SL: Hi Steve,
welcome to “The Somber Lane” blog and thank you for giving us the possibility for this interview!
I know you’ll have a lot to tell us, but let’s start from the beginning. Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
STG: Hi Teo and many thanks for the interview.
I’m based in the UK and I’ve been involved in the Metal scene for about 20 years in many different areas.
I’ve been addicted to music for about the past 40 years (I’m 47 years young) ever since my uncle was a roadie for the big bands of the 70s and 80s.
So I’ve had a tape distro and small label in the 90s. I ran a reasonably big webzine for about 10 years called Live 4 Metal and after a 2 year break, I’m back for more punishment with a small label and very soon, my own printed magazine called Metal Legions.
Everything I do fuels my passion for discovering new bands.
SL: Let me say that you’re very brave to start a printed magazine and not another digital ‘zine.
In these day and age when everyone and everything has to be online, how did you get this idea of a magazine of true ink and paper?
STG: I’m not sure. I think I started playing cds again after spending a couple of years listening to everything via my computer and via Spotify.
So hearing the music sound completely different (and much better) I was trying to think of a way of combining my writing and love of discovering new bands, and also to make a physical product worth buying.
Because I think that’s the hardest thing to do these days, make people pay for music. They are happy to spend their money on a coffee or a beer, but not on cds etc…So once I priced up the cost of making a magazine with a free cd, I just decided to go for it. So I’m either brave or stupid, or a bit of both.
SL: You mentioned your small label before, tell us something more about it?
Do you have any bands signed with you?
How the label’s going so far?
STG: I started Sixsixsix Music in April and I focus on new bands.
So I spend a lot of my day looking for quality unsigned bands
I’ve been very lucky so far with the bands I’ve found as they’ve all been helpful with some form of self promotion and have all been really good to work with.
I currently have on my roster 2 UK Black Metal bands Skiddaw and Baalberith and an Italian Dark Ambient project called HaatE. I released 4 non profit single, being sold for just £1 + postage, to help promote 4 unsigned bands from the UK, USA and from India.
And I’ve just started doing some releases in dvd cases and making everything myself. I’ve just released 3 of those in the past week or so. Just to try something different.
I’m also releasing the debut album from Swedish Melodic Death band Unfolded early next year.
Digital wise, I’ve done a few compilations, plus I have a split digital release from 2 Italian projects, HaatE and Chiral (I think you know the last one quite well).
I’ve also released a Meads of Asphodel compilation and I handled the digital release of the new Wolves Of Avalon album.
So I’ve crammed quite a bit in to the past 7 months. And the label is going ok, but there’s been a few ups and downs along the way.
I wasn’t expecting all of my releases to be ripped from Bandcamp by the Russian sites and then to be given away for free. Bandcamp in general has been very poor for sales. But my digital sales from iTunes and Amazon etc… have been ok.
Cd sales are crawling along, with small flurries of activity.
SL: Yes, I think I know Chiral quite well!
By the way, since you’ve introduced the topic, what do you think about the new music business?
Do you think it’s easier for bands, musicians and labels to stand out in these days?
STG: Wow, thanks for the difficult question 🙂
The music industry is going through a massive change right now. Big labels aren’t selling the numbers they once were, but they can afford to pay for advertising, which buys them coverage in the important magazines.
For everyone else, I think it’s just down to luck if enough people hear your music.
I’m starting to do this myself, but the way I see things going is that about 5 or 6 labels will release the same album in different territories as international postage has got very expensive. I’m speaking to a guy in the US and I’m hoping he picks up on a couple of my releases for the US market.
I’d like to do the same with mainland Europe, South America and Asia too.
SL: Do you play any instrument? Are you involved in any musical project?
STG: No. I had a bass when I was a kid, but I was kind of useless at playing it
So I’ve never been in a band.
SL: Tell us your musical preferences, your favorites artists/bands?
STG: I listen to many styles of music from Traditional Metal, Extreme Metal and Punk, through to Classical, Opera, a bit of Folk, I’m just discovering Alt-Country, EBM, and even a bit of Reggae.
Favourites range from Maiden, Saxon, Scorpions to Pink Floyd, Neil Young, Blackberry Smoke and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Dio is my favourite singer ever.
On the extreme scene, Amon Amarth, Amorphis, old Paradise Lost, to early creators such as King Diamond, Slayer and Accept etc…
I also listen to Kraftwerk, Pop Will Eat Itself and The Specials. So a complete mixed bag
SL: And besides music, do you have any other hobby or interest in your life?
STG: Besides my family, including my 2 cats, I’m crazy about computer games.
I enjoy sport, especially American Football and also I go to the gym
whenever I can. That’s been a real fun addiction.
My other hobbies are just the normal ones like photography and drinking
SL: Well Steve, unfortunately the interview is finished. But if you have any final thoughts or anything you would say to our readers, well this is the right place and time to do that.
Thank you very much for your time, it’s been a pleasure to have you in our little somber blog!
STG: Thank you Teo. I’d just like to say, please check out some of my bands via the Sixsixsix Music website.
This link takes you to a track from each release http://www.sixsixsixmusic.com/releases/
Watch out for Metal Legions, my new print magazine that’s coming soon