"Maybe it's not on top of the charts, but we're still standing strong. So we'll be here forever. United and hard we stand." —Dimebag Darrell
Now I don't know about you, but this is a quote I've always stood by, and Halifax based record label Spread the Metal serves to remind those who have forgotten that metal will always be a powerful force in music. However, this label plans to take it past the music, and be a powerful force for those in need as well.
Q: Could you give me a bit of background on the label?
A: I started Spread the Metal Records this July, but the preparation for going into business started almost a year before that while I was scouting bands, and soaking up information about the music business, etc. I am more or less self taught, but Josh Hogan of Diminished Fifth Records has been an enormous help in steering me away from costly mistakes. Myself, I had no music industry experience and am actually now a fifth year philosophy student at Dalhousie. There are certainly many others who have contributed to the label's success and Spread the Metal Records is extremely grateful to all of them.
Q: Is your label specific to any type of metal, or does it cover all sub-genres?
A: The label doesn't focus on one sub-genre over another. Personally, I prefer melodic death metal, my favorite bands being Dark Tranquillity, Arch Enemy and too many others to mention. Generally speaking, if I can understand clearly what the vocalist is saying, I won't like it! That being said, traditional heavy metal bands like Answer With Metal have something special to offer and to overlook them would be a costly mistake for any label. In the future, you'll be hearing about more melodeath bands coming to the label, but I don't discriminate. I don't listen to much black metal, but Blasphemy Reborn just does it to me. Their deliciously evil sound is constantly blasting from my car stereo. Being a bouncer in downtown Halifax though, I listen to all types of music and proudly know the words to at least four Britney Spears songs.
Q: Are there any local metal bands you'd be interested in having in your label? A: Diminished Fifth Records pretty much has the local metal scene on lockdown. They are the voice from the east when it comes to metal and the bands on that label are all killer. However, Sanktuary now resides in Nova Scotia and i'm proud to say that they have signed with Spread the Metal. Some other bands that I like around here aren't together anymore, but Hellacaust always puts on a good show and i've always liked Cry Oh Crisis, even though they're not from Nova Scotia. I generally keep these things to myself though, and there are several bands that probably don't have any idea that I'm a big fan of theirs until I contact them directly.
Q: What made you choose the bands in your roster?
A: Every band on the label is a band in whom I personally believe. They are all easy to work with, are immensely talented, and are willing to put in the hours and the effort to get their music heard. I work extremely hard, but I can't do everything for them. Getting signed to a label is not going to instantly skyrocket one's career, there is still a lot of work to be done after that happens. In the beginning stages of the label's development, I sought out bands that I thought would fit well with Spread the Metal. Often, I would be exposed to a new band and instantly I would know that I had to have them! That happened with Fallen Joy and that happened with Crimson Shadows, among others. I do tend to get ahead of myself sometimes though and I have to force myself to not get too excited and send them an offer right away. I find a band that I really love, and then I wait a couple days and listen to their material again. If I continue to like what I hear, they'll be hearing from me.
Q: Having your first event's proceedings go towards a charity is very generous. What made you decide to do that?
A: Maybe i'm being too hard on myself, but I don't think that this festival is enough. My fundraising goal is $100,000 and with the headliners that I have, I think it's a definite possibility. However, not too long ago, a role model of mine by the name of Warren Buffet gave away 31.7 billion dollars of his fortune and not much has changed. People die for no reason every day, and we have the ability to save a lot of them, but for whatever reason, it's not happening. That's why I have such high hopes for not only this festival but for other philanthropic ventures in the future. This first year will be in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and next year I am thinking about donating the profits to the Cancer Society. Doctors Without Borders is another favorite NGO of mine and so they will be the beneficiary in future years. Also, I would like to start my own NGO, but nothing has materialized yet. The main activities of my organization will be to pay the tuition for children around the world to go to school, but like I said, festival planning and school has sidetracked its development. For now, I am focusing on making the festival a fantastic success and handing over quite a bit of money to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. I think it's the duty of businesses and corporations to use their influence to positively impact the world we live in and my record label seeks to be a big part of that.
The Spread the Metal Festival is being held on July 5 and 6 at the Halifax Forum. Tickets will be $50 a day, or $75 for both. All net ticket revenue will be going towards the Heart & Stroke Foundation.
July 5 features Answer With Metal, Last Call Chernobyl, Dischord, Hallows Die, Descend, Fallen Joy, Blackguard, Kataklysm and July 6 features Cry Oh Crisis, Strigampire, Death Valley Driver, Crimson Shadows, Blasphemy Reborn, Black Moor, Cryptopsy, Morbid Angel