:: Interview with Firebox Records
Interview with Firebox Records
Metalship is used to give a voice to the bands. But what about the behind of the scene?
For the occasion, we asked Rami, the Firebox Records label-manager, who has worked with Swallow the Sun
, Colosseum and many others...
Interview with a passionate man, who certainly participated in changing our music over the years.
Metalship : Hi Rami! How are you? To start this interview, how began the Firebox adventure?
Hello kumelia! I´m doing fine, it have been very nice summer in Finland and I have worked shorter days than normally, but I keep the holiday just on end of August.
Firebox started at 2001 as a metal music webstore. Soon after it grow to wholesale/distribution also and at 2002 as record label.
Metalship : How many people work directly for your company?
On best times there was 5 full time empoylees and 2 part time employees, but nowadays, I work only with my summer assistant Jennifer.
Metalship : Being located in Finland, you must have a lot of demos to listen isn’t it?!
, got them nearly every day, all around the world. Most are from Finland, but then a lot came from Italy and Greece. Nowadays also I got lots of links to mp3-download page or myspace, so the mailing of physical demo copies is going lower.
Metalship : I must say that your label is often a mark of confidence when I make my purchases… How do you choose the bands that you sign?
This have changed during the years, first Firebox started as doom/death metal label, but later it changed more of extreme metal/gothic&dark metal stuff. But there have been also other genres, like Manitou which is more hard rock and Fall of the Leafe, which play progressive metal. I usually sign bands which I like, or anyone of Firebox staff likes a lot and think they can grow big and have good sales potential.
Metalship : Tell us how you work with bands. What are the different steps before releasing an album?
This variate quite lot, different bands have different needs. On basic deal, I heard a good demo and then contact to the band and ask what they need. We agree the studio budget, schedule etc. things and then sign a contract. The band record the album, send the master-cd and graphics, which I forward to cd-factory. Then we start pre-promotion, and after cd´s come then the mailout of physical promos.
Metalship : In recent years the Firebox house was divided into five labels: Firebox, Firedoom Records, Roihu Records, Off Records and Wintersunset. Why this decision?
I liked to move the underground doom/death bands to own label and keep Firebox more of mainstream music. Roihu Records was publishing only bands who sing on finnish language. Off Records came in when Firebox bought the label. Wintersunset was published to release black/folk metal stuff which do not suite good to Firebox or other label rosters.
Metalship : Let’s talk about the Firebox Store. Is it sufficiently established to allow the label to support itself?
Firebox started as mailorder and later began the label. The webstore bring many years most of the income, when the label profit was more +/- 0 or even negative. But it was very important channel to sell Firebox releases, without it the sales have been much lower and during that, Firebox never had been released so many releases.
Metalship : I saw that you practice unbeatable prices! 3.90€ for the Ablaze in Hatred second album (a double CD!), it’s really amazing! How do you manage to offer such low prices?
We have big overstock of that album here. Print run of AiH 2nd album was 2.000 copies and there was maybe 40% too much. So when I still have several hundred copies of this album in stock and it do not sell anything on full price, it´s better to sell it for price it can still sell, than just keep the albums in stock.
The same is also for many other releases we sell cheap on summer campaign.
Metalship : It’s often said that the CD industry is in distress. You see it from the inside, what’s your opinion about it?
, that´s correct. CD sales have go down already many years and I do not think CD is the most important format so long anymore. I notice this on myself also, I have listened hardly any music on CD´s on last ½ year. I use currently only Spotify when listening music in office. Some people say that LP or even MC will come back, but I think this belongs only for those who still collect music. Digital music is the future, even how less the hardcore music listeners hates it. To me the physical format is not so important anymore.
Metalship : I don’t see any French bands signed in your catalogue. Is this something possible in the future?
There is Remembrance (2 releases) and also Zatokrev, which some member are French. So you didn´t do your homework so good....
Metalship : What are your signed bands that you’re most proud of?
Swallow the Sun
, Throes of Dawn
Metalship : What’s the band that you dream to sign?
I´m not into really big names, as I know that big bands have big needs and it cause big risks. I would be happy to work with some smaller cult bands but I do not like to name any.
Metalship : What were the best sales in your catalogue?
Swallow the Sun
have been the best seller easily. Then propably Saturnus
Metalship : What advices would you give to a band who would like to deal with you?
Well currently Firebox haven´t signed any new bands on 1,5 years, we nowadays more sell the existing catalogue and print more those which go sold out. But anything can still happen, if got a deal good enough Firebox can still sign bands and release new material. I might be interested to work by master
deals, but signing a new demo band, that is maybe too difficult and expensive way to work nowadays.
Metalship : What are you last discoveries in music and what have you mostly listened to recently?
Good question, actually I have listened very different kind of music this year. When using Spotify I have all genres available, so I have listened propably only 5% metal music and 95% everything else, like trance, dubstep and other electronic music genres. My latest discovery have been The Chemical Brothers. I have listened even some hip-hop and reggae stuff, which I still hated some years ago. It looks what more years you got, that more different stuff you can listen and like.
Metalship : Thanks you for all your answers Rami, you’ve the final word!
Thanks for this nice interview, it´s nice there is people who still do these in old school way and are interested about smaller label businesses.
added by kumelia, on August 1, 2011 for Metalship