Musicscan: First of all: Give us a short briefing about stonerrock.com and
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"
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?
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
Musicscan: Why did you choose the name stonerrock.com respectively Meteor City when
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
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
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
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
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
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
slow and authentic bands MeteorCity is known for has become broader over
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
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