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Meteor City

Interview von: arne mit Dan, am: 27.08.2009 ]

Wenn es ein Label gibt, das mit Leib und Seele dem Stoner Rock verschrieben ist, dann ist es Meteor City Records. Die imposante Historie umfasst Veröffentlichungen von u. a. Nebula, The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan, Solace, Lowrider, Galery Of Mites, The Hidden Hand, The Atomic Bitchwax, Unida, Dozer und Los Natas. Als Teil von StonerRock.com zeigt sich Meteor City seit einigen Jahren mit neuer personeller Spitze lebendiger denn je und positioniert sich nach wie vor als Plattform für aufstrebende und etablierte Heavy-Acts.


Musicscan: First of all: Give us a short briefing about stonerrock.com and MeteorCity Records and the involved people, please.

Meteor City: We are Dan and Melanie aka El Danno and hellmistress. We own and operate StonerRock.com, AllThatisHeavy.com and MeteorCity.com together as business partners and as husband and wife. MeteorCity has been around for over a decade and we're currently working on our 55th-60th releases behind the scenes. MeteorCity is well known around the world for releasing debut and/or very early recordings from stoner rock megastars like Unida, Nebula, Lowrider, Solace, The Atomic Bitchwax, Dozer and the list goes on and on. We are currently releasing debut albums by Elder, Black Pyramid, Flood, Leeches of Lore, New Keepers of the Water Towers, Let the Night Roar and WhiteBuzz. Which we're confident will be the megastars of the future :) (check out "And Back to Earth Again: Ten Years of MeteorCity" 3CD BOX SET for a detailed history of MeteorCity's first ten years and 3 CDs worth of "the best of" MeteorCity!)

Musicscan: How did you first got in contact with stoner, heavy metal, downtempo, southern rock etc.?

Meteor City: I started with Black Sabbath and Rush when I was 10 or 11, but I'd say Mudhoney "Self Titled", Monster Magnet "Spine of God" and Tad "Salt Lick/God's Balls" are the albums that sent me down this path. I've been listening to those albums ever since they came out 20 years ago and they are still my personal favorite albums.

Musicscan: What has been your motivation to start out with doing a record label? Have you been an active member to a band at this time?

Meteor City: I'm not in a band and do not consider myself a musician. I consider myself a music lover, though. I have always had the dream of running a record label and releasing truly great albums ever since I started listening to truly great albums! When the original owners of MeteorCity offered to sell the label to us we considered that our "big opportunity" to get into the record label business without all the pitfalls of starting a new label from scratch.

Musicscan: Why did you choose the name stonerrock.com respectively Meteor City when you once started? What's the idea behind it?

Meteor City: We didn't choose MeteorCity, the previous owners did. We're very happy with the name, though. I personally chose StonerRock.com because the domain name was actually available and I thought it was the perfect match for the music the website was designed to promote.

Musicscan: Do you still remember your feelings when you released the first stonerrock.com album? What has it been like, and how has your relationship to bands and music changed over the years?

Meteor City: MeteorCity has been around since 1998 but we've only owned it for a few years. There were 40 releases, including a 3CD box set, before we released our first album. The first album we releases was Farflung "A Wound in Eternity". We've released another 12-15 albums since then and each one has a provides a deep sense of satisfaction for us. It is a very special thing to do something that you believe in.

Musicscan: There have been split-releases along with albums of already known and some unknown groups: Is there a release you would point out to be MeteorCitys best one so far? Which and why?

Meteor City: I'm afraid I couldn't pick one as being "the best". They're all very different and I love them all for their own individuality and uniqueness.

Musicscan: How do you feel about the place for MeteorCity/ stonerrock.com within the heavy underground? Do you feel like MeteorCity/ stonerrock.com is out to make a difference or more to make people more aware of heavy music?

Meteor City: Those are definitely the two main reasons that both StonerRock.com and MeteorCity (and All That is Heavy) exist. Our intention is to do something worthwhile and meaningful to the furtherance of heavy rock music. Something that does make a difference in some unmeasurable way. We believe strongly that stoner rock and doom music has a particular authenticity and individuality. It is honest, it has integrity and it has dignity. Unfortunately, these are not attributes that lead to a lot of financial success/popularity for us or for the bands in the scene. We do believe that we're making a difference by creating and maintaining a centralized community for the scene.

Musicscan: Are there any principles you would never give up to with MeteorCity? Which? And what are your "aims" you want to achieve with MeteorCity?

Meteor City: MeteorCity, for us, is all about releasing full length rock albums of the highest calibre. Not only do they have to be great albums but they have to be authentic and absolutely devoid of filler, trends and fashion. We release great albums BECAUSE they're great albums and not because we think they'll be "the next big thing" (or even sell well, haha :). Trend-hopping labels are antithesis of what we do. Our aim is to run MeteorCity in this way forever without going broke in the process!

Musicscan: What lessons have you learned from being involved with the heavy-underground for a couple of years now? What has it done for you? What fuels your fire to keep the label going?

Meteor City: We do what we love and we love what we do. We work seven days a week and we love it so much that we wish there were 8 days in a week :) We have become fully enlightened in the process.. We have learned every lesson there is to learn.. We are zen. (haha, ya right! not quite anyways) We have learned many lessons about being married while also being business partners. Keeping these two aspects of our lives balanced is the fuel that keeps things burning ahead for us.

Musicscan: Are you surprised about the fact that MeteorCity is still active and putting out releases?

Meteor City: No, what surprises me is that MeteorCity isn't the biggest and most successful record label in the world. We really do release some great albums! I've been trying to "turn people on" to Stoner Rock music for 20 years. What (still) surprises me is that it's (still) so difficult to do! Most people just want to listen to music that makes them feel intelligent, or artistic, or avant-garde, or happy or like they "fit in". Of course, "feeling like" and "being" are much different things! Music is all about vanity to most people. Very few people care about music that is just plain great! That's surprising to me.

Musicscan: What are you looking for in a band you cooperate with, and who's responsible for choosing them?

Meteor City: We both decide these things together. If we both really love a band then we'll strive to release an album by them. Like-attracts-like so like-minded bands always seem to find their way to us. We don't have to do any searching. We have way more albums queued for release than we have money to release them, that's for certain!

Musicscan: Do you think modern information technology will inevitably change not only the way music is listened to but also how it is written?

Meteor City: Technology makes things easier and cheaper most of the time, but it doesn't always make things better. If technology can remove barriers such as high production costs and distribution monopolies then it's a good thing. When technology makes things free when they should have some value attached to them then its' a bad thing. Reconciling these two conflicting concepts is the greatest challenge for us. How do we continue providing the community environment and the music that we do if so few are willing to pay for it? I am an optimistic person so I tend to believe that we are going through a great period of change and upheaval right now and that things will actually be better for us in the future because of it.

Musicscan: Do you think it is reasonable to assume that the concept of an album will soon be a thing of the past and people will solely listen to certain songs? Will the songwriting and the music change as well because of that?

Meteor City: Full length albums are very dear to us and it is quite possible that this in itself makes us archaic already. Maybe as time goes on the "album" will become a thing of the past. Singles and "hit songs" have never been and never will be of any interest to us whatsoever. An album is a work of art from the songwriting to the music to the packaging to the meanings and philosophies behind all of it. A single song can certainly be all of those things but history has shown that songs released in this way are usually no more than vapid jingles with the artistic merit of a TV commercial.

Musicscan: Would you agree to my statement, that the acceptance for this kind of heavy, slow and authentic bands MeteorCity is known for has become broader over the last few years. What would you say is the reason for this?

Meteor City: I do agree. I would say that the internet is the main reason for this, along with the perseverance of the bands and labels in the scene. It's very comforting to me that you use the word "authentic". I answered the above questions in sequence without reading ahead and I used the word "authentic" several times. I value authenticity in music and in people more than anything else. Being "extreme" for the sake of being "extreme" is not very authentic to me so I don't find much to care about in "extreme music". I do believe that there is much merit in pushing boundries but I don't think that pushing boundries should supercede authenticity and raw emotion. Shit is shit no matter how quickly you push it out, haha!

Musicscan: What makes MeteorCity special to you? How would you describe the essence of the label?

Meteor City: Like I said above, We've been "pushing" stoner rock and doom on our friends, family and the general public for 20 years now. MeteorCity allows us to do that on a much larger scale. We give 5 CDs away for free for every CD we sell because getting this music "out there" has always been more important to us than making a lot of money from it. The essence of the label is to be unwaveringly authentic in a world filled with trend-hopping/next-big-thing labels.

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