Saturday, 28 September 2013

Interview with Acid Cosmonaut Records

Now on Sludgelord I am interviewing the masterminds behind ace Italian Record Label – Acid Cosmonaut Records – who deal in Heavy Psych Stoner Rock Music.

We have featured two of their excellent releases – DSW, Lothorian and soon we will be featuring the excellent Manthra Dei. I wanted to review these guys as I think they are running a great label which I predict big things for in the years to come. So I wanted to catch up with them to see what makes them and the label tick.

Luca and Stefano have both kindly agreed an interview with me. So lets get started with those funky spaced out Acid Cosmonauts.

Q1 – Hi Guys, Thanks for doing this. How are things with you today.

LUCA Hi Steve, everything’s fine! We've got some great releases in the near future, so we're pretty excited about that.

STEFANO Hi Steve! Actually we're working hard on a handful of new releases and other stuff, we are busy but happy.

Q2 – For people not in the know can you give them a brief history of how Acid Cosmonaut Records came about.

L. In 2011, pushed by my great passion for all the heavy psychedelic area, I decided to start this label to help the bands that I like to obtain the right production and visibility. At the time DSW (that are my great friends) were starting to record their first LP, so it seemed to be the right moment to start this adventure.

S. Three years ago i started to follow my friends DSW as illustrator, and, when they had almost finished to record Dust Storm Warning, my friend Luca ask me if i was interested in founding with him a label to produce our friends' upcoming album.

Q3 – Where did the excellent name came from. What inspired for you to call your label – Acid Cosmonaut.

L. As listener, I like to imagine myself as an explorer lost in the immensity of this musical genre. Space is a good representation of its wideness and, since the psychedelia is so strictly connected to hallucinogens, the name came out pretty quickly. Because that's what we are... Acid Cosmonauts travelling from planet to planet in search of great music!

S. it was a Luca's idea. I liked it from the first moment: it recalls in some way both the outer than the inner space.

Q4 – I first noticed your label when you contacted me to check out DSW – Dust Storm Warning and then Lothorian which I rate both very highly. Can you tell our readers how you signed those great bands to your label. Did you know any of the band members before signing them to your label.

L. As I previously stated, I already knew DSW, since all the band are close friends of mine. With Lothorian has been different, I've heard their EP "Welldweller" on Bandcamp in August 2012 and few months later they contacted us to know if we could be interested in release it. Obviously we were, I loved their music since the first listening and since then we've also become good friends.

S. Well, I spend a lot my time with DSW. I knew Lothorian thanks to the blog of a friend.

Dust Storm Warning cover art

Q5 – What is your label's main mission or objective.

L. Spread good psychedelia to all music lovers, making sure to make it available to everyone!

S. First of all have fun. It is also a very rewarding job when people like what you have worked for.

Q6 – How do you decide which bands to sign your label. Is it a complicated process. Or is it more based on luck and talent.

L. I follow a lot of blogs and webzines every day, I always keep an eye open on new bands, also on Facebook... Simply, when I discover an unsigned band that I like, the first thing that I do is to contact it to know if they're interested in a collaboration. Sometimes it's the band that contact us... It's not like we have a scientific method!

S. Sometimes bands contact us, sometimes Luca come to me and say "Hey, you have to listen to this band! It’s great!!", then we contact them to see if they're interested to be produced by us.

Q7 – Do you still have regular jobs to pay the bills or is the label your full time job.

L. I wish it was a full time job, but at the moment it's more something related to passion. Passion is the real motor, so it's good to me, anyway.

S. I’m a freelance graphic and illustrator

Q8 – Are your family and friends supportive of your chosen career and the label in general.

L. Sure, even if it's difficult to explain to some of them (especially my family) that running a label it's not a matter of making money. Apart that, I can't complain, I've met a lot of new interesting people thanks to this activity.

S. Totally. As we said, most of our friends are involved in the project, and the others support us as they can. My family is happy that i've found something that is so special for me.

Q9 – Is is it a struggle running a label nowadays especially with the download culture going around on the Internet..

L. I don't think so, or I guess it's more a problem related to major labels. I'm really happy when I see one of our releases posted on a so-called download blog, to me it means that there's interest around our bands. Hopefully, some of the people that download the album through non conventional channels will become faithful fans of that band.

S."if you cannot beat them join them". I would be a hypocrite if I said that i've never downloaded music or other stuff in my life, but is also true that when i find something interesting i support the artists as i can. Music is basically free, when I buy a CD I buy an object, not the music in it. and ultimately you cannot download a t-shirt!

Welldweller cover art

Q10 – Your releases seem to have received a lot of praise amongst the Sludge/Stoner/Doom Metal crowd. Are your pleased with the responses so far.

L. Of course! It's great to see webzines that i daily follow (like The Sludgelord) showing so much interest for our releases and interact with them it's a great satisfaction.

S. Yes i am! It's a sign that we are making good choices and this is a great satisfaction!

Q11 – What are your favourite bands around at the moment. Do you listen to modern day rock/metal or do you just listen to the classic era of Stoner/Sludge/Doom Metal.

L. I listen to classics, of course, but I'm more interested in new bands. I'm a bit tired of the reunion phenomenon, I think it's more important to focus on the present, so we can have our classics. This summer I discovered Waning Moon, a young Swedish band that in my humble opinion have a great future in front of itself. At the moment I also liked the last Naam, Blood Ceremony, Cult of Luna, Purson, Windhand, Obelyskkh... and obviously I have great expectations for the new Earthless album.

S.Classics are classics, but there are a lot of new bands out there that I love and follow. In my car there is always a Black Sabbath album (with Ozzy), it's like a lucky charm for me, I have the second album by Black Pyramid stuck in the cd player (fortunately i rescued my Dopesmoker copy before to have this problem), and as mp3 I actually have Asteroid, Ancestors, Kadavar, Blood Ceremony, Blues Pills, Purson, Troubled Horse, Graveyard, High on Fire, Truckfighters, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats…

Q12 – What are your views of blogs such as Sludgelord featuring and reviewing your products, as opposed to mainstream music magazines?

L. I think they're the best possible resource for people that don't want to limit themselves at the music reviews of Rolling Stone and Pitchfork... and that they're the best friends for labels like us, since they share our common passion in great undiscovered music. Beside the Sludgelord, that I daily follow, I take this opportunity to recommend to all the Italian readers the webzine “Son of Flies Magazine”, it’s really well written and updated.

S. I think that if blogs like yours never existed I'd never know my actual favorite bands and maybe Acid Cosmonaut would never existed

Q13 – You're currently focusing on CD's and T-Shirts of the bands on your label. Will you be doing any Vinyl Releases in the future. Or is that too expensive for you to do at this moment in time.

L. We'd like to do vinyls in the future, but at the moment we're more focused in using our (small) resources to enlarge our catalogue. But, it's in project.

S. Vinyl is a very noble format, and we wish to print our next productions in vinyl. Unfortunately, it is also more expensive than CDs, and for now we must be content. Just for now!

Q14 - What are your future plans for the upcoming 12 months or so. Anything we should be excited about.

L. Oooh, we've got the new Manthra Dei coming this October, and I assure you that's an impressive heavy-psychedelic mammuth! Also, until the end of the year, we're gonna release the first EP by Mindwarp, a promising local band, and I hope that soon we can give you news about a new January/February release, we're yet working on it.

Q15 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the label.

L. Well, it's always good to receive good feedbacks, from press and from listeners, it means that we're doing a good job and that we're offering the right quality to an attentive audience as that of stoner/doom/psych area. On the other hand, the bureacratic aspects in preparing a new album are always the most annoying.

S. Going in a stranger's home and see that he/she has hanged one of my pictures on his/her wall!!

Q16 – Are you a fan of any other independent record labels currently out there. Or do you just focus on your own label.

L. As a loyal fan, I always follow the work of other labels, such as Tee Pee, Small Stone, Go Down, Southern Lord, Neurot, Supernatural Cat, Seasons of Mist... Since I discovered Mamont, I've became also interested in the work of Ozium Records, they've released great stuff.

16. Most of the music I listen to is released by small labels, like Tee Pee, Small Stone, Go Down…

Q17 – I love guys like yourselves who take the courage in creating an independent record label. As you can tell you guys put a lot of time and effort plus money into making your dream happen. What advise would you give to someone who wanted to start their own record label.

L. Watch “Blood, Sweat + Vinyl: DIY in the 21st Century". It's my greatest source of motivation and inspiration.

S. Quoting one of my favorite movies "if you want it, it’s not a dream".

It’s hard work, sometimes, but in this times there are thousands of valuable bands that are waiting to be produced, it can start as a game with your friends, but when you see that there are some people who appreciate your work you will understand that you are part of something bigger like a music scene, and it's one of the coolest things you can feel.

Q18 – I have to ask this question but it has been a popular one. What is your stance with major league labels closing down blogs and websites that share links.

L. They're just showing their most intimate essence, to be assholes. It's foolish to believe that the removal of a link will stop the phenomenon, it's too well established. Wouldn't be better to understand how to adapt rather than simply repress?

S. I think it is just a gluttony problem. And ignorance, too. Because, as I said, there are many ways to make money and keep music free at the same time. Not to mention that it’s simply impossible to stop file sharing!

Q19 - Finally, Do you have anything to say your fans as I know you have a few amongst ourselves and reader.

L. Thanks for all your support, we can guarantee that we've got new great albums on the horizon! And thank you for this interview Steve, it was an honour be interviewed on the Sludgelord!

S. Thank you all, I hope we can travel together into the acid space for long time!

Well thanks to Luca and Stefano for doing this great interview. A brilliant label ran by two highly passionate people who deserve all the success they truly deserve.

Check out Acid Cosmonaut Records from the links below.