Tuesday, 16 December 2008

GOAT/Rolo tour part 2/the end of the year to date......


My previous experience of Exexter involved a quiet gig with Cutting Pink With Knives supporting Antelope (who are on Dischord and feature dudes from Supersystem and stuff). This show wasn't the busiest thing ever either, but still had about 50-60 people, which is cool for a Sunday night outside of term time (No-one young actually comes from Exeter, right?). Exeter was nice, had a bit more time to explore this time round, and bought a hoodie, due to my on-tour hoodie bobbling to fuck and smelling. Nice. I believe we stayed in Winchester afterwards or something. Travel-to-the-lodge.


Some people hate Satans Hollow, some people love it. I think it's pretty sweet. It just looks like a comedy satanic dungeon, with the stage 'in the round' (ie in a circle in the middle of the room). Todays travelodge was in the city centre, so i fucking GOT.ON.IT. i was pretty drunk after loading out, but then we went to a cocktail bar where everything was £2. I drank Ameretto Sours, using van parking money I shouldn't have been using (which I repaid of course). I talked a nice young lady from Washington D.C and then went back to the Travelodge for long chats with Eva. Sobering.


King Tuts Wah Wah Hut is good venue in terms of how they feed you and look after you. Seriously good. The rest of the UK should take note. However they have had some shit noise limitation thing imposed by neighbours, so this was so quiet it was untrue. I was talking to people in front of the stage whilst bands were playing. Saw the dudes from take a worm for a walk week - these dudes are so nice. I vowed to stay with them next time im in Glasgow as they wish to change my perception of their fair city. Joes gf Kelsey came to the show too, which was nice, as I always enjoy a chat with her.


My ex-home. Where I went to Uni etc. The fucking crew came out tonight - Stu, Curtis, Matt, Jim, Beard, Manoj, and more....hilariously, I bumped into Jim randomly in HMV, he was just standing in the ipod section charging his ipod whilst listening to Man Is The Bastard on a docking station, really loud. This inspired Jim and Curtis to shout powerviolence-esque lyrics and phrases throughout the show and mosh inappropriately. Good times. Good size crowd too.


Felt weird to be home, but not home, if that makes any sense. The borderline was right next to G-A-Y and it was clubnight night. Fruity scenes prevailed. Tom TGOATs parents came to this show, as did Vikki Blows, the model. She came and asked me for a Holy Roar tote bag (for free) i said "no way, fucking freeloader" - not realising who she was. I mean yeah - she should have paid for it, but at the same time it would have been good to see her have one. Or something. Thom Throats came to this show too, as did my new drumming friend Tom. More good hangouts. Crowd reaction for this show was offfffffffffffffffff.


We actually managed to get up at a reasonable time at my flat and get down to Brighton for about 2pm. I do like Brighton alot. Had a sweet cheap pizza buffet (not pizza hut), bought 'Johan Johannnnnssssooon - 'forlandia'' from resident records, went to a few other record shops/clothes shops/coffee places, and then the show was very hot and the crowd somewhat standoffish. Steve and Laura-Mary Blood Red Shoes came, as did Reuben ex-Johnny Truant and Ross from the Agency amongst other familiar faces. Drove back to my flat afterwards.

London (again) - all ages xmas party.

This was insane. Rolo Tomassi were the only 'heavy' band playing. The scala was sold out to the tune of about 1200 kids. The oldest you could be was 18 or something. I felt like a right old paedo. 500/600 kids were moshing, jumping up and down, circle-pitting and going crazy to Rolos at like 1pm. It was ridiculous. James stagedived and climbed speaker stacks, and Joe T ended the set by launching himself off his monitor and motherfucking HEADWALKING onto kids before collapsing to the floor. Seriously the best thing he has ever done.

Drove to sheffield (via nottingham) afterwards and I came home the next day via megabus. Exhausted. Monday I finished my xmas shopping (almost) with Rachel in tow. Got drunk. Tuesday I drove to Devon for family xmas (family rented a house down there), going via Langport, Somerset to visit Daisy Von Howl. Also visited Ellen along the way. Finally arrived in Malborough, Devon at like 10.30pm.....a long day, a long drive.

Christmas in Devon was amazing. I think the only thing lacking was a 'partner' to share it with. The house was huge, flatscreen tvs and playstations and shit in every room....it was amazing. I ate fucking tonnes, we went on walks to the coast, to pubs, went to Salcombe, had good times. Although I did have to get up at 6am on Christmas day (I have cousins ranging from 15 to 6 years old, with me being the oldest by a significant margin). There are 9 'cousins' including me, then my parents, her sister and partner, her two brothers and their partners, my nan and grandad and my other nan. 20 of us in total. Crazy.

So I finally got back to London yesterday (another epic drive), got home for a few hours, then drove back out to Heathrow to pick up Brian Phoenix Bodies and his girlfriend, who are now asleep in my lounge. The NYE RAGE starts here......

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Ghost of a Thousand/Rolo Tour.....

Thursday - Foals show @ Oxford Academy.

Foals are all awesome. Got a sweet Foals t-shirt too. Bit of an odd gig though for me. It was cold as shit this day, we had to load out whilst Foals were playing (which was shit and i thought not neccessary) and nothing overly eventful happened. It was awesome to see Will ex-cubscout/brontide and Simon Moody art king, and we had dinner at Red Star, a japanese restaurant, which is wicked. I had to go straight back to the travelodge which was 10 miles away after the show, which was also not the most fun ever, but all the travelodges every night have really helped in terms of not feeling stupidly knackered which is a massive plus point.

Friday - Tunbridge Wells headline show for Rolo Tomassi

This venue apparently use to be a public toilet and still has no heating. This was literally the coldest thing ever. A good crowd turned out due to it being Haeostatic Picnic Races last ever show. About 140 people. Went for a sweeeeet curry wearing 20 layers of clothes and the barmaid wasn't exactly the worst thing ever, with free red bull into the bargain. Travelodges, as good as they are for sleeping, give me the worst fucking 'groundhog day' feelings ever. I'm alwasy the first one up too, which leads to either boredom or long showers (at least i get dibs on towels) or walks outside if theres any petrol stations or anything. Wow this post is fucking exciting.

Aldershot - First day of Ghost of a Thouand tour.

Aldershot is pretty boring. We got there at lunch time and ate in a cafe called Jennys which fucked ruled. I pigged it and had american waffles with sausage, beans and egg, then i had pancakes with maple syrup. Killer. Tried to kill time in a shit record store and in Costa coffee. I've been a right sucker for coffee shops so far this time out. The show was pretty good - good atendance etc and free domino pizza (calories intake today = 10000000000). The Ghost dudes are fucking sweet, had good chats with Tom especailly. I felt/feel really bad as I slated their album a few years ago on thecommunion.co.uk (which doesnt exist anymore), and im now eating my words as they sound awesome. What was i thinking with such a harsh/shit review? Gladly im not any vague attempt at a 'journalist' anymore.

Now im in Exeter. Costa's fucking xmas choc'n'orange muffin (with choc chips/orange jaffa pieces and orangey core) fucking kills it. Eat that shit.

On-road playlist -

Spank Rock
Wolf Parade

Monday, 8 December 2008

Hectic times until dec 21st!

So i'm sat in James Tomassi's house and Rolo Tomassi are sorting a cover of 'Stay Another Day' by East 17 for their Huw Stephens Christmas Party Session....pretty sweet!

Tomorrow they have a photoshoot for Rocksound and a meeting at Adidas, Weds is the Huw Stephens session and a visit to the Gallows studio, Thursday is supporting Foals in Oxford, then its onto the Ghost of a Thousand tour! Phew!

The Mirror! Mirror! mini-album is fucking awesome - that will be out March 30th.

I'll try and do more tour diaries again this time round......

Monday, 1 December 2008

Top 10 albums of the year / Top 20 songs of the year

This has taken some fucking compiling. Here we go. There is only a vague order to both lists.

Top 20 songs of the year.

20. Portishead - Machine Gun - An incredible comeback single. Most of the rest of the album was boring, but this song is so cold, relentless and the shifts in drum and synth sounds are awesome.

19. Scarlett Johansson - Song For Jo - On an album of Tom Waits covers, this is the only original track and yet strangely the strongest. Siteks production is wonderful. Hazy.

18. Rolo Tomassi - Abraxas - possibly the strongest song they have ever written. Tech as hell, then an incredible riff at the end.

17. Jesu - The Stars That Hang Above - taken from a split with Envy, this is incredlble, the double kick programmed drums at the end and the absolute atmosphere this whole track holds.

16. Metaform - Brick and Mortar - the rest of the album is kinda laid back, but this is a bass-heavy stormer.

15. Minus - Black and Bruised - totally blown out sound, Incredible chorus, even better bridge.

14. Suffocate For Fuck Sake - We are driving through darkness - very intense start, before a load of brilliant ringing chords. Monumental.

13. Crystal Castles - Through The Hoisery - one of the less obvious tracks on the album, it never fails to hit the spot for me.

12. Weekend Nachos - Prioritize - ridiculous de-tuned power-violence at its best. This cropped up on a relapse comp.

11. Cut Copy - Far Away 80's nu-romantic/rave heaven?!?!

10. Slipknot - Psychosocial - the video/single version nearly ruined this track, but the album version has the best beatdown EVER. Listen hard for the scratching by sid that is tuned and timed perfectly in the beatdown.

9. Bring Me The Horizon - The Comedown - an absolute adrenaline rush. Anyone who denies this album as a tonne of fun is dumb.

8. Late of The Pier - Focker/Heartbeat - couldnt decide which track. 2 perfect singles on a solid, but slightly patchy album.

7. Tokyo Police Club - In A Cave - incredible, perfect single on a solid, if unremarkable album. The lyrics are lovely.

6. Bloc Party - Signs - tubular bells for the post-nu-rave generation? The vocals hit a perfect spot on occassion in this track.

5. Wiley - If you're going out, i'm going out too - summer party anthem! Grime-lite!

4. Food For Animals - Shhhy - the best noise-hop ever. Hail.

3. TV On The Radio - DLZ - the album is total solid, but this is a shining star of a tune. Sublime.

2. Throats - Hibernate - show me a better hardcore or metal song this year and i'll show you the door. The ending is jawdropping and it contains at least another 3 beyond insane riffs from heavy heaven.

1. Frankmusik - Done Done - this was a fucking b-side to a tour-only single. This is one of the best songs ever, nevermind just this year.

Top 10 albums of the year

10. Endless Blockade - Primitive - Perfectly produced, raging power-violence with noise-elements. Progressive without losing any focus

9. The Acacia Strain - Continent - this album is stupid too, and takes loads of listens to realise it's not just one song, but the lyrics are fucking pure hate, and this is the soundtrack to every shitty night and negative emotion of this year.

8. Gregor Samsa - Rest - This is better than the newest Sigur Ros album. Incredible pop-based slow ambient brilliantness.

7. This Is Hell - Misfortunes - perfect straight-ahead modern hardcore with no metal or frills.

6. Maruta - In Narcosis - the best, noisesit, most discordant grindcore album of the year.

5. K-The-I??? - Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow - the best progressive, textural hip-hop i've ever heard.

4. Friendly Fires - s/t - such a great, lush indie record. That's about it.

3. Krallice -s/t - Colin Marston of Behold The Arctopus and Mick Barr of Orthrelmetc out-do their day jobs with the best black metal album ever.

2. Blood Red Shoes - Box of Secrets - huge sounding, grunge/indie with perfect songs from start to finish.

1. Torche - Meanderthal - The perfect rock album for every stiuation, every party, every work day, every upper in life, every downer. Songs for every mood. A total rush with a backend of stoned hazy comedown perfection. Incredible Incredible stuff.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

I'm home.

Ireland was awesome. Foals were awesome in Dublin. Foals are awesome dudes. Belfast university area is awesome. Irish Guinness is awesome, Dublin is mega-awesome. I'm tired.

Promo video for 'Rabid Electronics' by the_Network from the new split with Throats!

I have no idea who did this, but the footage is taken from their uk tour with Take a worm for a walk week, which ended last week...if you missed it, you are a PRICK.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

I'm in Dublin.

So since Tuesday night i've been in Wales, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland Ireland (Southern? Eire?). In 48 hours. Yes.

The reason for this is that I picked up the_Network from Newport on Tuesday night from the final gig of their tour with the lovely boys in Take a worm for a walk week, I dropped them off at heathrow at like 2am, got home for about 3am, slept a bit, then got a coach the following morning to Sheffield, got in a van from there and drove Rolo Tomassi to Carlisle, stayed in a Travelodge there, got up at 6am today and drove to the ferry port in Cairnryan, then got a ferry to Larne, then drove down to Dublin.

I'm now sat backstage at the Ambassador in Dublin, I can hear Faols playing downstairs in this big, ornate theatre. Rolo Tomassi supported tonight in front of 1400 people and reception seemed awesome, with me and Roadie/Merch bitch Tom Saunders sat on the side of the stage for Rolos.

good times, low battery on this computer. More updates soon!


Tuesday, 25 November 2008

I'm in Gloucestershire.

Bit of a whirlwind at the moment. Saturday was Genghis Tron, Rolo Tomassi, Behold The Arctopus, Take a Worm For a Walk Week @ The Underworld. Unfortunately the_Network had to pull out of this show due to Tim (drums) having kidney problems. It was an awesome (somewhat drunken) show.

Sunday was the_Network, Take A Worm, Hang the Bastard and No Dice @ Brixton Windmill. Whether it was the atrocious weather, Cloak/Dagger and Napalm Death playing elsewhere or the fact that we suck - this gig was badly attended. SHAME ON YOU! No Dice are fucking awesome. Get into them. the_Network and Take A Worm stayed at my place and more beer was drunk. The bands left by 9am due to local parking shitty rules. Oh well.

Last night I drove to Gloucestershire (i'm at my parents house) and am picking up the_Network from Newport tonight. Take a Worm are going straight back to Glasgow and the_Network need to get back to Heathrow. I'm the solution it seems. Tomorrow I go to Sheffield, pick up Rolo Tomassi, then go to a travelodge in Carlisle, then get a ferry to Ireland on Thursday morning. Shows with Foals in Dublin and Belfast. Should be a blast.

Phew! Pretty busy stuff. I'll try and do a some on-the-road updates when out with Rolos/Foals.

Finally, here are some pics (from Japan) of the Japanese 'Happy Holy Roar 1.1' compilation cd that came out in Japan on Wednesday 19th November on Fantome Records -

Saturday, 22 November 2008


Expect to see these in your packages and and gigs soon....

(We are also making new Tote Bags - black with a new design - too!)

Friday, 21 November 2008


Spank Rock is awesome.

Anyway, totally general post. If you dont ever go on the Holy Roar Big Cartel Shop thingy, then you can at least check out some photos that me and 'business partner' Ellen did today during our 'working' lunch on the Holy Roar Flickr. There's pictures of the Holy Roar t-shirts, Throats t-shirts, the new Happy Holy Roar 2 Tape and other stuff. It looks cool and Ellen made me too many beverages (Tea, Coffee and Orange juice within an hour!) and cheese on toast. Punk or what?

Elsewhere this week an employee of Primary Talent took me to a medical museum that had diseased penises in jars, giants skeletons, cut-open pregnant rats and elephantitis feet. It was interesting. On the same day I had a chicken burger, held together by a cocktail stick. This cocktail stick obviously made a hole in the burger bun. When i took a bite, the cheese was so hot, (it was of a liquid-esque consistency) it squirted through the hole in the bun and went up my nose and I now have a burnt nostril. No joke. Ridiculous.

Key listening -

the_Network - New Album (still on tour in the uk! check the fuckin link!)
Mew - And the glass handed kites
The Bronx - III

Monday, 17 November 2008

Razorlight and Throats....

.....so Throats (and the_Network) played at Beyond Retro, off Brick Lane, London on Saturday.

The guitarist from Razorlight was there and bought the new Throats/the_Network split from me after their performance.


(Props to art-king Simon Moody for pointing this out to me and providing evidence)

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

More artwork and packaging....

I finally (courtesy of Ellen) have a picture of the Ergon Carousel packaging. Also below is the artwork for the upcoming 'Happy Holy Roar Volume 2' tape - out for Christmas.

Pics of Devil Sold His Soul/Tortuga split 7" coming soon.....

Monday, 3 November 2008

JAPAN AND HOLY ROAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Before I explode with excitement, i'd first like to say that I saw Throats in Kingston last night. It is now simply fact that no-one else is as good as Throats full stop. Secondly if you haven't preordered their new split with (fellow destruction Kings) the_Network then you are clearly an absolute pansy, bed-wedding dickhead with no taste. It's the best Holy Roar release since the Phoenix Bodies album. FACT.

Anyway - todays sweet news is that Holy Roar has raised a huge deathly claw out of the UK and descended upon our eastern cousins in Japan! This translates as - we now in the beginning stages of an agreement with Fantome Records in Japan. The first release will be a compilation cd entitled 'Happy Holy Roar 1.1' on November 19th which, as the more astute of you have probably realised, is an update of the compilation tape we put out last Christmas. It has an updated tracklisting and modified artwork courtesy of the ever-awesome Dan Reeves. Here are some exclusive images (click the first image for tracklisting) -

We are hoping to get some of these in stock on import. So keep your eyes peeled for that. We will of course keep you informed with all other Japanese releases undertaken - there will hopefully be exclusive editions/releases coming up.....check out the Fantome Records website for more information.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

This week has been pretty cool.

I'll be honest - i'm not that often prone to bouts of unbridled enthusiasm, but this week has been more than a bit fun. It has been, admittedly, largely due to being paid for my services last week (no - not like that, thank you), so perhaps right now i'm inclined to disagree with the mantle that 'money does not equal happiness'. I'd also like to point out that I am still quite stupid for spending money that simply made my overdraft look slightly less worrisome. Alas - this is my approach to money generally.

Anyway, it started off with a DJ set at the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch, London on Monday night. The Ghost Frequency and Televised Crimewave played to a packed room and I showered their eardrums with the likes of Paul Simon, Set Your Goals, Prince, Slipknot, Chromatics covering Kate Bush and masses of other awful music. Delightful.

Tuesday I ventured up to the Buffalo Bar in Islington to see Pulled Apart By Horses. Had drinks and food with the band and Ellen Holy Roar prior to the gig too, which was wicked. It snowed alot and was cold, and, the pub we were in, The Famous Cocks fittingly managed to play 'Let it snow' just as it started to cane it down. It goes without say that Pulled Apart By Horses were fabulous live, and I indulged in the Buffalo Bars chocolate cake vodka. Yum.

On Thursday I went to the Good Ship in Kilburn to see This Town Needs Guns and Brontide. I always forget how much of a trip this feels on the jubilee line, but luckily I had Mark Throats to keep me company. Two other awful bands played, but luckily Brontide were absolutely storming. It was also really nice to see all the Brontide lot, artist extraordinaire Simon Moody, The TTNG boys and a few other nice faces.

Friday I met up for a couple of lunchtime drinks with Darren Taylor of Rocksound, went to Rough Trade East, went to Oxford circus, got drinks with another friend, then met up with socialite Alice Thomas, ex-November Coming Fire George and ex-Murder of Rosa Luxemburg Steve (+gf) for dinner at Pizza Express. I was already a bit tipsy by this point. We then all went to see Doomriders, which was fun, and good to chat to Tortuga and a few other people.

Woke up late Saturday, and drove to Dulwich Village with my housemate Ben Stop Scratching and his lovely girlfriend Cassie (who, weirdly, has just been sampled as the chorus for a new Hawnay Troof song!). We had a sweet, lazy pub lunch (Steak and mushroom sandwich, mulled wine, sticky toffee pudding and Americano coffee) followed by a trip to a nice little deli.

Good times.

Playlist, purchases and things I have acquired -

Krallice - s/t
Gang Gang Dance - Saint Dymphna
Friendly Fires - s/t
Steve Moore - 2003 demo+bonus track
Maruta - In Narcosis
Beneath the Massacre - Dystopia
Pig Destroyer - Natasha
Wetnurse - Invisible City
The Bronx - III
Tortuga - Kings of Albany
Pulled Apart By Horses - Meat Balloon 7"+cd

Tuesday, 28 October 2008


So I haven't posted on here ages. I went away for two weeks with Rolo Tomassi on their tour with Blood Red Shoes. Prior to that I was running around like a headless chicken trying to get as much finalised as possible. Here are some highlights -

Managing to scrape/dent the side of the van on day four in Leeds. Well done Alex. This was combated by Pizza Cano. Ever been to Leeds or live in Leeds and not done Pizza Cano? Your Loss. The best takeaway pizza in the country, and only around a fiver.

Epic post gig drives (Portsmouth to Sheffield, Leeds to Edinburgh etc etc).

The incredible scenery on the way to Aberdeen.

Steve Ansell and Laura-Mary Carter of Blood Red Shoes and their tech Reuben Gotto (who also plays in the awesome Johnny Truant) being so nice to me and Rolo Tomassi it was untrue. Not only do Blood Red Shoes KILL IT live every night, they come from a place where looking out for support bands is a must, and so we get 'paid' to do their merch so we can eat because bullshit dickhead promoters think that not even providing a travelling support band with a loaf of bread is acceptable. Fuck you Portsmouth promoter especially. On top of this Steve sees that we plan to drive to Edinburgh after the Aberdeen show (a 4 hour journey) and books us a travelodge for the night. We proceed to stay up half the night with BRS drinking wine and Whiskey. Unbelievable. Blood Red Shoes - we honestly could not have more respect for you. Amazing people, amazing band.

Rolo Tomassi celebrating such niceness (and saying thank you in a way) by stripping down to pairs of Blood Red Shoes pants in the Mean Fiddler in front of 1000 people. It was quite a sight to behold. Pictures please?

Starbucks Caramel Macchiato.

Morrisons Banana split dessert.

Rolo Tomassi doing Cockney impressions.

Rolo Tomassi at the BBC Electric Proms in Liverpool, playing to Huw Stephens/Radio 1 people and John Peels family (an invite only audience). Interview in a lift with Huw Stephens (another lovely bloke), Tom Ravenscroft being hot as usual, and Rolos doing a snippet of 'Oh Hello Ghost' on acoustic guitar and piano for BBC North-West lunchtime TV news. I'm trying to get a copy of that, but in the interim, watch Rolo at the Electric Proms.

Meeting Frank and Steph Carters dad.

Being shown James, Eva and Joe N from Rolo Tomassi in a previous incarnation on CITV when when they were 11/12 by James and Evas mum. Hilarious.

I've probably forgotten stuff, but those were some obvious highlights

....i've probably forgotten a bunch of stuff, but those were some obvious highlights. Last night I dj'ed at Old Blue Last again (fun times), tonight i'm seeing Pulled Apart By Horses, Thursday is Brontide @ the Good Ship and Friday is Doomriders! Phew!

Listening -

Andrew WK
Blood Red Shoes

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

It had to happen sooner or later.

This is my Bring Me The Horizon post.

I first saw Bring Me The Horizon play in Coventry at the Jailhouse in August or September 2005 before their debut ep came out (Oct 2005 approx - although im sure there was a delay on it). At this point they were a bunch of really skinny kids who looked like early Norma Jean (hell - Oliver Sykes' email address at the time was even a Norma Jean lyric). There was, live at least, elements of that sound there too. I thought they were really good, really energetic and only played 4 songs that each were around the 5 minute mark. It was clear they were destined for bigger things. If anyone wants proof of how different they looked back then, just grab an original copy of the debut ep (if you have one). I had 5 copies of this original pressing due to doing a trade with 30 Days of Night - god I should have hung on them!

Old Pic (but not as good as the pic on the back of the ep)

Then the band signed to Visible noise, the ep got reissued, they made their debut album (which was solid and did its job for the time, if unremarkable in retrospect) and they all got fatter and started having shitter hair and clothes - not sure why this happened. Of course the soap opera really cranked up too - hair extensions falling out live, 'pissing' on a girl and the subsequent court case, pics of Oliver being sucked off by a girl on the internet, allegedly punching a staff member of kerrang on the Reading/Leeds/Kerrang awards weekend......you name it, it's happened. I'm sure there is more too.

I think it's also worth pointing out that the artwork for both the debut ep and the first album are really non-genre specific - neither allude at all to what the band sound like and get a big thumbs up from me.

Now, of course, Suicide Season, the second album, has just been released. The artwork isn't as original/non-specific as previous releases - ironically it looks quite a bit like a newer Norma Jean record or a Scarlet record. Produced by legendary Swedish metal dude Fredrik Nordström, it obviously is sonically amazing. Musically its easily also the strongest thing they have done. Sure - Bury Your Dead want their guitar tone and style of playing back for a bunch of the songs, but at least BMTH are making a conscious effort to not repeat themselves and inject ideas all over the places. Many of the ideas may have been down to Fredrik Nordström, but at least they are there. The lyrics, whilst quite silly alot of the time, also display honesty if nothing else - singing about girls, drinking and personal matters. So, in all, its not original or lyrically very intelligent but it's a hell of a lot of fun.

I, for one, am quite happy (regardless of all the easy slagging thrown at these bands) that British bands like Bring Me The Horizon, Gallows and Rolo Tomassi are all making varying marks. None of them sing or are commercial in any traditional sense. We should be grateful for them all, in a very general sense, I think. It's alot more interesting than Funeral For A Friend or Bullet For My Valentine now isn't it?

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Blogging that is good, rather than trying to kill new releases

Yeah ok, the internet is gay, cheers Anal Cunt and I fight against it every day in one way or another or something. Buuuuuut, recently my attention has been grabbed by a few blogs that seem to do things in a way that is kind of a bit more honourable and respectable, bringing back some releases from the dead or highlighting some off the wall gems.

Worship and Tribute - this dude is seemingly in his early twenties or late teens, but has a massive grip on both guitar play and techniques as well as an ear for some pretty odd music, amongst some classic screamo and post rock. Well worth checking - i've discovered some amazing albums here.

The Dying Machine - shit name for a blog, but luckily it just covers LOADS of stuff that never got released/is out of print/well rare etc etc. There's a Ruination post on it somewhere. They are fucking amazing.

Cephalochromoscope - even shitter name for a blog. This one is totally brutal and the dude has a total boner for Japan. Loads of awesome old grindcore. Don't be a pussy all your life.

In other news, this is why The Ergon Carousel are already legendary -

Well done Oliver, you never let me down. I do love you.

In further news - come to the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch tonight. I'm dj'ing the main bar from 9pm til close. It could be amusing!

Last on the menu this morning, god bless the internet for allowing everything that TV will not -

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Weird dreams and amazing times.

Last night I had such a bizarre dream and so vivid too. I dreamt I was walking up the stairs of a house (not mine, not my parents') with my mum and sister. I was reiterating for the millionth time that my sister was going to bed too late and that 9pm was a sensible time for a 12 year old to go to bed. When we got into my sisters bedroom in this new house, we looked out the window to see that it was really windy and that there was a helicopter trying to land in the field in front of the house. It was so windy that it looked like the helicopter was bouncing off the ground, because it couldn't land due to the wind. The helicopter obviously wasnt doing itself any good, and soon this method of attempted landing was resulting in part of the helicopter ripping off - first a rotary blade smashed into a ground floor window of the house, then part of the tail smashed into the house. Then huge branches began to smash into the cars outside the house. For some reason I owned a Land Rover (i dont - I own a Golf). When the storm died down, we went outside to look at the cars - there was 3 windows broken on my car and many more broken on the other two cars (another Land Rover and some kind of weird Saloon car that my mum said 'was new'). We decided that we wouldn't claim for my broken windows on the insurance, to keep my premium from going up.

What was the point in that!

On Monday night Rolo Tomassi launched their album in the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch, London. Rumours abound that approx 250 people were there (official capacity = 80). Rumours also abound that all of Gallows were there (certified), members of Metronomy and some model called Alice Dellal. This was easily one of the best shows this year. It was chaos. A wall of death happened. Masses of stagediving happened. There was also so many people I knew there it was untrue. Classic pic - http://www.flickr.com/photos/hollyerskine/2880872830/ - if anyone has more pics please let me know. The aftershow part at The Macbeth got horribly horribly messy. Suffice to say - yesterday was a write-off. But seriously, go and buy Hysterics now if you havent - the cd and vinyl have different artwork, both look incredible, well done Hassle.

Rediscovery of the day - The Other Side Of The Sky: 'Rorschach' is such a good album. They kinda take the Isis template but really use way more awesome post-rock textures and have a waaaay more kinda Kyuss/fuzz vibe. I'm usually bored to tears by music liek this, but this has genuine variation and emotion.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

I love Prince

Prince is amazing. Every few months something happens that reminds me of this. So why in HELL did Kate Nash cover Purple Rain? I realise im quite far behind with this piece of news, but its so horrible. Ruining musical legacies!!!!!!!!

Iglu and Hartly are also really bad. And so are that Flobots band. BAN IT ALL.

On a better note - we as Holy Roar decided to give away two free releases today by Cutting Pink With Knives and Maths. Go see our website for details.

On friday night i got shouted at by chavs at a hipster clubnight in Birmingham for playing Hip Hop. I also had people messing with the decks. I was also sober due to illness. I think I may remain sober. My love affair with Birmingham has ended. I also had drummer problems. No point ranting about that.

Rolo Tomassi party night tomorrow night.

Listening -

TV on the Radio - Dear Science
Prince - Purple Rain/1999

Sunday, 14 September 2008

I have stuff for sale!

CDs/Vinyl/Stuff for sale. Please make offers. Bundle them up for extra cheapness. Ill go even cheaper if you want stuff posted without jewel cases. Just wanna get rid of everything! I’m aware some of it is highly amusing stuff!

Please email me at holyroarrecords@hotmail.com or reply here.

Mastodon/American Heritage – split picture disc
Thrice/Thursday – split on glass bottle type colour vinyl
Jenny Piccolo – picture disc
Harkonen – Hung to dry (green vinyl)
Holy Molar/Ex Models – dark purple vinyl
Beecher/The Leif Ericson – split
Among the missing/red stars parade – split
An Albatross/XBXRX – split on clear red vinyl
Ground Unicorn Horn

Home Video – that you might/dialogue box
Mass movements of the moth – Finale
Dysrythmia/xthoughtstreamsx – split
Wolves of Greece

Textbook Traitors/Forensics – split in foil type bag
Alias and Tarsier – Dr C/5 Year Eve
The Exelar/Towers – Early Demonstrations (clear vinyl/clear packaging)
Godflesh – songs of love and hate
Jesu – 2x picture disc of debut lp. TEST PRESSING numbered 24/30 White pic disc
Kid Kilowatt – guitar method (clear vinyl
Time in Malta – Construct and Demolish
Kayo Dot/Bloody Panda - Split 12” TEST PRESSING numbered 1 of 5

30 seconds to mars – a beautiful lie (us version with bjork cover as secret track etc)
Alec Empire – The Ride (cd1 and cd2)
Amen – Buy America (cd numbered 2/2000)
Animosity – Shut It Down
The Bled – Found In The Flood
Brujeria – Mextremist Hits
Ec8or – World Beaters
Embrace Today – we are the enemy (in slipcase)
Fight Paris – Paradise, Found
Fiedlys Dreams – Rock n Roll Gangster
Fear Before The March of Flames – Odd how people shake
Fear Before The March of Flames – art damage
Fear Before The March of Flames – the always open mouth
The Fall of Troy - s/t
Mudvayne – the end of all things to come
Byzantine – the fundamental component
Chimaria – The Impossiblity of reason
Citizen – manifesto for the new patriot
Converge – Caring and Killing
Craw – bodies for strontium
Crazytown – darkhorse
Cold – s/t
Cold – 13 ways to bleed onstage
Defenestration/Scurge – Year of the Slug
36 crazyfists – rest inside the flames
Foo Fighters – one by one
Heaven Shall Burn – Antigone
In Flames – Trigger ep+dvd
Kittie – Oracle
Killswitch Engage – the end of heartache
Kid Rock – Cocky
The Forecast – Late Night Conversations
Jeroan Drive – Deathrow Industry
Leng Tche – Marasmus
Coldworker – The Contaminated Void
Madina Lake – from them, through us, to you
xLooking Forwardx – The Path We Treat
Dysrhythmia – Pretest
Rosetta/Balboa – Project Mercury
Attack Vipers – the mirror and the destroyer
Horse The Band – a natural death
Fighting With Wire – man vs monster
Hot Chip – coming on strong
Expectorated Sequence – Hairbomb
Guapo – Elixirs
Neon Blonde – s/t
Neuraxis – Truth Beyond (2xcd)
Secondmonday – Rewrites wont coverup
Scars of Tomorrow – design your fate
Send More Paramedics – the hallowed and the heathen
Send More Paramedics – the awakening (2xcd)
Thy Kingdom Come – through bleeding eyes
Tribute to Nothing – wrench (signed!)
Sika Redem – Entheogen
Tura Satana – relief through release
Under a dying sun – supernova
Tusk – The resisting dreamer (with weird slipcase)
Undying – the whispered eyes of angels
The Ocean – fogdiver
Skinless – from sacrifice to survival
Slaves of Dope – Inches from the mainline
The Vanishing – still lifes are failing
Xbxrx – wars
You Judas – Discover mutiny
The Sound of Animals Fighting – lover, the lord has left us….
Snub – the harvest
Snowblood – the human tragedy
Snowblood – being and becoming
Polysics – do or die!!!
Polysiucs – now is the time!
Tricky – Knowle West Boy
Attack in Black – Marriage
See You Next Tuesday – 3 song cd
Sugar Coma – what goes around ep
Spark lights the friction – cocaine honeymoon
Subvert – assisted sucides
Proudhon – the joy of sex
Raging speedhorn – how the great have fallen (promo in slimline jewelcase)
Sword – lord by fire
Tang – another thousand days out of this world


Hiscox bass hardcase (brand new)

Thursday, 11 September 2008

A general post of bits and bobs....

1. The new Bleeding Through album - 'Declaration' - is shit. I have a soft spot for this band, as they have stayed at my house/hung out a few times over the years. So it's kinda disappointing. Few people seemed to pick up on the fact that last record 'The Truth' was, tonally, pretty damn good - the guitars took a leaf out of the Entombed/old dirty Swedish death book. On this record the kick drum has 'God Hates Us All' Slayer syndrome (CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK) and it sounds like the guitars are consistently throbbing in time with drums - i guess this was done to try and give both instruments 'punch' - it has failed and makes me feel like my ears are fucking up.

2. It looks like Holy Roar (or specifically, me) is doing a radio show for Diesel music. Yes, the clothing brand. Slightly bizarre. Look here. 1-3pm on 17th September. I'm hoping to get Maths down for an acoustic session, as well as interviews with Throats and Gallows. And then i'll play loads of Holy Roar stuff and stuff I dig. Sweet.

3. Tombs were pretty sweet at the Old Blue Last on Monday night. They have just signed to Relapse. They sound like My Bloody Black Metal Valentine.

4. I'm hoping to go and see Blacklisted tonight at the Grosvenor. This should be insane. I might dope up on ibuprofen first though - have had some weird flu-esque aches for days now.

5. The Throats/the_Network cd is almost ready - im just waiting for final proofs/jpegs of the artwork.

6. The Ergon Carousel packaging is being made as we speak.

7. 2 Holy Roar t-shirts are on their way! Finally! These we should have end sept/early oct-ish.

Playlist -

Friendly Fires
New Throats songs
songs by Daedulus, K-The-I??? and King Cannibal.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Wrong? Right?

Is this the worst idea ever for a band called Violence or the best idea ever?

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Throats recording new material....

So yesterday (and later today) I have been/will be in Margate in Kent with Throats who are currently recording 3 brand new songs with Jamie Frye. The songs sound like Slipknot, Korn and Shellac. Only kidding! Its like everything you have already heard from Throats x1000 - there is a clear progression, with this band now evidently finding their feet. It's quite to put into words but there is more shredding, it's darker, its faster, its tuned lower, its more direct, its more epic. It's an awesome step. Fingers crossed - this should come out a monster. These 3 songs will surface on a split release with the_Network in November.

This saturday i've got a practice with a new band. I hope it can get off the ground a little bit. 6-piece. Called Violence. Watch this space.....

In other musings - it's weird seeing Rolo Tomassi on the cover of Plan B. Talk about coming a long way. Read Ellens Blog for a more amusing musing/comparison on the topic. They also have their new album available for preorder now via our friends at Hassle Records. It should look (and does sound) incredible.

I'm guiltily enjoying Norma Jeans new album - I should hate it as they continue to get more and more melodic and lose the essence of what made them special in the first place, but the songs are very well written. Leave the snobbery at the door. Also listening to lots of Wiley, Pivot and Trash Talk.

Finally i'm djing in the main bar at Old Blue Last, Shoreditch, London on Friday 26th September. Lovvers are playing upstairs. Should be a sweet night.

Friday, 29 August 2008

New Holy Roar Preorders up now!

so today i banged this out in a few places -

Devil Sold His Soul / Tortuga Split 7" Vinyl.


A1 Devil Sold His Soul - Crane Lake
B1 Tortuga - The Tomb of John Wortley (1857)
B2 Tortuga - Dance Like No-one's Watching


Brand new exclusive track from possibly the leading light in British post-metal, Devil Sold His Soul. An absolute epic that works its way through melody, aggression and reflection with ease.

Tortuga unearth their long sold-out demo that landed them a deal with In At The Deep End. These two tracks possess a sound that appears to sit at a stark crossroad between the elemental power of Cult of Luna, the churning complexity of Breather Resist or Botch and the punk attitude of Fucked Up and Hot Snakes.

Comes in card sleeve with card insert and maroon vinyl. Limited to 500 copies ever! Only available from us and the bands - this will not appear in shops or on itunes etc. PREORDER SHIPS TO ARRIVE 6TH OCTOBER APPRROX.

Ergon Carousel preorders will begin within a week or two hopefully. Two Holy Roar t-shirts are on the way too......its certainly busy times!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

New jams....

I think I really need to be in a new band or two. There is a couple of things bubbling under the surface, but nothing concrete really as of now. I have decided I think this is what has been wrong with me lately. Time to put the wheels in motion a little bit more....

I'm going to put up a bunch of new stuff on the player on the Holy Roar Myspace today and generally do some updating - so should have new tracks from Ergon Carousel, the_Network, Tortuga and Devil Sold His Soul up today hopefully.

We are now (honestly!!!) putting together a Holy Roar t-shirt or two and will bundle them with all new releases too if they are ready in time. Maybe some other new shirts too - we defo want to crank this angle up. Suggestions and ideas and artists all welcome.

Playlist -

Fuck the Facts - Disgorge Mexico
Recon - Welcome to Viper City
Acacia Strain - Continent
Slipknot - All Hope Is Gone
Pivot - O Soundtrack My Heart
Trash Talk - s/t album
Late of The Pier - Fantasy Black Channel
Metaform - Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
Lil Chris - Gettin' Enough
The Source - You got the love
Bloc Party - Intimacy
Norma Jean - The Anti Mother
Lady Sovereign - Public Warning!
Walls of Jericho - The American Dream
Bring Me The Horizon - new video/new song

NEW BLACKOUT CREW VIDEO!! These dudes are like GLC, but from Bolton or something and real! Too AMAZING! -

Sunday, 17 August 2008

I've been on holiday...

....hence the neglect of this blog. Sorry. I went to the Greek island of Kos. It averaged 35/36 degrees celcius everyday. This is pretty much what I did -

- played tennis/had tennis lessons everyday. Loads of fun. I was the group king at 'Spanish Tennis'. I think I should have also won the 'most consistent server' award.

- Lay by a swimming pool reading 'London Fields' by Martin Amis (I highly recommend it, so far - I didn't finish it). Occassionally I jumped in the pool. Mostly though I looked over the brim of my book, in my huge white sunglasses, staring at posh British girls in bikinis. Difficult. I did not talk to any of them however as they were generally surrounded by 16 yr old boys with perfect bodies. Bastards.

- Went in a canoe once. It hurt my shitty, CPWK-ruined, hips. On a separate occassion I swam in the sea and saw lots of fish including a sneaky little Plaice.

- Ate 3 buffet style meals a day. Rather than ever be sensible and have just one dish, I would usually stick tiny bits of lots of dishes on my plate. This was sometimes amazing, sometimes a disaster. Pancakes+apple strudel+pain au chocolat+greek yoghurt for breakfast? Caesar salad+grilled aubergene+cheese+seafood pasta+roast lamb+mussels????? Hmmmmm.

- Drinking loads of 'Sex on the Beach' cocktails, coronas and the occassional gin and tonic in the evenings due to their being nothing else to do in the evenings and also due to the depressing fact that i wasn't utilising my double room with any of the aforementioned girls. I hate you posh girls - it's not my fault im fat, bald and ugly honest!!!

That was it. It was too hot. It was very relaxing, but I get 'itchy feet' or something and ended up not really getting off on the 'doing nothing'-ness of it all.

I haven't updated the website yet, so this is a blog exclusive (the thrill!), we are releasing all the following before the end of 2008 -

-Devil Sold His Soul/Tortuga split 7" - limited to 500 copies, new DSHS song, Tortuga tracks taken from their sold out demo. Coloured vinyl - only available from the bands and direct from Holy Roar.
- The Ergon Carousel (cdr/digital) - this will come in handscreened packaging courtesy of D!L!P!R! and will be limited to 100 physical copies. Dont know who this band are? It's 3/5 Narcosis, 1/5 Beecher, 1/4 Carmen. Get excited. Grind your face off.
- Happy Holy Roar compilation tape volume 2. Again limited to 100 copies. Last year volume 1 sold out in a week. Volume 2 will be even better.
- Throats/the_Network split cd. Both bands rule. the_Network will be over in the uk in November. If i have to justify this release to you, I hate you.
- Data.Select.Party - cdep. We will be helping out Fear and Records with this one. Am ironing out details now. The best summery-pop guitar band in the UK by far. Don Cab/Minus the Bear writing huge pop songs. Amazing.

This week - Rolos @ Barfly w/ You Me At Six, Throats w/ Gallows, Kerrang Awards. Probably more. Phew.

Monday, 4 August 2008


Band of the day is clearly Krallice. Colin from Behold...The Arctopus and Dysrythmia and Mick from Orthrelm/Octis etc plus some other dudes doing what is (essentially) black metal. However - the production is awesome (again courtesy of Colin), Mick shreds some solos which elevates this above the usual and, most weirdly of all, it actually has an insanely melodic, emotive, epic feeling to it. These are literally the best black metal riffs I have heard, possibly ever. It's actually surprising that none of the integrity is lost considering how catchy some of this seems to me.

I think I want to start documenting my favourite ever songs and albums, but am not sure how to do it yet. Its a big task!

Last night I cooked this and it was king.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Something that is annoying me....

Can everyone please stop using the word(s) 'minimalist' and 'minimalism', please?!?!

'Minimalist Techno'
'Minimalist Club Night'
'Minimalism inspired metal'

...and thats just three from the last few days. Is this word trendy or something? Shut up! I swear people are just applying the word to things that have absolutely nothing to do with the context of the word just because they've seen it banded about a bit and think "Ja, dahling, gotta stay hip, yeah?"

In other news - fuck your Cursed records and go back and listen to Ruination. Fuck yeah.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008


I lived, in my formative years (11-18 full-time, then intermittently through Uni), in a village called Aylburton on the edge of the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. Its an area that, for kids, is pretty much boring as fuck but has a lot of character in terms of its people and the local dialect.

Some articles for reference -


Me and my close couple of friends, growing up, were highly amused by the dialect. Not in a rude/disrespectful way - it was just genuinely a world unto its own. Some key phrases -

"Ow Bis Ol' Butt?" = How are you old friend?
"Yer Tiz!" = Here it is.

There were many many more. From this lifelong amusement, grew an injoke between me and my friends that A forest of dean hardcore band would be hilarious with many farming references and all lyrics/vocals in the local dialect. Yesterday I paid tribute to this by getting the following -

FDHC. Forest of Dean Hardcore. Get in.

[Sad little side-fact. I sold a copy of the Maths/Throats cd on Holy Roar to someone in Woolaston, a village two miles from my village, and also the village where one of my best mates, Stuart grew up. It was an honour posting that one. I'm just dying to send a cd to Aylburton now]

Today has been all about Found Dead Hanging and Torche. Please check out and remember and revisit Found Dead Hanging. Too killer if you like your tech-metal - really off the wall weird, but still with a groove. Awesomely unique band.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

2 amazing things for today....

....a book and a band.

Book: 'Old Rare New: The Independent Record Shop' by Emma Pettit.

Amazing book - lovely layout, great pictures, great interviews and musings about records and record stores. For anyone out there who only really downloads music these days, or for anyone young enough who considers downloading to be the best way of getting/collecting music - I URGE you to read this. Essential for music geeks like me and essential education for everyone else.

Band:More Than Life

Pretty forgettable band name unfortunately, but what a fucking band. This is Hell meets Set Your Goals? The Movielife meets Dead Swans? Either way this is the amazing - the UK really needs more bands like this - melodic hardcore without sounding cheesy or cliched.

Monday, 28 July 2008

I made myself a playlist/compilation...

...it's not in any real order. My compilations are always a bit all over the shop musically.

1. Tar....Feathers - Half A Sentence
2. Bloodlined Caligraphy - Saturday Night in Dixie
3. The Dream Is Dead - Who Rules Bartertown
4. The Endless Blockade - Death to Spies
5. Enemy Soil - Sentencing
6. Errors - Salut! France
7. Eyehategod - Peace Thru War (Thru War and Peace)
8. Wolf Parade - Soliders Grin
9. Frankmusik - Done Done
10. Ghostlimb - The Force That Gives Us Meaning
11. White Denim - Shake Shake Shake
12. Health - Triceratops (acid girls remix a)
13. Job For A Cowboy - Reduced to Mere Filth
14. Killing The Dream - Thirty Four Seconds
15. Loma Prieta - Worn Path
16. Lykke Li - Im Good Im Gone
17. Maruta - Behind The Steel Curtain
18. MGMT - Electric Feel
19. Midnight Juggernauts - Road To Recovery
20. Narrows - Life Vest Float, Kids Dont
21. Envy - Conclusion of Existence
22. Pissed Jeans - Fantasy World
23. Rolo Tomassi - Oh, Hello Ghost
24. Wiley - If You're Going Out, I'm Going Out Too
25. Scarlett Johansson - Song For Jo
26. Suicide Note - Black Snow
27. the_Network - Rabid Electronics
28. The Ergon Carousel - Hindsight is a wonderful thing...
29. Waco Fuck - Abstract
30. Weekend Nachos - Prioritize
31. Cult of Luna - Ghost Trail

Some notes (number=track number, durrr) -

1. Had this on my computer ages, had it in our distro, I really should have kept it. Stand out track, odd indie I guess.
4. Endless Blockade, Weekend Nachos, Waco Fuck etc etc etc powerviolence/grind is currently awesome!
5. Richard Johnson is a fucking king. This is like proto agoraphobic nosebleed.
6. I wish the whole album was like this song.
7. Dopesick by Eyehategod is suuuuuuuuuuuch a classic album that I have recently rediscovered.
8. New album is grower- but maybe in honesty there is only really like 4 memorable songs. Its still all good though.
9. His album WILL be amazing. This song, along with '3 little words' is the best he has done. Untouchable.
11. Garage rock is supposed to be shit and to have gone out of fashion. White Denim have torn up the rulebook and made it awesome.
13. I dont give a fuck - this song has a sweet riff in it. Im not cool, I dont give a shit. Fuck your 'cool' points.
14. This Is Hell opened the doors for me to this type of hardcore. This song rules.
15. Thanks to worshipandtributemedia.blogspot.com for introducing this band to me.
17. When will the album be out? So amazingly crushing.
18. Most of the album is boring but this is such a summer tuuuuuuuuuuune.
19. Possibly the only really good song on this album.
20. Botch+punk = Narrows.
22. Again - possibly the only tune of theirs that has really grabbed me.
25. The only original song on her album of Tom Waits covers. Its great.
26. This band have changed so much - I really like the new album and now need to revisit all the back catalogue.
28. Ive already talked about this band. The only good uk grind band.
31. I always buy Cult of Luna albums - the new one is pretty good-ish, but this is the only really remarkable song - it gets fast!!!

ps diet cherry coke tastes shit.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Lets review some demos!

Each week Holy Roar gets loads of demos to our P.O. Box. For the FIRST TIME EVER (and maybe last) i'm going to review the current pile sat next to me. Yes we do listen to at least a bit of every demo sent! Some hints though - we really dont care if you have played 'Peterborough's premier venue', nor do we care if you are grossly musically inappropriate for our label - LISTEN to our bands before sending something. Please understand also that nothing written here is personal - I dont know you, i'm sure you're lovely and i'm sure you're heart is in the right place and you listen to good music.

So here we go.....

First up is Atheist Temple. They seem to centre around either a brother and sister or a married couple, it's not made clear. The demo was recorded before recruiting a rhythm section and has a drum machine. The riffs are very basic, the guitar sounds like it was recorded into a computer, the drum machine is boring, the vocals are amateur and the lyrics are abysmal. 2/10

Next is The Halcyon Glow. Kind of an indie band with, according to them, post-rock and progressive tendancies. The recording sounds ok for a demo - the vocals are perhaps a little loud and whilst not bad, arent really amazing. Kinda vaguely makes me think of new Earth going pub-indie on the intro. The first song is 9 minutes - but not for any real good reason as far as I can see. 'Prog' and 'post-rock' doesnt mean playing for ages unfortunately. There is also solos scattered throughout that are really horrible in a kind of classic rock/80's rock kinda way. 4 or 5/10.

Now - Rise of Raphia. This sounds like Everytime I Die+Dillinger etc etc - unfortunately quite obvious as to who are the influences. Its still solid, well played and decent sounding, but quite unremarkable. 6/10

Film Noir are from Paris. Rolo Tomassi have a song called 'Film Noir' on the ep we released. This might explain why they sent us a demo, it might not. The disc doesnt work, so i'm listening via their website. Really shit boring indie. Clearly didn't listen to our labels output. 1/10

The Rampton Release Date have sent a 12 track album which includes lyrics. Awful packaging/artwork. Kinda sounds like the Exploited if they were a bunch of dads down the pub. 2/10

Young Hollywood sound exactly like Motorhead jamming with Everytime I Die. Quite fun - but you wonder whether the vocalist has arrived at this sound out of choice or through limitation. Not very original - some big ETID rip-offs. 6/10

Fury of the Headteachers (worst band name ever) are kinda lo-fi garagey/quirky rock. Really not very good at all, horrible recording, vocals, and songs. 1/10

Shilling Whores also have a terrible band name. They are shit. This is getting really depressing now. Bad pub rock whatever. 0/10.

Now - xmaslights. Starts with bad metal vocals and stuff. In fairness this band also have big post-rock style bits, but it doesnt sit very well together in all honesty. They should ditch the metal and they would be loads better. 2/10 for the metal 5/10 for the more epic parts.

No Kilter have a nice loud, clear sounding demo. They are playing t in the park and they have a UK tour that ended yesterday. Well done for having a work ethic, seriously. They used to be on Lockjaw and now want a new label. This is easily the best thing so far. I'm not sure what Holy Roar could or would do with a band like this or whetehr this is a 'Holy Roar' band - but it is very good. Im defo gonna keep tabs on these dudes, they deserve to do something. Talented and clearly know what needs to be done. 9/10

Now we have Between The Screams. Metal with keyboards. Vocalist isnt all that great and does singing too thats kinda odd. Music is 'epic' but dull. I think they love Devil Sold His Soul, In Flames, Bleeding Through and beatdown stuff etc, but fall short of the mark. 4/10

Trial of Fifty have a nice twangy discordant sound. There's defo some JR Ewing and the ilk in here. Nice recording too at City of Dis studios. Vocalist sounds a bit like the dude from Mewithoutyou, but not as good. It treads a line. This is solid stuff though - well written, nice sounds, energetic. 7/10

Finally for todays batch we have Habsyll. Clearly Khanate fans is the first thing that springs to mind = instant little underground audience for this lot! These dudes clearly know what they are doing - and clearly have their own thing going on. Huge swathes of noise, odd drumming, odd sounds, it reall ysounds fucked up - totally slow and brual and grimm. This is awesome. Will also keep tabs on this. 9/10

Bands.....what is your problem?

I am offering to release something by you and spend money on you.
I am offering to put you on a show and pay you money.
I am offering to put you on a compilation cd for Japan.
I am managing you and you cant be bothered to reply and/or tell me what's happening.

There is 4/5 of you in each of these bands and not one of you can take 2 minutes to write an email?

Why do I bother?

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

A strange little loop/connection from my past....

I used to be in a band called Seducedwomandead when I was based in Birmingham. We used to do a cover of a song called 'Congratulations on your impending nuptuals' by Mara Akate.


This is the cover, recorded live in my old house (at one of the house shows we used to do) in December 2005. We wanted to record this song properly but never got round to it.

A short time later I release 'Raise The Bullshit Flag' by Phoenix Bodies on Holy Roar. I then find out that 2 members of Pheonix Bodies used to be in Mara Akate. Strange, but nice, coincidence!!!

Cruisin' for Wall-e

Last night I went to see Wall-e in Wandsworth. On the way I picked up my friend Larry (the dude on the cover of 'Populuxxe' by Cutting Pink With Knives). I smuggled in some Pepsi Max and a small chocolate bar as well as taking advantage of 'cheap Tuesday' at this cinema. Cinema and snack for £6. Yeah.

Wall-e is amazing. It probably doesn't need any more praise whatsoever. I am a big big Pixar films fan anyway, but this is up there with the best. Cute robots are the best. Its easily a solid 9/10. Next week: Batman......

Driving back to my place, ignoring some speed limits, on the quiet streets of London, with it warm enough to have the windows down, blasting Late of the Pier, Outputmessage (amazing underrated album), Tokyo Police CLub and other anfums was the best.

Currently amazing -

Loma Prieta - Last City
Suicide Note - Empty Rooms

Feist on Sesame Street -

Awesome awesome METAL for REAL americans. Thought AOAA were bad? Think again! -

Tuesday, 22 July 2008


CPWK, last song ever.

I have a million shitty Youtube videos I could post about and random Holy Roar news, but today, nothing else needs to be said.

Quote of the day (someone out of Foot Village) - "Most worthwhile things require some sort of bravery, but it is better not to think of them as risks. That implies some sort of justified fear, and fear in any form is not justified. Fear is evil through and through. Even when things don't work out the way one hoped, or even bring about terrible results, there are always more amazing things on the way for those who keep following their bliss. Risk is nothing."

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Last night....

....I dreamt that a small chinese man was hassling me in my street, asking me to drive him to Bolton on Christmas Day. I was like "That'll cost you at least £6 sorry mate".....so he toddles off and comes back with 30p presses it into my hand and goes "That enough? That enough?"


Wednesday, 9 July 2008

I'm not writing enough I know.....

.....but loads has been happening.

This week I have been ill. Falling asleep, aching, snotty, ache ache ache, cough cough ill. Call it what you want. But it has seriously destroyed my week. I was supposed to go see Comeback Kid/Dead Swans with a girl who I think is cool. But I had to cancel that and she went to the gig with someone else, and stuff, which kinda made me jealous. On Monday (during the onset of ill) I had to go pick up Rolo Tomassi from Victoria Train Station, take them to a lawyers office near Oxford Circus, then take them to Hassle Records - where they finally (officially) signed their record contract and toasted it with champagne. They got a bus from Sheffield to London - arrive din London at 2pm, then were on a megabus back towards Sheffield at 7pm. Whistlestop to say the least. I totally struggled through it feeling bad and it pissed it down mega-hard - it wasn't really much fun to be honest.

I think, in keeping with previous ill times, this illness was brought on by excess. This past weekend I went to Kotrijk in Belgium, where Cutting Pink With Knives played Farmfest with Sightings (Load Records) amongst other bands. It was awesome - an attractive french girl told me she wanted "Times of Grace [Neurosis] tattooed across her breast" - as she phrased it. The beer was great, me and Stu drank far too much of it resulting in silly photos, mass food fights, Stu running round with his tits out and loads of inappropriate jokes.....it was totally fun. We stayed the night with a dude called Vincent who helped organise the festival and he made us roast chicken and pork and gave us loads of drinks! So good! This is why we ended stuff with a few euro shows...

I've been very confused lately. Basically - from Jan 09, by all indications, I have options. I can a) stay in London and find a new person/people to live with b) move my stuff back into my parents house and try and stay on tour with Rolo Tomassi/Throats as much as possible as driver/tour manager, with a laptop to do Holy Roar c) Move somewhere else entirely and continue as I am essentially but with a kinda fresh start (unless I chose Birmingham) d) go to Canada or somewhere for like 2/3 months work ina bar, do loads of skiing and have a break e) some kinda combination of these. If anyone actually reads this I would love some thoughts and opinions.

Playlist -

Metallica - Some Kind of Monster DVD
White Denim - Workout Holiday
Triac - new 7"/cd
Suffocate For Fuck Sake - everything (why doesnt everyone know this band!!!)

Friday, 4 July 2008

I dont often do this...

....but this morning I have heard the best new UK band by a fucking mile. If you dont like this, I dont like you.

http://www.myspace.com/rocklikeergon - The Ergon Carousel

Rubbish band name, but when it's 3/5 of Narcosis, and dudes who used to be in Carmen and Beecher it really doesnt matter! Possibly faster than Narcosis and maybe with more defined riffs, its maybe Narcosis 2.0, but it is fucking amazing.

This band better tour and stuff. Keep an eye on this one....

Wednesday, 2 July 2008


I haven't updated in ages. Since last update I have been to Paris/Versailles, Chicago/Indianapolis and Cornwall. This weekend i'm off to Belgium.

I could write so much about these trips its untrue. Lets just say America was the best week of my life - fun food, amazing people to hang out with, Dudefest was incredible, bought too much stuff (the American dream) etc etc. France was with CPWK, Cornwall was with family, Belgium will be with CPWK.

There's photos on mine and Stuarts (my accomplice in trips to USA/France) Facebook - if you know me, check it out.

Here are some amusing videos related to the band Maths on Holy Roar. Firstly, a bizarre cover/music video -

Secondly, this came under the same search terms and amused me alot, but makes no sense -

Friday, 13 June 2008

2 things....

1. I saw Miquita Oliver (of T4 fame) coming out of a health food shop in Shoreditch yesterday. She proceeded to put ONE BAG of shopping in a large taxi, give the driver some money and then walk off. I can only presume she was getting the taxi driver to take her food shopping home for her? Hilarious! She looked pretty hot though.

2. Video of the day -

Seriously - what are these people like? People give money to these people for videos and stuff? Fucking hell. The world we live in is stupid.

Everyone else is talking about Health....

.....and for once all the 'industry' morons and hipsters were correct. Everyone was like 'live they nail it' and 'the drums! the DRUMS!' - and both sentiments are true - live they do nail and the drums are pretty sweet!

This conversion took place last night at a free gig at the Old Blue Last. Also playing were Comanechi (not very exciting) and Awesome Color. Awesome Color had a drummer who looked 12 and had a very squeaky voice. Wrong of me - but it was quite amusing. They just sounded (live at least) and looked like a bunch of stoners/dudes who did loads of acid in California in the early 80s. Pretty boring.

Health however make up for everything. With the Old Blue Last massively exceeding any form of health safety regulations surely (we would all burn in here), the band take a vaguely standard rock band set up of guitars and drums and rip it to pieces, making something that is always noisy as fuck, riff-tastic (in a deconstructed kinda way) and really danceable due to the drum power and drum-duelling. Not bad at all.

Playlist -

Waco Fuck - Paranoia is total awareness
Johnny Truant - No tears for the creatures
Look Back and Laugh - s/t 2 + state of illusion
Lykke Li - Youth Novels
Frankmusik - in step single
Rolo Tomassi - new album

Thursday, 12 June 2008

What Holy Roar does in its spare time....

....in the case of Ellen, it is dissing Anne Robinson on the Weakest Link -

Just thought I would dig that one up! This week has been characterised by MASS posting of Dananananaykroyd cd/thsirts and Maths/Throats cds/tshirts. I have spent so long in the post office it is untrue. The details are boring, but it was an ordeal. As I was parking by the post office I saw a banged up car of chavs drive into a parked BMW, laugh, then drive off. Nice.

New Holy Roar iMix -

New releases in the shops, Holy Roar mentions and appearances lately in NME, Huw Stephens on Radio 1, loads of Dananananaykroyd press, Maths in NME, article on Breakthroughradio, Articles/reviews on Rock Midgets, Rolos at Donwload this weekend, me in Paris this weekend, all is well. There is probably more.

Monday, 2 June 2008

PhD interview....

.....below is my answers for a PhD interview. I think its the most detailed interview I have ever done. I hope it's not too boring! Thanks to Tough Love Records.

How long has the label been in operation for, where are you based and what was your motivation for starting it?

The idea for the label birthed in Jan 2006, with our first release approx June 2006. We are based in south-east London. The motivation for starting the label was down to several factors –wanting to do more than a 9-5 job; having released a compilation cd in Birmingham and seeing it fail – wanting to try and correct previous label ‘wrongs’; seeing bands not getting the attention they deserved and not being released here; a void in the market in terms of consistent artwork/packaging aesthetics.

How did the compilation fail? Can you outline some of these ‘wrongs’?

The compilation was born out of a webzine I used to run called www.thecommunion.co.uk . The compilation had no theme – it was simply a mixture of local, national and international artists that we liked. It had some nice artwork too, but we had no distribution, pressed 1000 and sold approx 100 max. Which was a good way NOT to start a label in my eyes, in retrospect.

How many records have you released?

A debatable question. Our catalogue is now 15 releases – however 3 of those have been digital singles, and another is a reissue, so am not sure if they constitute full ‘releases’.

That’s an interesting distinction. Why is it that you don’t consider digital singles to be a ‘full’ release, as opposed to say vinyl or CD?

I guess if I think of it in a ’modern’ way – there is no distinction – it is still essentially putting music out there for consumption. However – I still view digital singles as more a ‘curio’ – a fun little thing. It just down to me being a snob I guess and still very much valuing good physical releases.

Is it the intangibility of a download that doesn’t appeal to you in the same way in which a physical record would?

Yes. And the instantaneous ‘fast food culture’ nature of it. ‘Give me the song now’ It’s a lack of patience, leading to lack of attention span, and the possible death of the concept of albums.

How do you find bands/artists to release?

It just happens. It differs from band to band. Maths – I toured with them and got to know them and realised they have the right ethic (as well as great music). Gallows – Lags from the band bought t-shirts off me on punktastic and that went from there. Bloody Panda – I bought their demo on a whim due to the cover artwork in a record shop in New York and then they saw that I was listening to it on a webzine and they got in touch and that went from there. Many varied tales!

How did Bloody Panda contact? Presumably the whole release must have been organised via email?

Yeah – they emailed me. They saw their demo on my playlist on www.thecommunion.co.uk - and got my email address from the website. It was indeed all organised via email and nothing else – although since the release I have met Josh from Bloody Panda in the flesh.

Would you say then that your relationships with bands mainly originate from ‘real life’ interaction? What role would you say the Internet plays in your discovery of new bands?

Well – with overseas artists the internet has been crucial for finding bands and having contact with them. However – the more astute out there might notice that no bands on Holy Roar have been from outside the UK since Kayo Dot, Bloody Panda and Phoenix Bodies, which were in our first batch of releases. That is not down to our experiences with these bands – rather that we figured we would rather cultivate relationships with bands who we can actually meet, talk to and see if we get along with them! We feel this is crucial at this stage. There is no singular, tangible reason as to why we feel like this, but it certainly works and makes us feel better about it all! But to actually answer your question – we have certainly come across some great bands via the internet, and sometimes this has led to a relationship being fostered with them after meeting them, chatting, seeing them play live etc….

How would you see the label functioning without the Internet. Would it even be possible?

Yes certainly – people had to use mail order networks and had to use record shops. I have no figures – but shops and mailorder probably did better business before the internet. But I don’t know to be honest – Its all very hypothetical asking me to think about a situation that is before my time as a teenager/adult I guess!

What are your long term ambitions for Holy Roar?

To keep on growing by whatever means. To be able to do it fully and not worry about my personal bills. For it to cultivate an image of good music, good packaging. I want it to be a stamp of approval – ‘holy roar = good’ - but never tied to a certain style or sound. Within reason.

Could you feasibly expect Holy Roar to earn you a sustainable income?

That’s the ‘crystal ball’ question! I would like to think so, but I think it perhaps a couple of years work away minimum. Having said that- who is to say we don’t find the next big thing and everything goes mental?

Did/do you go to University?

Yes – I studied Business Commerce at Birmingham University.

In what ways have you applied aspects of your education to Holy Roar?

Just in general concepts of being organised, presentations, marketing, business plans and so on. General over-arching concepts that I could vaguely apply rather than anything overly specific if that makes sense. To be honest I learnt much more (that I have carried on with me into the running of the label) via working in media agencies for 1.5 years after Uni – finances, lots of xl stuff that helps a lot, phone manners, email conduct, professionalism, how to do deal with people, coping with stressful situations etc. I recommend a chunk of ‘real work’ experience over a washy/general degree any day. Not that I am in any way devaluing a degree or tainting all degrees with this brush.

So, you’d advocate a learning by doing approach? And how much did you know about html et al before setting up the label?

Certainly advocate a learning by doing approach. I’ve purely self taught html etc due to necessity from the label.

How many people work at the label and what’s your role? Are there any people outside of the label that help out regularly (booking agents, radio pluggers, PR etc)?

I am the only full-timer. I have a business partner who is 50/50 on everything but is less involved day-to-day. As for others – we currently work with 2 booking agents and 1 PR company.

How do you go about getting press and radio play?

It’s either through PR or by luck – people seeing our bands live or taking an interest in the label and seeing that what we do is actually alright! Or by us meeting people at gigs! Talking to people and befriending them, helps no end – I wish I was better at it to be honest!

Again, ‘real life’ interaction is key then?

If you want to get anywhere and have people be on your side and work for/with you properly rather than distantly – YES. I think its just part of human nature that we are more willing to help out people to our full ability if we know them and can use our knowledge of the person, what they want and what they need to achieve based upon real life interactions. Or something like that!

Who are the most successful acts on your label and how would you define success?

Rolo Tomassi are the biggest band on our label now. We have seen them grow organically from nothing to now being on the verge of singing with a much bigger label. Obviously we released a 7” by Gallows – but they were never ‘on’ the label as such. It looks like Dananananaykroyd will do ok for us, Throats are getting some good gigs now, and CPWK are doing alright and getting good bits and bobs and good press. Success at present is breaking even. Success for our bands is touring hard and making a name for themselves – press and publicity can only do so much without the band being on the road and working their balls off.

Do you think it’s a myth that bands can become successful through, say, MySpace alone?

Yes very much so. Although there is not any real tried and tested formula for success. It can be down to any number of formulas or approaches. Some bands have been wildly successful without myspace, some pretty much depend upon it in order to achieve anything. It also depends on vague target demographics for bands – some will be far more suited to myspace than others.

What bands do you think are particularly suited to it and likewise, which ones not?

A ‘deathcore’ or fashion grind band with stupid hair is probably very suited to it, or a new-school hardcore band – bands whose key demographics are heavy internet users/teenagers/young adults. A free Jazz band – not so suited! Or classical music…etc etc.

On what principles, if any, were the label founded?

Good music, good people, good packaging. No bullshit.

Do you see these values manifested anywhere else in the industry or do you have some bad examples that kind of offer a model of how to not behave?

I cant name names, but I know labels that asking bands to pay to be on the label and purely act as a facilitator to getting a cd in shops etc as well as keying them into this ‘facilitating’ ‘label’ for 5 albums! Our values are best embodied by Touch and Go. I feel exactly the same as this video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ludGHrkpTx0

What are your influences, particularly other labels and why?

Hydrahead, Robotic Empire, early-Undergroove were direct influences. Constellation records for packaging etc. That’s about it – we didn’t have many influences to be honest because we felt there was a good gap in the UK market for us.

What does the term ‘independent’ mean to you? Do you consider yourself independent?

We are independent in so much as we fund everything ourselves and receive no helping hand from other labels or bigger labels. If we don’t sell anything – nothing new comes out. It’s that simple. Any other definitions of ‘independent’ are redundant to us to be honest, we are happy doing things as we see fit and we are certainly not into holier-than-thou ‘D.I.Y’ attitudes.

The marriage of commerce with art is an uneasy one, at least ideologically. Does this not represent a conflict for you? Some labels can be quite dogmatic.

It’s not a conflict for me. We present a band we love in packaging we love. People then have a choice to buy into that or not. I guess we also don’t work with bands who might get touchy about how their music is sold (within reason – ie we wont compare them to artists they dislike or try and push them to do things they feel uncomfortable with.) The same goes for a painter selling his painting – if he/she has any artistic integrity they don’t go and change bits of the picture for potential buyers. I hope I’m not misunderstanding this question!

What does digital media mean to you?

An easy way to hear music, and a cheaper way of making and distributing music. But it conveys only a small portion of any artistic feeling/message/intent. It’s soulless.

What makes it ‘soulless’?

The process. It’s instant gratification culture. Fast-food culture. There is no effort involved – therefore less chance of emotional attachment. You cant open the booklet and read along to the lyrics. No physical act involved in the listening process. The definition of lazy. Stupid as this may sound – I hold music in the same regard as I hold food and sex. I don’t want to be drip fed by a tube and I don’t want to achieve orgasm instantly via a machine or something!!! Anyone who is happy to devalue music to purely a digital state is not worth the time of day in my book.

Music culture does appear to be generally heading in that direction, so how do you see the future panning out? What would add ‘soul’ to these digital releases?

I think elsewhere in this I talk about the concept of building sites and interactivity into digital releases, which in part answers this question. Im not sure how far music culture will head into the digital realm before a lot of people realise that what they are getting isn’t very good/as involving etc. I think the future will see a balance between digital and physical or a backlash even.

How do you view the role of digital media in assisting the growth of small labels (or bands)?

It serves big bands really well (radiohead/NIN etc) and can help the ‘buzz’ of small bands sometimes, in some genres. I don’t feel it assists a label like us though, apart from allowing us to releases (digital) ‘singles’ – something we would not have been able to do without digital media, due to lack of funds.

In what ways do you think it creates ‘buzz’?

Well – I guess myspace and other social networking sites are a big part of helping with ‘buzz’ for small bands sometimes. One kid can post a bulletin to 500 and friends and that’s potentially 500 new fans in seconds potentially.

How successful are digital singles for you? What are the difficulties/benefits in releasing them as opposed to say vinyl or CD?

Financially, not very successful so far. But I would say we use them as a marketing tool to draw attention to an artist generally or to their album – which is where money does come back to us. Digital singles have a minimal outlay (at least in production terms) - and if it only sales 1 copy its no loss in terms of (the alternative) having 1000’s of cds or 7”s being returned to you from the distributor because they didn’t sell. So – in this respect, digital singles are a good thing. However you could also argue that a digital single is far less ‘visible’ – its not there in the shop raising your awareness of the band, or catching your eye with a cover. I guess you certainly need pr behind a digital single in order to gain any new fans realistically, unless it picks up an organic buzz via blogs/myspace etc…I think its an endless argument both ways.

How do you make your digital releases more visible?

Blogs, iMixes, other websites, that’s about it I reckon. PR – physical copies of digital singles being sent out.

What role does digital media hold with regards your label? Is it central to what you do?

Its peripheral. See answer above I guess.

Do you utilise Facebook, Myspace, Last FM etc? How central are they to the label?

We use Myspace quite a lot – that’s what we started on when it was all the rage. We have presences upon facebook and last fm but these are perhaps under utilised. At present facebook still seems quite pointless for bands I think, last fm is awesome though.

So, you don’t see Last FM and MySpace as the label using digital media?

Yes, but to facilitate physical purchases.

What type of impact do you feel ‘illegal’ downloading has had upon the music industry? What is your opinion on illegal file sharing? Do you think it has a detrimental effect on sales?

I don’t particularly like it. Especially when it happens to smaller labels. It probably does have a detrimental effect on sales – but then if the kid downloads it and then goes and buys it then it’s a positive – he might not have bought it without downloading it first. There are positives and negatives, but I think the negatives far outweigh the positives (death of packaging/full artistic intent etc)

What do you mean by ‘full artistic intent’?

I think you do not get the full message (‘full artistic intent’) that the band/artist is trying to convey without having the packaging and the lyrics and the thanks list and all of that gubbins. Digital threatens to remove all of this.

As a small label, are you affected, directly or indirectly, by the problems that supermarkets are generating for record shops, in their undercutting of CD prices?

No, not at all. Mums buy cds in supermarkets – not people who are into our type of music. They only stock top 40 and dance compilations – no threat.

Do you feel any affiliation, imagined or actual, with any of your peer labels?

I guess so – we certainly have talked and worked with other labels. Such as Thirty Days of Night, Midmarch, Undergroove, BSM – those are the ones that seem to come from vaguely similar backgrounds, even if they put out quite different music.

Is there a supportive network, or is it a competitive marketplace?

Competition is healthy – I know for a fact that all these labels copy each other constantly with little tiny things, but none would probably admit it! I think this is healthy – with each label pushing itself and its agenda, any other label worth its salt will want to keep up with and compete with competitors. There is also a vague support network – I talk to people at all the above labels at least semi-regularly and we share double-sided flyers and so on, as well as put our bands on tour with each other and stuff….

Do you think that with the emergence of digital media and file-sharing that it’s become more competitive?

Not that I have noticed with my peer labels. I think whilst digital has made it easier for any kid to sell music, there is still the fact that a record label acts as a stamp of quality in many consumers eyes – rightly or wrongly! If a band is ‘signed’ or on a label they are perceived to have automatically done better than an unsigned band in many instances.

How would you respond to major label incorporation or financial assistance? Would you accept funding in order to propagate growth?

Yes. As long we still had 100% control on packaging and the bands we work with. Not in that order!

Do you think that’s a likely possibility?

Well it’s certainly happened to one of the labels two questions above, if not two. They don’t make a song and dance about it though. I wouldn’t rule it out as a possibility – but I think we generally pick bands that are hard to strictly categorise (CPWK, Rolo Tomassi, Kayo Dot instantly spring to mind) which generally confuses people at the bigger business organisations. With all due respect to Thirty Days Of Night and BSM – I think it is much easier to go ‘ahh that’s a BSM/30DON sounding band’ at present.

As a label, what formats do you favour?

Id love to release just amazing vinyl – but it’s very cost ineffective and can only be done in certain circumstances – so cds it is mostly. But NEVER in jewel cases. I hate jewel cases. But we have done – 7” vinyl, 12” vinyl, cd, tape and digital now. We are always up for strange little projects!

What is it about packaging/artwork that appeals so greatly?

Well, in the current climate, it feels like you are getting better value for money if the packaging is good. That’s how I feel as a consumer anyway and I hope other people think like that about our releases. And we do get a lot of comments about our packaging and artwork – so we must be doing something right. We aren't the most outlandish with packaging – but hopefully we maintain a consistent standard at least. On another level – I’ve always loved art and design and just simply like looking at nice things! I don’t want to be associated with crappy plastic disposable boring product.

How do you marry commercial constraints with artistic ambition? Do digital releases feel like a compromise?

Digital releases are a massive compromise. I would love every release to be terribly elaborate with incredible incredlbe packaging. I don’t enjoy having financial constraints and hence digital singles. I wish they were all out there on cd and vinyl too. There is no marriage, only ever compromise – so we just do the best we can within our constraints at this stage.

Do you think that physical formats will maintain a long term relevance in music industry?

If they don’t – I quit.

With the way the market is heading, how real a possibility do you think this is?

Well vinyl should have died when cds came along surely? But they are selling better now than 10 years ago. So, who knows? But I don’t think it’s a real possibility for the immediate future. Seriously, this is something I don’t want to even contemplate. Actually – I have thought about this at great, pained, length – and I think the only way I would be happy with music becoming a purely digital medium is if each release had its own little ‘world’ online with lyrics, forums, lots of artwork and loads of other bits and bobs – making each album an interactive experience on many levels – with new elements/sounds/songs/ideas being bolted on continually and stuff like that. I don’t mean album specific websites – it would have to be way more interactive and engaging than that. Maybe making an album (or if the concept of album is redundant, then a ‘theme’) more of journey than 10 songs on a disc. I suppose I’m thinking in terms of a vague concept here, I don’t really have the actual ideas in my head to even start to think about putting something like this in place.

Do you sell any label merchandise alongside records? If so, how well does this sell in comparison?

Yes – we have done t-shirts for CPWK and Rolo Tomassi. They sell well, people cant download t-shirts.

On average, how well do t shirt sales compare with vinyl/CD sales? How many copies of each record do you usually sell?

Hard to answer. We have only produced approx 150 tshirts and have sold them all apart from a couple in odd sizes. We would make more, but prefer to put limited funds into new releases, rather than basking in past glories via providing tshirts of bands online. We aren’t provisionally a merchandise company after all.

As for cd/vinyl sales – again it has varied quite considerably from 2000 to 100 approx. Although we do seem to be picking up a bit of momentum which is very encouraging.

Through what means do you sell a majority of your products? Internet, distributors etc…In fact, do you even have a distributor?

We are distributed by Shellshock in the UK – they do some exporting too. But we have small distribution in USA and Italy too. We make most of our money via direct sales though through our site/myspace. However that balance is starting to shift slightly towards distributed copies with our bigger releases.

So, in this sense, the Internet has figured centrally in the success of Holy Roar? Where do you think you’d be without it?

Yeah it has, very much so – especially in the first year, year-and-a-half as a label. Without it – we wouldn’t still be here!

Do you use/would you consider using iTunes and other legal download services?

We do.

What do you feel that micro/independent labels offer that majors don’t?

Freedom in terms of packaging, recording, marketing. And importantly – an actual relationship with the label – the relationship is with me/Ellen, no one else, unlike big labels where you can get lost between people. But we don’t have the money to do everything how we would like, so that’s the downside.

What do you think is the main role of a label now?

I think bands will always need guidance/help with marketing/distribution/recording/artwork and a million other things – it’s a big thing to take on on your own as well as playing in a band and touring. Labels may have to change form and structure and adapt but I think there will always be a need for organisations to help bands out across many different areas.

How do you think labels should restructure and adapt? Have you made any plans to change?

I think the majors will need to restructure and adapt before small labels. They have lots of wages to pay and so on and so will need to look at this before someone like myself. We have no plans to change at present, we have no need to – we are still growing and not seeing slumping sales a la EMI. I do however have my fingers in the ‘band management’ pie, as well as playing in a band – so I guess you could say I don’t have all my eggs in one basket.

How would you say the set-up of Holy Roar differs from that of a major, or even a large indie?

Well from visiting those types of labels – they have offices and I don’t! I have a desk in a bedroom. Apart from that – I guess when you become an employee of a record label rather than running one, you have to put the bottom (financial) line first before anything else and then music doesn’t become the passion, selling records does. I want to sell more and more records, but if I have a release that sells fuck all I only have myself to answer to , rather than facing the sack.

It’s a commonly held opinion that artists may no longer need a label given the opportunities afforded by digital media. Do you see much validity in this argument?

At present I think its valid for very large artists (who will still back it up with physical produce for hardcore fans). I see no way for this to be vialble for new and emerging artists at present. This may change in the future, but this is how I see it right now…

Why isn’t it viable for emerging artists?

Well it is possible, but far far more difficult. Nine Inch Nails have an already installed fanbase to buy from them. So the emerging artist has to prove itself to a whole marketplace/build fans and then sell stuff to them, without a tried and trusted aesthetic, like you would get with NIN or Radiohead.