Interview - Shazzula - Black Mass Rising
Rodge: Hi Shazzula thanks for taking the time to talk to us. So tell us, why did you decide to start a label?
Shazzula: Philippe wanted to start a label after hearing the Soundtrack of my first film project “Black Mass Rising, I did not want to start any label… he came with that.
Rodge: What is your main goal for the label?
Rodge: Can you give us the history of the label? First steps, first signings, what it was like to build it up?
Shazzula: I worked in 2010 on the filming and compilation of my favorites artists of the time…. I met Phil in 2011 and he wanted to do the label as I said… he did an amazing job in spreading the word about it. Afterwards I wanted to release the works of Ruth White which was and still is a major influence for me and Phil was also into getting that on the label. I search for Ruth for many years till I found her and met Lotte who take care of her archives…and I met her in Los Angeles few years ago in 2016 for the first time.
Rodge: Can you tell us about any specific moments that really stand out to you? Best moment so far?
Shazzula: Meeting Bobby Beausoleil on Independence day 2016
Rodge: What’s the biggest challenge you think the label has overcome?
Shazzula: Work on a very long project : 'The Spirits Trilogy' the label has finally released the soundtracks in digital format on date 3 april 2020 the project started in 2012.
It is a very complete project and it has asked and will require a lot of investment for me.
Rodge: If you could sign anyone who would you sign?
Shazzula: Phil wanted to release BOYD RICE.
On my side… I am more into HONZO, more dark experimental techno artist.
I am in the search for myself of new sounds… going in multiple directions but still… the darker the better.
Rodge: How do you find your acts? Do you find them and approach them, or do you accept submissions, or both?
Shazzula: we are a very small label ...
In general, the label decides. We never accepted submissions ... We produce very little.
It is not the goal to be one hundred percent active.
We go out only what we really like and it can come from several directions. I am thinking of redoing a “compilation” for the 10 years of the label ... let’s see!
Rodge: What perks your ears up musically? Is there a certain criteria you look for in an artist?
Shazzula: We must really love ... we must have limited goosebumps to listen. We must be as bewitched by the sounds ... well it's a question of feeling I would say ... I think any label is like that ... it must be consistent. For BMR ... finally ... listening to our releases ... we must be carried away as in a dream ... this music is systematically possible as a film soundtrack
Rodge: The world of physical release formats seems like a constantly changing landscape. What have you noticed about demand for physical releases? What is your preferred format to release music on and why?
Shazzula: The situation is very complex .... IN 10 years ... the music industry has evolved (or not) ... we were and still are fervent admirers of VINYL DISC ... but prices have increased very strongly, the waiting times are getting longer .... the deals are not what they used to be.
Even the production of cassettes has increased ... and so have their prices. We are fans of tapes and vinyl records but we accept digital outputs over time ... via bandcamp. I tell myself ... ah if there had been Bandcamp at the time of Myspace..I wonder what it would have been ... (and if only there had never been Spotify or facebook!) Yes I am nostalgic from the beginnings of Myspace, it was much easier to make a good promotion without being asked to pay to share information, without being penalized or hampered in your efforts.
Rodge: What are your thoughts on co-releasing with other labels, especially for more expensive formats such as vinyl? Are there any other considerations or bright ideas you’ve had about making higher-investment releases possible? not to mention the DVD format ... which gets totally lost ...
Shazzula: We worked with another label but which released one of our productions in CD format in Russia (Sleazy live Etrange Fest) but otherwise, we never had contact with another label for a collaboration or a release. We would like very much I think for the “Spirits trilogy” because our label could not afford it (4XLP boxset and 3DVD) Unless we press our records ourselves.
Rodge: Is there anything you’d like to see more of in the underground scene?
Shazzula: I don't think I would like to see anything special in the underground scene… It has been and I hope will always be present. I sometimes worry about his fate with the monopolies or simply by seeing the musical orientations/sales of the new generations ... but we must not be too closed either ... it is a choice to get out of things that will never happen on FM bands or in night clubs .... let's say music to listen to super loud from the top of a mountain near the fire or in a cellar ... day or night… far from people. It is actually a good pandemic music J
Rodge: Do you play music yourself? Any projects we should know about?
Shazzula: I do play theremin /sing in Wolvennest a Belgian band.
I’m making music also solo or with our producer, more dark ambient/ dark Indus tech
Rodge: What are your future plans for the label, and are there any releases in the pipeline you’d like to talk about?
Shazzula: We just released “THE SPIRITS TRILOGY” soundtracks… a very long project I ma working on since 2012… I will release a lot of music from the 12 past years on my own bandcamp…
Black Mass Rising will re-release again Ruth White works hopefully in 2021 depending on the global situation (CV19) and I would love to work on a new compilation for the 10th anniversary of the label.
We’d like to sa a huge thank you to Shazulla for taking the tim to talk to us.
For more information on Black Mass Rising just follow the links below.