Exclusive Interviews Only Found Here at MetalCore!
I have known Jill forever it seems and I lost touch with her, but recently
connected back with her and I thought it was time for a new interview. So take
it away Jill:
MC: What have you been up to the last few years? Are you still doing the label with Billy?
JG: Hi Chris! Let me just say it's an honor for me to be interviewed for Metal
Core again. The "Chris's Angels" issue is still quite legendary from
what I hear. Nothing much has changed in the last few years, except I've "grown
up" obviously. I'm still doing the label with Billy. We've had our good
years and bad years, and the music business on the whole is in a downward spiral.
But this year has been a good one for us so far (knock on wood). We've still
got six months to go so we'll see.
MC: The scene has changed much with the internet, MySpace, etc. How have you used this new technology to help the label?
The new technology has really been the key to any success we've had. In the
old days when everything was done by mail it took forever just to get an order.
I mean, first you'd have xerox thousands of ads and then spend half your life
cutting them out. Then you had to start stuffing them into envelopes by the
hundreds and sit back and wait.. and wait.. and wait.. and out of all those
hundreds of ads you probably only got a handful of responses, most of which
were zines asking for promo copies rather than people actually buying the stuff
you were trying to sell. And 90% of the ads you sent out probably ended up in
the garbage or under someone's bed because I doubt anyone was as dilligent about
sending out ads as we all swore to be. I know I sure wasn't, haha! And then
there was the business of the distro list. You'd xerox tons of those too, and
they got out of date so fast. So by the time someone actually wrote in for one
there was bound to be something out of stock. You'd wait forever for the person
to write back and send the money, and wouldn't you know they'd pick the sold
out item. Kind of ironic that you'd work so hard for handful of orders and all
of them were for the same thing, which you had exactly 3 copies of. So then
you'd have to write back and give them the credit.. and they'd reply and pick
something else, and blah blah blah. So basically the internet saved months and
months of trouble. Instead of you having to go out and find people with those
damn ads, people just come to you, browse your website, and order right online.
If something is out of stock, you can just email them and tell them, and the
whole thing can be finished in minutes instead of weeks. And myspace is basically
the only way to advertise yourself these days. It's great for making friends
and hearing new bands too. I'm all for it.
MC: Do you still live in NY and do you plan on staying there the rest of your life? How did you come up with name for the label?
JG: I still live in New York. Up until recently I thought there was a chance I might get out of here but now it looks like I'm stuck here. I guess I'll be in New York forever. The label name kind of found us. We tried out hundreds of names and nothing seemed to fit, but we kept coming back to the name "Razorback". And the word kept appearing everywhere, on the sides of boxes, in the newspaper. It was kind of like fate. And we wanted some kind of horror-related theme, and the movie Razorback just seemed perfect.
MC: How do you go about signing a band? Have you had many bands over the years go and sign with bigger labels and stuff?
JG: We basically just find a band we like and ask them to do a CD with us. We're honest with them and tell them everything we can and can't give them. It's up to them to decide if they're happy with the deal we offer. We don't make any promises that we'll have to break later. We're a small label and can't give much, but we do give everything that we can. Since we don't actively "sign" bands, they're technically free to do a release with any label that they want. So basically when we stop we stop. Some bands we have worked with have gone on to other labels, for example The County Medical Examiners is now on Relapse.
MC: Do you have any plans on getting married soon or in the future?
JG: I always thought I would get married but I guess that's not going to happen. Then again you never know. Congratulations on your marriage, by the way!
MC: So far have you met all the goals that you have set with doing the label and when you 1st started it do you think you would be still doing it today?
JG: The answer to this is kind of yes and no. We haven't met all of our goals and yet we have been more successful then we thought we would. That sounds like an oxymoron but it's true. We were just kids when we started the label and now it's nearly 10 years later. As kids you don't tend to see 10 years into the future. But I would say in terms of our catalog of releases and our amazing fans, we have far surpassed our goals. We never dreamed we would be able to accomplish that much. On the other hand, business-wise, we still have so much more untapped potential. There's so much room for improvement there. If we can learn how to improve and always keep evolving, I definitely can see us doing this far into the future. Maybe I couldn't see it when I was just a young kid starting out, but I can certainly envision it now.
MC: Do you still talk to you other 2 fellow angels much, Jenn and Dea?
JG: Not much, I keep in touch with them on Myspace. Dea is married and has three beautiful kids now named Irish, Rayne and Devlin. Rayne and Devlin are twins! And Dea is looking great too. Jen is also beautiful as ever and her Jen's Metal Page website seems pretty successful. Dea had started up a new webzine called Tattered Soul, she interviewed me for it awhile ago which was also a great thrill.
MC: I know you told me you went to Malaysia of all places. Why did you end up going there for and have you been to any other countries? Do you still get people talking about Metal Core # 27?
JG: I really love Malaysia. The people, the food, all the beautiful places. I haven't really been to any other countries for real vacations. I've had a couple of long layovers in Thailand and South Korea where I had so long to wait that I did a little sightseeing. Yep, I have a friend in Malaysia who actually has the infamous issue of Metal Core. He remembered a lot about that interview especially that I didn't shut up about Nintendo 64 and the Legend of Zelda, haha! I thought it was so cool that someone from the other side of the world had that issue.
MC: Do you make much money from the label that you don't have to work a regular job? Are you at the point where you can give bands some money to go in the studio?
JG: In good years, yes. In bad years, no. Since the industry is on a downslide who knows what will happen. I see other labels collapsing at a really frightening pace. Most of our bands have had their own studio access, so aside from a little help here and there, most of them have been able to record great sounding albums without costing an arm and a leg. We also give bands a rather large percentage of their CDs which can offset any expenses they might have, something that a lot of other labels don't do.
MC: How does the process go about signing a band? How do you decide on how many copies of a release to print up? Are any of your titles sold out? Do you re press your stuff and where do you go and get your stuff printed up?
JG: There's no real signing process. We just offer them a deal and if they like it, they agree. If they don't like the deal, no hard feelings. We offer every band the same deal, and it's a pretty fair one in my opinion. Most of the bands we have asked have agreed. We start off with the standard one or two thousand copies. A great deal of our releases are sold out now. A few of them have been repressed by other labels. Our best ones are being reprinted whenever we can. If we tried to repress every single thing at once we'd be in big trouble. So we try to do it methodically and get a repress in here and there when we have a little extra money. Since extra money is rare these days, the represses are coming slowly, haha! We get our stuff printed by Furnace Manufacturing (_www.furnacemfg.com_ (http://www.furnacemfg.com/) ). They are amazing. Everything is done over the internet, from uploading the graphic design layouts straight through approving them. The only thing you have to send in by mail is a hard copy of the disc. They are fast, efficient.. if there's any problem, they take care of it immediately. And their prices are great. I can remember the days of having to go out to a studio for everything, having to make an appointment if there was even the slightest problem, and dealing with tons of headaches and rip-off prices.
MC: Do you still do a lot of trading? How long do you see the label going on for?
JG: Yes, we still operate mainly by trades. I still think it's the best way to run a label. If you want your label to be successful then you have got to have a distro. If you're just selling your own releases then you are not going to get a lot of return customers and fans. Our fans have been great and have really helped to keep this label alive through the bad years of the music business. I can definitely see the label continuing for a long time to come. I don't think we'll be doing it until retirement age, but it's got some life in it yet, haha!
MC: What do you think of My Space which has tons of bands and do you think there is too many bands that all sound alike and just want to sound like their favorite bands?
IJG: love myspace. I've made friends on there that will last me a lifetime. Really special people. The problem of too many bands who all sound the same has always been around, and always will be around. But the good thing about Myspace is, you can hear a hundred bands in a day, and maybe if 99 of them all sound the same, the 100th one will be the one that blows you away. The probability of actually FINDING the next great band is increased greatly because you might be just one click away from landing on their page at any time.
MC: Do you get to see many live shows and what has been your favorite show you have seen?
JG: I generally don't go to shows as I just can't stand being around large crowds of people. Large crowds of drunk people pushing and shoving and expecting you to be a coat rack that is. Not to mention the smoke burning your eyes. Ugh. It's such an unpleasant experience I can't see doing it on a regular basis anymore. I'm not a kid anymore, I don't need to go out and have a miserable time at a show just to prove I'm part of the "scene", haha.
MC: Who is your favorite band and why?
JG: Well that's always changing and depends on what genre you're talking about.
In terms of strictly Razorback related bands I'd say my current favorites are
Fondlecorpse, F.K.U., Impetigo, Blood Freak, Frightmare, Birdflesh and Machetazo.
Another band I really like these days is Insect Warfare.
MC: If you could sign any 5 bands who would they be and why?
JG: This is so hard. Do you want to know 5 realistic bands or 5 dream bands? Since there are too many realistic bands I'd be interested in I guess I'll just go for the "dream" bands. And that would be Impetigo, Carcass, Terrorizer.. err this is hard. I don't know Chris! I just don't know! hahaha!
MC: With the postage rates going up all the time, how do you manage to keep your CD prices so low?
JG: The postage rates are killing us, especially with the new higher rates. But how would our fans and customers feel if we suddenly started raising prices? I can't see how we can do that and still keep people wanting to come back to our website. So if it makes them happy and keeps support of Razorback alive, we definitely want to keep our prices low. Hopefully we can make it up in the long term.
MC: How do you promote your releases? Do you send promos out to zines and radio stations?
JG: We send out promos here and there but it's not really as important now as it was in the old days. Releases get promoted just by word of mouth, myspace, eBay, mailing lists, search engines.. basically anything internet related that can help you promote the label, we try to do.
MC: Do you miss writing letters and sticking flyers in each letter?
JG: I do not miss it at all, haha! It's such a relief to be able to say that. In the old days if someone said that they would have been blacklisted from the scene. What a bunch of liars we all were. I have to give credit to the people who really did spend all their time sorting out the thousands of ads they got in each letter and sending them to other people. I guess the letter writing thing was kind of nice though. It was so great to open your mailbox and get a ton of envelopes. That's a feeling that can't be recreated on the internet. And I really enjoyed writing to you Chris, we had a lot of deep conversations about life back in the day didn't we? I enjoyed writing to Dea and many others too. Well at least we still have email for that.
MC: Do you get many band sending you stuff to possibly get signed and do you sit down and listen to every band and send them back an email telling them your interested or not interested?
JG: We get a lot of bands asking to be signed and sending stuff. We do listen to everything we get sent but we don't always reply. I know that's bad. If we don't reply it doesn't mean we didn't like the material, it's just that we don't always have the time to respond due to getting so many demos. Plus it's kind of hard to tell a band you're not interested. I mean, even if we like the music that doesn't mean we want to release it. I guess whether you answer or not it's going to promote hard feelings and that's really not cool.
MC: Have you had many problem with rip offs and where do you get most of your orders from?
JG: We haven't had too many problems with rip offs. In the beginning we got a couple of fraudulent credit card orders and lost some money and merchandise but since then we've learned the ropes and we know how to spot frauds pretty much right away. Plus we've got a good security system on our site that catches frauds before the order can go through. Most of our orders are from the USA but we also get a lot of orders from other countries, Canada and the UK especially.
MC: What sort of music to you mostly listen to and what are some things you like to do when not doing label stuff?
JG: I've actually been burnt out on music for awhile, just listening to my old collection and Razorback stuff, ocassionally buying CDs from new bands that I've heard on Myspace, and sampling stuff that looks cool from our distro. When I'm not doing label stuff I'm usually reading or watching some kind of movie, not always horror and kung fu. I like a lot of "normal" movies too. And I'm pretty addicted to myspace, hehe.
MC: I know you have a website, what is the url and what will people see when they log on?
JG: The url is razorbackrecords.com, we have all our latest news there, our online catalog, sound samples or links to sound samples, and band info pages. It's a good source for people who want to learn about Razorback and I think we have a really good mail order service.
MC: I know for while you were a very unknown and mysterious person are you still like that or no and did my Metal Core cover pretty much look like you he he?
JG: I guess I'm still unknown and mysterious, haha! The good news is, I look a lot closer to the Metal Core cover now than I did back then. I've lost a lot of weight and had some surgery of the plastique kind, lol. But I would still kill to have the body that was on that cover. Thank you Chris, for giving me that body! haha!
MC: Are you still a big Jet Li fan? See I remember he he.
JG: Wow you do remember! I am impressed! I'm still a fan of his old movies. I don't know what the hell happened when he came to America though. Danny the Dog? WTF? haha! I still love old Shaw Brothers and Golden Harvest kung fu movies though.
MC: What are your future plans for the label and what goals to you want to achieve?
JG: I guess I just want to keep going the way we're going and hopefully be able to last. I wish we won't have to worry about the industry being in a downslide or worry about money. That will pretty much be enough for me, for now, hehe.
MC: What do you think of sites like Ebay and do you surf the net at all?
JG: I like eBay but I usually just use the "buy it now" feature on there. I really don't like the torture of bidding. If I want something, I want it NOW, not in 7 days at a higher price, haha. I use amazon z-shops a lot too. I do surf the net but usually I just end up on myspace. I guess it's the only site worth going too. oops, besides MY site, hahaha!
MC: Jill thanks for all your support and many long letters I know I spent hours at my old job typing you up letters as well. Any last words. Horns up for the interview.
JG: Thank you so much Chris! And I am soooo sorry it took so long to finish this. I started out wanting to make it a monster-long interview like we did in the old days. I guess that's not plausible on the internet but I still tried, hahaha. Seriously though, thank you so much. I have to say again what an honor it is that you'd even consider me for another interview in Metal Core. You know, if you could call this thing of mine a "career", I guess I'd have to say that it all started when I was first interviewed in Metal Core, because that's when everyone started to know who I was and pay attention to me. So you sort of made my "career" Chris. I remember Tom Pioli calling me and saying (jokingly) that I'd hit the big time because I was in Metal Core, haha! And I know he meant that as a compliment too. So I'm really happy and shocked that I'm going to be in it again. And Chris, my God, there's no question now that this is the longest running zine EVER. How do you manage it with a busy life and marriage? Yesss, I remember all your long letters and all the memories we had in them. I'm really glad we're back in contact again and I hope we stay that way. Thanks again Chris! :)
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