Basick Records: A Chat With the Hottest Metal Label in the U.K.
Founded in 2005, Basick Records signed a distribution deal with the mighty Prosthetic Records (Skeletonwitch, Landmine Marathon) earlier this year, insuring that their releases find their way onto North American store shelves. Oh yeah, you can also sample the label's entire catalog, for free, on Bandcamp. How cool is that?
Noisecreep recently chatted with Basick Records co-founder Nathan "Barley" Phillips and we spoke about the label's early mistakes, recent success and what he looks for when he's signing new talent.
Give us some background on Basick. When did you get the label going and why did you jump into something that seems so daunting?
My brother and I started Basick in late 2005 out of a need to give some exposure to a couple of local bands (Enter Shikari, Fellsilent) that we thought needed an extra push. We had some contacts and some know how, so we decided to set up a series of compilations that would showcase this talent. Those comps were our first two releases. I think back then we were so gung-ho and sure of ourselves, that we didn't in any way think of it as a daunting prospect. But I think that was mainly due to fact that we didn't see it getting any bigger than our local scene! When we got recognition in national press we thought we'd made it [laughs].
Did you make a lot of mistakes during the label's infancy period?
Yep, loads, although nothing too major. Although we had overall business and music experience and good heads on our shoulders, neither of us had any specific label experience, so we had to learn the hard way, even if that meant by trial and error sometimes. I often say that if I knew back then what I know right now, we could have saved ourselves a lot of hassle! But then, I think that's probably half the fun, right?
The label has a reputation for releasing progressive-minded metal. Was that always the direction you intended to take, or did it happen in a more organic sort of way?
Well, I think when we first started, It just kinda happened that way. All we knew, is that we wanted to release some brand new bands with a brand new sound. Something fresh. Something exciting. The bands that we were working with in the early days just happened to fit in exactly with that ethos. Don't get me wrong, on a personal level, I grew up listening to traditional metal like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and early Metallica, but I knew that I wanted Basick to offer something different to that.
With so many labels peddling what's current, or revisiting what was popular in the past with (almost) tribute bands, I think that it's important that Basick is the label that will always strive to bring you the next sound.
Can you point to a specific album or signing that you think was a huge turning point for Basick? I mean in terms of getting the label's name and credibility cemented.
I think there have been several, but all on different scales. For instance, hooking up our first solid distribution deal was a big thing for us, as it gave us more weapons in our armory when trying to sign bands. But if I had to pinpoint one signing as such, then I would guess it would have to be Ion Dissonance. Getting the opportunity to work with those guys and releasing their album Cursed through the label definitely turned a few heads.
Skyharbor is getting quite the bit of press as of late, especially in the States. Has cracking the American market been tough so far?
The response to Skyharbor has been great – it's amazing to see a record really connecting with people like that! Even Chris Adler (Lamb of God) is into the record and has asked them to support LOG when they play over in India. But yeah, in general, it sure has been tough. To be honest, we're only really just getting started over there, so we're actually making some great and steady progress. At the beginning of this year we signed a new distribution deal with Sony/RED via our friends at Prosthetic which has meant that our releases are now seeing some great coverage over there. Not only that, but we can now bring some of our bands over to the US knowing that they have full retail support behind their releases, which is great. And not too mention of course, we can now look at signing one or two U.S. bands, safe in the knowledge that we'll be able to support them in their needs.
For any bands reading this interview right now, what are the three top things you look for when you're scouting for the label? Are you even looking for any new acts at the moment?
Exceptional musicianship, unwavering drive and passion, and a forward thinking mentality. And yes, we are always looking for new musicians to work with!
What can we expect from Basick for the rest of the year?
A whole ton of stuff! We just licensed a fantastic band from the U.S. called Glass Cloud, plus we're working on a couple more U.S. based signings too, which will be announced real soon.
Then we've got new records coming up this year from just about every single one of our bands.
And we'll also have some of our European bands heading out on U.S. tours later this year too, so keep your eyes open for that.
Head over to www.basickrecords.com for more information on the label and its upcoming releases.