Today, I would like to introduce you an interview that is very different from the previous ones that I have conducted so far. For the first time ever, I conversed with a record label’s owner, which granted me a chance to take a look “behind the scenes” in black metal production. The first of this kind of interviews is honored to a respected independed black metal institution such as Naturmacht Productions. Robert Brockmann (Lebensnacht, Sado Sathanas) was kind to answer my questions below giving an insight directly from the headquarters of NP. Lebensnacht’s three full-lengths are included for free streaming!
Hello, Robert! Thank you for the opportunity to take a glance into Naturmacht Productions’ world. How are you doing nowadays?
Thanks for having me buddy! I am fine, all good here.
Correct me if I am wrong but you founded Naturmacht Productions in 2009, didn’t you? How did you decide to take this obviously huge leap of dedicating your life to producing music? Also, could you name the first three bands that you signed?
Yes 5.5.2009 is the official founding date. Well it was kind of a spontanous and planned thing. The idea just appeared that I could do this, because I wanted to create something and I love to trade. Also I searched for a way to release my stuff and I wanted to help and support art itself. Its just great to work with artists and with music. The first bands were Nocturnal Misanthropy, In Dornen and Draumar.
Black metal is not a music genre that one can easily make a living from. Taking into account that the market has changed a lot in the years, can you describe what it takes to run your label? Do you have support by anybody else or you are in charge of everything?
Well, first thing is: forget about money. Pressing costs are low these days, but the market is just over full with black metal stuff. Plus focusing on money always gives you limits and lets you make often bad decisions. I do not live from it and I couldnt but nor I want to. I would need to make way more compromises and hard decisions. As long as I make some small plus at the end of the year its okay. But it will never pay the time I spend into it. But money is not important in this case. It should fund itself thats it. It is a “non commercial” label nonetheless. Otherwise you need quit many things to know, laws regarding tax and online shopping for example and of course dedication. Half things do not work. Also honesty and respect is essential for success. And muuuuch patience.
Naturmacht Productions’s trademark, so to speak, is black metal that is approached in a more philosophical and existential manner. It is a pattern that can hardly ever be mistaken, in my opinion. What is the main reason behind choosing to give birth to such releases? Is it simply a matter of your personal interests or also a manifestation of standing out from the masses?
Hm its both I would say. There have to be fullfilled several things that I release something. First I must like it, then the concept must fit (intelligent, nature related, philosophical), I must like the people behind and the approach and working style of the band must be professional. But all of that is also connected with me as person. I hate stupidity in all its forms and so I have no wish to invest my preasures time and money into dumb, low quality stuff, even if it would mean that it sells well.
Not so long ago, you have decided to make all Naturmacht releases available for free downloading on bandcamp. What pushed you to go that direction?
Other labels were trying that “name your price”/donate thing via bandcamp. It seemed to work out and so I tried it to, as the digital form is rather unimportant to me. The second reason is, that the music appears anyway on the web one way or another. But like this people can download my music with good conscience and are usign my pages instead of some illegal stuff. They might consider to by the CD later. And many really donate, which is great, because it is real support as they are not “forced” to pay something to get the music.
Alright, let’s take another direction straight to Naturmacht Productions’ headquarters. How does one average day of yours look like?
Well, it is much email checking and doing promotion. Promotion is one of the biggest part, doing homepage and facebook posts and share stuff. The other part is preparing upcoming stuff, sending the stuff to the pressing plants etc. and the selling itself with its connected things (finances, tax, paperwork and stuff) of course.
Do you have enough time to look up new bands outide the label activity? Could you share/recommend what you are currently listening to (black metal related only).
Of course, one good thing of the internet is the easy possibility to get to know new music. I also listen to my “own” music as a fan. At the moment I hear mostly older releases from the 90s and early 2000. A good friend showed me the famous stuff I never checked out. But I also listen to new stuff, the new Midnight Odysee album is amazing, for example.
Having a lot of experience in creating and producing music, how does the current state of its darkened sub-genres look through your eyes? Black metal is the subject of this conversation of course, so do you think it is evolving or slowly washing away its identity?
A good question. Many people claim that black metal would die out, I mean the “true” one. I think not. Beside the problem of defining the genre “true” black metal, there are still many bands playing oldshoolish/pure black metal, as I do myself. Black metal is just evolving or widens its horizon, you know, being combined with many other genres. Which is great, because otherwise it would get fast boring and would die out, as the pagan metal genre did, kind of. Black metal is also a very extreme form of music, which will always attract a minor amount of people in its pure form. If you think it as the core of all what is black metal, the rest, all the “untrue” stuff is what builds up around it. Its just a typical human thing, that many like that one version they grew up with and they fear, that the stuff they love will disappear. But I think there will always be someone who enjoys the pure/old way of black metal and will either hear or produce it.
Before concluding this session, would you share what the future holds for Naturmacht Productions?
Of course! Its basically going from one release to another and the try to optimize things so that I can offer better service and releases. Also for the bands of course. Otherwise I just see where it goes. Maybe someday I reach a state were I can live from it. But I would rather have a 50/50 situation. So 50% Art and 50 % normal job. I see this as the optimal state and so it will stop to grow. For example at the moment I do not really add new bands. Being concrete, this year will see a new Enshine, Havukruunu and Arthedain album, for example.
Now it your’s turn to decide how to end this interview. Thank you for your time!
Hehe, I thank you for this lil interview. Was a pleasure to answer it. Full support to your page and dedication!