Metal War Productions
Bruno: I am not that familiar about Metal War Productions. Is this a new label, or? When did you first start with MWP? Did you really start as a label, or is it that you evolved as a label prior to making a zine before?
Spencer: Metal War Productions is a full force extreme metal label/distro. My partner and I both worked at another label before but were frustrated with the way they handled their business. Too much status-chasing and wanting to be "cool". A Metal label should be run by Metalheads, not people who just need a job somewhere!
We started in mid 2000, and since then unleashed 3 releases: Blood Storm "Ancient Wraith of Ku" CD, Lord Blasphemer "Tales of Misanthropy Bloodlust and Mass Homicide" digi-CD, and most recently Profanatica "Broken Jew" 7". All have gotten great reviews and have done well. Lord Blasphemer is doing well, we're getting more & more positive reactions to it as more people hear it. We're getting more pressings of Blood Storm soon and the Profanatica 7" is going very quickly! We released it a week ago and the response has been amazing.
Bruno: It's a fact now, saying: there are too many bands! But let's also say that there were also too many labels coming out. Would you consider anyone releasing CD-Rs, is a label? What and how would you define a true label - literally and "for the sake" of Metal?
Spencer: I agree that there are too many bands. But it's been that way since the early 90's. People can do what they want, if I don't like it, I don't listen to it. I also agree that there is a vast increase in labels popping up as well, but I do not consider CD-r releases as releases. Why? CD-rs wear out very quickly, and anyone can run off cd-rs.
If you're going to get something done, you might as well do it right. Again, people can do what they want, but there is a lot of saturation in this "scene" and half-ass shit doesn't make the problem any easier. I don't know what makes a "true" label, I guess it would just be a label that puts out quality stuff and doesn't worry about "how much it will sell". Sure you want to get the stuff out there but you should base your efforts on PRIDE more that "units sold".
Bruno: As far as I observed, not many labels in the US released vinyls. Why? Is it for the reason that Americans are not fond of this bulky format or there are only a few companies that has the capability to pressed vinyl? Maybe vinyls are just too expensive to make. Stand me corrected.
Spencer: You're right. There aren't as much vinyls pressed over here as there are in Europe. I think the reason is that all the pressing plants here are so expensive, and if you find one that is OK on the vinyl price, the price of the jackets kills you! There are a lot of vinyl maniacs here, though they are more spread out, I know because I'm one of them!
CD's are a lot easier and less expensive to manufacture, ship, carry, etc. So a lot of people take the easy way out and just go for cd's. Plus that's the format of choice for a lot of people and industry as well. Me personally though, I strongly prefer vinyl to cd's. Which is why eventually all of our releases will be on vinyl. There's nothing like it!
Bruno: Your distribution, mainly, are materials of Blood Storm. How are you related with them? Sorry, but I do have zero information about Metal War anyway…
Spencer: Well, Blood Storm "Ancient Wraith of Ku" was our first release. They are a great band and very good friends of mine. I've known Mezzadurus since 1991 when I jammed with him in Goreaphobia ('91 - '93) and it just seemed like a natural progression. We are very proud to be working with Blood Storm as they are one of the best underground bands from our great American Metal "scene"!!
But we distribute tons of killer Metal especially lots of Nunslaughter stuff! I haven't seen another distro that carries more Nunslaughter stuff than us. I'm very proud of that, they are one of the most important bands in the underground! Our next assault on humanity will be the Nunslaughter "GOAT" release, it will surely destroy all in it's path!!!
Bruno: I think it is too usual for you to hear the bands you are distributing. But it is just also possible that all bands might be not that good enough to satisfy your taste. Do you reject as much bands you don't like, or would it be possible for you to distribute bands you don't like - only that they have a killer packaging of their material?
Spencer: Well, I like to at least hear what we're selling, it’s only makes sense. We distribute hundreds of titles, so it's not possible to be totally into every one, but as long as it's Metal, we'll distribute it. We don't really look at if the packaging is over the top, because if the music is no good, then who will buy it?
And if they do, they'll be calling us back saying, "Hey you sold me this sucky album! I want my money back!" I'd rather sell a great demo than a CD with a huge booklet that sucks. We have a core of customers that know what they're getting when they come to us, and that's good fuckin' METAL!
Bruno: What is a good album? I mean, do you really need to hear a candy-coated production of bands just to accept that they are a good band? Or, is it the feeling that matters the most - even though that their sound is just on the average level?
Spencer: I don't care if it sounds crystal, clear or like it was recorded in a toilet, if I like the tunes then that's all I need. I think a certain degree if clarity is needed to enjoy a record but if it's too polished it's not exciting. I'd rather have a good raw, angry and aggressive recording than a crystal clear, bland, sound like everyone else recording. It's got to have energy. Feeling definitely matters, you can tell when a band is playing from the heart, and when a band is playing what they think is "cool" at the time. Fuck candy-coated production, we need raw Metal!
Bruno: Your site includes pay-pal and accepting credit card payments. Most American labels do this and as far as reading criticism on some European labels, claimed that all of the true maniac label and the best labels are European labels. Do these quotes play some healthy role on you to strive as a good American label?
Spencer: Well, I agree that some of the best labels are in Europe. It's been that way for a long time! We have comrades all over Europe that we talk to, trade with, deal with every day! But there are some underground US labels that support us, and we support as well. We accept credit cards over the website, that's true. There are true maniac labels all over the world! We're all in this battle together!!!!
Bruno: It was these last years that USBM seems to be exploding a lot. Do these increasing number of bands result (also) the increase of labels and zines all over the US? I think Americans were all so supportive on the increasing number of entities, including gigs. Do you think all of these sects deserves to be supported or is it just too natural to have posers in every scene?
Spencer: USBM is definitely rising like a plague isn't it!!!??? There are a lot of good USBM bands. There are also a lot of copycat USBM bands. Like I said before, you can tell who is real and who's not. The real will stick around, and the false will do what they do best, fall away into nothing. Every "scene" has it's posers. Unfortunately over here they get jobs at big record labels or booking agencies and poison the underground with their petty nonsense!!!
Bruno: I think this "computer generation" seems to be in thousand now. My opinion is that CD from Blood Storm "Pestilence…". I think the layout was overused that even harms the entirety of Blood Storm. Do you have any reaction/suggestions on this kind of criticism?
Spencer: Well, I think everyone is entitled to their opinion. I think that cover is a great representation of what Blood Storm was going after with that release. And the band likes it too, it's exactly what they wanted. I think a lot of people were shocked that it wasn't an "evil" cover or done by some trendy artist who does millions of album covers.
Blood Storm never conformed to any trend, they always walk their own path, which is something nobody should be afraid to do. Not everybody will like the artwork or layout, and that's fine. Besides, I think it kicks ass!
Bruno: OK, this will be all my questions. If you want to plugged-in anything, then take this last space…
Spencer: Thanks and Salutes Bruno for this interview! Thanks for your support, and all who fight the cause of real Metal! We just released Profanatica "Broken Jew" 7" on red and black vinyl! For some great Metal please check out www.metalwarprod.com and get in touch with us! In the words of the mighty ONSLAUGHT (1986) Let there be Death!