CVLT Nation Exclusive
Embers Tour Diary
Interview with Davide from Iconoclast Records
Steve from Embers interviews Davide from Iconoclast Records.
Read Embers interview with Claudio from Iconoclast HERE…
Davide: It was mainly a distribution of records and political stuff, books and info-sheets. I have been an activist for most of my life. I quit the political struggle 24 hours a day a couple of years ago actually, and when my friend asked me to start another label, it was natural to start again as something new, something different, with another name and another way, another direction. I mean, I didn’t change my ideas. I just wanted to focus on talking about the label. Focus more on the music and putting out records. Of course in a DIY way. I never changed my way about that.
S: So, something that Claudio mentioned in the original interview was that there was a decision at some point to change the focus of the style of music more into the metal area. Why did you make that decision.
D: Mainly for two reasons, one was just because we were listening to a lot of metal stuff, and we were more and more into metal. We started a band, Claudio and I together, we play black metal and I think it was something natural to move in another direction.
But not only that, how distribution was more into crust, hardcore, and punk, especially when we put the distro out at some shows and Agipunk was there too with their distro. It was actually impossible to sell any records. Every record I had in my distro was the same as Agipunk had. So when Mila asked me to be distributed officially by Agipunk I said, “Yes” because it was good for everybody. Spread the name of Iconoclast because Mila started Agipunk 15 years ago. His experience is way bigger than mine, and you know Agipunk records are more crust and we decided to be the most metal part of Agipunk without losing our name.
S: The one thing I notice is that Agipunk has the word “punk” in it so maybe it was good for him because maybe it was hard to explain. It seem that Mila also enjoys metal. He does Break the Chains, but he needed a way to be more involved with metal without losing Agipunk because he built that up, but still having a way to do metal. I’m not sure if that’s a question, but if that makes sense tell me why and if not tell me why not.
D: I think he didn’t know the underground music scene that well, especially underground black metal, which is one of my favorite music genres. I think this is why he wanted us to focus on more underground metal with Iconoclast.
S: So you guys have your finger on the pulse of the underground metal scene.
D: That’s the idea, creating something new for Italy. The metal and punk scene in our country are still pretty divided. True metal heads are not used to thinking in DIY ways. They don’t like to go to a squat even if there is a metal show. They are very narrow-minded. Most of them are also fascist. I don’t want to say that in Italy metal music is something for fascists, not at all, but most of the real true metal heads are fucked up people. Definitely.
S: People that are just pure metal…
D: Maybe they are not activists. Most of them are to stupid to be fascist activists. They’re just a bunch of assholes.
S: But don’t you think that with what’s happening and that Iconoclast is getting involved in is changing the face of metal in some way or is part of that change that is happening naturally?
D: I would like to work in that way. That is one of my first ideas. I think that when we organized Into the Void fest at the end of April. A lot of different people came and it was pretty cool to see. Especially, well, maybe more metal heads than punks to see a metal show in a squat.
That was pretty cool, but I don’t know if it was because of my work with Iconoclast. Maybe we need to work and work and wait some more. It’s to early to say that Iconoclast is changing the underground music scene.
Brick by brick maybe we can build something important.
S: Because the thing I’m noticing is a lot of the new metal bands that are getting… like Kylesa or some of these newer bands, not the older bands, but a lot of them were people that were in the punk scene or were participating in DIY booking and booked punk bands themselves and are now playing metal.
So it seems that that’s a direction that things are happening. Whereas in Europe it seems that Iconoclast is one of the few labels that seems to be aware of that.
Are there a lot of labels doing something similar to Iconoclast in Europe or is Iconoclast kind of out there on it’s own?
D: Well, no, there are a lot of very interesting music labels in Europe, but they are often involved in just one kind of metal. For example Blood Harvest from Sweden. Rodrigo, the boss, releases only old school death metal, nothing else. Doomentia from Czech Republic is a cool DIY metal label… Anyway, I could mention many other good labels.
Something else I want to talk about is black metal, because there are no clean/not sketchy labels that are releasing black metal in Europe. That is the problem. I am really into black metal, especially as a listener, and I would love to have more and more black metal bands under Iconoclast, but of course I don’t want to be related with anything racist or fascist. I’m still anti-fascist even if I’m not a political activist anymore, a strong political activist I mean.
Music is not only music. I still feel the same way about that. I will never release a sketchy band. That is not my way.
S: But at the same time there is no such thing as a nazi power chord or a nazi music scale. So that’s the weird irony of it all is that “black metal”, it’s 2 words put together to describe a type of sound and there is a lot of black metal from where we are from, and it’s never associated with fascism or nazi-ism so it’s something weird for us to encounter. People call our music “black metal”, some people, and then it becomes associated with something that has absolutely nothing to do with anything… So, I really appreciate that you guys exist because of that.
D: Just one thing more, it’s very difficult to sometimes contact some very underground bands because maybe of some kind of black metal ethic or stuff like that. They don’t want to release their stuff on vinyl, but just on C.D. or better on tape. They don’t want to associate their name with a label. Especially with a label that was into punk before. I’ve had this problem sometimes, trying to contact some bands. It’s pretty weird.
S: What’s the plan then moving forward? Not just with that but with Iconoclast in general as well.
D: We are planning a couple of records for the near future, a collection on viny for Black September, a band from Chicago. A colletion of their EPs. And that’s it for 2012. Maybe, I was in touch with the guy from Iskra. He asked me if I’m interested in releasing a record with them next year. We are talking about it. We’ll see.
One of my ideas is also to do some represses of old records, but I don’t have a specific idea at the moment.
S: So, here we are at the ABC anarchist festival so clearly we are not supporting Nazis. What are your thoughts on being part of this festival.
D: I’m glad to be here. It’s something common for me to be in a situation like that, being in squats, even a squat announced for just one gig and leaving it. I’ve done that for many years. It’s kind of natural to be here supporting the ABC fest. Well, maybe it’s not that well organized. The building is not that good.
S: But there is enough space.
D: Yeah, it’s very big.
S: Is there anything else I’ve failed ask please let me know, anything important as the person founding Iconoclast participating in the scene in Bologna, and driving bands on tour and being here. Is there anything else that’s relevant.
D: I would just like to be well known all over the world. (laughter)
S: I think that would be a good thing because I like what you guys are doing and I think that it’s sad and also cool that no one else was doing it in the way that you are, so I’m glad that you guys reached out to us.
D: I’m glad to have released your records. I’m glad that you’re on tour with our support.
S: Awesome! Let’s call that a deal, and let’s call that an interview.