This interview with the label manager Hervé Herbaut from the French metal label Osmose Productions was done through e-mail in June 2003.

Hello, how are you doing?
Stress really stress this morning cos this week will be short for me and we have tons of stuffs to prepare but it's allright.

What are the latest news from the Osmose office?
the latest news ! hum i guess there's no real news these days, we sign recently BESTIAL MOCKERY, and MALMONDE apart of this there's nothing really special this days.

Did you ever expect Osmose Productions to become what it is today when you started out back in 1991?
We wanted to do something good with Osmose of course but still Osmose is not a big company at all ! We are only 5 working here fulltime who is not so much ! i think we could have accomplish something bigger if all this sudden problems in usa didn't happen for us.

You formed the label together with your ex-girlfriend, is she still part of the staff? Who made the decisions on what bands to sign?
yes we are still working together and it work that way so why we should stop ! concerning the band we sign, i still take the final decision even sometime we talk about the one who come here, but at 90% i decide.

How did you come up with the name Osmose Productions? What goals did you have when you started out?
Well the name Osmose mean for us something very special since it mean we are working in full armony with the music we produce. the goal at the beginning was simple ! We got enough money to print 1000 LP/1000 CD of Samael "Worship him" and was allready hard to sell this back then ! We were just lucky since the demand was there and that's all it start.

You did the label as a hobby and kept your day job during the first few years, what kind of job did you have back then?
Haha, yes it's true during the first 3 years of osmose, i was a social worker mostly due to the army that i refuse to do, then it was only the possibility for me to avoid it and i start working in a social home durin 24 months (duration of the antimilitarist service), then they keep me for another year until i decide to quit for full time on osmose.

How old were you when you formed the label? What other music business related activities did you have before?
I was 23 years old ! before osmose during é years i was running the strangulation distribution who was a small mail order and i was selling underground records to concerts.

You have always dealt with extreme metal exclusively, have you never wanted to sign power metal band?
No power metal but we have EXCITER and DIVINE DECAY who are heavy metal bands. I'm not interest in power metal at all as today it is !

Your first release was Samael's "Worship Him", what do you think about this release today? How did you get in touch with Samael?
Well a friend of mine who know them back in '90 told me they were looking for a company but no one were interest in them, then i see them at a show my frind did in our area and ask them if they would be interest ! they all say yes and that's how it start. As today yes i really like Samael, it's still a very very good band who has change certainly a lot from the origine, but the way they are doing their actual music is really good as weel ! I like a lot the Passage album i guess, i don't remember the title.

Do you remember what your first five releases were (except for Samael then)? Could you tell us something about them?
Yes of course : MASACRE, requeien, BLASPHERION, rest in peace, DISASTROUS MURMUR, rhapsodie in red, MASCRE/PROFANATICA split, PYOGENESIS. Ignis creatio and PANTHYMONIUN dawn of dreams.

Which releases do you consider to be the most important in the Osmose history? Which ones have been the biggest sellers so far?
The first i guess since it was the beginning of everything. no then there were different steps like when we put out the IMPALED NAZARENE, tol cormpt, the IMMORTAL battles in the north, one i was so pround to sign was MASTER'S HAMMER ! back then i was so pleased to have them on osmose !

The French metal scene has been growing steadily since the early 90's, what bands do you consider to be the most important ones today?
I wouldn't say that at all ! I guess we contribute to the growing of the french scene but still there's a lot to do !

What do you think about the other bigger French metal labels like Season Of Mist, Oaken Shield / Adipocere Records, Listenable Records and Holy Records?
Hum, we know all them well ! nothing special to say : they all have a different approach i guess to the music and the way they do it, but all in all our dreams would be definitely to kick the asses of german labels !!!!!

In the past you worked for like 80 hours a day, do you still work as hard? Is it possible to combine a family with a job like your's?
80 hours i wonder how i would do it ! Anyway if you explain me how we can do, i will check it out ! i work less now, but still i can come here like I did the last week end at 5AM in the sunday morning just cos i coudln't sleep anymore and need to finnish something here, then also I try to figure all out with my family cos i have 3 kids now and my wife is also working , so it's not so always easy but as far it work ! i sitll work roughtly 50-60 hours weekly !

What advices do you have for someone who wants to start their own label? Do you think it's still possible today achieving something like you have done?
Well it's simple : As today it's even worst than back when nobody would buy a black metal release since there's severals huge problems with the distribution in generally of the music; internet with the mp3 and the burning home proccess won't help at all the future of the underground music and i would say today the futur is now cos it's now that's all record companies have the problems mostly due to the copy burn, we are all going right the wall, and the way the music will go in the future wil mean all free if nothing happen. but free mean also no more records, no copy, no download, no artists. If i would have to do it again, i won't at all , i will rather open a bar !!!

Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer these questions and best luck to you with the label and everything else in the future!
Thanks for the interview as well!

Links of interest:

Osmose Productions