A very nice interview with Blackfish founder Ian Glasper done in april 2003.
Why did you start a label?
-I was just fed up of seeing all these great bands who were playing with us (ie. Stampin’ Ground) who didn’t have anyone to put their CDs out. To be honest, I never expected to ever do more than that first MCD by Unite, but that sold well enough to let me do the next one… and so on. I just wanted to put something back into the scene, I suppose, after taking so much pleasure from it all these years.
-Usually I only sell between 1000 and 1500 of each release, so it’s fairly underground, to say the least. My best-selling release is probably the Knuckledust/Stampin’ Ground split – I think I did 2000 of that, and I could have done more, but we decided not to repress it again because the K’dust guys weren’t very pleased with the recording/production of their songs on the split.
-Probably my most recent one, the thrash metal tribute. It was a lot of hard work, but it turned out great, in the end. Also it was an honour to have one of my covers graced by an Ed Repka illustration! Having said that, the debut album by Knuckledust remains one the hardest, most intense hardcore records ever, and it’s great to have been a part of releasing such an important CD for the scene.
-Most bands love to be a part of such a project, and it’s always a lot of fun for everyone involved. I think my favourite one was the Subhumans one, because they have always been one of my favourite bands for so many years, and the guys in the band were so cool to work with. Having said that, the Conflict tribute turned out great as well, and I’ve been into that band for a long time too! I keep thinking about maybe doing a Rudimentary Peni tribute… but I would only want to do that if Nick Blinko [the R. Peni guitarist/vocalist/artist] was doing the artwork, and that’s not very likely, so don’t hold your breath, haha!
-The worst part is never having enough time and money to do all the things you would like to do with the label. The best part is meeting some cool bands and releasing some great music! If anyone is thinking of doing their own label, find someone you know who has their own label, and pump them for good advice and reliable contacts, and then just make sure you find a band to release who is going to do LOTS and LOTS of shows!
How many demos do you get every day and what do you do with them, any plans on a demo compilation or something like that?
-I get 10 or 20 demos a week, I guess. I listen to them all, but don’t have anywhere near enough money to be able to think about releasing as many of them as I’d like to. The closest thing I’ve done to a demo compilation was the UKHC compilation I did, which had quite a few unsigned bands on it – but there were also some ‘bigger’ names on there, too – to help it sell.
-I don’t know… maybe Dischord or Alternative Tentacles? I think that both of those labels have a great deal of credibility and integrity.
-Once upon a time, I would have said Victory, because there was a while back there that I loved almost everything they released. Likewise with Revelation – I loved most of the stuff they released in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, but more recently, I haven’t been so keen on all of their stuff. They still do some killer stuff, but they also put stuff out that doesn’t hit the spot for me. But that’s just natural – you can’t expect any one label to exactly mirror your own tastes!
Why did you take the name Blackfish on the label?
-The Blackfish is the killer whale, as named by the Canadian Indians of Vancouver Island. I went whale watching there 5 or 6 years ago, and it was a profound experience for me. My catalogue numbers all start with the word ‘Orca’… again, another name for the killer whale.
-I’ve never worked for Kerrang. But I’ve been writing for Terrorizer for over ten years now… and I still write for them, every issue without fail. I also write for Record Collector magazine here in the UK as well.
You have really low prices, how can you hold them so low?
-It’s harder and harder, with every release, as manufacturing, advertising and distribution costs go up, but I will always try and keep my prices affordable. I come from the punk rock background, and Blackfish is meant to be an alternative to big, corporate labels. That’s why I don’t use contracts with any of the bands I work with too.
-Punk is more than music; it’s an attitude, a whole way of life. It’s all about living your life by your own rules wherever and whenever you can.
-A few, but their names elude me right now…!
Is there any Swedish bands you like at the moment?
-I like a lot of melodic hardcore, as well as a lot of crusty grinding punk, and lots of thrash/death metal… and as we all know, Sweden has plenty of great bands who fit these categories! 2 of my favourite bands right now are The Haunted and Arch Enemy – both Swedish. I have always loved thrash metal, and those 2 bands are 2 of the best modern thrash bands out there today.
Do you have any dream band that you want to do a full-length record with?
-I’d love to release an album by Demonspeed or DI, 2 of my favourite bands of all time… but I don’t have either the money or the profile to make my label attractive to bands such as those. Actually, Demonspeed may have even split up now anyway…?
-Yes! Send More Paramedics, Cry For Silence, Decimate, Co-Exist, Madman Is Absolute, Divide, Incoherence, Knuckledust, Deadline… the list is endless!
-The general mood here right now is nervous! Yes, we’re afraid of war, but surely every sensible human being is…?
What do you think when I say George Bush, Tony Blair, Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden?
-They are all terrorists.
-They don’t have to, but most of the music that I listen to has some sort of social/political message. It seems a terrible waste to have an audience willing to hear your words – and than have nothing constructive or important to say!
-Music changed my own life. Without punk rock, I would have been a far weaker, less imaginative individual – it gave me confidence in myself, it gave me a challenging mindset that constantly questions what many others would blindly accept… it made me question my diet, my beliefs, my surroundings… it has had a very positive impact upon my life, and consequently upon the people around me, not least of all my wife and daughter.
-My 5 favourite albums:
Dead Kennedys ‘Plastic Surgery Disasters’
Discharge ‘Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing’
Slayer ‘Reign In Blood’
Subhumans ‘The Day The Country Died’
DI ‘Horse Bites, Dog Cries’
Top 5 Blackfish CDs:
Thrash Or Be Thrashed tribute CD
Knuckledust ‘Time Won’t Heal This’ CD
Instigators ‘Dine upon The Dead’ CD
Underule ‘Misfortune Comes By Means of the Mouth’ CD
Decimate ‘In The Name of A God’ MCD
Top 5 shows I’ve attended:
Crass – last ever show, Wales, 1984
Metallica/Anthrax – Birmingham, 1986
Earth Crisis/Snapcase/Refused – Leipzig, Germany, 1992
Youth of Today – Van Hall, Amsterdam 1989
The Damned – Malvern Winter Gardens, 1982
Top 5 things in my life:
My daughter and wife
My parents and brother
Hardcore, punk and metal music
Good vegetarian food!
-Oh shit, I can’t remember. I think the first one was an early single by Adam and The Ants… the last one was an old Stiff Little Fingers album I wanted on CD… and probably the most expensive one was The Misfits or Samhain boxsets…?
-Time is my greatest enemy, haha! I don’t get to sleep very much, to be honest. Stampin’ Ground are always very busy – we just got home from a 4-date tour of Greece which was really cool. There’s a LOT of touring planned for later this year when the new album comes out…
-I just want to be the best father that I can, to be honest. Everything else takes second precedent to that one overwhelming desire. I want to do right by my daughter. The band have just finished recording the best album we’ve ever done, so we’re all very excited about that, and I’m just starting to compile the second volume of my thrash tribute compilation CD, so as usual it’s very busy!!
-Just one word? THINK
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