Moment Of Collapse Records, a home of one of my favorite bands ever, AUSSITOT MORT, now known as MORT MORT MORT, is an independent record label and mail-order from Germany, founded in 2007 and run by members of SUNDOWNING, RED APOLLO, and DOWNFALL OF GAIA. I’m very impressed by their passion for DIY music and their way of following the spirit of labels like Ape Must Not Kill Ape, Ebullition or React With Protest. They hold antifascist, anti-sexists, anti-homophobic and anti-racist views and share the idea of a DIY-headed collaboration. Over the years Moment Of Collapse grew to a big collective with many people & friends involved from all over the world. “We’re trying to work together with and for friends. Moment Of Collapse was and is strictly noncommercial. No-one will take any money for private use. Everything will be spent to support the bands / music”, they say.
Below you can find my interview with Jens, who tells everything about how amazing it is to run such a company and how difficult it is to face some obstacles on the path.
Hey! Good to have you here, man. There are a few labels that have just perfect rosters, no questions asked. Moment Of Collapse is one of them, that’s for sure. Please shoot us a quick introduction and tell our readers who don’t know you what’s up and what are you up to [smiles]. How long has the label been going?
Hi Karol, thanks for the kind words and your interest in what we do. Moment Of Collapse Records was an idea born in 2007 by Basti and Jens. In 2008 we released our first LP which was the first part of the “Connections – a six-way split record” series. We had no idea how things would develop. If we would have release only one record, it would have been fine as well. Back in the days we took all our money and pressed that record to give something back to the people that made/released DIY-based music and set up shows all the years since we followed labels such as Ebullition, React With Protest, Ape Must Not Kill Ape, Witching Hour, Blood Of The Young, Nova Records, Per Koro Records and got caught by bands like ORCHID, LOUISE CYPHRE, SAETIA, NEIL PERRY, ARSEN, LOXIRAN, SONG OF ZARATHUSTRA, OFF MINOR and the unforgettable SWING KIDS. None of us did expect that 6 years later Moment Of Collapse is still running and did put out almost 70 releases. Our credo was and still is that we release music we like without serving a special type as long as the bands can identify themselves with the DIY-ideology and clearly renounce from any right wing sympathy. In times like these this can’t be said enough.
How many people are involved in the label now? Do you have some people outside the label itself that help you out somehow? Who’s behind the whole collective?
Basti and Jens are still on board. Last year Peter joined MOC and this year Christoph asked us if he could join us as well. So we are four people right now and everybody put the time and passion he is able to contribute to keep things going. Basti is taking care for the handling of the releases and is sending out orders and trades, as well as the general contacts to bands, other labels and artists. Peter is mainly taking care for the promotion of our releases and helps wherever he can. Christoph’s part is to help our bands with the booking of their tours. Jens is also taking care of main things like, writing the release texts, contacting new bands and contributing a lot of ideas, which lead into new projects and releases. Under the shield called “Kollektif” Basti, Peter and Arne (a common friend of us) are silk-screening any kind of merchandise. Kollektif is the official address of our webshop as well, you can find it right here. Beside us there are a lot of people who are involved again and again in MOC. If it comes to the point of artists doing artworks, other labels helping with a coproduction making a record available, friends and bands carrying record boxes to concerts and selling our stuff , helping cutting difficult packages, ironing fresh printed shirts or just borrowing us their car to make sure that we get some heavy boxes to the postal service. This story wouldn’t have been told thus far without all these helping hands.
Where did you get the name from?
When we got the calculation of our first release we quite fast realized that we had to give away all our money we did spend at that point, what means we were broke after our first release. With this in mind we searched for a name. After the first idea of “Collapsed Records” we found a label that already used this name. Pretty fast we ended in “Moment Of Collapse”. A name that always reminds us how precious and in the same moment fragile our project is.
Is MOC a vinyl-only label? Why? Why haven’t you focused on CDs and different formats?
MOC is not a vinyl-only label! Vinyl is our passion and we love this kind of format. It feels warm and true and has a much higher symbolic value for us. But in the last months we also released a CD of our friends RED APOLLO and we just released two Tapes, one of SUNDOWNING`s “Seizures Of The World” and the other one of PLANKS’ “Funeral Mouth”. Even if this format doesn’t offer a lot of space it is a nice format, which makes music available for a nice price.
How do you organize your vinyl pressing? Take us through your typical process of planning, creating, outsourcing and finally distributing a regular 12’’.
The optimal case is that we have a period of 3 or 4 months to organize everything, started with assembling of the music and how it should be placed on the vinyl. Alongside we try to get the artwork done and fitting in the raster display. With giving all these things to the pressing plant we start most of the time a pre-order for the upcoming release. This is a really helpful thing to get a part of the pressing plant bills paid, cause they are not waiting for their money until you sold enough of the pressed records. In the same moment we start the promotion of the record as well as setting up the first trades/deals with distributors and other labels all around the globe. After the record is released this we continue this approach until we are down to the last copies. If a lot of people are still asking for a record after it is sold out, we are glad to get the release repressed and make it available again. We are no fans of increasing prices at eBay auctions or similar. The only thing we limit, is the color of the vinyl which is chosen for the preorder-copies to make sure that the people, who support the release before it is even pressed, get something special.
Cool. How do you cope with promotion? What are the ingredients of a typical promotion set for a Moment Of Collapse band?
As I mentioned the whole promotion thing is Peter’s part. We are using our bandcamp account and other streams to ask various bloggers and reviewers to write a review after we did send them an information-package. There are a lot of people who are doing this for most of our. We really appreciate this and are grateful for the time people contribute to get their reviews written. Beside this we send physical copies to the zines national and international for example. We are not using all options just to make sure that a release gets noticed. What I mean is, most of the time we press between 500 and 1000 copies of each release, sometimes even 300. Since we are not a new label anymore, we get enough attention on our releases to them sold.
And what about touring? Do you still organize shows?
Christoph is taking care for this. He has a lot of contacts and is known personally by a lot of the promoters over here. He is taking care for our bands in a frame like a booking agency. This is the youngest part of our label and still in progress just like everybody in his tasks is. We think that especially this complete package of handling the releases, promotion, booking and if a band wants the printing of their merchandise is a great combination to make it easy for bands doing what they want to do quick and effective. There are plans of a bus rental as well, which should take place at some point in the future.
Have you thought about launching the annual MOC showcase festival?
There have been several ideas of a MOC-fest and finally this year’s December it seems like there will be one in Hamburg.
Yeah man! Can’t wait to see some details on that!
Tell us about your musical background. How did you first got involved in heavy music?
As mentioned above our roots which lay back in the late 90’s when bands played music that was called screamo. A word that is used nowadays for a blend of music none of us could identify with. We got involved with music by the local scenes we all have been part of. After an old friend of mine met another guy that left our village to study, we ended up meeting each other on weekends and listening different vinyls and mixtapes. Pretty fast we established our own bands without knowing how to play our instruments, setting up shows and visiting shown in other cities. It was a crazy time. I lived in the middle of nowhere, so we were forced to drive hours to see a hardcore show or set up one by ourselves. I was very young at that time and had a lot of time to do these things and will never forget this part of my live.
And what about the bands you’ve been part of. Do you still have something running?
I (Jens) played in a couple of bands before I met Basti, but really serious it got when we started together a band called ONLY FOR THE SAKE OF ACHING in that we tried to follow the bands that brought us to this kind of music. For the first time we toured, released vinyls, played festivals like the mighty Cry Me A River Fest and found friends in foreign lands. Right now both of us are active parts of BLACK EVEREST. Christoph is playing in SUNDOWNING and RED APOLLO, Peter is playing for DOWNFALL OF GAIA.
Ok, let’s talk about your bands. Finally :) Let’s start from the end. You have so many alumni bands! How come? Bands are leaving you and running away? What’s wrong, man? Haha ;)
Mmmh, good question…. No seriously man, a lot of the bands we listed under the alumni section are simply done. They disbanded or are victims of the time and the resulting inactivity. There are a couple of bands that we would have appreciated to continue working with, but they simply choose another label, what is totally fine with us. We never had any kind of problems with the bands we did release. For sure we try to work with bands for a longer period, but also in this point it is up to the bands. We don’t work with contracts or such bullshit. The bands are invited to stay as long as they want.
Fair enough :) How do you choose the bands for Moment Of Collapse?
That is relative simple. We are a label based on DIY-ethics and consider our political attitude as left winged. So on our side is absolutely no space for right wing ideology, homophobia, sexism or any kind of offending behaviors that stand contrary towards an open minded lifestyle. If a band can identify themselves with these patterns we have common base on that we can work together.
Do you accept demos? Are there a lot of bands that try to reach you?
Meanwhile a lot of bands get in touch with us via e-mail and send us mostly links to their demos. You can say that we get on weekly base offers to release material by several bands. I would say that 50% of our releases start like this. The other 50% are releases we do for friends in bands or a continuation of a once started cooperation with a band. For example LIGHT BEARER, AMALTHEA, RESURRECTIONISTS, REKA OR REPUBLIC OF DREAMS. We`ve been involved in most of their releases and it is always a pleasure and fun to continue the union.
Do you own the publishing rights for the Moment Of Collapse recordings?
Nope, we have no contracts or something like that. Our credo on this case is simply to trust each other.
Do you have your very own biggest seller? :) Would you mind revealing some numbers and statistics for us?
For sure there are releases that sell faster than the other ones, but that is totally ok. Don’t get me wrong, but we don’t wanna publish something like a “chartlist” cause it simply isn’t important nor something we care about. What I can say is that we don’t press high numbers of copies so our releases always sell out sooner or later.
If you could put out any band on Moment Of Collapse Records, who would it be?
Wow, I think we all involved people meanwhile have a different taste of music, but if I could pick a band I would choose … mmh, there are too many, but right in this moment I would pick CATHARSIS, a band I saw lately live and blew me away in seconds. Their show in Hamburg was something that reminded me strong to the time when I started going to shows and the bands had to say something. This predicate paired with passion had and still have a strong impact to me.
Yup. I was struck by their high energy and amazing true attitude. They are still a huge inspiration for lots of other decent artists. Ok, let’s move forward. How difficult has it been running the label? What difficulties have you encountered throughout the years?
To be honest, the difficulties we had are a couple we will always have from time to time. These could be bills from pressing plants or the obstacle to find enough time beside our families, bands and jobs to get things done in time. During the years we got kind of used to it and always found a way to keep the label alive.
Do you have your enterprise registered? There are so many DIY labels I know and most of them seem to don’t give a damn about the law :) No, but seriously, I wonder… You’re selling things, right? I know you’re not taking money for private use and you’re spending to support the bands, but is it safe to run a label DIY without starting an actual company?
Yep, you are right. We are not happy with it, but yes we are a registered company and pay taxes and all that shit. After the first years we realized that we have to register our label, cause it got more and more attention and we used the internet to sell our releases. If you get caught with dealing unregistered in a land like Germoney you have a serious problem, so we decided to be “safe” and make sure that we are able to continue MOC.
What other labels’ work do you personally love and why?
The best part are the festivals. We try to hit as much as possible every year, where we offer all our listed records of the distro section and meet people you are sometimes able to see only once a year. It’s the communication, the common passion and fun you are able to share with other people. I love trading at these fests, speaking directly with the people and not typing down words in an email to get things done. Beside this it makes me happy to see how we are able to fulfill the idea/dream of a new and young band to release their music. All in all I would say it is about the friendship and relations we have to each other that makes working for a label fun.
What are your expectations when it comes to the label after all these years? Do you have a certain goal?
That’s a good question. I think the only goal we have is to keep Moment Of Collapse alive and as independent as possible. Since no one of the involved persons has to make a living from this, it should be no problem. We don’t aim for rising release numbers nor to be the lucky one to pick a band that is going to be “big one” in the music scene.
What is your favorite thing about running Moment Of Collapse?
I would say it is the opportunity of being part of something that is taking and giving you something on a par with the people you are creating little milestones together. Moment Of Collapse is giving all of us this what we miss in our regular jobs, that we have to do to pay our bills. I mean, none of is doing a fucked up job like cooking hamburgers or something like that, but our jobs are all built on fundaments of the market economy and carry a lot of points we can’t identify with.
What motivates you to release records?
Sometimes it is the motivation to help friends, sometimes it is the energy and passion you hear through a demo and makes you think “dude, these tunes need to get pressed on vinyl”, sometimes it’s both in the same moment. In all cases it is the opportunity to create something unique that is hopefully for everybody who is able to get their hands on one of the records something special.
Ok, my friend, before we finish up, please tell me what do you have in the works in Moment Of Collapse at the moment?
We are going to release the newest output by our longtime-friends in AMALTHEA which will be a 2xLP/CD entitled “in the woods”. There will be a split 7inch by REKA and BLACK EVEREST, as well as the following LIGHT BEARER, RED APOLLO and SUNDOWNING releases. A special will be the third part of our “Connections – a sixway split record” with bands like BLACK TABLE, QUANTIS, I NOT DANCE, SUNDOWNING, etc. and we re gonna release a split between the Japanese HEAVEN IN HER ARMS and COHOL.
Any special plans for this year? What can we expect from Moment Of Collapse in 2013?
No special plans, just keeping things going releasing music we love.
Thank you very much for the chat. Feel free to add anything you want. Cheers man!
Thank you for giving us the option of this nice interview. Keep DIY based music alive, stop complaining about door prises and support your local music culture. Touring gets more and more difficult and expensive for bands that are not able to play in a big venue. Communication was and still is the key, so please feel free to get in touch with us via www.momentofcollapse.com. Thank you.
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