We conducted an interview with Carlo od StrikeDown Records on January 17, 2012.
Hey! Please introduce yourself and the label to our readers.
Hi, I’m Carlo and I’ve been running the label called StrikeDown since 2 years ago.
Tell me the story behind Strikedown Records. What inspired its launch?
Our story is not one of the most cool stories about labels, but it’s simple. I play, and I was born, grown and still growing in the hardcore punk landscape.
One day I decided to start this label to support my band and other bands… and step by step it was born and now it’s still growing…
How important is DIY for yourself?
DIY is everything… But I also think that it means everything and nothing at the same time. If no one helps you to do a thing… it’s simple.. do it yourself, but at the same time you must have the resources and capabilities to do it. And then you need to build them, and learn constantly step by step.
How do you go about tracking down new artists to sign?
First of all, we listen to their music and we read their lyrics. We keep the eyes opened on their social profiles (facebook,myspace, and every type of social network the band can use), checking how many things they’ve done, they do and they will do with or without a label… I don’t think it’s necessary to tell you that more shows & tours the band do, more are the probabilities to sign with a label…
What are the main elements of your artist promotion?
Basically, their album is released and distributed by StrikeDown Records, from the physical Cd or vinyl, to the online streaming or digital download. We send their album to webzines to be reviewed. We also do a great promotion through our websites and we do merch for them. We promote their shows, tours, and other things. We give them all the help that they need and that we can give to them. The other things are just details.
How do you distribute your music?
Our products are distributed worldwide principally by ourselves through our online store, but we have also a great physical and digital distribution through other indipendent labels and distributions around the globe.
What’s been your biggest seller?
I can’t tell you, it wouldn’t be fair to the other bands.
How big is your distro?
Until some month ago we were full of titles, now we’ve decided to distribute only some stuff of few labels that we like and we estimate.
Do you have a steady crew that helps you run the label? Any photographers, illustration artists, etc.?
Officially I’m the owner, the runner, the manager and the ship-boy of StrikeDown. Now, a friend of mine started to work/help me with the publicity and press stuff. We are lucky, most of our friends are freelance illustrators, web designers, managers of other labels, sound guys, promoters, photographers, or have their own little world in their merch companies,their webzines or other independent activities infiltrated in the underground music scene. We collaborate with many friends that help us out in everything, from merch, to records, to photos, to illustrations etc etc etc..
What’s the hardest thing about running a label? What motivates you?
For the first question: Money, Money, Money.. For the second: I’ll be honest, when I’ve built Strikedown my motivation was: Support the local scene, friends, etc etc etc.. Now my motivations are changed and sincerely I think that my only motivation is that I’m an hardcore-kid that believe in what he do, because in many years in this scene i’ve learned that with sweat and efforts I can realize, step by step, my little dreams..
What’s the relationship between bands from your roster? Do they have a chance to meet one another from time to time?
Some of our bands are good friends, some of them don’t know each other. I think that when you have more than 5/6 bands it’s impossible that all bands’ members are friends and cooperate with each other.. I can’t force them to be friends or enemies because they have signed for the same label.
What’s the meaning of hardcore to you?
I could tell you one thousand beautiful but useless words about that, I think that the actions speak for me.
What do you think about mixing metal and hardcore through all these years? What’s the furthest you would go with hybrid like this?
Every person in this world knows that the hardcore is not a sound, a tee, a tattoo, or just “TUPA TUPA”… When hardcore was born it has influenced many genres of music with its ideas and its attitude, and now it’s influenced musically the other genres. It’s a vicious circle from where no one can escape, the only solution is to find the right balance between influences and ideas, same with fashion things and necessary things. Can you imagine 30 years of hardcore with only the same BLACK FLAG, MINOR THREAT, 7 SECONDS, BAD BRAINS (…) songs and only bands that copy them??? Many people tell me that they prefer 80’s and 90’s hardcore, and I do too, but sooner or later it won’t have the same effects it did on the beginnings. When these bands first came out they were something that no one had ever seen/heard before, a different way to refuse what we don’t want to accept. So the question is simple: do you want to endlessly follow the hardcore fathers’ guidelines word to word/ riff to riff and become another BLACK FLAG cover band? Or do you want to build it your own way? It’s basically impossible to sound original in 2012, but this doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth trying. If it’s true that hardcore is a state of mind and not a music genre, you can’t tell me that it isn’t hardcore just because the sound doesn’t stick to the roots…
Have you thought about releasing non-hardcore tunes via Strikedown Records? How about starting an offshoot label?
Yes I think about it everyday.. but is still early..
What are your plans for the next 12 months?
SD 009 – SD 010 – SD 011 – SD 012 and maybe – SD 013 – SD 014
Thank you! Any final words?
Thank you too for your time guys !!!