Copenhagen-based label Indisciplinarian is led by Rising guitarist Jacob Krogholt. In addition to Rising, Indisciplinarian has put out albums from black metal group Orm, Solbrud, Fossils and more. Decibel spoke to Krogholt to get in the know about the label’s roots and what we can expect to hear next from Indisciplinarian.
Indisciplinarian started in 2013. Why did you feel it was worth it to start a label at a time when many felt the future of physical music and music sales was bleak?
I started the label with a good friend of mine, whom I still run it with. We simply wanted to release some of the great local bands we heard, but we also had the ambition to do it properly. We are both musicians and also have experience from working for professional labels, so we kind of knew our way around the mechanics from both sides in an increasingly difficult business. We’re vinyl lovers and at the time we started the label, vinyl sales was beginning to go up, especially in heavy and extreme music. We do small pressings anyway, so we gave it a shot, and when it showed that we were able to sell and promote these records, we got motivated to carry on.
You (Jacob Krogholt) founded the label and also play guitar in Rising, a band on the label. Has it affected your experience being in the band or running the label to have them so connected to each other?
Only so far, that I have to have my mind set on dividing the label side and the band side when releasing my own music. I can’t not take it too personally when for example a writer thinks my band sucks. But I’ve managed all sides, doing promotion as well, for my bands way before founding the label, so I’m pretty well rehearsed in that exercise.
What is the biggest challenge of running an independent label?
Much time spent and few money earned. We put a lot of time and effort into each release to meet our ambition of doing it properly. Sometimes the label almost amounts to full-time work in addition to our day jobs, and at the same time, there’s only little money in it at this point. Also, it can be hard to be heard in today’s musical climate, in the whole online setting. There are so many battling for attention there, bands, labels, media. But I won’t complain. It’s very rewarding to work with these great records and musicians and a joyful challenge to make it be heard.
The biggest reward?
When we hear new music that blows us away and we get the possibility to release it. And it’s great when releases and bands take off press- or sales- wise, or both. It shows us that we and the band have been doing things right. Also, it feels rewarding when a sense of community and adherence with a band emerges and everybody agrees on how to make it work the best. That sense of unity usually gives the best results.
What is the music scene in Copenhagen, Denmark like? Is it friendly to young, smaller labels or is it tough to have your voice (and releases) heard?
I think the scene is pretty diverse, people are generally good musicians, and the standard is going up. Within heavy music, a lot of young people are doing great stuff and seem to be more hungry to explore and just play.
Unfortunately, I see a tendency in Denmark for bands to break up quickly, often when things are getting too tough or people get older. People are quite financially secure here in our welfare society and most Danish musicians view music as a hobby, so when something more is demanded of them, they often quit or scale down and go for the safe road, especially in my generation. I’m all for the egalitarian structures we have here; it’s good for most things, but it’s necessarily not good for dedication to music. The younger ones seem more determined though, and that’s great. As for the label side of things, I think we have a pretty good conditions if you release quality music. There’s a wide range of media, agents, bookers, venues, etc, that are willing to work with you, even in the more mainstream context. At the same time, in the online setting, we fight the same fight as other indie labels and musicians everywhere to cut through the enormous amount of content and the noise it creates.
Do you have a favorite release or release you’re most proud of on the label?
No, I like them all, and we’re proud of them in different ways. But the Fossils album Flesh Hammer put us on the map early on and got things going. It’s just an awesome album, people really dug it and both the band and we moved up. Also the Orm debut that we put out in March has been a great experience. It’s an amazing album, it was an uncomplicated process and the record is getting the recognition that it deserves. But as said, every release is great to us and holds different stories and meanings for the label.
What are your goals for the future?
In general, our goal is to keep on developing the label in accordance with the music and the people we work with. We find pleasure in the ongoing experiment of getting extreme artists heard outside the closed genre circles and try and push the limits for which music can be presented in a wider cultural context. That’s a constant goal and a basic ambition of ours. Some very concrete goals is to expand our activities, primarily getting our releases distributed and promoted in more territories in 2018 and onwards. I also do freelance promotion for bands and labels in Scandinavia and I will expand my work in that area. We would also like to put out more releases per year, but that takes the right bands, I guess. We do have a lot of TBA’s though, so we won’t be sitting on our hands in the time to come, that’s for sure.