måndag 25 september 2017

DIY labels - DHU Records

Ok, first of all, bare with me and my English, but as a courtesy to some of my victims I try to translate some articles for all to read, and maybe get a little less confusing translation than from Google translate.Who knows it might be something for the future, if public demand is high?

Now to the main topic of the day, DIY:
In the wake of the music industry's changes, that I suppose originated in the musical digitization, one can say that it has caused both good and bad things. For example I guess we all have to realize that the era of the super-groups are gone or at least going, and the major labels monopoly like reign is over more or less (read this as the rock scene). Times when a small band needed the backup and promotion channels from the labels to get on to the few platforms that existed. 
And nowadays, it demands more from a band. Not just do you have to deliver great music to reach out, as the channels are so diversified, you have to promote yourself more. But at the same time all this grants opportunities for more driven bands to reach a larger audience on their own.

Another phenomenon that also appears in the backwash of all this, is all the smaller DIY companies that I think are driven more of the love for music, than pure profit hunger. It feels a bit like the late 70s punk wave, but for a wider repertoire and in some newer clothes.

One of these labels that has gotten a lot on my radar lately is the Dutch label D.H.U Records, who have proved to be a really good guide to wonderful music for me, through its beautiful vinyl releases. I Haven't had the opportunity to buy everything I wanted, which is a nag when it comes to limited editions I guess. :-) But I still enjoy the music as most of their releases usually land just in my comfort zone.
And the fact that they are based in Europe is also a plus, as it is possible to buy records from them, as an individual without sacrificing your firstborn due to shipping costs, as it usually is lower than the albums own price. Witch is usally the other way around when looking at similar labels that are US-based.

So I got in contact with Robert Black, the owner of D.H.U to fire off some questions.

First of all I want to thank you for taking your time with me and my questions. 
I don't know that much about DHU, more than you are located in Holland and that you seem to have a real good nose for great music and beautiful vinyl releases. Could you give a short story about DHU, and what your main goals are?
 "Thank you for the kind words! I started DHU Records after disbanding a few musical projects to focus on the rising heavy underground scene. So much great music has come forth and the goal is to help out as many as possible, be it with either advice or actual tangible product, limited edition vinyl in this case. Welcome to Dark Hedonistic Union Records."

Running an independent record label is often not the most lucrative or rewarding of jobs – what inspired you to do so? And is this a business that you can survive on, or do you see it more as a calling or a hobby?
"At the moment it's not something to survive on, much like most bands in this scene, you need that daytime job to support it. It is rewarding in the sense that you get to be a part of records of bands you truly dig. Plus being part of the whole art process and thinking up some grand vinyl editions is totally worth it!"

Are you a record label in the traditional meaning, like you sign bands and handle all the recording stuff? Or are you more of a collaborator that makes Vinyl's for bands.
"I would if I could if there was more time and money, but DHU Records is more of a collaborator that has vinyl produced for bands. Other than that I'd like to help out in any way possible."

Many traditional labels seem to be in jeopardy nowadays because of the changes in the industry. Is that an issue for you as a small label, or do you see it as an enabler for the smaller labels?
"I don't really see a problem. I mean there is a reason it's called underground music. It's not for everybody and that's the attraction, for me at least. The pulse of music is to be found there. No compromise and everything on it's own terms rather than a bunch of rules and bullshit tactics that have nothing to do with music in the first place"

Which leads us in to next question, today it seem more important with collaboration between indie-labels more than before, is it so for you as well?
"Yeah sure, helping each other out and supporting one another is the coolest thing about it all!
It's a cohesive effort based on honesty and output rather than money hungry fat cats wanting this or that or nothing at all. It is a business but having fun is way more important to me."

How do you see the future of the music industry? In a world where more and more artists are remaining independent and recording on their own, what place do you think record labels will have in the music scene?
"I have no idea to tell you the truth. Some bands feel like they need to be represented, others do very well on their own, DHU Records supports both big time."

How do you find the bands that you release? Do they contact you, or do you actively seek out bands that you find and like?
"A little bit of both I guess. Sometimes a band will contact DHU Records and I'll listen and go ape shit of how good it is, or not haha. But mostly I seek them out and see if they want to join the family and release some killer wax."

What is Your most successful band/release so far?
"I'd have to say Youngblood Supercult High Plains and the Old Blood Self titled, both were sold out fairly quick."

What's the biggest obstacles for a small label in your mind?
"Time and money."

Are you involved in the touring schemes of your artists? Or it's just focused on the releases?
"Not really, DHU Records is more focused on the releases, like I said, if it was my daytime job and could be a part of it that would rock!"

Hartelijk dank aan Robert en D.H.U

This shout-out is of course not only directed at D.H.U, but to everyone who feels that they fit in to this. Not just those who release records, because there are so many fans in today's music world who, in my mind, do an incredible job. If nothing else, I get the feeling that anyone, who wants to, have the opportunity to try and add what you can in this new sonic landscape. For heavens sake, even I have this blog. 
Feels like it's opportunity to dig a bit extra around this phenomenon later on, because there's a plethora of inspirational make it yourself spirit in the air. Regardless of what Gene Simmons says, but then, driven as he is, he's a product of the old school labels.

More Info on D.H.U:D.H.U

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