DAVID GREGORI - METAL BLADE RECORDS (Promotion Team)

\r\nIt\r\nis a tactic of Metalzone to talk to people behind the scenes, find the\r\ninsiders to each profession before finally deciding and making up our\r\nminds as to who is the bad guy in matters such as the cost of cd’ s and\r\nother matters which seem to be the fault of the big bad record labels.\r\nThat is the reason we decided to talk to on of the insiders in Metal\r\nBlade Germany David Gregory who is in charge of radio and on line\r\npromotion of the label and as it turned out Metal Blade Germany is\r\ntruly a metalhead consisted label and what they represent is true Heavy\r\nMetal! \r\n

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\r\nMetalzone: At the other end of our line we got David Gregori who’s in promotion in Metal Blade Germany. Am I saying you correct?\r\n

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\r\nDavid: I do like on line, radio, club promotion, so Andreas is head of promotion and I am just he’s working mate. \r\n

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\r\nMetalzone:\r\nTell us a few things about you before you joined Metal Blade, how many\r\nyears have you been in the business, what do you listen to etc..\r\n

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\r\nDavid:\r\nI started in 2000, I started writing for some magazines, and in 2003 I\r\ndid a trainee in the music business, and in November 2004 I started\r\nworking at Metal Blade. Doing the promo job I am doing which is pretty\r\nmuch fun, the best job you can have. What I am listening to, uhm I\r\nthink I am pretty open minded for every kind of metal. The only thing\r\nthat I am not much into is some progressive stuff or the black metal\r\nthing but when it comes to good power metal, death metal, thrash metal\r\nor the new modern things like metalcore, I think I’m… If you look at my\r\ncds you can find something of each style there. \r\n

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\r\nMetalzone: What’s your favorite band?\r\n

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\r\nDavid: My favorite band of all times is Metallica…\r\n

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\r\nMetalzone: And your favorite song?\r\n

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\r\nDavid: Fade to black Metallica.\r\n

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\r\nMetalzone: Talk to us a little about the current releases of Metal Blade\r\n

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\r\nDavid: Τhe\r\nAmon Amarth DVD triple DVD. And I would say that the big releases for\r\nthe rest of the year will be, Kataract, coming out in May, God\r\nDethroned, Unearth, the new Amon Amarth that’s it for this year. We’ll\r\ndefinitely be very busy!\r\n

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\r\nMetalzone: Are Amon Amarth coming to Greece?\r\n

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\r\nDavid: When\r\nthe new Amon Amarth album comes out near September, a huge European\r\ntour will follow so there’ll definitely be some Greek dates in it. \r\n

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\r\nMetalzone: Do you have a favorite band from the bands you represent?\r\n

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\r\nDavid:\r\nMy favorite band on Metal Blade? I think I am in the good situation\r\nwhere we don’t have any bad band on the label so I don’t have to\r\npromote stuff that I don’t like. Of course there are always bands that\r\nyou like more. I would say that my favorite bands from Metal Blade are Bolt Thrower,\r\nNeaera, Amon Amarth, so that’s the bands I am really looking forward to\r\nwork with, the bands that are cool to work with, God Dethroned also,\r\nit’s always great for me to work for metal blade because they are the\r\nlabel who discovered Metallica and it was a real dream for me to work\r\nwith Metal Blade cause I work together with a lot of my favorite bands.\r\n\r\n

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\r\nMetalzone:\r\nWhere do you feel that the metal scene stands at the moment? Where do\r\nyou feel the tension is going, the trend in turns of genres?\r\n

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\r\nDavid:\r\nI think it’s obvious that metal becomes more and more popular, because\r\nif your look for example the german long play album charts from year to\r\nyear, more heavy breaking the charts, like Kataklysm are in position 76\r\nnow or Amorphis were in the chart, the last Amon Amarth album entered\r\nthe charts in position 31 which is very good. Metal is becoming more\r\nand more popular especially with the new metalcore scene coming out. I\r\nwouldn’t say that the metalcore scene will be like the newmetal thing\r\nwas which died out immediately, because with the new metal core scene a\r\nwhole new generation of kids is growing, they go out with bands like\r\nCaliban or Heaven Shall Burn, or On Earth or As I lay dying. And I\r\nthink that these kids will stick to that, so I would say that the\r\nfuture of metal is pretty bright at the moment. Imagine that the show\r\nwe have in Germany\r\nwhich is like American Idol, the winner was a guy who was really into\r\nmetal. In the castings he played songs like Metallica’s Nothing Else\r\nmatters. And that was his attitude during the whole show and he won and\r\nthat’s a good sign for metal becoming mainstream but staying true to\r\nit’s ideal’s.\r\n

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\r\nMetalzone:\r\nDo you feel it’s staying true to it’s ideals? There are those who feel\r\nthat metal core and new metal aren’t really heavy metal.\r\n

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\r\nDavid:\r\nYeah but why? How can you say that these bands aren’t heavy metal? They\r\ndo what they like metal core is a real trend right now and there are a\r\nlot of people who wanna jump on that train, but these people wont\r\nsurvive. If I see bands like Helly band who are in this scene for so\r\nlong they played this music before the term metalcore was even created.\r\nOr a band like Heaven Shall Burn, or the American bands As I Lay Dying,\r\nthey started off before the metal core scene started to explode. I\r\nwould never dare to say that this is not metal because they are doing\r\nwhat they feel with what their hearts tell them, it’s just the music\r\nsounds modern. Of course they have sort hair, and maybe they use some\r\neye liner stuff but I don’t care about the music as long as the music\r\nis good, and it comes from the heart for me its metal. \r\n

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\r\nMetalzone: So that’s your definition of Metal, music that comes from the heart?\r\n

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\r\nDavid:\r\nMusic that comes from the heart music that you really feel, music that\r\nis very strong, creates strong emotions, music that you feels in your\r\ndeepest you know… \r\n

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\r\nMetalzone:\r\nTell me a few things about Metal Blade it’s philosophy the type of\r\nbands it signs, the companies goal besides making good sales, etc…\r\n

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\r\nDavid:\r\nThe easiest way for a band to get our attention, is the normal usual\r\nway, just send in a demo, but please send in a demo which sounds quite\r\ngood not like a burnt cd - r thing, with the band name written on it,\r\nand info included. As you can imagine we get so much demos, and we\r\ndon’t have that much time to listen to every demo to the end. And if we\r\nget a demo with a shitty bad sound, without any info sheet, without any\r\ncover and stuff, it’s obvious that we’re not gonna get too much\r\nattention to it because the sound doesn’t sound that good, and we go to\r\nthe next one because we have to get through a big number of demos each\r\nday. Also the style the band has to play, they can play what they want.\r\nIf we hear that the music is good, and we’re interested in the band,\r\nthen we get in touch and we have a meeting with the guys, and if it\r\nalso works in the human level, we can get along each other pretty well.\r\nThe band of course has to be original in some way. There are so many\r\nbands that sound like the band you heard ten minutes before, and they\r\nhave to feel what they do. We don’t want like hypocrites and stuff,\r\nthey have to feel what they do and we have to feel that they feel what\r\nthey do and that they really want to do it. Fro example nea Era we\r\nsigned them about two years ago. And they just send in their first demo\r\nand totally blew us away. They never recorded anything before that. It\r\nwas their first demo they send it in we thought hey this is great, this\r\nis amazing, bang now they are bringing out their second album on the\r\nMetal Blade. This chance every band has if they have potential even if\r\nthey started playing the instruments two weeks ago. \r\n

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\r\nMetalzone: Do you really seek for that in a band? To feel what they play and being true? \r\n

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\r\nDavid:\r\nWhen I started working at Metal Blade, it was like my first real job in\r\nthe business, after this journalist writing stuff that I did the years\r\nbefore. I was also pretty surprised when I got into this office where…\r\nI hate these reviews where there are bands like Dimmu Borgir where when\r\nthey were in small labels everybody was saying they’re not any good and\r\nthen they were signed to Nuclear Blast and everybody is like oh my god\r\nand they do all commercial stuff and they don’t feel their music\r\nanymore, I think it’s totally crap! It’s the same with Metal Blade when\r\nI came into the office I was like oh, every single person working there\r\nis a fan of the music. And every person who is working there is really\r\ndigging what he’s doing, and doesn’t wanna do anything different. If\r\nyou work like that, it’s also really easy for you to see if there’s a\r\nband, that want’s to be signed in your label and doesn’t feel it. There\r\nare a lot of bands who want to be in Metal Blade but the people who are\r\nsorting out the stuff are not pretty good at sorting the right ones\r\nfrom the wrong ones. \r\n

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\r\nMetalzone: Is there any pressure towards the band to be able to create a record for each year?\r\n

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\r\nDavid:\r\nNo, like you see in a band like (oakfor?) their last album came out in\r\n2001 and the latest album came out last year in November. And we didn’t\r\ngo to them and say well it’s been two years you have to do a new\r\nrecord. They should do a new record when they feel like it, cause when\r\nyou push bands in order to get the records faster and faster, and to\r\nput out a record every year, then the quality is … If you put pressure\r\non a band, they are not free in songrwritting and stuff like that so\r\nthe results will get worse with every new record coming out. And so we\r\nsay to our bands just take your time and when you think you’re ready\r\nwith the new album, come over and we’ll talk about the business stuff\r\nand we’ll have the album out. It’s the same when it’s coming to stuff\r\nlike artwork and stuff. The ideas for the artwork and stuff always come\r\nfrom the band. Of course if a band comes out with a cover artwork that\r\nlooks like s… we say ok, maybe you could do it a bit better, but\r\nnormally everything is up to the band. \r\n

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\r\nMetalzone: Also the singles that you promote?\r\n

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\r\nDavid:\r\nNormally we don’t have bands that bring out singles in front of the\r\nalbum. Only band that did that last year was Brainstorm? it was the\r\nonly band last year that put out a single. Normally bands do video\r\ntracks, and they do it for the song that they think that song fits\r\nbest. So it’s up to them.\r\n

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\r\nMetalzone: Tell me a few things about the policy of Metal Blade towards the mp3 swapping over the internet. \r\n

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\r\nDavid:\r\nThat’s a pretty difficult theme. The problem with this mp3 and\r\ndownloading stuff is that the whole music business needs to work on\r\nthat problem. We, in the metal scene of course it’s a problem because\r\nthere are always in every scene as pop or jazz or country or metal,\r\nthere are people who download the stuff. But I think in the metal scene\r\nthere aren’t that much people who would do it, in comparison to the\r\nother scenes. A metal scene fan wants to have the whole finished\r\nproduct. He wants to have the cover, he wants to have the artwork, the\r\nlyrics, and he’s not really happy with just a burnt cd-r that he made\r\nfrom mp3s that he downloaded from the net. However the problem is\r\nreally hard to handle.\r\n

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\r\nMetalzone: So you feel that the metal scene isn’t as hurt as other scenes are. \r\n

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\r\nDavid: It is hurt but in comparison to other scenes it’s not that hurt.\r\n

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\r\nMetalzone: How do you feel this can be dealt?\r\n

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\r\nDavid:\r\nIf you ask a fan they would say that you should offer the cds for a\r\ncheaper price. But you also have to think about how many persons get\r\npaid over this price. The record company and the band, the store that\r\nsells the cd, the production, the producer, the artwork, the company\r\nthat collects the rights, so it’s pretty difficult to lower the prices\r\nof the cd. Especially in our case because we always try to give the fan\r\na really good product in his hand. That’s why we, for example, often\r\nbring out limited editions of the cds, we also have a normal and jewel\r\ncase version, we have a special digitpack with really good packaging,\r\nthe limited packaging of the new Cannibal Corpse I think I’ve never\r\nseen something like that. It’s really amazing. And it’s not that\r\nexpensive when it comes into the stores. The fan really gets something\r\nspecial, our policy, is that we want to give the fans some really\r\nspecial products which they can’t download from the net. With our big\r\nand major releases we also make do stuff like that, they all get a\r\nlimited digitpack edition and of course the normal jewel case which is\r\na bit lower price. That’s one thing you could do and the other thing\r\nyou could do is lower the cd prices but that’s a difficult thing to do.\r\n\r\n

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\r\nMetalzone: The measure of putting out good productions, jewel cases, digitpack editions, has it helped?\r\n

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\r\nDavid:\r\nYeah I would say so. Of course we can’t prove it because we don’t know\r\nhow many cds for eg Amon Amarth would have sold less if we hadn’t done\r\nthe digitpack version, but as a band Amon Amorth have grown in\r\npopularity after that and the cd sale exploded also and the back\r\ncatalogue goes really really well, that’s the part where we see that\r\nthe policy we follow is not the worst one. And now we are beginning to\r\nsell our songs on these legal chat rooms like i-tunes, music load te.\r\n

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\r\nMetalzone: How is the response there?\r\n

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\r\nDavid: Well we started some weeks ago so we don’t have results to present right now. \r\n

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\r\nMetalzone:\r\nIs there a promotional event that you wish you could have been a part\r\nof something you saw and thought I wish we could have made it in Metal\r\nBlade first?\r\n

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\r\nDavid:\r\nI think something like Roadrunner did with the all star project. That\r\nwas amazing stuff. Over 50 musicians doing the cd, and then the\r\nRoadrunner showcase with all these guys, that was awesome. I think it\r\nwas the 25th Roadrunner anniversary. Metal Blade Europe\r\nturned ten last year so we’ve got 15 year to go so lets see maybe in\r\n2010 maybe we’ll do something like that. I think Metal Blade America turns 25 next year so lets see what they do. \r\n

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\r\nMetalzone: In terms of a market how do you see Greece? Are we any good in sales?\r\n

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\r\n David:\r\nI don’t have the real overview about sales but we changed our\r\ndistributor recently so lets see how it goes with the new one. We kind\r\nof did a restart in Greece right now. \r\n

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\r\nMetalzone: A message to the Metalzone fans\r\n

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\r\nDavid:\r\nHello people in Greece, I hope you’ll stay true to the scene and watch\r\nout for our new releases coming out within this year there are a lot of\r\ninteresting stuff coming out I hope you’ll buy our albums and be happy\r\nwith it and for the Greek bands, don’t hesitate to send in your demos,\r\nmaybe I will have you demo on my desk next week and I will send you an\r\nemail back.. That’s it and Stay Brutal!\r\n

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\r\nElena "Blackie" Michailidou \r\n

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