In the following email interview, Brian Slagel, CEO of Metal Blade Records chats the changing music industry, upcoming releases from the label, and advice about starting a record label.
When starting this, did you ever expect it to get to the point it is today?
No never; none of us back then thought that metal would become this big.
Do you usually find it hard to decide on a band you want to sign?
Not at all, if it is something I love then usually we want to sign it.
What are you favorite unsigned bands out there right now?
I like the Butcher Babies a lot right now
Has there ever come a time where you’ve wanted to sign a band and then wait on it and then they get picked up by someone else?
A couple of times, but usually we don’t wait too long.
Have you ever rejected a band only to have them release a record on a rival label and become huge? If so, which band or bands?
Nothing we have ever rejected has become huge, luckily!
What are some big releases coming in the next few months for Metal Blade?
Six Feet Under just came out, we have Whitechapel in June, As I Lay Dying in September and Between The Buried and Me in October.
Do you have any quality control procedures on any of your releases? An example: do you listen to a CD and think “it’s not up to par” and release it anyways without question?
Yes; I always check out and make sure that everything sounds as good as it can. We have gone back and remixed things if we really feel they need it.
With any labels there is also a lot of rumors and controversy. Are there any particular ones you’d like to clear up or touch on?
I think we have stayed away from that stuff as much as possible so I am not aware of anything at the moment.
Looking back, was there a key moment that ensured Metal Blade’s future success? A decision you made that could have had drastically different results had you gone the other way?
Not really, it has been a steady climb for us. There is not a single moment that resulted in our success, just a lot of good decisions over the years.
If you could change anything about the music community, what would it be and why?
I would wish that some of the majors would concentrate more on good music.
I know this is a difficult question for any label owner to answer, but what has been the most disappointing Metal Blade release for you thus far? Not in the sense that you didn’t like it, but in the sense that the public didn’t give the album the recognition that you thought it deserved?
Probably the band, 3. I love them and so many people love them, but so far it has not done as well as we have hoped. Great band!
Do you have any advice to the readers out there that might want to start a label?
Do it for the love of the music first! It is a business so you must know the business side and be realistic when doing so.
Well that is pretty much it for my interview, thank you for taking the time to answer the questions. Is there anything else you would like to say?
Just thanks to all the fans and everyone who has supported Metal and Metal Blade over the years. Without all of you we would not be here! Also you can follow me on twitter @brianslagel