Please present your label, when and where was it started, who is involved in its activities and what genres are promoted by it.
A few words to put things back in the context. I co-founded the "Acteurs De L’Ombre Webzine” along with Cyril Planard back in Y2K. As we were members of some dark bands, we had in mind to build up a webzine in order to give a hand the underground bands as ours. While, and since 98, I was organising gigs in Marseille and its region for the band I sung for "Atropos”. In 2003, I’ve been sent in the Paris area for work. Later, we officially created the organization in order to organize gigs and I quit my editor-in-chief role for the webzine to focus on the management of the organization and the development of its activities (we were 50 active members).In 2009, after a new work moving and return to south of France, I decided to leave the presiding of the organization to Marie, and jumped on a new activity: the Label. A dream that has been floating in my head for years. The organization completely financed the first label release which was nothing less but the project of one of its member : Pensées Nocturnes. Right now, we are more or less 5 people involved and we do this on our free time. We are mostly interested in black metal, particularly in the bands who try to bring something new to this genre, like WAY TO END or PENSEES NOCTURNES.
Tell us a few words on each or the most important releases of your label, and which of them are still available for purchase.
We started the label releasing the first album of an organization member musical project: PENSEES NOCTURNES "Vacuum”. It completely matched with what I had in mind, a mix between Depressive Black Metal with some Classical Music arrangements. The little of exigencies from Vaerohn allowed us to launch the label with low risks and costs, which was part of the deal. This production, released with 1000 copies in 2009 quickly went sold out. There is not one week without a customer or a label demanding for a rerelease. This should be done with the release of the 4th PENSEES NOCTURNE’s album in early 2013. We did not produce the 3rd album of Vaerohn, but the 2nd one was a real bend for the label. Released with 2000 copies, a pressing of 1000 additional copies was necessary to meet the demand. This "Grotesque” went over all hopes by every levels, and allowed with a real investment for the promotion (400 promo CDs sent to the media + 2000 euros in ads and sampler magazines) to set up the notoriety, any kept proportions, of PENSEES NOCTURNES, and of the label by the way. This album received an exceptional welcome, and was brought to light by many Medias as one of the best 2010 album. It shall be honestly told that Vaerohn worked his art to its paroxysm, making his oeuvre unique in its way, an extra-varied music, even twisted and fool.
The first album of the Belgians of CULT OF ERINYES for me stays an all particular release. It is a little jewel of blackness of which I am the first fan! A music so intense and deep that it carries me away with each listening…I am really proud of our collaboration which partly made them sign with the Italian label CODE666 for their second album. It is like an accomplishment of our first goal, bring talented artists to light, and so much better if they can sign with bigger labels.
The EBONYLAKE second album was more of an artistic strategy. I didn’t succeeded in signing a young promising band, and I thought that the legendary Avant-garde of this English band would sit the Label image to the fans of this genre. Even if it did not sell extraordinarily (I clearly knew it we released it as it is really demanding in terms of artistic approach), it eventually clearly placed the label as a non-mainstream and daring one.
Finally, I’ll talk about our latest release, the "Al Azif” album of a band from Bordeaux THE GREAT OLD ONES (April 2011) wich we will have much difficulties to keep in our row for their second album it is exponentially gaining attention to it. ANTITHETIK RECORDS, an American Label, handled the DIGIPACK & LP editions of this release. Their fame is rising quickly, and it is nothing but deserved. 3 guitars with very fine arrangements, introspective atmospheres while others are much wilder, a feeling that could only please all the Hypsters Post Black Metal fans, of which I am. Shows proposals, and even tours, are arriving non-stop, and that’s a revealing thing!
The quality of our artists is a fact, as is the limit of our support. It is obvious that that if these cds were released by bigger labels, they would have sold 10 times more. But that’s the rule, small labels for the young wolves, big labels for more renowned bands. All has to be made step by step, everyone got his role to play…
What are the most important features you look for in a band that is or has the chance to be signed on your label?
We receive some approaches from bands, by letters or mails (up to 40/year). It is not so much in the end, and really a few meet the label spirit. Only one of our bands actually comes from one of a band approach. Most of the time it is us who contact the bands we’re interested by, but it wasn’t the case every time (as for THE GREAT OLD ONES).
We have but only few meanings and as the label goal is to promote young bands, it is obvious that our choice will focus on very young talents (even if it is not a rule, as we released the 2nd album after 12 years of silence of EBONYLAKE, as well as the re-edition of the 3rd cult album of Basque Spanish NUMEN first released in 2007). With the Internet, and all these new tools, it is really easy to realize the potential and seriousness of a band. Once we contacted them, presented them our project and if they are interested, we discuss of our proper visions of such collaboration, the waits of every part….and we quickly see if this will lead to something or if we are not on the same line.
Every deal is different and according to band’s fame, it must stick to its demanding. Thus I can’t make generalities. The themes we approach are: recording, mixing, mastering, pressing, author/composer/player rights and mechanical reproduction, royalties, promotional campaign, distribution, shows and merchandising.
Regarding the amount of mails we share, the time we spent on a common project, personal sacrifices we all have to do, compromising that such a project demands, the affinity comes inevitably. A band is often grateful of the human investment we put on every project because it’s only pleasure, and this leads sometimes to a friendship or in the worst a great mutual respect. We are artisans of the shades, and the relationship between the label and the band is of course different from the one in the bigger structures.
How can a band get in touch with you? What should bands know before submitting their promos for your consideration?
You can contact us through email: Gerald@lesacteursdelombre.com
To admit all, I can’t imagine releasing a Heavy, Thrash, Pagan album or whatever different from Black Metal (or Doom). Being particularly fan of Black Metal, it couldn’t be different. And thus whatever the Black Metal style is, quality must be there, all the album has to be credible and musicians must be sincere, simple and available! I must say that I am more attracted by melancholic, experimental and psychedelic, the choice of or signings is in adequacy with my personal tastes.
We address to a very restricted public, a niche within a niche ! I wanted to be very different from all the labels rising here and there. And I can see that it’s beginning to pay. We got regular people that order every release we make, a sign that they recognize themselves in our artistic line. More and more people seem to follow the label’s evolution. I often meet people from the scene (that I knew throughout the association activities) that congratulate us for our work. It’s a real satisfaction.
What's the most important thing in the relationship between you and your bands? What is your label offering to its bands?
We really try to have a mutual-trust relationship with our bands. We give them a good coverage in the metal press, both on paper and internet. We manage interviews for them and we buy ads to support them. In return, we want them to be involved in the promotion, to give back interviews in time, to promote the label when they can and to help us in getting the job done.
Is there anything you planned with your label and has not yet been completed?
We are currently working on the webshop. Special formats like digipack or vinyls are nice objects to produce but we cannot make them as often as we would like because of their costs.
In a farthest future, I’d like to continue as we do now, not really to grow, but to be more organized. To tell but the truth, it would extraordinary if I still have the energy to go on in 5 years. To make it I have to keep on choosing well the people I work with for a better repartition of responsibilities. I am always dreaming of a real International distro, and why not a numeric one…that we finally get a proper webshop to distribute the CDs we have in a less craft way…and eventually have the pleasure to have enough money to make super products with luxurious and original packagings…
How does the future looks for your label? Any major projects you would like to share with us?
Well, nothing special for now. We don’t have much time left to develop the label further. For now, we concentrate on our next releases, WAY TO END, PENSEES NOCTURNES and REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER. We expect very good things from these bands.
How can anyone get in touch with you? Please list your website, webstore and/or social media links.
One can order our releases on our website http://www.lesacteursdelombre.net/productions/label/index.php?reqCode=store
The main website is http://www.lesacteursdelombre.net
Our facebook page: http://www.lesacteursdelombre.net
And please also check out the pages of our bands
Way to End: http://www.facebook.com/waytoend
Pensées Nocturnes: http://www.facebook.com/Vaerohn
Regarde les hommes tomber : http://www.facebook.com/rlhtband
The Great Old Ones : http://www.facebook.com/thegreatoldones