Exclusive Interviews Only Found Here at MetalCore!
Inferno Records is a killer record label that had been releasing some awesome music the past few years and I sent main man Fab some questions via email and below are his answers. Support this man and his killer record label.
MC: Tell me about your childhood and where were you born. etc.
FAB: Hello - well... born in a middle-class family in 1969 - some says it's the best year, so I'm lucky hehe... I think my childhood had nothing particular or extraordinary, my parents treated & educated me well... can't say I was unhappy when I was a child. I think I was a child like many others, although I was a shy and introverted child.
MC: Were you into music at a young age or did that come along later in life ?
FAB: Can't say I was into music at a young age, however some "rock" stuff were really attractive to me when I was a child... but nothing more, I had other passions like my toys & football (soccer) haha !
MC: When did you first discover metal music? What was the first release you brought and did it make you crave more?
FAB: Even if I was introduced to Heavy-Metal with KISS and their disco-hit "I Was Made For Loving You", I consider I definitely got introduced to real Heavy-Metal back in 1982 with IRON MAIDEN's "The Number Of The Beast" album - this was a terrible shock to me ! From the impressive artwork to the songs... I was blown away & this really changed my view on music, Metal was not just "music" but a way of life ! Sure it made me crave for more - right after I wanted to buy the previous IRON MAIDEN albums but also I discovered tons of other HARD ROCK/HEAVY METAL bands like TRUST, AC/DC, SAXON, ROCK GODDESS, MOTORHEAD, VENOM ! From this day of 1982, everything changed !
MC: What was the 1st metal concert that you saw?
FAB: If I remember well, that was in 1988, the French "Monsters Of Rock" edition with HELLOWEEN, ANTHRAX, TRUST and IRON MAIDEN ... that was the first time I attend to a BIG metal concert... There were something like 16000 fans there, that was impressive! Before that, I used to go to other concerts, but smaller & local ones with no interesting bands at all. That was also frustrating to me to wait for 1988 for the first BIG metal concert, because so far, I had no driving license, no car, not a lot of money and no "metal" friends to drive me there... I missed so many killer bands...
MC: What were some of the early bands that you became a big fan of?
FAB: Well, the ones mentioned before: SAXON, ROCK GODDESS, MOTORHEAD, VENOM, IRON MAIDEN, DEF LEPPARD, BLACK SABBATH, AC/DC back in 1982.... I still love those bands & they're still very important to me...except maybe DEF LEPPARD... I lose interest after "Pyromania"...
MC: How did you get the idea to start a record label and did you work for any other labels before starting Inferno Records?
FAB: Well, I guess that was a natural evolution... I started being involved in the scene back in 1988 with a fanzine called INITIUM, which stopped in 1996... I was also running a small distribution label - first under the name INITIUM - and made some compilations cassettes to support the underground bands I loved! Then, after I stopped INITIUM, I did another distribution label but that was definitely not professional, more like a hobby ...and that was no fun at all finally... But I have always had in mind the idea for a production label and it's only in 2007 that I started it very seriously. This is the first real label I work for & in. All other things done before were definitely not to be taken for serious.
MC: Looking back was starting a label or easier than you thought it would be and why?
FAB: Not really... I think that as long as you're very serious, organized & know what you want, it is not "so" difficult - depends on the ambitions of course... At last, that's how I see the situation so far, maybe later, this will get harder ...sure, you can get stressed on some situation, 'cos you learn everyday ...there's no "school" for that I guess...but in general, so far, things are OK with us and the label.
MC: How did you come up with the name and were any other names considered?
FAB: No there were no other names considered for that label. I wanted a name that was definitely rooted in the old-school Metal spirit...and this actually comes from a "comic" one could find in the first French Heavy Metal Magazine ever called ENFER MAG... I was really impressed by this comic hehe... and I guess the name "INFERNO" was suitable for a label like mine. Also, it is great it is also a MOTORHEAD album name...and what an album !
MC: When you decided to start up your label did you have everything kind of mapped out so to speak in what you wanted to do and what was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
FAB: It was clear from the start it was destined to be a METAL label - for BeerDrinkers & HellRaisers ! Only old-school metal or with a huge old-school metal in it - no space for any "new" form of "metal" like goth, nu or metal-core... no way ! I was too bored (and still I am) of what METAL has become to start a label that would produce some more senseless shits ! Besides that idea, I wanted it well-organized & as serious as possible...but no real plans...so far, we face the events day by day, when a good band shows up and we have the money to produce it, that's all OK, we go for it... Biggest obstacle? Well, maybe all those administrative duties, pressing & duplication authorizations...but once one have understood how it works, this is OK... That was more a lack of experience than a lack of ability.
MC: What was your 1st release you put out and is still available and how happy were you holding the finished product in your hand?
FAB: Our first release was "Hell Only Knows" CD by Chilean Metal Heroes VASTATOR ! That was incredible for us to release this, that band got formed 25 years ago! Yes, it is still available, we sold a lot of this album but we still have some copies left! Needless to say we were really happy to see the batch of CDs delivered to our address, that was like "huh, this time, that's SERIOUS, yeah !"
MC: How many people work at your label and has it been tough at all keeping
the label together?
FAB: Well, the INFERNO team is: my wife Bˇa and me... We're still a small label, so I don't think we need more people in... We are organized enough to take care of everything, from the mails, the orders, the promotion and so on... No, it has not been tough at all, we're serious enough, we know what we have to do & there's a good communication when it comes to small & big problems or ideas about the label...no, running the label with my wife is just GREAT!
MC: I know you must trade with other labels and stuff. Have you ever had a problem with rip offs at all?
FAB: So far... hum... no... but at the time of answering, I still wait for CDs from a Finnish label & a Mexican one... haha... maybe they're the first rip-offs I have to deal with - who knows ? But in general, I try to know a bit people I'm about to work with...either they're recommended from a friend or just their works & reputation say all...and I regularly visit www.metalripoff.info where you can find the latest supposed rip-offs on the planet - good tool !
MC: How do you go about signing the bands to your label? Do you get many CDS sent to you by bands and do you ever go on places like My Space and look for new bands?
FAB: Actually I don't get much CDs from bands...they usually contact me first, then I listen to their songs on Myspace or site, and if I need to listen to more songs with better sound, yes, I ask them to send me a CD... Myspace is definitely a good tool to discover new bands...that's how I discovered HELLHOUND, LEGIONS OF WAR, RAMPART and WITCHCURSE. AS for VASTATOR, they contacted us... HATESTORM, I knew them before for a long time... and V…RGUS also contacted us.
MC: When you go about signing a band, what do you actually look for? Is it the sound or the attitude of the band or is it just like if you like the band you sign them?
FAB: Well, it is essential that I've to like the music ALOT !!! I want it to be METAL, heavy & loud! The attitude is also very important - I can't see INFERNO signing a Metal band with metal-core or gothic attitudes... The music, no matter the style, Heavy, Speed, Thrash...has to be honest & sincere! We still need Denim & Leather, bullets & guts! The human factor is also very important...we don't need to work with arrogant & wanna-be rockstar people...the relations with the bands must be clear from day one, for that, communication is very important. There's no particular criterion, if the band feels good with us and if we feel good with them, that's OK!
MC: Do you manage to get a lot of your product in actual stores or does most of your business come from mail-order?
FAB: So far, all our business is made via mail-order...we have some CDs here & there in small local record dealers in France, but no big deal actually...but I think this is the next step we have to think about... Our aim is to bring our bands to as many people as possible, so this could be good.
MC: Do you plan on doing any re-releases of older bands in the future whether it be a long lost out of print release or putting an old bands demos/unreleased stuff on CD?
FAB: For the moment, we concentrate on active bands. Maybe later when we'll get rich & fat, we'll re-release long out of print release to make more money haha !!! No seriously, this could be something possible, having a collection of "re-releases" of cult underground bands would be definitely great...but that's not the next plan.
MC: When you sign a band, is it usually for an album or 2 or do you ever do long term deals?
FAB: So far, only one-record deal for all the bands. We want to let them free to decide if after one album they want to work with us again...or not. Also, for us, it is also easier this way for the moment. Step by step, day by day...it is OK.
MC: Has any band become a real pain in the ass after you signed them and in the end you feel it was not worth it and is there any band you regret not signing when you could have the chance?
FAB: So far, we have great relations with ALL our bands, which is just amazing! Like said before, we take the time to communicate to know them better...so we're glad of the situation, everything's cool between them and us - no bad feelings, no pain in the ass. Sure there're two or three bands I would have loved to see on INFERNO Records...for some reasons they went to other labels, that's their choice and I respect it - but I don't regret anything, I think there are always new & great bands to discover, and if it was not them, then we'll find new & better bands!
MC: Has any of your bands surprised you in like they sold way more records than you thought or has a band not sold as many records as you thought?
FAB: So far, the sales for all our bands are correct. But one thing that surprised me is about HATESTORM album...this album sells rather well & fast, while the reviews are mostly not positive about it, haha! Can't understand, but that's fine! VASTATOR sells very well in Europe, especially for a band from South America! European people are always a bit reluctant to buy CDs from bands when they're not from Europe or USA...and LEGiONS OF WAR is selling also very well, in spite this band comes from nowhere and people never heard of them before - but they're so great this is just a matter of time before they get more recognition! Maybe it is harder for us to sell the HELLHOUND album, but that's just because we've a European license and can't sell it in the whole world. We're limited about that... But I don't despair, I know sooner & later We'll get rid of them, this band is definitely KILLER!
MC: Do you give your bands money to record and do you have any say in their artwork at all?
FAB: Well, as said earlier, we're still a small underground label...no big money, so the bands take care of the recording & studio cost and we press the CDs & take care of all the promotion, according to our financial means. But the bands get a batch of free CDs that they can sell to get their money back. About the artwork...the bands take it in charge, we just warn them we won't press the CD if we judge it too offensive or stupid...understand, kinda racist/nazi or machist/sexist illustrations, we're no NSBM or grind/gore label ! Bands also have to understand a great artwork & killer logo is very important... If you had 10 dollars to spend and the choice between two CDs by bands you have never heard before, and one has a killer artwork, the other a crap & stupid oneÉwhat would be your choice, honey?
MC: Where do you see the underground metal scene headed and do you like holding
actual music in your hand as opposed to all this downloading that goes on nowadays?
FAB: I don't know where the general metal scene is heading nowadays...but if we don't wake up & don't come back to the roots, the real meaning of Heavy Metal, I think all those nu-metal/metal-core/emo & gothic craps will lead us to nothing good ! Those new "metal" bands are no metal to me, nothing but a way for the bigger labels to gain even more money, that's all...trends come & go, but never leave good things! True METAL is Freedom & Rebellion to me - and anti-conformism ! What I see now in the bigger metal magazines & from the bigger metal labels is exactly the contrary... All those new bands are sterile, they musically all sound the same and their honesty is as big as their mediocrity!
About downloading....shit! Once again, it is OK to discover one song, one band.... but if it is to get all the discography from all your favorite bands, then you're a loser! I'm still very attached to physical support... CD or vinyl...and I can't feel any pleasure listening to an album that I would have downloaded...nothing you can compare when you have the real shit in your hands! Oh well, the only thing I can think it is cool when it comes to MP3... you can bring TONS of music in your car and leave the original CDs in safety at home. Nothing else!
MC: What was the best show you ever saw live and do you get to see many live shows where you are based at?
FAB: Best show? Really difficult - Huh! I could say GBH back in 1989 in Paris...or KREATOR with RAVEN, still in Paris in 1998 or was it in 1989... of course each time I saw IRON MAIDEN, it was really SOMETHING! But I could also say HIRAX in 2007 when they came for the first time in France... That was a hell of a show, really intense & raging! Katon & the boys really kicked ass!!! Also SAXON in Paris... 2007 I think...it was awesome & perfect! And more recently BLAZE BAYLEY in France - a hell of a performance - really Heavy!
I indeed try to see as many shows as possible, but where I live I can't find many gigs...but it's no problem now that I've a car and my driving license - hehe, a revenge on the past haha! Each time there's a good show and each time I can attend it, make sure I'm ready to party!
MC: Give me the url to your label and what will people be able to do when the log on and if you have a My Space page give me the url to that as well.
FAB: The official site (with e-shop online now !) is : www.inferno-records.net and you can also see our MySpace page at: www.myspace.com/infernorecs - You'll get infos on our bands, our releases, samples of music & videos on MySpace and possibility to buy metal records (CDs, LPs, Eps, Magazines) through our mailorder shop on our website! We ship everywhere !
MC: How much bigger would you like to see the label get and what are some new releases we can expect to see for the rest of 2009 and beyond.
FAB: As said before.... day by day & step by step...for the moment, that's all fine with us! I can't really see how big we could be later... We have no big ambitions, we just want to keep on releasing GREAT metal records & supporting killer bands...music is our passion, we'll do our best for sure! We don't really think of becoming as big as labels as METAL BLADE, NUCLEAR BLAST and CENTURY MEDIA (Man, we would release nu-metal then haha !!!) - time will tell how big we'll grow, that's not the most important right now. Next releases are: V…RGUS from Sweden. The album "Hellfueled Satanic Action" will be out next month, expect dirty thrashing metal...like the bastard son of early Venom & Motorhead! In September, we'll release RAMPART from Bulgaria, this bands play excellent classic Heavy Metal in the veins of IRON MAIDEN, GRAVE DIGGER, RUNNING WILD...and end of the year, beginning of 2010... we haven't announced it yet, you're the first to know, the debut album by Greek WITCHCURSE, which play excellent old-school Heavy-Metal, heavily influenced by the NWOBHM and bands like ANGEL WITCH, very early IRON MAIDEN, WITCHFINDER GENERAL and so on!
MC: Any last words. Horns up forever for the interview.
FAB: Well, thank you very much Chris for giving me the opportunity to get some exposure in your zine! I have to say I feel a bit strange answering your questions, considering ALL the GREAT bands you've interviewed in the past, throughout all the years...now that's my turn and it's a real honour to be part of METALCORE ! Thanks for the GREAT support & nice interview, it was pleasure to answer your questions! To all US metal maniacs, our releases are available in the USA thru the following labels : Beowolf Prods - Dark Horizon Recs - Horror Pain Death Gore Prods - Ibex Moon Recs - Negative Existence Recs - Paragon Recs - Red Stream - Sentinel Steel Recs - Shadow Kingdom Recs - Stormspell Recs.
Thanks alot ! In Metal We Trust, In Hell We'll Burn !!!
- IN METAL WE TRUST \m/ IN HELL WE'LL BURN -
INFERNO Records - Metal For BeerDrinkers & HellRaisers !!!
E-Mail Adress : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website & Webshop : www.inferno-records.net
MySpace : www.myspace.com/infernorecs
MSN : email@example.com
Snail Mail : INFERNO Records - 10 rue Henri Breuil C124 - 60600 CLERMONT/OISE - France
Out now on INFERNO Records !
IR004CD - HELLHOUND (Japan) - "Metal Fire From Hell" CD - European Release - Pure 80's Heavy-Metal !
IR003CD - LEGIONS OF WAR (Sweden) - "Towards Death" CD - Blackened War Metal !
IR002CD - HATESTORM (Russia) "Filth Purity" CD - Dirty Satanic Black Metal !
IR001CD - VASTATOR (Chile) "Hell Only Knows" CD - European Release - Heavy Metal with Balls !
Coming soon :
IR007CD - WITCHCURSE (Greece) - TBA - CD - NWOBHM influenced Heavy Metal !
IR006CD - RAMPART (Bulgaria) - "Voice Of Wilderness" - CD - Classic Heavy Metal.
IR005CD - V…RGUS (Sweden) - "Hellfueled Satanic Action" CD - Dirty Thrashing & Rocking Metal !
Start NOW the ANTI RIP-OFF Campaign : www.metalripoff.info !!!