What is your name, and what is your involvement with Antithetic Records?
Shawn Sambol, I’m the owner/founder of the label.
How long have you been running the label?
Just under 2 years now. I opened an online store in June 2010. The first release was shipping that November (though we were working on it for months before).
What inspired you to start your own label?
I started getting into vinyl sometime in 2008. The first thing I bought was a Mastodon box set from Relapse. I thought I would just keep it as a collectible, but then I decided that I wanted to be able to listen to it too. Then I started buying some of my favourite albums on vinyl, and the list kept expanding. There were a few albums I looked for and couldn’t find any info on a vinyl pressing, which were the 3 maudlin of the Well albums, and The Postman Syndrome’s Terraforming. I decided that I would set out to press one of these myself. In addition to those albums, I wanted to press some really hard to find albums, or others that were never on vinyl (stuff from Tomahawk, Hum, Faith No More, Cynic). I quickly realized that this wasn’t an easy task, and it would be best to stick to albums that were put out on smaller labels (the major’s don’t give a shit about some guy wanting to release 1 album from their back catalog), or working with the bands themselves.
How did you approach the release of your first record, Maudlin of the Well was it?
I didn’t know what I was doing at first, so I sent some emails to a few label owner’s for some advise, then set out to email the bands I wanted to work with. I got a response from Toby Driver for my request to press the motW albums, but was told that the only one available (at the time) was Part the Second. I really had my heart set on doing Bath/Leaving Your Body Map, but I was very happy to get a positive response at all, and from someone who’s work I really admired. So I decided to move forward with it. Toby and I worked through the layout for all of the artwork, and getting the audio remastered for vinyl as well. It took such a long time! Something like 4-5 months after we decided to go through with the project, till we actually had the final product in hand. I really learned a lot from that release though. It’s been one of my most successful to date, we’re nearly sold out!
What do you look for in a band that you want to release?
I definitely need to be a big fan of their music first. I have also learned that it is a HUGE help if the band is active, and touring in support of the album that we are releasing. I’ve grown to be good friends with all of the bands that I’ve worked with, so that is certainly something else that is a plus! As for the musical style, I’m obviously a fan of metal and experimental/progressive styles. There is a lot of diversity in the Antithetic lineup, and I really enjoy working with a diverse group of bands. Sometimes I think that I’m at a disadvantage since I can’t just advertise that we offer metal records, but then I wouldn’t be doing what I really want with the label. In the end, I want to support what I enjoy, and that’s much more than just metal, so I’ll keep on doing what I’m doing!
Did it get easier to approach bands after you had a couple more releases under your belt?
Absolutely! There have been quite a few who have commented on the fact that we’ve done releases for some bigger bands, and that speaks for itself when you’re approaching someone new. Now that I’ve done this several times, I’m much more comfortable with the whole process, and I think that helps out when approaching a band as well. They like to know that the label owner is knowledgeable and can get things done! I’ve been told by a few of the bands we’ve worked with that the whole process was very smooth in comparison to some other labels. That was a huge compliment for me! It was great to hear that they were happy with everything, especially how the final product turned out.
What does the term DIY mean to you?
To me, DIY is much more than just “do it yourself”. Being an independent label, it means doing this for the love of the music and respect for the musicians. I try to carry over the DIY aspect into our packaging when I can, making patches, having jackets, etc printed at local print shops, and I’ll soon be doing more screen printing in the future. It’s cool when people get one of your releases and send you a personal thank you because they know it was just you that made it happen, and not a large record label. I don’t want to lose that touch. I hope that all of our releases have some element of DIY in them, especially our vinyl output.
What’s coming out soon that people can get excited about?
We’ve got the Kayo Dot – Gamma Knife vinyl & Digipack CD, Wildernessking 2xLP, The Great Old Ones 2xLP, maudlin of the Well’s My Fruit Psychobells 2xLP, a release by Nick Hudson with guest appearances by Toby Driver, Greg Massi, Stuart Dahlquist, and many others, a release w/ Blood Bright Star (featuring Reuben Sawyer of Rainbath Visual), and a split between Botanist and Palace of Worms! There’s talk of a couple splits with Young and in the Way as well. It’s a ridiculously busy release schedule for sure, and the timing of some of these may shift a bit depending on finances, but they’re all confirmed and we’re stoked to be a part of them!
Thanks heaps for your time, any final thoughts?
Thanks so much for reaching out and doing this interview!
Website – http://www.antitheticrecords.com/
Bandcamp – http://antitheticrecords.bandcamp.com/
Twitter – http://twitter.com/AntitheticRcrds
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AntitheticRecords