After getting a promo of the Solitude re-issue I thought it was time to interview the man behind the release and about his label so here is an interview with Matt Rudzinski who runs actually 2 labels, so sit back and enjoy the interview:
MC: Tell me a bit about yourself and where are you based out of?
MR: My name is Matt Rudzinski and I run Divebomb and Tribunal Records here in Greensboro, North Carolina.
MC: At what age did you get into music and what was the 1st metal band you heard?
MR: I was pretty young, probably about 8 or 9 years old. Rainbow or Deep Purple was probably the first. My dad wasn’t too into metal so I wasn’t exposed that way it was from friends I went to school with.
MC: What were some of the 1st concerts that you saw and did you trade tapes at all back in the day or read any zines?
MR: My first concert was on my 12th birthday and it was Dio and Twisted Sister at the Spectrum (RIP) in Philadelphia. They actually released it on VHS which I thought was really cool as a kid to own a concert I attended. (I was there too-chris) No, I never traded tapes but I did order a bunch from magazines or bands directly if they were advertising. In Delaware we didn’t have a big zine thing going on so I would read Circus and mainstream magazine like that to get my news and updates.
MC: Before you started the label, did you work for any other labels or do any kind of writing at all?
MR: When I was in college I wrote for a local record stores monthly magazine. I was their “metal guy” and would review as much stuff as I could. I never worked for any other labels, although I did help my buddy with his Inner Journey Records. I would just help fold 7” covers and stuff like that. I did get a business degree in college and decided to eventually put it to use when starting up my own label(s).
MC: How did the idea for the label come about and how long did it take before it actually come together?
MR: A long time, actually. When I was in high school in the late 80’s I had two buddies start up their own labels and I knew then it was something that I eventually wanted to try and do but I never had the finances and never had that first band that really motivated me to do something. It wasn’t until 1998 that I decided to try and do it after seeing a band called Prayer For Cleaning. Later on after their break up 3 of the members started Between The Buried & Me.
MC: How did you come up with the name and were any other names considered?
MR: Tribunal I can never remember how it came about but I do know that was the first idea and it stuck for some reason, but with Divebomb it was easy. What is more metal than a divebomb?! Haha, so it definitely stuck plus our original slogan was “Divebomb Records: Hit The Deck Motherf**ker!”
MC: What was your 1st release and how did it sell?
MR: Tribunal’s first release was Prayer For Cleansing’s “The Rain In Endless Fall” and it sold relatively well. We sold all 2,000 copies pressed which was pretty good for our first release. Divebomb’s debut was TKO’s “In Your Face” and we are nearly sold out of all 1,000 copies of the limited edition. So I am very happy about that!
MC: Now do you only release old stuff or would you be willing to sign the right band if they caught your ear?
MR: Divebomb is all old releases, but I do split releases with certain Tribunal bands who I think the traditional old school metal head might dig like Colossus, Blatant Disarray or Line Of Fire. They are current bands on Tribunal that is cross market to the Divebomb loyalists.
MC: What releases have you put out so far and are all of them still available?
MR: I have 17 releases available now. Uncle Slam was sold out, but the bands and I decided to do a limited repress for the fans who missed it. We shipped all 1,000 copies I about six weeks, which was completely unexpected. Other than that I believe TKO’s are nearly gone and one of the Casanova titles.
MC: How did it come about with you putting out the Dominance and Solitude material?
MR: Well, that came about because I used to go see them in high school and loved them both. I hounded each of those bands for about a year I think before we agreed to do something. I don’t think they took me too seriously, but in the end they realized that I was a super fan and wanted the music out again. All the thanks I get from their fans makes it all worthwhile and Solitude reuniting for a single show was my payback for it all that is for sure!
MC: Have any bands ever turned you down wanting to re-issue their stuff?
MR: Oh sure, plenty. Some bands I approach as a fan wanting to say hello and they cannot even take the time to even send back a reply. It’s a shame because despite how much time has passed they have to remember their band made fans and if it wasn’t for people like us out there the music would die. It’s kind of my pet peeve when someone doesn’t respond with a simple, “Hi! Thanks for being a fan.” It simple enough and goes a long way.
MC: Is there anything you as a fan want to see re-issued yourself even if you don't end up putting it out?
MR: For sure. The entire Noise Records catalog for one. Great King Rat’s debut album of which I handed their guitarist Pontus a remastered copy of the album and my business card at this year’s Prog Power and I have messaged him and got no reply. But that GKR needs to come back out. It was only released in Japan and Sweden originally.
MC: Who is your favorite band and why?
MR: Journey is my favorite band. I think it’s because despite being labeled corporate, faceless rock in the 70’s they are definitely a band that had its own sound. Each member in that band was exceptional at their instrument and it showed in their playing even the most simplistic radio rock. I mean listen to the drums on “Don’t Stop Believin’” and tell me if that is a traditional drum pattern for a pop song? They are great. (actually one of my top 3 fav bands as well-chris)
MC: What are some things you like to do when your not doing label related stuff?
MR: I like hunting for records and stuff like that. Music is such a big part of my life it’s hard to get away from it. But I like riding my bike (when it’s warm outside) and I want to become a better cook.
MC: What is your opinion on bootlegs?
MR: Honestly, I am all for them. They serve a purpose in today’s market since major labels have gobbled up so many smaller labels and basically hold their catalog hostage (Noise Records) and if it takes someone bootlegging the material to get it back in print and into fan’s hands then I am all for it. Once the main label does get it back in print bootlegging should then stop. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.
MC: When you put out a release how do you go about promoting it?
MR: Mailing list, message boards, etc. Since my releases are limited to 1,000 units and only on CD there is no advertising budget or anything like that. But the word of mouth spreads pretty quickly when we put something out fans have been waiting for, so it’s working fairly well so far.
MC: Is it just you running the label or do you have some help?
MR: I do the day to day stuff, but I have a designer and a distributor who help me out.
MC: How would somebody go about buying one of your releases?
They can buy it directly from us or also listed on the site are other vendors that carry our stuff. It’s also available on Amazon usually as well.
MC: What advice would you give to a band and to somebody who would want to start up a label?
MR: Don’t? Hahaha, no really it’s tough right now with the economy and the competition. People only have so much disposable income and it’s a tough fight out there now. But, my advice would be have some money, a great band, and be prepared to give up your spare time.
MC: Looking back was doing the label harder or easier than you thought and what things would you do different if you could?
MR: It was harder in the beginning, but once I got the foundation it got easier. I don’t think I would do anything differently because 11 years into it I am right where I want to be. Along the way I have had offers to join bigger companies and be part of their distribution arm but I opted against it. I prefer to keep it DIY and if I wanted to be bigger I would have done it long ago. So many of the labels I looked up to when starting this are gone because they took that leap and the major labels chewed them up and spit them out. I am fine right where I am.
MC: Do you have any goals for the label and what are some things we can expect from the label in 2011?
MR: The only goals I usually have are bands I REALLY want to work with, but I keep those pretty close to my chest. So far 2011 has reissues coming from Cyclone Temple, Anacrusis, Forte and Confessor. I am talking to several other bands and hopefully we will be able to work something out for 2011. If not, I am a patient guy and my desire to work with them won’t fade like in the case of Solitude and Dominance.
MC: Do you see a day coming when all music is just digital and no more CDS?
MR: No f*cking way. Sure, the big chains will stop carrying them but when you have the industry’s physical sales of like 300 million albums annually that is still a decent chunk of sales to just toss away just because people say “digital is the future.” As long as I have a label I will always do CDs since I refuse to put my stuff up for digital sale. I don’t purchase digital music online.
MC: Plug any website you have and any last words? Horns up for the interview.
MR: Thanks for the interview and my apologies for it taking so long to get it done. METAL FOREVER!