Antithetic Records


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.

Young And In The Way – V: Eternal Depression

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!

Ash Borer – Demo LP

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.

Lake of Blood – As Time and Tide Erode Stone

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!

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Who is Ensorcelor?

Ensorcelor is Hal, Mike, Jonah, Yailen and Sam.

Can you give a brief history of the band?

Hal, Mike, Yailen and I started playing music together probably in 2009 at some point; since that time we’ve gone through four drummers and I think it’s safe to say have gotten sadder and slower.

How would you describe the Ensorcelor sound?

Sad and slow. It’s interesting to read reviews that focus on how much “hate and suffering” we can convey. “hate” is not a word that I ever would have associated with Ensorcelor, and in a lot of ways, it’s probably the least angry-sounding band i’ve ever been in. At least I personally am less angry. Everything we’ve released up until this point has been more about resignation and confusion and . . . perhaps the irrelevance of hope.


What inspired you to start a project such as this?

It’s hard to say. Or maybe just hard to remember. I think in the beginning we had the idea of it being a slightly more stoner metal project. But I am incapable of singing without screaming, and so I think from that practical reality the blackening began.

What influences you culturally, musically and personally?

Fuck, what doesn’t? Musically, I think the two bands that over and over make me think “what can we learn from this? how can we ever bring this alive in what we do?” are The Cure and Neil Young. This spring Mike and I found ourselves in a treehouse in the woods in Norway listening to Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” too slow on a record player, and it was just mind blowing, and Faith is probably one of the darkest albums ever recorded, but it’s one that I think defies an easy classification of the emotional atmosphere it creates. It is not black, it’s grey. It feels lost and alone and confused, but it is not clear whether this is an articulation of the deepest sorrow or of the dull, blank, evacuation that remains when sorrow runs out.


Is nature an important theme in your songs? What else do you express in your writing?

Nature has definitely played a big part in our lyrics in the past, but it’s not something I want to define us. For one thing because I  think “nature” is already such an object, and really a -product- of romanticization, and for another, does the world really need one more fucking “nature metal” band? I find the intersection of nature and nationalism in black metal to be really interesting, because it’s such a classic fascist gesture to make the people and the land one. Of course, not only or always fascist, but I think it’s pretty bald a lot of the time.

Both of the songs on Crucifuge though were about using ideas of nature to problematize the species boundary, and that’s something that I wish I had pursued further – there is definitely a trace of the sort of “lose yourself in the infinity, we are all one” rhetoric that totally reeks of new age spiritualism, and that’s definitely not where I want to go with things. I’m more interested in asking why it is that we find these narratives of returning to origins, of de-differentiation, or even of cosmic erasure so attractive and comforting? Lately i’ve been thinking more about bacteria and virology – microbiology at the limits of life, or definitions of life that challenge the content of biology. I’ve said in the past that while -Urarctica Begins- was all about destruction, about total death, the Mors Ontologica, -Crucifuge- is more about life and life systems, and I think now “life” is something that I want to go beyond a little. Although who knows, maybe the next record will just be about orcs or getting drunk or some shit.


Would you describe the Ensorcelor live experience as somewhat ritualistic?

Only to the extent that any and every performance has an element of ritual. So no. Rituals have a purpose, they are enacted to please a god or a community. There is very little that is prescribed or really intentional about Ensorcelor, even if at times the material trapping of familiar rituals (candles, carvings, goblets) have made their way into our performances.

Is this an important part of the band’s existence?

If there is a ritual element, then it involves everyone in attendance. You’d have to ask them what is important.

Have you been working on any new material since Crucifuge?

Yes, we have two split records coming out some time in the next year, with Moloch and Lycus, respectively, and have since been working on some stuff that hopefully will become the basis of a full-length.

What can we expect to hear in a new Ensorcelor record?

The record with Lycus is the newer material, and I think it just picks up where Crucifuge left off. Sadder and slower.


Who should we check out and support in your area?

XOTHOGUA is another sludgy band from Montréal, who are good friends of ours. A little more stoney, a little less blackened, and I would say a lot more weird. VILE INTENT is a phenomenal power violence band that one of our ex-drummers plays in, and they are so severely crushing, and also tour a lot, so you’re actually likely to see them if you live outside of Montréal, unlike us. USA OUT OF VIETNAM is another great band, if you like heavy, emotionally manipulative post-rock.

Thank you for your time, any last words?

There is a really tremendous amount of misogyny and homophobia in the metal scene, and it’s fucking tiresome. If I never have to hear a song that thoughtlessly or “provocatively” uses the word rape again, it’ll be too soon.