Here is a new interview with the legendary German record label Barbarian Wrath.The owner BW. talks about the label's early days and current label work along with other topics.If you are a fan of old-school death,black and thrash metal then be sure to check this label and distro selection out.
Interview with BG. owner of Barbarian Wrath Rec. done by Patrick
1.Hello BG please introduce yourself to the readers? At what age did you find yourself getting into metal music and who were some of the early bands you listened to?
You mean there's still people out there who don't know me...? O_o I got into Metal at the age of 12 through a class mate at school. That was back in 1979. He had a slightly older cousin who already was into Metal and we started listening to his AC/DC and MOT�RHEAD albums while playing "Defender" on our ATARI 2600 video games. Those were the times... :) I got into other bands mostly by chance since there was nothing even remotely resembling a Metal press or Hell forbid, a Metal radio in Germany. I got into ACCEPT in 1983 when I had a class mate record me a FOREIGNER album and he put "Restless And Wild" on the flip side. It was his Dad's record and he thought I'd like it.... Needless to say the ACCEPT side got a lot more playing time, hahaha. There are similar stories about how I got into IRON MAIDEN or SAXON in those years. All that changed in 1984 with the advent of Metal Hammer which was quickly followed by fanzines which used to be sold in one of the local record stores.
2.I believe before you started Barbarian Wrath you were owner and operater of Nazgul's Eyrie how long was this label open for? And what made you decide to stop it?
Guilty. NAZGULS EYRIE lasted (on paper) from 1993 to 1999 and was directly followed by BARBARIAN WRATH. When you look at release dates however you'll see that the really active time was between July 1994 and July 1996 followed by a long period of agony caused by bad business decisions which cost me a lot of money and my sanity. When I had finally paid off the financial aftermath I changed the name and gave it another go which I'm happy to say went somewhat more smoothly. However, the name of NAZGULS EYRIE was burnt and spent so I came up with something more personal instead. The fact that everyone and their grandmothers were running around with pseudonymes based on Tolkien may have also played a minor role in my decision.
3.In 2000 you formed Barbarian Wrath Rec. what gave you the idea to start up a different label? And how did you choose Barbarian Wrath as the name for your new label?
I sort of explained that in the previous question already. It's not a different label in my mind, it's the same thing, just run in a slightly more professional way :D The name came up at some point based on my nickname at the time. My gentleman-like behaviour caused me to be referred to as the "Bavarian Barbarian" by the guys of COUNTESS at first and by pretty much everyone soon after. Since I was coming back (well, trying to) with a vengeance from the NEP disaster the "Wrath" part just fell into place :)
4.What have been some of your personal favorite releases over the years?And are their any upcoming releases the readers should watch out for?
I feel like a father to all my releases and like a father I love them all for what they are even when they annoy me at times. Since I have returned from a well deserved time out in January 2014 (This time without bothering to change the name...) there has been a steady stream of 24 releases so far which is more than I managed to release in the entire decade before. Of course people should watch out for all my releases as well as those of my darling wife through WITCHES BREW. :)
5.What are some things you look for when signing and releasing a band? And are you still on the look out for new bands to work with or is the Barbarian Wrath Rec roster full at this time?
I want to be surprised. The big cancer of today is predictability. Be that movies, books or bands, if I already know how things will end 10 minutes in, why bother ? Of course a band may still be entertaining in a live situation (Usually because I drink them better...) but why would I bother to release something by those guys. It's sometimes rough to have to tell that to people and not all take it gracefully either but it's my damn money and I decide what to spend it on :) I'm always looking for bands who manage to make me perk up. It doesn't happen often anymore since I'm a jaded old bastard but it does happen and when it does I usually find a way to place such a band in my roster.
6.Do you run the label by yourself or do you have some help from friends or family? Would you have any advice to the readers who might be thinking of starting a distro or a label themselves?
I have help. My wife does all the tedious background work so I can concentrate on signing bands and smoking cigars. Which suits me just fine, hehehe. Seriously though, since I have a full time job besides running BW and she doesn't it makes sense that she runs the distro and her own label WITCHES BREW. The distro is exclusively hers and she decides what to carry. Usually she goes for the more exotic stuff (as in from an exotic place, not an exotic mix of musical styles with a hint of Metal as an afterthought...). Seeing that there are more distros than buying fans in Germany and they all carry the same stuff I think she's right trying to stick out and do something original for a change.
7. BG are you currently looking for new labels or bands to work and trade with? If yes what styles of metal do you carry in your distro?
As I just typed, I always look for new stuff that I find impressive and surprising. All distro questions go to my wife :)
8. BG you live in the metal filled country of Germany what is your opinion of the German metal scene over the years to present day?
I think Germany is vastly overrated. I'm sick of Germans strutting around like their shit don't stink and all they really do is buy what glossy magazines serve them and treck to Wacken every year. There are real people besides me of course (quite a few actually) but this picture of Germany being the great Metal nation is inherently wrong. You don't see any Metalheads on the streets and when you do they won't talk to you because they don't like (or, more likely don't know) the band on the shirt you're wearing. So, as far a scene (as in people working together to achieve a common goal) goes, Germany is burnt and salted ground. If you count the number of role-playing fools who'll simply consume whatever glossy magazines tell them to, we got a few million of those.
9.Who are your all-time favorite German bands? And are their any new bands that you feel the readers should watch out for?
All time favorite German band... hmmm.... Nope, I don't really have a favorite band but I can list you favorite albums by German bands. The thing is, every band seems to come to a point eventually where they lose me. For instance, I worship AVENGERs "Prayers Of Steel" album but I find RAGE just barely tolerable even though it's the same people who wrote those songs and recorded the album.
I can't tell you about new bands because I'm trying to sign them and I don't want any competition.
10.Besides bands are their any good labels or distro's you feel the readers should check out soon?
I feel that WITCHES BREW get's far to little attention. There is a bunch of fucking brilliant bands there continously releasing jewels of Metal and WB get neither glory nor sales for it and it's a bloody shame.
11.Do you still try to go out to local shows or do you prefer to stay in?
I still go to shows when I can though mostly I go to small festivals. We got an entire string of those that we go to every year. Seeing a cool band whom you previously had not known is the high point of every festival. Local shows to me are going to N�rnberg or M�nchen which both are 1 hour trips. Really local shows don't exist because my area is pretty much exclusively settled by the types I described in question # 8.
12.When not working on label business what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
What is this "free time" you speak about...?
13.In your opinion what is the best and worst thing about the underground metal scene today? And what does underground metal mean to you?
The best and worst thing is the internet and computers in general and for pretty much the same reason. Life has sped up incredibly since the 90s and everybody has access to everything. Underground to me means to do something for passion with monetary gain being a nice side effect should it happen, but not a driving force. Which is the exact reason why I never tried going "pro". I enjoy the freedom of releasing whatever I want, I don't have to worry about sales because the money to pay for our beer comes from a different source.
14.Were can the readers find Barbarian Wrath news and releases to purchase?
There are a number of social media pages for the label that I keep up to date, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, the usual. Just type "Barbarian Wrath" in a search engine and you'll get 3 pages of links :)
As for buying my releases, the first and foremost spot to do so is WITCHES BREW. Besides German postage being rather cheap even for worldwide shipping she has a constant stream of other releases going through her distro so you have to be deaf and blind (Which, apparently you're not or is this text in Braille, eh ?) to not find something interesting.
In the USA (and North America) we are officially distributed by HELL'S HEADBANGERS and in Japan (and East Asia) by ROCK STAKK and we are looking for other partners in territories not yet covered.
15.Thank you BG for taking the time to fill this interview out do you have any final words for the readers?
You're welcome :) I haven't done one of those in quite a while so I enjoy the chance to talk. Well, type :D As a final word I would ask you all to give small bands and labels a chance and look beyond the circle jerk you find in your magazines. It's worth it. Trust me.
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