Update :
[Mar. 21st, 2011] R.U.M. Zine's interview with Sabbathid Records
[Mar. 20th, 2011] Honour And Darkness's short interview with Sabbathid Records

R.U.M. Zine's interview with Sabbathid Records
* This is the original version of the interview with Sabbathid Records by R.U.M. Zine (Mar. 7th, 2011)
   The article on R.U.M. Zine (translated to Czech) can be viewed here.

Q (ALL, RUM Zine): Hi. What made you to the idea to start your own label?

A (Kohei, Sabbathid): Hi. When I began to listen to Black Metal, there was the only label specialized in Black Metal in Japan called Cosmic Garden Productions (ran by Woods, the man behind Hurusoma). CGP suddenly got silent around 2002 and I felt the need to keep its flame, though I also wanted to establish a label that embodied my musical interests.
Q: How do you choose bands? It is remarkable that you choose bands from all over the world!

A: I always check various stuffs by myself, get information from some reliable acquaintances, and receive offers from those who are searching for labels. If I find a good band and there is good reasons for them to work with my label (e.g. they don't receive enough support in their own country, they take my label as the best partner, etc.), I decide to support them regardless of their area of activity.

Q: Do you receive a lot of offers for releasing CD or choose the bands yourself?

A: See the answer above.

Q: On which recording you are still most proud of?

A: If I dare to choose one, I’m especially proud of having released Endless Dismal Moan’s "Cuse of Underground." Chaos9, the man behind EDM, made a substantial contribution to the establishment of the identity of my label in its early phase. I recognize that I could return the favor by releasing "Curse of Underground," which is his posthumous work.

Q: How is your work connecting with Internet and can you imagine your activities without it?

A: Internet was already popular when I start the label and it has been crucial for my work.

Q: Bands generally argue that communication with their label is very important for them. Are you in regular contact with the bands you release CD?  Would you be willing to go to Europe to fond out new bands?

A: It's on a case by case basis. Some bands expect constant communication, and others don’t. Usually I try to provide each band with information about reviews and/or listeners‘ reactions.
In order to judge a band's potential it is actually far better to see their live performance than just to listen to recorded materials, so it should be great if I cold visit there.

Q: Your label is specialized in black metal, doom metal, ambient… are these kind of music supported by Japanese listeners?

A: I think there is a certain number of listeners of Black Metal here, though I’m not quite sure how deeply they are devoted. As far as I know Dark Ambient is less popular than BM. More significantly, at least for me, there seems to be little understanding of the possibility of fruitful relationships between these genres.

Q: Do you have any promising band, for which you are going to release CD in future, or otherwise support?

A: Recently I found Lycanthropy from Russia very promising. Actually we talked about the possibility of working together, but couldn’t reach an agreement. Among the bands whose works I’m going to release, Emme Ya from Colombia and Posthuman Tantra from Brazil are worth noting. I have scarcely made good connections with Dark Ambient bands from South America, so it’s great that I could establish friendly relations with them besides F.I.N. from Chile.

Q: What is the position of metal in Japan? I know that classic heavy metal is very popular in Japan but what about other styles? Have you ever met with misunderstanding of other people?  How are you generally satisfied with living conditions in Japan? Could you imagine that you moved out and began to live somewhere else?

A: There is a certain number of fans of heavy metal here. But a degree of maturity is another matter than the number of listers, and I recognize that Japanese metal scene is still immature. Due to this immaturity, metal has been (and still is) just a minority: we can’t expect a huge event like Headbangers Open Air or Obscene Extreme.
Though I’m indifferent to them, there seems to be some misunderstandings. It’s easy to point out sources of those misunderstandings. In the 1980s there was a temporary fad of heavy metal called "Japa-Meta" (an abbreviation of Japanese Metal). To ride this boom many bands came to adopt striking makeup, and this movement formed the public’s attitude toward heavy metal. The next generation experienced the movement called "Visual-Kei" that emerged in the 1990s, which resulted in massive production of gaud. This trend might have strengthened the public’s attitude. (Note that some great bands did exist even in those movements!)
I have little complain about the life in Japan, at least not yet.

Q: Is there anything that bothers you in metal underground?   

A: I sometimes feel that there is too strong sectionalism. While some sectionalism is inevitable in underground music scenes in which practitioners need to preserve their identities by themselves, it’s just an obstcle when it become too strong.

Q: Can you tell me your opinion about religion? Is there any you can identify with?

A: It depends on the definition of religion. If religion means a specific system of creeds or principles (like that of Buddism or Christianity), it’s redundant for me. However, if we adopt a broader notion of religion (e.g. Max Weber's) as something that provides meaning and/or coherence to our understandings of the lives and worlds, it’s always with us, consciously or subconsciously.

Q: Do you know any band in CZ? If you no can I send you any types?

A: Yes, of couse. Master's Hammer is one of my favorites! It’s much appreciated if you recommend any good music from your country.

Q: What are your plans for the future? Can you tell me what CD are going to release?

A: Split CD by Emme Ya and Posthuman Tantra (as I mentioned above) will be out in the end of March of the beginning of April. A new full-length of Moloch (Ukrainian BM) and Forestgrave (another Ukrainian BM) are coming up.

Q: Have a nice time and thank you for this interview! I wish you luck in the selection of new bands ...

A: Thank you for the interview. In deference to your efforts.

Honour And Darkness's short interview with Sabbathid Records
* The original article can be viewed here.

Q1 (Nazgul, HAD). Hello and welcome to Honour and Darkness!

A1 (Kohei, Sabbathid). Hello Nazgul. Glad you are interested in interviewing me.

Q2. Can you tell us a little about your label: the philosophy or mission behind Sabbathid Records?

A2. To gather all kinds of dark & blackened music to pollute our world.

Q3. How successfully do you believe the label has established itself in the scene?

A3. It's a tough question - I don't think my label has sufficiently established its identity.

Q4. I believe you have (to date) issued 3 Bonemachine releases and 1 by Elisabetha, both projects of Alex "Hugin" Weiser: can you tell us when you first came into contact with Hugin and how you came to know each other?

A4. I remember that it was when Hugin consulted me on the possibility of the release of "Bombardements" that we came to know each other. I don't know how he came to know about my label...he might well have seen my flyer or previous releases.

Q5. How did you reach a decision to release the first of these recordings, Bonemachine's "Bombardements"?

A5. It was very simple; he sent me a sample disc and I liked it!

Q6. Do you decide to release material because you like it, or because you feel you can sell it?!

A6. Decision-making processes of underground labels are often tangled. It's true that most UG labels won't release something ONLY because will sell well, but in reality, they need to maintain their activities. Thus it would be too idealistic to imagine that UG labels can always release materials without ANY thought of profit.

Q7. Can you tell us what has been the best-selling Hugin recording to date on Sabbathid?

A7. Actually I don't count the number of sales of each release accurately, but I think "Crypt Child" has been the best-selling.

Q8. Could prospective customers still buy these releases from you, or are some sold-out now?

A8. Yes, all titles that Hugin concerned are still available. [Nazgul notes: get buying folks!!]

Q9. In terms of artwork design, is this decided by the label or the artist?

A9. It's on a case by case basis. Some artists make all design by themselves, others leave it to me. Of course, even in the first case I provide comments if there is something I don't like.

Q10. Similarly, in terms of the numbers of copies for each release who decides the edition (for example, 99 copies in the case of Crypt Child)?

A10. It's also on a case by case basis, but usually I try to defer to artists' wishes.

Q11. Do you have a personal favourite amongst Hugin's releases that Sabbathid have promoted?

A11. Well, if I dare to choose one, "Erste Rotation (eine Retrospektive von Krieg und Zeit)" is my favourite. It successfully shows Hugin's deep insight into music.

Q12. Do you follow any of Hugin's other projects and/or his Bonemachine/Elisabetha releases on other labels? If yes, what are your favourite releases?

A12. Yes, I had known about Uruk Hai before he contacted me. Though I can't afford to follow all releases (too many releases to keep up!), my favourite is the split tape with Symbiosis in which he collaborated with Hildr Valkyrie. I also like "Nosferat" tape by Elisabetha.

Q13. Do you have any message for Hugin himself that you would like to convey through Honour and Darkness?

A13. Long time no talk... Glad to know that you have such a good supporter as Honour and Darkness.

Q14. Do you have any message for the readers of Honour and Darkness themselves?

A14. Stay in darkness and desolation with your nerves strained as fuck.

Q15. Thanks for your time and good luck with your future endeavours.

A15. Thank you for the interview. In deference to your efforts.