Questions asked by Jon Wilde, added to Rock Realms 9th September 2010.
Metal label Basick Records is celebrating its 5th birthday. We caught up with main man Nathan ‘Barley’ Philips to find out more.
Hi Nathan, thanks for taking a moment to answer these questions. Hope you are well?
Nathan: No problem dude, thanks for asking :)
How did you get into music in the first place – were you a performer, a fan or both?
Nathan: A bit of both really, I got into guitar music at the age of 10 when I first heard my Dad’s old Led Zeppelin and Kiss records. Then he showed me a few riffs on the guitar and I was hooked. I became a music junkie from a very young age, I just couldn’t get enough. Whether it was writing my own songs and playing guitar in a band, or saving up all my pocket money for vinyl records to hear the songs of others, it didn’t matter, I just needed music!
You and your half brother Jake started the ‘Basick Records’ label in a bedroom... Did you quickly find yourselves taking over the house, or is a record company a compact business?
Nathan: Yeah, it was great when we first started out. We were running stuff out of the spare bedroom, just a clapped out computer and our ideas. We bought ourselves a half decent printer, some CD and card stock and made absolutely everything ourselves. We would quite often do massive print runs and take over the dining room table (which is in the centre of the house) and would sit there cutting up sleeves with the guillotine for hours on end. Then we’d have to leave everything there to dry off for a couple of days, which is when our parents got pretty mad! They still have a few boxes of one of our early releases in their loft :)
What was it like when you started: hard work, fun, or a combination thereof?
Nathan: It was hard work getting everything off the ground, that’s for sure – but it was great fun also. We started with absolutely nothing, just a simple plan and shitload of tenacity. I think if it hadn’t had been as much fun, we would have quit pretty early on. Sometimes I wish things were as simple and as easy as things were back then!
How did the company change when Jake left?
Nathan: It was a real shame actually. I think mainly because he didn’t quit as such, but rather his involvement fizzled out over time as he became consumed with other things, like his band and chicks etc! It’s all totally cool though. He wishes he had more time to dedicate to the label, but I know his heart isn’t in it as much as mine is. He still gets involved with events and promo occasionally though. The door is always open.
What genres does Basick Records cover? Is that set in stone or would you be flexible to other styles if they sounded ‘right’?
Nathan: As you’ve probably noticed, we deal mainly with the cutting edge of Metal. That said though, we generally just look for guitar based musicians who are really pushing the boundaries of their genre and peers. I think our end of Metal tends to attract those willing to push things, so that’s why we end up working with who we do. It’s a kind of magnetism I suppose.
What are your favourite music genres personally? Are you into the same music that Basick Records covers, or do you have a few secret musical passions?
Nathan: Of course I’m into everything that Basick puts out, but that’s not all I get listening pleasure from. I listen to a lot of electronic music, acoustic music, old music, anything really! General rule of thumb for me is, if it’s creative and interesting lyrically and musically, there’s a good chance I'll like it. Running this label is a bit like making a Metal mixtape for the biggest group of friends you could imagine. You’re basically saying to your best mate (and thousands of others), “Oh I just found this great new band! They’re amazing, you’d love them, you have to check them out!”
What is a typical work day like for you?
Nathan: It involves listening to a lot of music mainly! But yeah, firstly I'll work on my to do list for a half hour and then answer as many emails as I can manage. Then it’s into the grind of the day ahead.
Are there any big releases in the pipeline you can talk about?
Nathan: We’ve got one or two new bands / releases that we’re looking at, but nothing I can mention here and now I’m afraid. Do look out for big new albums from MONUMENTS, VISIONS and NO MADE SENSE though, all those albums sounds killer already!
Which release has been most successful so far?
Nathan: Well I suppose it depends on what your definition of success is. If you’re talking about pure sales, both the BURY TOMORROW and FELLSILENT albums did quite well. But then we got some absolutely outstanding critical acclaim for the last NO MADE SENSE record, which along with the new ION DISSONANCE record was easily our most successful release in terms of industry accolades.
How are your bands doing in general? Are you achieving good sales?
Nathan: Yeah we’re doing great. We could always be doing better, but that’s all covered in the next 5 year plan we just drew up ;)
Have any of your acts got big tours coming up?
Nathan: Yeah we’ve got ION DISSONANCE heading out across Europe with CEPHALIC CARNAGE all this month and some of October, plus we’ve got MONUMENTS out on tour with WINDS OF PLAGUE too in November.
What is the best way for a new band to get your attention if they want to get signed to Basick Records?
Nathan: Best thing they can do is to keep working hard, introduce themselves via our Sound Cloud or via a show and slowly build up a rapport with us. Bottom line is though, there’s nothing that will get a label’s attention more than a band working their arse off who are making waves for all the right reasons.
Do you go out actively looking for new bands – e.g. looking through MySpace etc.?
Nathan: Yeah totally. Facebook and Sound Cloud now too. We also have a few close people who we trust with A&R tips too. We’re always searching for great musicians to work with.
Where do you see both you and Basick Records in 5 or 10 years time? World domination?
Nathan: For our genre, yeah. We spent the last 5 years slowly building a great reputation in the UK and Europe for forward thinking Metal. We now intend to take that across to North America, Australasia and beyond. Other great labels like Relapse, Prosthetic and Century Media have built their name over time in the exact same way and we intend to be up there with them very soon :)
What advice would you give someone if they wanted to start their own record label?
Nathan: Don’t do it! No seriously, if you want to start a label, just make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. You essentially need 2 things: Passion and Money. Without either of those, you’re fucked. It can be a tough old slog in the first few years, for very little or no reward. You need to accept that and not get too hung up about it. If you’ve got the grit and determination to see it through, you’ll come good in the end!
Any question you love being asked that I’ve missed? If so, what’s the answer?
Nathan: Colonel Mustard in the drawing room with the candlestick.
What are you up to once you’ve finished answering these questions?
Nathan: I’m going to have a cup of coffee. It’s 10pm and I’ve still got work to do!
Thanks for your time!
Nathan: Thank you for yours Jon, it’s been a pleasure :)
Thanks again to Nathan for his time. Make sure you check out the Basick Records website for up to date info. See that and their roster of bands below:
A DARK ORBIT - http://www.myspace.com/adarkorbit
BETWEEN THE SCREAMS - http://www.myspace.com/betweenthescreams
BURY TOMORROW - http://www.myspace.com/burytomorrowband
CHIMP SPANNER - http://www.myspace.com/chimpspanner
FELLSILENT - http://www.myspace.com/fellsilent
ION DISSONANCE - http://www.myspace.com/iondissonance
MONUMENTS - http://www.myspace.com/thisismonuments
MY MINDS WEAPON - http://www.myspace.com/mymindsweapon
NO CONSEQUENCE - http://www.myspace.com/noconsequence
NO MADE SENSE - http://www.myspace.com/nomadesense
THE ARUSHA ACCORD - http://www.myspace.com/thearushaaccorduk
VISIONS - http://www.myspace.com/visionsuk