Hi there Billy. How are you lately? Getting ready for the Halloween night? How do you spend that night? (ed. the questions were sent before the Halloween night)
Hey all is good here! Just put out the new album from FESTERED who play old-style death metal in the vein of early-Death, Autopsy, Master, etc. Halloween was fun! Spent all my time with my fiance eating candy, carving pumpkins, and watching a ton of movies!
Please tell us what your remember about the beginnings of Razorback Rec. How did you start this label and why?
The label started in 1998. I was sick of the crappy bands coming out in the late 90's and wanted to try and do more of the "classic sound" again, like old Death, Grave, Entombed, Impetigo, while mixing it up with a horror influence as I was and still am a huge fan of the horror genre. I had been working a bunch of crappy jobs for the past decade and saved up all my money and just sunk it all into the label and it snowballed and eventually caught on with people I guess!
Which ones were the first releases of Razorback? How did you agreed with your first signed bands?
I worked with some bands who aren't worth mentioning anymore, but back in those days it was harder to find bands. Today it's much easier with myspace and everything. I liked real demos in those days though, that was a lot of fun getting that stuff in the mail everyday. Now when I go to the post office my box is always empty! Everything is digital now.
I know you previously had a fanzine, is that true? How many issues were published? Did that experience help you later on with distribution and promotions for razorback?
Yeah I did a fanzine called The Coven back in 1990-1992. I did 3 issues, all photocopied and done as cheap as possible as in those days that was really the only way to afford doing it! That's definitely where my roots came from as far as getting into doing mail and packaging stuff up and doing trades and meeting new bands and stuff like that.
Why have you chosen to release only old-school type of death metal bands?
To me that's the ONLY kinda stuff I like. I don't like anything "nu" or "modern" sounding at all. I grew up with classic metal like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Dio, Judas Priest, and then later got into thrash like Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Exodus, etc. I'm just a total 80's metal fan and always will be. Death Metal to me was always rooted in the 80's scene. All of that crap from the 90's and this decade are rooted in rap/hip hop/metalcore and other garbage that I can't stand.
Which ones were the best received Razorback releases so far?
Lately it's been ACID WITCH, HOODED MENACE, and REVOLTING. Those are doing the best out of all my latest releases. In the older days, bands like FRIGHTMARE and LORD GORE were some of the most popular bands on the label. Sadly these bands are no longer around.
How do you select your bands and how is your relation with them afterwards? How do you promote your bands?
I just try to find bands that I enjoy musically and can get along with without there being any rock star attitudes and other crap. I used to run ads in lots of magazines, but almost all of them went out of business and the ones that are still around charge too much money. It's really hard to promote these days because there's simply too many bands and not enough actual fans to support it all. I try to promote directly with the fans online as much as I can. The oldschool ways are almost extinct now.
What is Razorback's releases schedule for the end of 2009? What about 2010, anything planned yet?
Up next is SKELETAL SPECTRE, followed by the 2nd CD's from DECREPITAPH and REVOLTING. Then in 2010 there's gonna be the debut CD by GRAVE RITUAL. There's more to come but I'm not saying what it is yet! Also the debut CD from TOMBSTONES is still happening with Stevo from IMPETIGO on vocals!
Is this a full-time job for you or it's a hobby? How much time do you spend on the label daily?
These days it's pretty much my "job". I used to work some part time job that helped pay some bills during a really bad time when nothing was selling at all. I don't really track how many hours I do this for everyday. I try to do as much as I can and try to always send out the orders the next day. That's always been a priority for me.
I'm sure you get a ton of mail from bands asking you to sign them. Is that a hard part of running a label? What do you hate most when someone contacts you?
Yeah I usually get mostly all crap in the mail or my email inbox. I'm not into most of the stuff out there these days. I just hate it when a band that is obviously NOT the kind of style that I like will send me a demo begging for some kind of album "deal". I've gotten promos that sound like PANTERA or some kind of SLIPKNOT or HATEBREED crap. That shit goes right in the trash! haha!
Do you ever listen to a band that adds your label's Myspace profile?
Yeah I do. It depends on what the band is called, what the logo looks like, and if they have the right kind of influences! If I go on a page and the band says they're into crap like Dying Fetus or whatever I just ignore it. Or if the band is called Anal Pooptart Fruit Loop Vagina Turd. Ignore!
Any other hobbies beside music? I guess you're a horror maniac, any new flicks you saw lately that you could recommend?
Well, like music, I prefer all the old classic films. Horror is my favorite, but I also like other stuff as well.
I can't name ONE good horror movie in the past decade besides maybe SESSION 9 which is pretty damn creepy! I collect a lot of old horror comics from the 60's and 70's with my fiance Vanessa also and we love all the re-issue books of the old CREEPY mags from those days. We also like collecting any kind of Halloween related stuff we can afford as well as t-shirts and other horror stuff we like.
What can you tell us about your Blog? It is like a webzine, correct?
It used to be a blog where I would write about movies and things I like to collect, but it went away for awhile due to lack of inspiration. Now I brought it back recently just to do interviews with Razorback bands and other stuff.
What's the best part in running your label?
I still love putting out music I guess. I can't explain it. It's something I feel like I need to do, despite how hard it can be sometimes. It's the sheer love of being part of releasing something that people end up enjoying and embracing. I love working with the artists also on the covers and stuff like that as well.
What are the Razorback releases you're promoting right now?
Right now I have out the new FESTERED CD as well as the debut CD from CLAWS. Both are very oldschool Death Metal albums from America and Finland.
Thanks for your time, Billy. Respect for what you do.
Thanks so much! I appreciate the questions and your interest in the label!
My web site is www.razorbackrecords.com
Interviewed by Adrian