Saturday, 20 December 2014

Interview and mixtape from Flo at Dying Victim Productions

Its no secret that I'm a big heavy metal fan, and as some of you will know I have been making a monthly heavy metal and hard rock radio show for a few months now, Radio Rodney (check it out!) A lot of the band I have been playing have been released through Flo's record label Dying Vicitms, which specialises in traditional heavy metal, as well as underground thrash, black and death metal, Flo has been active in the underground from a very you age ( I think I interviewed him for Ploppy Pants when he was still in High School) and his love for all things hard and heavy does not seem to be diminishing!

I wanted to ask Flo about his continued enthusiasm and his experiences as both a member of the UK and German metal underground, and he also kindly agreed to make a mixtape of some of the bands from his label for you all - enjoy!

At ten issues it looks like you may be hanging up your fanzine hat Flo, do you feel you took Thrash Attack as far as you could? Any unfinished Business? Do you think the paper zine is still a valid format in 2014?

- Hey Roddy, thanks for the interest in my activities.
You are quite right, for the moment it looks as if the zine is not going to be continued, but I want to call it “on hold”. It’s not like I officially decided it’s over. There has not been any new issue since mid 2012, but that is mainly because of my personal life with many moves and being busy with university, as well as becoming more and more serious with my label Dying Victims Productions.
I am quite happy that I was so persistent and managed to release this 10th issue. Became such a monster but I am happy with it. I do not really feel like there is nothing I could write about under the Thrash Attack monicker, however, I feel like it would have to be a similarly ambitious attempt, i.e. require a lot of work. Also the development of broadening my musical taste which had already been visible in the zine has gone further, hence a more or less “pure” thrash zine would be a bit annoying I think.

I still prefer reading while sitting in the bus/train or lying on my bed so yes I still like paper zines. Obviously the importance of other people’s opinions is not as high anymore as you can listen to anything within seconds. But I consider zines more of a “heads up” if you do not have the time to follow all the bands or the whole scene.
I have also noticed that a lot of the zines have become more focused on the presentation and have become almost book like recently. That does not mean the content is worse, for sure not, but I guess people are trying to make it look more professional and like a collector’s item?

Conversely your label seems to go from strength to strength. Do you find it hard to balance your label activities against the rest of your life? What keeps you motivated? How do you choose what to release, I guess you must get a lot of demos sent to you every month?

Yes it has stuck with me no matter how often I moved my ass to a new place. Moving on a short term bases to different cities for internships, or even to the UK for studying has not killed it so far which is great. I do spend a lot of time on it and often new releases and large wave of orders collide with my professional life or general stressing periods of time. But so far I have always managed to deal with it.
Sometimes I ask myself, what keeps me motivated but well, then again it is rewarding and great fun to find new bands and help them release and in particular distribute their debut release/album/whatever.
It’s also nice to work with friends, kind of adds something to the friendship, at least in my book.
I do not really get a lot of traditional mail, but mostly short stupid mails on facebook “this release album, thx” with a link. I do not even respond to them. Now that I think about it, there were maybe 2-3 bands that approached me and were actually great.
I mostly approach bands which I like. No matter if I listened to them and they are still unsigned or a more experienced band which I enjoy a lot. It’s all gentlemen agreements; hence I would not really want to work with super professional bands.

And of course it helps with finding good new releases for your own collection, a lot of trades are offered and you discover new bands.

I'm especially intrigued by your commitment to re-releasing records on the tape format, many of which are available for free as downloads etc - what has been your motivation here?

Mh, on the one hand I want to get a bit away from that, on the other hand I know myself and people like myself who are more interested in a physical release than just “having” the music as a file. Tapes are rather cheap, so there is not a large threshold, if it sounds cool you might just get it. I also think that people in other countries still like tapes a lot, because importing cds and lps is way more expensive.

Final question - As a German who has lived in the UK what do you see as the key differences between attitudes to Heavy Metal in the Fatherland and Blighty? Why does a band like Manilla Road struggle to sell 150 tickets over here but can headline their own festival over in your neck of the woods?

That is a good question. From my experience there is not a lot going on in the Uk, or let’s rather speak of England since I have not been in any of the other parts, in regards of traditional metal apart from gigs in London. And I think they have become more frequent and better in the last couple of years. Can’t really say anything about the different attitudes, cos I was simply hanging out with underground people who also go abroad for shows. Maybe the average metalhead is just the same in the Uk and Germany? Ok, one thing which I realized is that it seemed to be more difficult to get Londoners to go to a show which is outside of the city which may lead to a worse network?
Germany just has one of the strongest scenes and the biggest network. The frequency of gigs is ridiculous, in particular if you consider shows a few hundred kms away from you. There are weekends with 4-5 gigs that attract more or less the same crowd – in a radius of 300 km. That’s crazy I think.

Thanks for the questions which were refreshingly different from the usual boring ones. Good luck with all your activities and I have a question for you: do you still get submissions from that regular contributor girl to the Ploppy Postman section?

click the cassette to stream the mix tape now

download the mix here
download the tracklist here