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TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE

This e-mail interview with the Spanish metal label Drowned Scream Records was done by Fjordi in April 2005.

First of all, where is the label name taken or inspired from?
To be honest DROWNED SCREAM is the first name that came up to our minds, and I don't know exactly why. We needed a name for the label as at that time we started contacting the first bands for the tribute album. Is been said that our name was taken from the former label DROWNED PRODUCTIONS, but it's not true, is just a coincidence.

An At The Gates tribute album as the first label release sounds rather interesting, but there must be an explanation to this. Are you devotees of the Swedes music? Or did the idea come naturally, or by chance, to you?
Well, kind of everything you mention on your question. The thing is that we are huge AT THE GATES fans, it's the band that have influenced us as musicians and fans as well . When we started to talk about running a label, we had several ideas, but when the tribute thing came up, we thought that it was one of the more exciting projects that we could ever release and we started working hard, contacting the bands that we thought could be interested joining the tribute, at the same time we tried contacting every AT THE GATES member, we asked Alf Svensson for the cover artwork, but finally and due to lack of time, he could not help us out. Anyway, we got their help in some other issues related to the tribute thing so, we'd like to thank Alf, Tomas, Anders, Jonas, Adrian and Martin for their help, interest and support on this tribute CD.

At the same time a big thank you goes out to all the bands that were involved on the Tribute album. Thanks again guys for your good work, patience and understanding.

Explain us the motivation, the goals and the nature of the label. Is there a particular kind of music you want to promote? Are the new bands or a style in particular the target of your signings? Or it's just the opposite: a huge variety of styles will have presence in your roster...
We've been involved in the Basque underground scene by years now, and we've been always talking about the bands that we thought were good enough or even better that lots of foreign bands and didn't had any chance to be promoted outside our area. That's one of our goals. Regarding the bands, we don't mind about styles, but I don't think that our roster will be kind of varied, first of all because we don't aim to have a huge roster. We are determined to work for 3-4 bands as much, but try to do the best of the work for them, instead signing lots of bands and can't work properly for any.

Which is the biggest of problems when starting up a record label?
There are lots of things to do when you start, and at this time I'd say that we're still on the starting point, to call it so. We've done a couple of things, but there's a lot of stuff to do already. There's a big work behind a record label, mainly when is only 2 people working, and at the same time they've their regular jobs and some other projects to attend.

The scene in the Basque Country and Spain in general is kind of a mystery for many people. Unveil reality as long as you can do, and tell us the differences between the whole country and that tiny northern region when it comes to extreme metal.
Here's some Basque bands that we would like to recommend to the readers. NUMEN, CEREBRAL EFFUSION, SUFFERING DOWN, IMPURE, ELFFOR, DARKNESS BY OATH, LEGEN BELTZA, DENIAL, ODD HEATHENISH, DARK FAITH, CONTINUO RENACER, DAEMONLORD...

I honestly think that there's a quite strong scene here in the Basque Country. There are new bands emerging in every kind of style from the unholiest black metal to the more twisted and brutal death metal (OMENDARK, LOST EMOTIONS, THIRD WORLD´S MOURNING...). There's a lot to do anyway, there's some venues to do gigs and stuff, fanzines and webzines that support and all this, but I think that it could be even better, and if people works hard will be.

Spanish bands don't seem to appeal the tastes of people in a particular way, for bands from that country don't break the boundaries very often. Which could be the reasons of this?
Yes, we know. I think that is not for the bands quality in this case, I think is a matter of promoting and working hard for the bands. Some bands that I told you in the prior question NUMEN, CEREBRAL EFFUSION, SUFFERING DOWN, IMPURE have played outside our area, on European Festivals as NRW Death Fest in Germany, Barroselas Metalfest (Portugal) and this year NUMEN, will take part on the spanish dates of two great tours, the first one with ENSIFERUM and the next one with BELFEGOR. So as told you before is a matter of chances more than the quality of the bands and the music they play.

Regarding the spanish bands, some of them are quite well known abroad, as HAEMORRHAGE for example, a band that sells lots of CDs in Germany, and plays lots of festivals in Europe. We saw them last year at Party San Open Air and was one of the best performances in the whole weekend alongside with ZYKLON, MISERY INDEX, GOREROTTED, VOMITORY, DISFEAR and UNLEASHED.

You have some other spanish bands worth to mention, some of them are veterans and well known outside aswell and have played in different foreign countries, like WORMED and AVULSED, MACHETAZO and some others like MOHO, EKKAIA, LOOKING FOR AN ANSWER and so on...

People often rejects new things and this also goes for the new labels. This way, is still harder to catch the interest of fans, so really great bands are necessary to achieve this. What are the defects that most of the bands show in the demos you listen to? Lack of originality, technical skills, passion?
Hard question. Nowadays is really difficult to catch the fans´ interest and attention as you said, as there is a massive band offer in every style. You can find a new band nearly every day, releasing great albums sound and technical skill wise, so as there is that big amount of bands and releases, is really hard for the newcomers to find someone who wants to promote and help them. About the different demos that we have received I wouldn't say any of the reasons that you've mentioned, mostly the main reason in our case, was that even when we thought it was a good album we couldn't pay the necessary attention that the band deserved and in some other cases we just didn't like what they played, as simple as that.

How many people work in Drowned Scream and what are your daily jobs? How much time you dedicate to the label?
Is two of us on the label, Aritz and myself, Asier. Aritz works in a factory and I work in an event and leisure company. We can not dedicate as much time as we'd like to, mostly because our job matters and different issues. I'd say that we spent about 2-3 hours a day working for the label, working on different things, contacts, releases, concerts, web site updating and stuff like that.

There's some people who helps us out as well, without whom we couldn't work out some important aspects of our releases, we'd like to thank them for their incredible and disinterested effort.

What are your next future plans? Any interesting band you are considering to sign? You are surveying the local scene every now and then, is there any young new band that could seem a big deal over there?
Right now, we're working on two releases, a new website (www.drownedscream.com) and the 2nd edition of the OKTOBER UNDERGROUND FEST that we created last year, with the support of the local government, some other labels and companies, magazines and sponsors. We're really happy to announce that this year's festival will include the Swedish high speed thrashers DEFLESHED as headliners, MISANTHROPE from France, NUMEN and three more Basque and spanish bands, yet to confirm, to complete the bill. A hell of a Festival!!!!!

Your name has instantly reminded me of that mythic old label called Drowned Productions that later became Repulse Records and Xtreem Music. Tell me what do you think about the work these people have done and do in the Spanish scene.
Yeah I know. As told you before it was not on purpose, but I don't think that is a big problem, that was their name years ago so there's no kind of confusion or misunderstanding between both label names.

I'd say that they've done a good work. Is Dave Rotten´s (AVULSED) label. They released albums for bands like VADER, DEEDS OF FLESH, DEMIGOD and some more that became big bands later on. Some of their newer releases are interesting as well; PAGANIZER, HUMAN MINCER, VIDRES A LA SANG etc... They are the pioneers of all the labels around. They also book gigs and tours for foreign and spanish bands in the whole spanish area.

What is the record label that reflects in a better way the things you'd like to achieve with your work? What are the labels that historically have been more attractive and interesting to you? And don't tell me “Nuclear Blast”, hahahaha!!!
Hehe, I will say the same labels for both questions.

THREEMAN RECORDINGS (ENTOMBED, GOD AMONG INSECTS, THE PROJECT HATE, VICIOUS ART...) because is a label founded and runned by band members, and they really work for the bands.

PEACEVILLE because they always try to keep the quality of the bands on their roster, and have released amazing albums in every kind of style, from AUTOPSY, AT THE GATES to OPETH, KATATONIA, MY DYING BRIDE...

RELAPSE because being such a big and different band roster, they always signed brilliant bands, unique on their way of understanding music and in some cases generators of some music styles like: SUFFOCATION, NILE, NASUM, AMORPHIS, MASTODON, NECROPHAGIST, DYING FETUS, NEUROSIS and so on.

And CENTURY MEDIA and DOLORES/ BLACK SUN because they work or have worked for the bands that we admire and would like to have in our own label, hehe. AT THE GATES, THE CROWN, LIERS IN WAIT, SACRILEGE, BORKNAGAR, NAGLFAR, BLOODBATH, THE HAUNTED, DARK TRANQUILLITY, NIGHTRAGE... do I have to say more?

Utterly immersed in the MP3 world as we are, it takes really a lot of courage to run a label. Speak (as much as you want) about piracy and MP3 traffic in your country, that we know, by reliable sources, it´s plenty of active in that matter over there...
Good one. I think that there's two points of view on this mp3 and piracy thing. There's people who use it just to check the new or old CDs out, and later on they go and buy the original CD. There's a bigger amount of people that do download tones of CDs, videos, films and stuff, even more than what they'd probably could watch or listen in their whole life, 40-50 Cds and films downloaded every day, that is quite stupid. In the other hand, some people says that is a good choice as long as this permits the bands (both established and unknown) to be listened by more people, because the CD prices is too high and not everyone can afford buying a big amount of CDs every week. I'm afraid that this practise is really difficult to stop, unless somebody comes up with a hard law against the downloading thing and the piracy. I'm still optimistic about those who buy their original CDs in stores or mail orders, I know a lot of them and mostly in the metal scene. If you ask me about the mainstream CDs, that's a different thing, there's a massive piracy market here, you couldn't imagine.

Tell your last thoughts to the Tartarean Desire readers and receive our thanks to your answers. Good luck with your label.
We would like to thank you Vincent [Editor's comment: and I forward the thanks to Fjordi who was actually the only man behind the questions] for this great interview and your interest and support, we wish you the best of luck with Tartarean Desire. To all the readers out there, please check out our brand new website at www.drownedscream.com and enjoy, feel free to contact in case you need anything from us.

Support the underground!!!!!!!!!!!


Links of interest:

Drowned Scream Records