EVERYBODY PROBABLY KNOWS THERE ARE EXTREME METAL SQUADS IN NEAR EVERY PART OF THE GLOBE, STILL I BET MOST OF YOU COMMIT THIS LETHAL SIN OF OMMISION, TREATING THESE ACTS JUST AS SORT OF WEEKEND CURIOSITY. WELL SHAXUL HERE DOES NOT. FOR YEARS HE HAVE BEEN EXPLORING UNDERGROUND VAULTS FROM COUNTRIES, THAT ORDINARY METAL WARRIORS WOULDN`T EVEN TREAT SERIOSLY. AND IT IS NOT JUST CHILE OR ISRAEL, WHICH DO NOT NEED DEEP DIGGING TO FIND WORTHY BANDS FROM THERE, BUT SUCH METAL GODS FORSAKEN SPACES LIKE SRI LANKA OR UGANDA. DARE YOU NOT MISS TO CHECK OFFER FROM THIS PASSIONATE, STILL SANE RECORD LABEL RUNNER, COMMING FROM HIS CRUSADES IN SEARCH FOR METAL GEMS ALL OVER THE WORLD!!!
Was it your plan since the start to have two labels, each with specific profile of of metal music?
Not at all. LEGION OF DEATH Records has been created in early 2001, with a very special concept. In 2009, I wanted to support bands from the French regions and to release other formats, and as I will never change the original concept of LEGION OF DEATH Records, I decided to create a parallel label. So ARMEE DE LA MORT Records was born. It remains very close to the spirit of LEGION OF DEATH, but I can do many things with this label that I can`t do with LEGION OF DEATH, otherwise it would be almost like a betrayal so to speak.
When considering a band for LOD, do you pay attention the existence of the elements specific to the country of the band`s origin?
Yes, indeed. But in general a band always include something specific from their culture, consciously or not. Personally I don`t want to listen to a Peruvian or Malaysian band cloning a Norwegian band, you know... Nothing interesting there! Recently I released a 7``EP by FUNERAL IN HEAVEN and the songs are entirely inspired by their own culture and history, you feel it both musically and lyrically, and this is what I seek the most with LEGION OF DEATH Records. I released a 7``EP by LUCIFERA almost at the same time, and even if there is no traditional instruments or anything, it is still purely South American to me because it has the raw sound typical from this continent, it has the blasphemous lyrics in Spanish, so all in all these bands are both ``traditional`` to me, the approach is different but that's exactly what I want to support with my label. Bands with identity!
Which of so far LOD releases you consider biggest success in terms of spread copies, and which one is most ground breaking in your opinion?
I`m not sure, but I would say that the GOAT SEMEN/LEVIFER Split 7``EP and the ZYGOATSIS 7``EP are both records that sold fast and got the best responses. Some like ANAL VOMIT can be seen as ground-breaking as you put it, as they were unknown and now they are respected worldwide so I`am very proud of this!
How about language matters, have you ever had problems with unerstanding each other with any of your exotic releasedbands?
No, not at all, it`s true that sometimes some band members use ``broken English`` hahaha but I`m used to it and it is absolutely not a problem for me. Also I can speak Spanish so it helps me a lot as it`s spoken in the whole Latin America except Brazil (I can read and understand Portuguese by the way, but I can't speak it fluently, I would like to learn more but I have no time for that unfortunately). And with all non-French and non-Spanish speaking countries, I use English, simple as that! I love languages so I like talking and writing in different ones!
From the profile of LOD, I suppose ``Global Metal``" movie was a huge impact for you. What do you think about it? Do you think it is more effective in promoting Metal culture in exotic countries, or rather introduce these countries scene to the so called western world?
Ah, well, it didn`t have such a huge impact on me actually. I discovered it in it`s full extent this year, and before that I just saw some videos on YouTube hehe... There are awesome images and interviews in the movie, it`s true, and I respect Sam Dunn and Scot McFayden as directors, moreover they did ``FLIGHT 666`` which is so fantastic, IRON MAIDEN being one of my favourite bands ever! But ``GLOBAL METAL`` has been released in 2008 and they act as if scenes were emerging in some countries while it`s very old and without being arrogant, I can say I was aware of all that many, many years before them! I mean, Butchered of ARALLU is an old Brother of mine (I support them since the first album), Wang of AREA DEATH and the guys of RITUAL DAY are mates for a long time, I am in touch with Sahil of DEMONIC RESURRECTION, I discovered TANG DYNASTY thanx to a Chinese friend 10 years ago, etc... I am responsible for having released the first vinyl records ever by a Metal band from : China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, some bands from Africa and Middle East, etc... So it`s a pity they didn`t investigate that much in the underground. Some fans from Iran were interviewed which is great, but there are many bands out there, an English friend met them without any problem during holidays so it`s sad they didn`t go there as they planned first. Also there are too many interviews with ``famous``" people, like Max Cavalera, Tom Araya or Marty Friedman, it would have been better to keep that short and interview more underground bands, but I understand their reasons, as the film must also be a commercial success and to fill it with underground people wouldn`t sell. But come on, in Japan LOUDNESS are not even mentioned (though they were very big and not underground), same with SABBAT, the cultest Black Metal band existing since 1984! What about DYING EMBRACE in India, the first extreme"Metal band playing Death Metal inspired by AUTOPSY and BLACK SABBATH, these guys are the oldest metalheads in India, the godfathers of the Indian scene! As for Latin America, only Brazil is mentioned. But OK, it`s hard to sum everything up in 1h30... So I hope the guys will make ``GLOBAL METAL`` #2, then #3, and more haha! In that case they should ask me and I could bring them to great places! Look, with my band MANZER we will be the first Metal band from abroad playing in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka! They should shoot these events hehe... Well, just kidding, we pay everything by ourselves, we don`t do this for glory but because we want to spread the Metal plague, play with friends and discover fascinating cultures. By the way it is also a good point in ``GLOBAL METAL``" that they speak about local cultures. It`s very important and it is linked to your second question. OK, I`m very talkative now haha, so back to your question: I don`t think it promotes Metal culture in ``exotic``"(I hate this word) countries, as you put it it`s more to show to ``westerners`` that there are Metal scenes everywhere. But I think most people watched this movie as curious fans, like ``waow I can`t believe that there is Metal in this or that country``, and that`s all. I distribute stuffs from all the scenes mentioned for almost 10 years and after the release of ``GLOBAL METAL``, people didn`t get crazy, ordering many stuffs from me hehe... Most people into this movie are into ``mainstream`` Metal, I`m sure of this. But it's still interesting to see it as I said, as the images are great and few people get interested in such scenes, though a lot of work still has to be made because these scenes are much stronger than what people think. It`s much more than just a bunch of poor Third World people trying to play Metal just to be cool like western bands, they have a strong history and passion. To end with this question, on a very personal point of view, I must admit that sometimes they show Metal as a hippie movement, you know, with all this respect towards religions (fukk all religions, they must stay out of Metal!!!), and saying we all belong to the same tribe (peace and love bullshit!!!). Well, in reality it`s far from being so idyllic hehe, but OK, once again this movie had to remain quite mainstream otherwise nobody would be interested.
Can you remember when you was most suprised, when heard some band, and you thought like: ``Damn, did not expected such a music from this palce of earth?
Actually, no! Not that I got bored, haha, I still have the same interest and flame burning inside of me since the beginning! But I created the label because I knew there were killer Metal bands everywhere, and I mean everywhere! It`s just that some scenes are more unknown than others, but you can always find maniaks fighting in the name of Metal, deep in the shadows... Though I must admit that recently I was very impressed to meet Vickonomy from VALE OF AMONITION, a great band from Uganda! He has the true Metal spirit, much more than many ``westerners``.
Do you get any feedback from fans from the countries bands you release, do they have sort of scene there?
Yeah sure, many fans are so respectful towards my releases! As I said, I`m the first to have released vinyl records from some countries, and some fans praise this as something historical and cult! This is very important to me, and I do it for the Metal cause, not for fame or anything. But I always feel proud when I get congratulations, of course! It is also a part of the fuel that leads me to fight and keep up with my label!!!
Why did you decided to limit LOD releases to vinyl format only? Wouldn`t it be easier to spread the word in cd form as well?
As stated in the first question, LEGION OF DEATH has a specific concept since the beginning. Contrary to some labels betraying their original goals, I decided to keep the idea just as it was right from the start, and to support the best Metal format ever : vinyl! Of course the other formats are great too, but vinyl is the best and it has more impact I think because they are like jewels for collectors. It helps the bands a lot to find other deals, with other labels, and I believe it is also the aim of a Metal label. Of course I am not against spreading CDs but that`s one of the reason why I also created ARMEE DE LA MORT Records.
Well you prefer word obscure above exotic, when it comes to countries you pick bands for LOD. But does it mean, distance, cultural difference or lack of worlwide recognition for their metal scene?
"Exotic" is very pejorative in my opinion. It is like saying that the western world represents "normality" and thus gives you the right to judge all other cultures, especially seeing them as inferior, and this is absurd. I'm interested in all the things you mentioned to support a band, indeed, and I don't need to call them "exotic".
I’m curious your opinion on French Black Metal scene. As I consider this mainly for as very straight ideologically or for their ground breaking attitude towards black music. Do you see it similar way?
No, I see it like a big circus. It has never really been serious and there hasn't been any unity whatsoever. My opinion is that there are very good Black Metal bands in some French regions, and they deserve support because in general the valuable ones are not supported. When talking about Black Metal with foreign comrades, they usually mention the most trendy ones (mainly from Paris). With ARMEE DE LA MORT Records I signed some valuable Black Metal bands, and I may release more in the future. The idea is just like LEGION OF DEATH : to support underrated Metal warriors against the trends cancering the scene in France. Most Black Metal bands in France are religious/christian, depressive/suicidal, nazi, Scandinavian clones, avant-garde open minded shit, whatever... They are not "straight ideologically", they are just stupid, blinded, and they are "ground breaking" because they are trendy. I do my best to support the ones keeping the ancient traditional values of Black Metal alive.
Where do you spread your releases more, to France or abroad, as it comes to both your ventures?
I must admit that since I created my webshop, France is the first country where my stuffs are spread. This is suprising but in a positive way, because something like 2 or 3 years ago, and since I created the label, French people were far from being the most interested ones in what I do haha, maybe the worst! You know, I don't release "well known" bands hehe... Then I can mention Japan and Germany. A lot of supportive maniaks out there! But of course I spread my releases everywhere on this fukking planet.
You have a huge amount of tape releases in your distro, do you recognize some interest increase for this format last years? Do you believe this is something more than just part of overall old skull death metal scene ressurestion?
The interest towards tape comes and go, just like vinyl. I can't complain about that, it's great if some people finally realize that tape is a great format, useful and cheap. We can't call this a trend as long as it is healthy for this format. I noticed that a lot of labels are popping up claiming to release tapes mainly. Why not, but it's a bit overcrowded I think, everybody wants to have a "hobby label" and sometimes they release ultra-limited releases that they don't trade or don't even sell at wholesale prices, which is a totally anti-underground behaviour. But all in all it's good that maniaks buy tapes, it's a tradition that I want to keep alive, like all Metal traditions! The interest in tapes may fade soon though, and then appear again, just as I said : it comes and go, but real maniaks will forever support this format, they don't even care to know how is the level of interest in it, tapes have always been a part of the underground. Oh and by the way : DEMO = TAPE! Demo CDr's suck!!!
Being in business for almost ten years now (and even before, as a fan, I suppose), do you notice your attitude towards, let`s call it underground metal movement, has changed in any way? What part of your every day life you sacrifice to label/distro ativities? How about other fields of activites? You play also in black metal band Manzer, right?
I am clearly a close minded person and proud of it so I don't think my attitude changed. I am now trying to run a small company with my label so I work 24h/24 and 7d/7 on my label for more than 2 years now. A Metal Shop will open in my house very soon so I hope to see you there hehe! Other fields of activities? No, Metal all the fukking way hehe! Yeah, MANZER became my main band now, we have a lot of projects planned, like split 7"EP's with ABIGAIL and GODSLAYING HELLBLAST, some cover songs on tribute LP's, a live tape, a small tour in Asia in november, etc... Check our website to get all infos : www.manzer.fr
At the end, thank you for your time and great answers. Can you recomend some of your next releases?
You are the one to be thanked for the great support, man! Well, I recomend all my next releases haha! Seriously speaking, the CATACOMB Double CD has just been released, don't miss this masterpiece of morbid Death Metal! The next release will be the ANNTHENNATH / FROSTMOON ECLIPSE "Human Infanticide" Split 7"EP, then the DEEP VEIN / HYPOKRAS "Ancestral Death Metal Terror" Split CD should follow soon. Stay tuned on my website! 666 thanxxx to you, and Metal till death! My contacts :
LEGION OF DEATH Records / ARMEE DE LA MORT Records
WebSite + WebShop : www.legionofdeathrecords.com
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
MSN : email@example.com
Snail Mail : LOD Records / BP 21 / 86210 Bonneuil-Matours / France.
Shaxul, june/july 2010.