Trendcrusher

Richard Weeks (Blackened Death Records)

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The label feature is back after a short gap. This time around, the label in focus Blackened Death Records from UK. The label was started by Richard Weeks a couple years ago and in a short time has put out some killer black and death metal releases.

Find out more about the origins of the label, change in bands & customers and upcoming releases in my interview with Richard below.

Hi Richard, you started Blackened Death Records in 2015. How did you decide to start a label? Why did you decide to start a label that releases only extreme metal music?

I started Blackened Death for a very selfish reason – to self-publish my own music. I started my first band, Carnivorous Forest, in 2012 and the first demos were very rough. After a few years and very little interest in my projects, I opted to start self-publishing my music. And Blackened Death was born.

Your first release was Carnivorous Forest – Necromancy. How did the release come about?

I wanted to do a cover album of extreme metal songs reinterpreted in a dark folk style. At the same time I was recording the album I came up with the idea to do my own label. It was only fitting Necromancy was our first release.

What have been the most memorable releases on your label so far?

The first two Hammer Smashed Faith compilations were incredible to work on. I got to work with some of my favourite artists like Thrawsunblat, SIG:AR:TYR, Toehider, and Chthe’ilist. We have also just released a giant 74 track album called Noise Against Racism which is almost 9 hours long. Very proud of that album and all the acts behind it spreading the same message.

What is the biggest problem that you faced so far in running the label?

One of the big issues I deal with daily is people trying to scam me. I get emails daily asking me to send /physical copies only/ to such and such zine. I also get a lot of so called labels asking me to pay them 80 euros a track to get put on their “cover mount CD” to magazines that do not exist. BDR doesn’t make a lot of money and the money we make goes right back into the label. When someone tries to take advantage of me or my bands, I see fucking red.

What kind of marketing do you do?

To be honest, we don’t do a lot of marketing. We have our social network presence and beyond an occasional Facebook ad, we just work on word of mouth. I think it’s the most honest way of doing business. I like getting involved with the community. I don’t like saying we have “fans” – we have friends and family.

What changes have you noticed in bands/customers in the past decade?

Changes in bands. A lot of underground bands are literally out there breaking their necks to entertain the fans. When you see a small band do a month long tour where they pay for /everything/ themselves just to satisfy the fans, I think that is amazing. In 2017 there are more underground bands than ever and finding your niche can be hard. I have maximum respect for small bands who do it all themselves.

As for changes in customers. I think a lot of them know about the struggles of small bands. Seeing fans buy directly from bands is awesome. Seeing a band get 100% of what they deserve is the absolute best.

What do you look for in a band before you sign them to your label?

I look for honesty and passion. I sign bands who I think deserve some attention. I don’t look for “bands that will push product” or “bands that will hit the charts”. I see a lot of small bands out there who work their asses off and get nothing out of it. If I can get ears and eyes pointed in their direction… that is why I do this.

Have you been in a band? What instrument do you play?

I am in many, many bands. The aforementioned Carnivorous Forest, Suicide Wraith, The Meads of Asphodel… and many more. I have found in the current day and age, you have to have as many skills as you can. So originally a guitarist and vocalist, I have taught myself how to play bass, keyboards, how to layout an album, how to mix and master, how to EQ, how to promote, how to do almost everything myself. I have learned a lot of lessons and earned a lot of skills that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Do you have any advice for those planning to start a metal music record label?

My advice is to /just do it/. If you have a passion for something, do it. Just realise that not everyone is going to be Iron Maiden or Metallica – you are gonna have to do as much on your own as possible. Learn other instruments, learn art, learn PR, just /assume/ you will need these skills at some point. Never stop learning new skills.

What are the upcoming releases from your label?

We have a number of exciting releases coming up soon. A huge grind / crust / death metal / punk compilation called “Grinding Aural Torture” and the three way split between Suicide Wraith / Uncanny Reality / Necrolytic Goat Converter is going to be killer.

 

Written by trendcrusher

December 19, 2017 at 11:40 pm

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