|Pure Steel Records -Interview|
A New interview from the true metal label, Pure Steel Records. Andreas and Markus answered our questions straightforward. You can get a feeling of the concept of PSR, furthermore tips for demos and unsigned bands and their views on today’s metal industry
1) Pure Steel Records was founded for one simple reason, to support and to spread the true and independent Heavy Metal Sound of the glorious 80ies. Can you expand a bit on this?
Andreas: Oh yes, of course. We
are all a little bit older; it was 1982 when this “virus” hit me. My first
album was “Heaven and Hell” of Black Sabbath with the unbelievable Ronny James
Dio on vocals. Of course I love those bands, which set the standards in this
time. It doesn’t matter if you take Iron Maiden, Saxon or
Markus: Old-School Death Metal, hahaha.
2) What’s your view about today’s heavy metal industry?
Andreas: Well, partially I answered this above. Of course there is great music (in general) and very great Heavy Metal (in special) existing today. But you will find this only (ok 99%) beside of the media-featured stuff. Tell me, who needs a band like Metallica today? This band forgot its roots a long time ago and “delighted” us with some of the most useless albums ever. I prefer to listen to the vocals of my drunken neighbour, haha. Another example is Metalcore. Sorry, I’m not able to get the musical depth of it. Take bands like Atheist or Watchtower as a contrast. This stuff is so much better than this dull Metalcore-shit. But honestly said I think such “music” is only an effect. The cause of it (also in many other musical styles) lies in the attitude of the bands, labels and consumers: bigger, faster, higher. Always and everywhere you have to change something, make it “better”, more costly or anything else. But that’s a problem of the society. Permanence is a virtue, which is often felt as a backward step. But it is permanence, which gives you safety. We definitively don’t want to be a part of this madness. For Heavy Metal it’s sad that it changed from a youth-subculture (no future etc.) into commercial machinery, which got nothing to do with their former ideals anymore. It only produces bullshit for the masses; this is valid at least for 90% of the major labels. The underground tries to counteract these tendencies with all its power. It’s an unequal fight, because the media takes part in this nasty game. But I think they have no choice, because the advertisements especially of the bigger labels ensure the survival of the zines. Easily said, it’s a fight between David and Goliath. On the other side there are zines like yours coming out of the underground, which are transporting the ideals and thoughts of the 70ies and 80ies into the new century. I can only recommend to any true metal fan out there to support the releases of labels like Karthago, Shadow Kingdom, High Roller Records and many else. You won’t regret it
3) What tips do you have for bands which are recording a demo, what steps are you advising them to do?
Andreas: Hehe, you have to write good songs, good songs and good songs. Leave out all electronic gadgets. A good Heavy Metal band consists of a great singer, one or two guitarists, which deserve this name and a bassist and a drummer which provide the whole background. A keyboarder is acceptable if he plays for the band and the song. No pasting, no children’s song melodies but the rough song is decisive. And one further note, don’t put too much money into a producer. These guys normally don’t know which sound a good song needs.
Markus: One thing I want to add. Don’t become a member in one of those copyright institutions like the German GEMA. It has absolutely no use for you, unless you are playing 100-150 concerts in one year. Don’t fear about your copyright, you are automatically protected by law in most countries.
4)What criteria a band must meet in order to be considered by pure steel records?
Andreas: Not too modern, no Core (even no influences, if we hear that the demo will be thrown away immediately), no Black, no excessive blast parts, no drum computer, no sampling, only the rough and pure Heavy Metal, haha. Old school, good melodies, and we prefer Heavy, Power, Speed, Thrash and Progressive Metal. And if you wrote a second Omen “Battle Cry”, well a contract is guaranteed.
5)Any future releases coming up
Markus: Of course, the next releases in August will be Crom “Vengeance” and Angband “Rising from Apadana”. We have additionally contracts for several other CD’s and LP’s, which are going to be released later this year or in 2009.
6)Any new developments in the company?
Andreas: We are going to improve our own independent Mailorder and we will use the internet as our main distribution, publication and marketing channel. Apart from that we will continue our way. We are free from dept and we will not change that to guarantee our independence.
7)What are your opinions on the new bands in metal?
Andreas: Well, that depends of
which bands you are talking. I’ve said enough about some tendencies above.
Currently there is a trend back to traditional Metal, especially Thrash. The
Majors are signing bands in this sector now, which they wouldn’t even have
looked at for 1 second 2 years ago. This is dishonesty and characteristic for the
hunt after the next trend and the BIG trend. Actually you should feel sorry for
them because this is very hard. Hmm, what shall I say about new bands
furthermore. Of course I like the releases of Crom, Angband, Steelraiser,
Enchanter, Icy Steel and our other releases. Otherwise they would not have been
signed by us. But concerning Angband I must add something. The guys recorded
their album not under the best conditions in
8) What were the best moments in puresteel-records?
Andreas: Hmm, a difficult question, because I really like all our releases. Currently as a diehard my spearheads are Enchanter, Icy Steel and Emerald. Of course also Ivory Tower, their new album is a real delicacy for fans of progressive metal. The albums of Sencirow, Steelraiser, Crystal Tears and Gorgons Eyes are also rotating in my cd-player. And not to forget Fatal Embrace, which we sadly released 1 year before the current thrash hype.
9) Whats your
opinion on the greek metal scene? Which bands do you know from
Andreas: Well, the Greek scene is musically very close to us and with Crystal Tears we have also signed a fantastic Greek band. The Greeks are real metal heads and we also have friendly terms with Greek labels (Eat Metal, Sonic Age etc.)
10)Whats the biggest problem in the metal industry today (what do you hate the most)?
Andreas: Most definitively, the increasing pure commercialism and the “spider like” connections of distributors, labels and the media.
11) What do you like the most in todays metal music industry?
Andreas: Through the internet, especially myspace, a lot of things are more uncontrollable again. That’s an invaluable advantage for bands.
12) What’s your opinion on illegal downloading and the effect on internet on the metal music?
Markus: Well, it has positive and negative aspects. Positive is the additional promotion which a band or a label will get. To be true we also use this sometimes to listen first before we are buying especially “big” bands, because there were a lot of disappointments in the past years. The negative side is that we and our bands simply loose money. And this money is missing f. i. when there is new album to be recorded, flights have to paid etc. So anyone should really think of it, because if this downloading increases the small labels will disappear first and not the commercial major labels. AND there is one thing that I want to say. I take it as a real cheek that some reviewers got nothing better to do than to upload the albums before writing one word. I use the album of Icy Steel as example. It took exactly 4 days after we sent out the promos to find it on several download platforms. I know underground albums of which you will find more torrents and other download links than reviews or possibilities to buy it on the first 40-50 Google pages. I don’t think that this is the “support” that the corresponding band and/or label needs.
13) Vinyl or CD whats your preference?