A short while ago we ran an interview with Elliot QP, a young man whose Youtube reviews of various, invariably heavy bands had been (and are still) going down a storm. During the feature he listed his favourite labels, one of which was the brilliant Holy Roar. As we here at Louder Than War are also fans of Holy Roar we thought it’d be a good idea if we asked Elliot to get some questions together for Alex, the guy who runs the label.
Below are his answers. As part of the mailer Alex was asked for his favourite releases on the label. He came back with twelve of them & his “Holy Roar dozen” can be found at the foot of the piece, with accompanying videos to provide you with something to listen too as you read.
Elliot QP: When starting the label, what were your main ambitions?
Holy Roar: To be perfectly honest I can’t remember having any specific ‘ambition’ when I started the label. I think I simply wanted to see a UK label properly releasing bands that didn’t seem to be getting the recognition (or full release in this country) that they deserved. I was also keen to present a strong aesthetic with good packaging right from the start. We purposely took 7/8 months from starting the label to actually putting out our first release, in order to try and get (some) things right….I never ever thought at that point that it could become a fulltime concern, over 100 releases, where I got to work with some of my favourite current and childhood bands, with some of our bands touring the world and playing major festivals and the like. Crazy!
Elliot QP: Holy Roar has touched upon countless styles of music, was this a conscious effort when getting the label onto its feet?
Holy Roar: Firstly – thank you for noticing this! Many people these days consider us a hardcore label and, frankly, I guess we aren’t. Yes – we have released many hardcore bands, but this was never a conscious decision in terms of direction for the label. Don’t get me wrong – I love some hardcore, but I also love (and have released) doom, instrumental rock, black metal, indie and much much more. I think there are some vague, almost intangible, barriers/parameters to the label both musically and stylistically – I can’t see us, under the Holy Roar banner, releasing hip hop or electronic music….as much as I love those styles of music too. However – it was always my intention to be as broad as possible whilst making some kind of sense. If you like Brontide, you might like Rolo Tomassi, and if you like Rolo Tomassi you might like Last Witness, and if you like Last Witness you might like Kerouac and so on……all bands that sound different and have their own aesthetics and values, yet lines can be drawn between them all. I am entirely NOT a fan of people who only feel safe identifying with one sort of scene or sound. I think there is something wrong with a sheep like mentality. Please listen to hip hop, dance music, black metal and hardcore and take what’s good from everything, never limit yourself. But equally don’t pretend to like certain genres just to try and appear cool on tumblr.
Elliot QP: What Holy Roar releases are you most proud of putting the label’s name to?
Holy Roar: I have to be honest and say that this question is almost impossible for me. Firstly it is like choosing between children, secondly different releases mean different things to me. It’s been great to work with childhood heroes like Will Haven and Strife, but equally it was possibly more fulfilling to see mini-albums by Rolo Tomassi and Throats go from nothing to the status they achieved….I also really enjoyed the whole concept and packaging etc that we did with ‘Root of all Evil’ by Brutality Will Prevail.
Elliot QP: Many people who want to be part of the music industry lead towards the musicianship side of things, what lead you to want to start and run a label instead?
Holy Roar: Do you think? I feel I know a lot of people who work within music who can’t play instruments etc yet still love and want to be involved with music. I have played in bands since I was 18 (which is a pretty late start by today’s standards!) – so almost 12 years now. I like to think that my running of a label can see both sides of the coin as such – I am in a band and know what bands want/need, I know what is realistic and what isn’t – or at least I think I do! I think it’s always great to try and understand how both sides (band/label) operate, in order to try and gain a more rounded view. If you want to clarify this question and want me to reanswer it, then that’s cool – sorry if i have misunderstood!
Elliot QP: What albums that Holy Roar have released would you want to be remembered for?
Holy Roar: I think I sort of tried to answer this with q3, so to take a different approach, here is a short list (in no particular order!) of some particularly memorable ones (many of which are not albums!)…
1. Rolo Tomassi – s/t
2. Throats – s/t
3. Brutality Will Prevail – Root Of All Evil
4. Gallows – Demo 2005 7″
5. Cutting Pink With Knives – Populuxxe
6. Trash Talk – East of Eden/Son of a Bitch
7. Happy Holy Roar 4 cassette compilation (and corresponding boxset/variants!)
8. Pariso/Kerouac – split 5″ vinyl/credit card cd
9. Throats / Ergon Carousel – kyuss covers 7″ (This track isn’t from this release but I can’t find anything off it on Youtube so take this Ergon Carousel track instead!
10. Rolo Tomassi – Eternal Youth gatefold 3xlp
11. Brontide – Sans Souci
12. Will Haven – Voir Dire