and beats that clock in a speed close to D-beat punk, and the raw production gives it some length of bone. 5 FUCKING PECKS.

Wow! I know there’s like different metal than death and grind; your old feathered friend digs doom, too. I really don’t know what to make of this. TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION with Peacemaker: I mean, I guess this is awesome, if you like this sort of heavy, radio-friendly redneck rock. Like a heavier Black Label Society, with a healthy dose of Pantera and Crowbar… and don’t forget the redneck stomp aspect to this. I can’t say I dig it, but you know it’s good clean whiskey-slugging, beer-swilling, stripper-watching fun. I mean, just watch this video:

Also the singer is like 400 lbs. I doubt anyone who reads this blog would like this, but SOMEONE does. I can’t decide if it’s like watching an car accident in slow motion. SURE to be a hit with drunken uncles everywhere. 3-8 FUCKING PECKS.

There’s a TON of re-releases this go ’round, too, so check that stuff out.

Interview – Warseid

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, August 10th, 2012

Warseid band pick

I’m not much for fantastical lyrics – no matter how brutal the imagined scenery, it seems there’s enough ignorance and atrocity just outside my apartment door to nullify the impact of some invented horrors from galaxies long ago and far away. And I’ll be bumguzzled if I can predict when synth infestation will command my unholy allegiance or just piss me off. All that said, the new Where Fate Lies Unbound EP by Madison, WI band Warseid hits some pretty righteous notes. Their blend of black metal terrorist tropes, classical acoustic guitar, clean tenor singing, symphonic keyboard strokes, and occasional thrash chugging strikes that oft-neglected soft spot for Bronze Age war metal.

 While you could go to their Bandcamp page and stream or buy the whole EP, we here at the Deciblog know that your lazy clicker finger is more likely to twitch once than several times, so here we give you the song “Frost Upon the Embers.” Jam out to some folk war magic while you get a load of the Wisconsin quintet’s musings on the northern darkness.

 What’s the Madison metal scene like?

 In terms of audiences, the Madison metal scene is really good! There are a lot of metal fans here, especially downtown. I would say that we appeal more to the “purist” or “true” metalhead crowd. We best cater to fans of black and death metal, and there are a good number of those guys (yes, let’s be real, most of them are guys) that come to our shows. In terms of the bands, we have a lot of great talent! Some bands in the Madison area are a little breakdown friendly for my taste, but whatever. You’ll find that in any local scene.

 What were the musical and lyrical influences for Where Fate Lies Unbound?

 Musically we have influences all over the board. We really tried to separate ourselves from our influences and create our own sound. While listening you can probably guess what metal we are into, we didn’t want to “sound” like any of those artists. We focus on folk metal, but we’ve noticed that a lot of folk metal bands draw upon influences from the folk musics of their own respective countries. In our music, we don’t really make a distinction between different cultures, so you’ll hear everything from European to American to Middle-Eastern folk on the record. Everyone in the band is into different things, and all of those things are also apparent in the music. Everything from the metal greats of black/folk/progressive metal to post-rock a la Godspeed You Black Emperor, to classical influences like Holst and Penderecki.

 In terms of lyrics, we grew up reading a lot of fantasy and such, so that was a big influence while writing the story. We wanted to come up with a story that we thought could be told well through lyrics and music together.

 How do the different band members’ interests effect the band’s sound?

 Joe: Of course we’re all into extreme metal and folk metal, but besides that I’m really into modern classical and ambient music, anything from Penderecki to Dead Can Dance. I also really like hardcore punk/powerviolence. While writing, one person might have an idea, and then the others will come together and add their own little ideas to it. It’s really cool to see everyone’s influences outside of the metal realm come together within our music.

 Brandon: I definitely come from a thrash metal background. At the time I joined the band, my absolute favorites were Kreator, Demolition Hammer, Morbid Saint, bands like that. Nowadays, I listen to music all across the board. This would be my own page if I gave you the whole list of important music in my life, but I’ll make it brief. My biggest guitar influences in recent years have been jazz guys like Allan Holdsworth, Ben Monder, and John Stowell. I tend to reference to the Holdsworth school of thought when thinking about solos. He uses legato a lot and rarely picks, which creates a lot more clarity in his lines. I have definitely incorporated those techniques into my playing. Another important influence to my playing is Chris Arp of Psyopus. He uses a lot of dissonant harmony. You can hear some of that ugliness in a few of the solos on this EP. Other than that, I really only contribute what would seem appropriate for Warseid. We have developed our own niche and we stay as true to it as we can. I don’t think I’ll be throwing in any James Brown rhythms in any future Warseid material. But then again, who knows?

 What is the origin of the band’s name?

 Back when the band was just a solo project of Logan’s, the name was Varangian Guard. As the number of members grew, we wanted to change it to reflect that a new entity was forming. We chose the word seid (or seidr), because it refers to a form of old Norse Pagan magic. Then, we arbitrarily attached War to the front of it. We actually didn’t really like the idea at first, but eventually it grew on us.

 How long and in what contexts have you played music?

 Joe’s been playing piano since he was a toddler, and Brandon’s been playing guitar for a long time. They’re both in school for music right now and play other instruments as well as other styles with different ensembles and projects. Kellan’s played in a jazz band at school, and Kyle and Andre have experience playing in other metal bands. The band’s been playing together for about 4 years.

 What was the first metal record you fell in love with?

 Joe: I will admit I had my nu-metal phase in elementary/middle school, but I would say that the first “true” metal record I fell in love with was Opeth’s Ghost Reveries. I remember I was in 7th grade when it came out, and I was debating between buying that and Marilyn Manson’s Lest We Forget, haha. Luckily, I got Ghost Reveries. It took a while to grow on me, but I’d say it’s still one of my favorite albums.

 Brandon: My first metal record was Metallica’s And Justice for All. Just before that record, I was listening to a lot of hardcore punk. I didn’t even know that metal had the d-beat. When I first heard “Blackened”, I was blown away! I didn’t know you could have heavy and fast in the same package. From there my taste in extreme music escalated, and it hasn’t stopped.

 Andre: Iron Maiden’s Powerslave for me, or maybe [Metallica’s] Ride the Lightning. Both are important to my roots as a musician.

 Kyle: Mayhem’s Dom Mysterris De Sathanas. Someone at high school showed me because it was “crazy”, but I ended up falling in love with it. Before that, I was listening to Slipknot and bands like that, but that Mayhem album definitely marked my transition to extreme metal.

 Kellan: I started with Mudvayne’s LD 50, and Slipknot as well. The first extreme metal album I was really into was Arch Enemy’s Doomsday Machine.

 What was the first metal show you attended?

 Joe: It took me a while to see a show besides a few local shows due to my parents, haha. The first real show I saw was during my sophomore year of high school. I saw Converge, a favorite of mine, in Milwaukee. They played with Dethklok for whatever reason. Everyone there seemed to hate them, but I absolutely loved it. I remember moshing with this one guy next to me while everyone else gave us weird looks.

 Brandon: I don’t quite remember which metal show was my first. My most memorable metal show was seeing Wolves in the Throne Room at Little Hamilton in Nashville. Little Hamilton was as minimal as you could get, but that’s why it was so great. It was a DIY kind of place with no stage and a lot of amazing bands. When I saw Wolves, the room was packed with people. The main room was completely full, so people had to stand out in the lobby and just listen with the door open. Luckily, I worked my way up to the front of the crowd! It was undoubtedly the most memorable show I have experienced yet.

 As you continue to play and record, what future achievements do you expect to pursue with your music?

 We’re not very specific about our musical goals with this band. We write music to fit the character that has become Warseid. More importantly, we want to play music that is exciting for us. I’m even surprised that we are still going. We thought it would be over once we went to different schools. But we’re still going strong, and we haven’t thought of a reason to call it quits yet. One thing we try not to do is repeat ourselves. We want all of our songs to have their own characters. We don’t want any of our music to sound like what you just heard.

Schizoid Wants You to Know He’s Extremely Extreme Too

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs, uncategorized, videos On: Thursday, August 9th, 2012

deciblog - schizoid

There’s a good reason we don’t feature a lot of digital hardcore around these parts. That’s because most of it isn’t worth featuring. Dudes, if there was ever a musical revolution that fizzled out like a wet firecracker of disappointment quicker than the one Atari Teenage Riot was supposed to lead into the frenzied future, then I haven’t been paying attention.

One digital noisemaker I can get down with, however, is Toronto’s J. Schizoid. I’ve been following Schiz’s “powerviolent blackened digital hardcore industrial punk” for a long while now. A handful of the top releases from his D-Trash recording stable have impressed me over the years, but it always comes back to malcontent Jay providing the most violent and uncomfortable listen.

We’re on the eve of the release of his umpteenth recording, the album he’s calling his crowning achievement, The Next Extreme. Jay is releasing this self-everything record himself, and got in touch with me, asking to help him out (And why not? If you ever get a chance to check out Schizoid’s press clippings, look who wrote half of them…) as he’s also handling all promo duties himself. The plan was to run an interview, but the YouTube clip below provides all the answers to all the pertinent questions.

So, I decided to leave it at that and ask the man to provide whatever material he felt anyone who might want to check out his project might want to check out. And the floodgates opened…

“I’m also taping a live album. We’ve been gigging side A (tracks 01-08) and just playing that as a set for practice. We’re recording it July 25th 2012 at Nocturne (in Toronto) along with THE FIRST SEED, NWODTLEM and NINJAH FAREYE. We’re basically gonna play the shit out of the material (I have a live “noisician” now, with a bassist joining next month) and do it perfectly. Then, we’ll repeat this cycle with Side B and at the end of the year release The Live Extremes

“You know that movie American Movie? Have you seen it. For years when I was sitting around on my ass while this album grew fungus on it, I was watching that movie going ‘I’m that fucking yokel, except of instead of wanting to make a movie I’m wanting to make a disc, otherwise just as pathetic.’ To be an artist a musician these days takes a lot of commitment to even try and get an original thought let alone just play video games or eat or do something. Getting this album finished was definitely great as far as seeing an artistic light at the end of the tunnel. Some songs are even about the album itself and mocking the idea of me even voicing these ‘negative ideas’ and writing songs about them like some kind of asshole or something, and about how the songs won’t even end up getting heard anyway. Like being your own worst critic. I don’t know what led me on that rant but that’s kinda where the anger is coming from in this more frustration with myself instead of FUCK The WTO, Fuck the churches, etc that kinda thing. Grimness.”

Then, he sent two promo videos he’s already had done for album tracks:

“The new SCHIZOID album will have a limited run of 50 cassettes before the digipacks are ready. Very limited. Cassettes include:
-old school style intro/outro leaders
-handcrafted, numbered and autographed to 50 copies
-all tapes duplicated from original masters (not at high speed)
-cassette release only includes razor blade.”
With photos of what they look like.

The album comes out Aug 1st at
The album comes out Sept 1st on Itunes, etc
The album comes out Oct 1st as a physical release on D-Trash Records

Full Album Stream: Sophicide’s Perdition Of The Sublime

By: Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs, listen On: Thursday, August 9th, 2012


Working alone from home is often viewed poorly in metal thanks to about 10,000 too many shitty low-fi pornogrind and black metal bands. But sometimes doing your own thing and calling the shots on all aspects of your music is a very good thing. Case in point: Sophicide’s new album Perdition Of The Sublime, streaming in full on the Deciblog. This tech-death bad boy, set for an August 14 release on Willowtip and available for preorder, was recorded, mixed and mastered by Adam Laszlo at his home in Germany. The dude’s only in his early 20s and already shreds. Check out the full album stream below and learn more about the band, err, talented fellow.

INTERVIEW: The Mylene Sheath’s Lindsay and Joel (Part 1)

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Mylene New Logo

We spend a lot of time talking to artists—whether in blog posts or in each month’s issue—and rightfully so. After all, they put their blood, sweat and tears into making the music that brings us together. We haven’t necessarily dedicated a lot of space to the people actually putting out those releases, however, so we figured we’d pick the brains of the men and women behind some of our favorite record labels.

A couple of weeks ago, we spoke with Shelsmusic’s Mehdi Safa (you can read that here and here). This time around we’ve connected with the good folks at The Mylene Sheath. Besides putting out killer stuff from the likes of Junius, Constants and Beneath Oblivion, Lindsay and Joel provide a personal touch, whether via a handwritten “thanks” on each and every order or the entertaining newsletters and email updates that they put together. So we sent the duo—whose label is now based in Athens, GA (home of R.E.M., RIP)—a bunch of questions that they were kind enough to answer, the first part of which you can find below. Stay tuned for part two next week.

What person/people are involved in the label and how did it get started? Did you have any experience in the industry, whether on the artist or business side (or otherwise), before things began?
Currently, the day-to-day label operations are run by the two of us, Lindsay Palmer and Joel Proper. We also have vital help from our publicist, Derek Meier (of Solid PR) and our art director, Nate Shumaker (Northern Lights Industries), plus our distributor, Redeye. The initial ideas for The Mylene Sheath started in 2004, when Lindsay and I lived in Orlando, FL, but it was actually going to be a record store. After we relocated to Cincinnati, we decided instead to put a record out and see how it went. Neither of us had any experience releasing records, we were just serious vinyl nerds that learned how to sell records from previously buying so many of them, haha. By being loyal customers of record labels like Dischord Records, Hydra Head Records, Robotic Empire and others, we took inspiration from those guys. Ultimately we wanted to be able to provide the same cool records to fans of bands that weren’t having them pressed for them yet.

In general, how do you go about finding new acts to sign? Is there any general aesthetic you try to adhere to?
Most of the bands that we work with have been introduced to us by other bands we’ve done stuff with. There’s a very natural and organic process that seems to unfold over time, and the more bands we put out records with, the more great bands we meet. We have only released one or two albums from receiving a demo. We don’t have a certain genre or anything that we try to stick to. The first handful of records we released were of the instrumental/post-rock variety, and we still work with a lot of those bands, but we dig all kinds of music and will put out anything that is blowing our minds…as long as they want to tour, haha.

What have you found to be the most effective means of communicating and interacting with fans of the music that you put out?
Well, this is the most important thing to us, and it’s one of the motivating factors to why we started the label. Not to be mega-cheesy, but we really wanted to form and develop a community that we could all feel a part of. So we try to be as available as possible at all times. We have a message board that provides the most direct communication, and we try to jump on there at least once a day and make sure everybody is taken care of and having a good time posting. We also do our monthly newsletter, which gives everyone updates on all the pertinent stuff going on with the label, from preorders launching to preorders shipping, as well as contests, sales, tours and updates on all the bands. We try to make it as personal as possible because we want everyone to share this with us, and hopefully it’s not too horribly unprofessional how personal we get, haha. We also communicate with everyone daily on Facebook and Twitter and try our best to reply to anyone that reaches out on those social networking sites. Continuous open and honest communication with everyone from the customers to the bands is the most important thing to us, especially given the preconceived reputation that record labels have. We want people to feel that they can trust us, that’s the one of the most important things to us.

The Mylene Sheath is known for putting together some awesome vinyl releases, particularly in terms of packaging and limited edition colors — tell us a little bit about what kind of work goes into putting those together and your views on vinyl as a medium to distribute/package your music.
This goes back to just being record collecting music geeks for the past twenty years, haha. We love the convenience of digital music, but at the end of the day, you want to EXPERIENCE an album, not just “hear” it. There’s a ritual that goes into a vinyl listening session, everything revolves around what you’re listening to. As a part of that ritual, the packaging of the vinyl should enhance the experience. The work that goes into it varies wildly from release to release, sometimes the bands like to design the artwork and lay it out themselves, sometimes there’s a graphic designer hired to handle it, sometimes our art director Nate Shumaker will take care of it, but the CONSTANT headache is meeting deadlines. Turnaround times with vinyl can sometimes be unpredictable, so you’re constantly stressed about getting product to bands in time for tour, or product to your distributor in time for the street date. You eventually get ulcers and get put on medicine for acid reflux disease, haha.

And of course, any sort of profit margin for a vinyl release is much thinner than with the CD and digital parts of the release, so you have to find the balance between “we’re vinyl nerds that want this to be the coolest looking record ever” and “we’re a record label and an operating business that needs to stay on the budget.” So you want to make your records as cool as possible, but it can cost a lot of money and you’d still like to make a little money from the project so you can put out more records after that one too! Finding that balance is important when releasing vinyl.

We also handle our own mailorder, we don’t outsource “direct-to-consumer” order fullfillment. So logging, packing and shipping orders is a full time job in itself. But we treasure that direct, personal connection with the buyer and developing a long-term relationship with them. We can probably rattle off a few hundred regulars’ names that we know by heart, and that is really special to us.

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week! In the meantime, check out The Mylene Sheath here!