Hi, sir Keule! How are you doing? Probably drinking dark beer with tons of candies, I suppose?)
Thank you – I`m fine. Ha , no dark beer… usually I don`t drink beer that often. Only in holidays or at special events. I prefer to drink water, coffee, fruitjuice…
First and foremost question from me: how did you come up with a drunk elk on a logo?)
About that funny looking elk – well it`s not drawing by myself.I took it illigal from a popular german cartoonist ( Waltewr Moers ) for some reasons: if you see the logo you can`t imagine what kind of music you will get ; it looks funny – even if most messages in Grind / Crust are more political and NOT funny and my main influences in early days were bands from scandinavia.
Do you remember the moment when you thought to yourself “man, I should start a label”? What drove you into it 30 years ago?
Before I started the label I already distributed friends releases and ordered some stuff directly from the bands or the label to spread the copies to my friends.One day some friends ( the band SM 70 ) wanted to put out another 7″ and so they asked me if I`m interested in releasing that 7″ – together with their bass-player ( Jens ) who started the label Thought Crime Records.
What do you plan to release this year? What new hot records will appear on a shelves by Rødel Records?
I just released Earth Crust Displacement – d-takt noize 12″; co-released Social Chaos – Dia Do Obito LP with a bunch of brazilian labels and will co-release Cavernicular – Man`s Place In Nature LP ( will be out soon ) ; a Violent Frustration / Cavernicular – split 12″ later on and even MPG want to put out new stuff . But I only can release a handful of stuff coz I also have to spread the copies to get some free space in the basement for upcoming releases . It`s also a question of money – usually it takes a while to get back the money I put into a release.
Few people know that you are a fan of a deserted isolated places. Why do they attract you so much? Tell us about your trip to Chernobyl 🙂
When I was a kid I loved to play in lost houses / abandoned places . They were pretty close to where I grew up and now I go there not to play but to take pictures of lost places. The special interest in Prypjat / Tschernobyl grew up a longer time. When it happened back in 1986 we had a outdoor party a few days after the catastrophe – and noone of us knew if the radioactive fallout also will reach Berlin – and than it started to rain . The first rain since the catastrophe happened…. it was a scary feeling. So I decided 30 years later to go there to take pictures . You need official papers to go there and the complete area is fenced so you can`t go there without permission – and that`s why it is pretty interesting to go there – no vandalism , no graffitis…. just lost houses and nature. Our guide only took us to “safe” places with lower radiation and also warned us not to leave the streets . The radiation in the streets is pretty low – compareable to the radiation in Berlin – but if you leave the street for 2 or 3 meters and go ito the bushe the radiation is way more high… we had “Geiger-Counter” to messure the radiation to make the trip way more safe – so you were able to check the area by yourself .
What was the most successful record released by Rødel Records that sold out in no time?)
The most successful release was the re-release of Agathocles / Morbid Organs Mutilation (M.O.M.) – split 7″ . the original japanese version was sold out pretty quick so I asked both bands and the label for a possible euro-pressing followed by M.V.D. – stagnation of thinking 7″. But usually I repress my releases as often as needed.
You also living a very active life. I know that you are making a living by teaching people skiing. And you also travel a lot and climb up the mountains. How do you manage to do all these things in your life? May I suggest that traveling brings peace to your soul?
Yes – I use to travel a lot , not only for skiing / snowboarding for myself – but also for teaching kids how to snowboard . And I use to go climbing a lot . It`s kind of a compensation of daily life . if you climb you`re only focused in the route only. All stress dily bullshit is so far away in that time – it`s really relaxing….
Your label is one of the oldest, you supported a lot of great bands and helped them to grow. But nevertheless, Rødel Records had to rest for some time. About 5 years label was inactive. What was the reason for this hiatus and what woke the label up and brought back to business?
Well – in the meantime I had some breaks in releasing / distributing stuff . One reason was the time when I lived and worked in the south of Germany for about 2 years and I also slowed down label activities for family reasons for about 3 1/2 years . I also slowed down label activities for some personal reasons from time to time. I think it`s normal if you also do other stuff beside the label to focus in other activities some time.
What about live shows? Do you come to gigs with bags full of distro? Do you enjoy the vibe of this kind of congregation?)
Yep – I use to take my distro to gigs to sell some stuff / give people the chance to buy stuff directly so they don`t have to pay postage rates. It`s kind of fun to go to gigs – not only for selling records. My main aspect to go there is to meet people / friends to talk to. Some times I even didn`t know the bands and was surprised by them . a lot of bands are live way better than on any of their releases .
Don’t get me wrong, and I really mean no offense, it’s a compliment, trust me) Keule, you are few years left from becoming an old man now and you’ve seen a lot. So I would like to ask you about old times of grindcore underground scene. Was it much more different from what we see today in digital era?
Well – I only can speak for myself and how it looks for me – I don`t know if others woul see it in the same way . In my eyes the scene changed a lot . When the internet grew up people started not to answer to normal letters and these days the people even don`t answer to e-mails if they`re not interested in trades or whatever . So I lost a lot of contacts. Especially the bigger labels seem to be way too busy to answer mails from small labels – even if they know you for nearly 30 years…. and people even don`t have that much money left for records than back in the nineties when dily life was way more cheap. So most people prefer to buy the new release of a well known band instead the first 7″ of a totally unknown band. My buddies / friends know they can give back a record if they really don`t like it – and I even give friends releases of unknown bands just to check them out and if they like the record they can pay it next time when we meet .
By the way, about that digital stuff. Have you thought about creating an account on Bandcamp? A lot of people use it today.
To be honest – I never thought about about a bandcamp account – the main reason is I have absolutely no idea how to do that – and it is not my music so i`m not allowed to put bands stuff online… In my opinion no label should do so – only if they got the allowance from the bands – but i think it is up to the band itself to put their stuff online.
Would you tell us about how to get a record released by Rødel Records? I understand that the most basic thing is that you need to like the record itself but still, what are the instructions for the bands? Should it be digital or on physical format?
Well – when I started the label I only released friends stuff . These days it has changed a little – sometimes I ask bands which I really like if they want to put out stuff on my label – even if I know it will take a very long time to spread all the copies… I don`t release stuff for money reasons. Other labels just release stuff they can distribute fast and easy even if they don`t like the music that much… but that`s not my main goal. I even try to care for quality even if it is way more expansive. That`s why I only put out a few releases each year.
Sorry, but since you are a label owner, this question has become a tradition on GoodGuysGoGrind, hehe) Ever thought about writing music and performing yourself?
I don`t have enough time to play in a band seriously coz of all the other freetime activities . To play in a band needs a lot of time for practising and live performances and I would be a lousy musician. Up to a not that high level I may could become a “musician” but only with a lot of practising and ona low level – and I think not everyone should play in a band . In my opinion way too many people play in too many shitty bands – but as long as they do it for the fun to hanout with friends it`s fine with me . But it`s not my cup of tea – I even like a lot of different styles so it would be difficult to put into just one band…
Label and distro is not only about long queues in post offices and tiresome waitings, but it is also rooms full of vinyls, tapes, CDs and other stuff. Where do you store all this?
Yes – you`re absolutely right…. most stuff is in my basement but also in the living room and some stuff in the sleeping room. My flat looks like a record store…