Label 56 Interview With Defiance Mag
This is the interview Label 56 did with Defiance magazine back in 2012. It was posted on their site but not on ours. I just realized this so I am posting it here now. A side note is that everyone has asked what the 56 was for and at the time there was no real significance to it. I recently sat down and put some corresponding letters to the numbers and came up with #EuropeanFamily. This is a perfect because we are a Nationalist label and we`ve always promoted a healthy identity both mentally and physically. Also the original Label 56 blog can still be found here. Neither of these blogs have had much updates lately but you can follow us on facebook here until we get back to regular postings. Enjoy the interview
The home of the brave and the land of the free has seen a lot of great record labels and distros come and gone. With an advent of sharing networks and many independent DIY releases it’s no wonder only the best are still around, and we would like to use this opportunity to present you – for those who somehow missed it – one of the best US labels around… Label56.
1. Hello, Rick! First of all, what does the name “Label56” mean? What can you tell us about your company?
First let me thank you for that great introduction and opportunity to do an interview for your impressive Defiance Magazine. It is an honor.
Label 56 is an Independent music distro and label. We have been around for more than 5 years now and work hard to promote the music scene and movement in general. The name was just something different that characterized a different approach to our music scene and promotion. It also has a good catchy ring to it.
2. How would you characterize Label56? “Independent music” is quite a broad designation…. and while we are at it, what music genre is your most favorite?
Let me start by explaining the “Independent Music” slogan. That designation pretty much gives it a universal meaning which basically covers any genre of music from bands that are not produced by corporate labels. It is a slogan I came up with years ago basically to “characterize” Label 56 and its origins lie in my own personal view on music and corporate radio. My entire life I have been into music and I have enjoyed seeking out new bands, new styles, etc. There are so many good bands out there and I find it bewildering that so many people cannot enjoy a band if it is not on the radio. It`s kind of cultish in that they need this magic box (tv/ radio) to be told what to like and what to accept. In that sense the Independent Music For Independent Minds means that the music is a non corporate production for free thinking people who don`t need to be told what to like.
So based on that Label 56 is a label that promotes music which is blacklisted by corporate radio, media, and stores. While we do try to support the Independent music scene as a whole, in our case most of what the music we deal with is black listed because it is created by people who advocate for the preservation of Western Civilization. Therein lays a second meaning to the Independent Minds slogan. We are an Independent label who`s music is demonized for political reasons, so therefore people need to look past the media propaganda and examine the message we convey for themselves, then make up their own minds about whether it is something they agree with or not.
As for my personal preference, I have a very very wide range in musical tastes, but I`d have to say my favourite would be the heavier newschool hardcore/ metalcore. Bands like Burning Hate, Betrayed Blood, Painful Awakening, Moshpit, Hope For The Weak, etc. At the same time I do love the alternative blend of styles like Second Class Citizen, Desolated, Eternal Bleeding, MK Ultra, Final War etc
3. Let’s get back in time into the very beginning…What was your primary motivation for founding a label/shop? Can you tell us how did you start? I bet it was not big scale operation as it is now….
Haha, no it was nowhere near as big as it is now. In fact when I started I didn`t even have a website, I would just send out an email list of cd`s that we had available. My primary motivation in starting the record label was to promote the music because up until I was 22 years old or so I had no idea this music scene even existed. As a teenager I had heard about Skrewdriver, but bands like Nordic Thunder, Blue Eyed Devils and Bound For Glory were completely unknown to me. I had grown up on thrash and death metal and in the early to mid 90`s that music started giving way to the grunge scene which I completely despised for various reasons. At that time I had pretty much grown disgusted at the music scene and what was being churned out. While looking around online for music I came across Tri State Terror and was completely blown away that this kind of music existed. I started ordering cd`s and would make compilations and give out to people just to expose them to the music. (This was years before Panzerfaust even did the Operation Schooolyard cd`s.) From then I started getting bulk copies of the actual cd`s so that people could get them directly from me and today Label 56 has manifested into a full scale operation.
4. Talking about operations, I think many visitors of your site appreciate your efforts in supporting the scene, you do the interviews, keep tracks of the events, distributing music and related stuff…It definitely takes a lot of time to do all of that. What’s the overall response from the public and what would you highlight as the most successful thing you achieved with Label56 to date?
I think the overall response is pretty positive. We`re doing something a little different and I think people appreciate that. Obviously its pro white, but it`s not hateful and offensive. I try to keep things positive so there`s not a lot of negativity that can resonate from it. I want to create a product that you can put into your average persons hand that they can relate to. I`m looking for that middle ground, something that is still true to our ideals but yet make it fun and cool and not so serious. And yes general maintenance does take a lot of time in between everyday life, so my apologies to people when I don`t get back to them right away. I think I`m generally 2 weeks behind on most things as I`m always trying to get caught up on previous work.
I don`t know if I`d call it it my success, but what I`m most proud of is helping to bring new bands into our music scene. The 96 Brigade and End Apathy are both excellent bands that weren`t around before Label 56 and I`m really happy to have had a hand in helping them get their music out. There are several other bands/ projects I am talking with and hopefully there will be more to come. On that note- if you`re a new band and looking for some exposure please contact us.
5. The “under-the-counter”, “politically incorrect” or so called “hate” music of not-so-distant a past slowly making its way into the mainstream. Although many would certainly applaud this fact, with it also comes the modern age effect – pirating music and sharing it en masse. As the seller/distributor, your opinion on this phenomenon would certainly be appreciated…
I have no problem at all with our music reaching the “mainstream” individual. I think that should be the goal of our music scene. We need to reach people with a message that offers them a different take on what they hear from their “magic boxes”. That is one reason I advocate and promote so many different styles of music and different ideas. The left accomplished their takeover by inserting their message into anything and everything. We shouldn`t alienate ourselves.
As far as the piracy and online sharing, obviously I am against that as it takes money to keep things going. I don`t think people realize how bad downloading hurts labels. Individually you may think that just downloading one album doesn`t hurt, but there are some sites where I have seen over 1,000 downloads for one cd. That is A LOT of money that distros are losing. I get emails regularly from bands asking about releasing their music. Some of them are some pretty big name bands and they can`t even find a label. I will say that Label 56 would have a lot more releases right now if we had the money to do so. In short, when it comes to downloading music, essentially we are doing something that all the leftist pressure groups and government laws have never been able to do- we`re killing the pro white music scene.
6. I still vividly remember the days when Resistance Records was the big thing in the USA (and with its undeniable impact worldwide, especially after the take over of Nordland Records), followed by Panzerfaust Records and, probably, Micetrap…Panzerfaust is long gone and there is definitely no need to repeat the story of it, but with remaining two on the scene and numerous new ones emerging, how do the US label/distribution scene look like nowadays?
As just mentioned I think things are pretty slow for the US labels. It seems that way for most labels world wide aside from the German ones.
7. Digital media replacing CD, well, no big deal, but how do you view a seemingly – at least from my point of view – growing interest of such “obsolete” stuff as a cassette tape? I find it fascinating tapes are still around, but will they last?
I`d imagine tapes will always be around just as vinyls. Tapes have never gone away, they have just thrived in their own little market. Obviously tapes are on a much smaller collectors scale then vinyl but there are still diehard collectors there. I have seen bands release limited edition 200 copy cassette versions and then be sold out in a week. This seems like it is limited to the black metal and industrial music scenes though. I don`t know how this would work with your average RAC or punk band.
8. Label56 recently updated its online face, I can see online radio is planned…what else can we expect from you in the near future? Any exciting “secrets”?
Yes the new Label 56 website has been online since December and a very big thanks to Dare2Dedicate ( www.dare2dedicate.com ) for the new site. I`d highly encourage anyone looking for a new design to contact them.
As for secrets, I don`t want to overplay my hand lol. I always have new ideas and things I want to do though, it`s just finding the time to do them. I am working on some videos and also the radio show. This spring I also plan to get the Label 56 Street Team`s going again.
In an alternative sense- I used to be into skateboarding when I was younger and still love the whole atmosphere and scene around that. There was always an Independent DIY type feel to it with the skating, graffiti, and music and I think it`s influence on a lot of today`s modern culture is greatly overlooked, so I would love to do more in that area. I also think physical fitness is important and would like to see more young people get into sports instead of drugs and alcohol.
Based on that I have some ideas for a Label 56 Skate Team, so if anyone does any kind of skating, bmx-ing, etc contact us. Also if you`re interested in the Street Team we`d love your support. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any of these
9. Cultural Change through music and activism…I think the change is coming and its visible more and more every day, although it is debatable what really causes it, but as for activism, what do you think our strengths and weaknesses as, let’s call it “Movement”, do we have? Is there anything you would stress as an important thing to do, or something people as a whole do wrong, or not efficiently?
Let me start by saying the Label 56 blog has kind of taken on its own identity separate from the record label. It combines a lot of things that aren`t directly music related, but are important in the overall maintenance and betterment of our culture. That is why I gave it the slogan- Cultural Change Through Music & Activism.
I have to say that I personally am very impressed with the political and movement related things going on in Europe and I promote a lot of their activities in my blog here in the US. As for America, everyone has their own ideas on what is the best way to go about things. I am not going to say anyone else`s ideas are wrong, I`m just going to give my opinion. As with the record label I try to keep things mainstream appealing. The fact is that the masses of people agree with us on 99% of what we say. It`s when we take these things that they agree with and dress them up in symbols and rhetoric they can`t relate to that we negate our entire message.
I think a lot of people also take too much of a hardline stance on these issues and don`t allow people to open their minds. There`s been an attitude that if you don`t agree with me and my symbols then f*ck off we don`t want you. We need to understand that people have been conditioned to think a certain way and when you repeatedly tell them something is evil their entire life they are going to be uncertain or uncomfortable with it. They will have questions and will want to come into things based on THEIR own “moral” decision. I didn`t come into this overnight myself. So on an individual and “propaganda” front I have to say calm down, be patient and address people on their turf.
On another note I think that as far as youth are concerned, the Skinhead movement is the only thing out there for them. There is nothing wrong with that lifestyle, it just isn`t for everyone. There are so many people out there that think the way we do but are pushed aside for not conforming to that image. I`d rather reach out to them on their own turf rather than have them sitting by the wayside because they have been alienated. I want to take the music and package it into something that will appeal to them and put a product in their hand they can relate to and support. They can then spread it amongst their group of friends in their own way. It may be a sampler cd, stickers or whatever. Something low key that they are comfortable with. They shouldn`t be told they need to act or dress a certain way in order to “be white power” and then pushed to the side for not conforming to it. So if you`re on the side lines now but looking for something to support get in touch with us.
As for political activity, I am very happy to see more politically active groups taking shape. The American Third Position is one I am particularly happy about as it is the first real political organization here dedicated to the preservation of Western Civilization. Also radio shows like Political Cesspool, Voice Of Reason and White Rabbit Radio offer some excellent academic discussions. As with the youth/ skinhead movement though, I do hope that the newer political/ academic groups do not alienate themselves to that area because it is the blue collar non college graduate that makes up the majority of our people.
The Label 56 Cultural Change blog is kind of a bridge in it all. I want to spruce up the politics and academia and make it more accessible to people who generally wouldn`t be interested in it. The blog combines music, politics, sports and more. I want to take the younger and more apolitical people and put them on a more productive path- to be socially active, physically and mentally healthy, and ultimately to help advance our ideals. I am also interested in working with some of the more political groups in sponsoring events, etc. The Maryland St Patty`s Show is one thing in this area we are doing. It is a mostly acoustic format show we`ve done for the past 5 years and we have since started combining more political activities with it. A speaker from the American Third Position spoke 2 years ago and we had another speaker at this past year`s event. There are more events we have planned so anyone looking to get involved please contact us. Or if you are sponsoring an event and are looking for performers we can help out.
10. The RAC/WP music, while it is still here, is absorbing different trends. There would be probably not a problem with Straight Edge/hardcore element, but what about such acts as nationalist or national socialist hip hop music, nowadays evidently popular in Germany, for example?
Again, I have a very very wide taste in music. I think that`s one thing that makes me a good person to run a distro. I honestly like the different styles of music and I think in this case diversity is definitely a good thing.
In it`s base terms, music is a sound frequency. It can be anything from electronic, to vocal, to man made (clapping, tap dancing, etc). It is a sound frequency and everyone has a different sound that reaches them. By keeping things limited to one sound you are alienating a lot of people with your message. I have read that when Youngland first wanted to release their debut cd that Panzerfaust didn`t want to do it because of its sound. They were later convinced to release it and Youngland has since become one of the most popular bands in our music scene. They opened the door for alternative styles which gave way to great bands like Final War.
As for rap music, most people seem opposed to it simply because it is a genre dominated by blacks… and that is the only argument they give (aside from not personally liking it). This is how I feel- No subculture owns a copyright on a genre. Just because one group of people has dominated a specific sound does not make it “theirs”. What if over the last 20 years rap music was dominated by whites instead of blacks? Would it be okay then? Should whites not play basketball because it is a black dominated sport? Sound vibrations work on different levels for different people. Music is just a sound and everyone has their own preference as to what sound they like. You need to hit the frequency that resonates with them. Because repetition is important I say again- The left made their gains by infiltrating anything and everything and inserting their message in it.
No matter where you go or what channel you have on rap music is in your face. It is promoted to youth and I`d much rather have an alternative with a positive message they can turn to. Again, no subculture owns a copyright on a genre. Music is just sound. You can use it for whatever you want. The left made their gains by infiltrating everything and inserting their message in it. I see no problem with the rap music sound carrying our message. If that`s the only sound frequency that will reach someone then that is what you have to use. If you don`t like rap music that`s fine, but there is an entire subculture of our people who do and who are affected by the harmful messages of gangster rap. Why not give them something with a positive message? That is what it`s all about.
11. Coming to the end of this short interview, do you have any message to our readers?
I want to thank you for the great interview and also in doing so for helping us with our goals. I`m always looking to work with people on new ideas so get in touch with us. Also any new bands looking for exposure, or if you`re looking to get involved with our street teams, a skateboard/ bmx team, or just want to send some support contact us at email@example.com As for the readers and anyone new reading this I`d just say stay strong and keep positive. People say we won`t change the world. But we can sure have fun trying