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Monday, April 29, 2013

Stargun Music - 1st Anniversary Celebration and Heavy Planet Interview

Two guys with the same love for great rock music we all share have found a way to make rock and roll their vocation, which in turn makes this great music the focal point of their lives due to the establishment and success of their rock music label Stargun Music. Determination, vision, imagination, tenacity, and passion . . . especially passion . . . all played a role in Ross Diamond and Jeremy Lawson enjoying a successful start to Stargun Music where the first year has seen new band signings, new album releases, and recognition as a quality source for quality heavy rock n' roll. Ross and Jeremy take us through their humble beginnings in the followed interview conducted by Nuclear Dog.


The awesome dudes from Stargun Music, Jeremy and Ross, have prize giveaways for some of you who are celebrating with us at Heavy Planet. Immediately following the interview is a set of trivia questions in which you have a chance to win a signed vinyl copy of "All Too Human", advanced releases of SADA's debut on the Stargun Music label, copies of Denizen, or copies of "Sonic Titans". Be the first to correctly answer the trivia questions proffered at the interview's conclusion.
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Heavy Planet:
Can you take us through the beginning of the label?
- Who was involved in the startup?
- What was it that made you want to start your own label?
- What did it take to get going with the label?
- Who was/were the first band(s) signed?

Jeremy:
Originally Stargun Music was put together to be a rock band community sharing and review site where bands would upload their music and listen to others music, rating songs, and leaving reviews in exchange for having their own music listened to and reviewed. The website never even launched, it was riddled with bugs and it had totally exhausted our budget and enthusiasm, so we buried it. A couple of weeks or maybe a few months later, Ross had the idea of launching a label instead.

Ross:
It had always been a pipe dream of mine, and after we knocked the original website on the head, I threw it out there as a suggestion and we were both like, okay this could be do-able! I had done a bit of writing for some magazines and blogs and found it hard work, to be honest, so I have total respect for what you guys at Heavy Planet do. We're both creative guys but wanted to be directly involved in working/collaborating with bands.

Jeremy:
I suppose the reason for wanting to do any of it was just because we love rock music and thought it would be fun to be involved with loads of bands making records.

Ross:
The next thing was, without anything to back us up, how do we get bands interested in working with us? That's when I thought a compilation would be a good idea for our first record. It would show people the type of music we are into and would be a reasonably quick way to get our first album under our belt.

Heavy Planet:
That compilation album, "Sonic Titans", was a stellar effort, to be sure. I know it introduced me to several new bands from the UK such as Trippy Wicked, Steak, and, of course, Enos. All of them, as well as "Sonic Titans", have been reviewed on the Heavy Planet site. (Sonic Titans review)

After you got underway, what was the plan for moving forward?

Ross:
The plan was that people would take us seriously after the release of "SONIC TITANS", and that we would come across as a label that bands would want to work with. The plan worked! Shortly after the compilation got released ENOS, who featured on the album, got in touch to say they were ready to start recording their next album and would we want to get involved! Hells yes we did! Absolute no-brainer, we love ENOS and the album they produced, "ALL TOO HUMAN" really is stunning. It blew all expectations we had out the water! Then DENIZEN got in touch and before you know it we were naturally moving forward.

Jeremy:
I didn’t think too much about a plan or strategy from day one. I just knew I wanted to put out this album idea Ross had thought of and that was enough work to be getting on with. I've been involved in so many creative projects and business projects, I know that sometimes too much planning and strategy can get in the way of just getting on with it.

Heavy Planet:
Who are the current acts on the label?

Jeremy:
Well I consider all the great bands from Sonic Titans as Stargun collaborators and on the label in a sense, but officially signed to the label are ENOS, French punk rockers DENIZEN, heavy rockers SADA and most recently MOTHER CORONA.

Heavy Planet:
That is a fantastic starting point for your label as each one of those bands are quality rockers. Well done.
"Sonic Titans" was going to be my next line of inquiry in fact, so, despite the subject already having been broached I will ask my questions anyway, in case there is more to learn about that crucuial point in time when you were working hard to establish your product.

When I first listened to "Sonic Titans" I thought all the bands on the compilation were Stargun bands outright. It wasn’t until much later I learned differently.
- How were you able to get all those terrific bands to contribute to your compilation?
- How would you rate the compilation album in terms of helping the label out in the first year of operation?

Ross:
Like I said in a previous question, it helped us massively in getting people and bands to take notice of us so it 100% worked in that sense. Also it was a great way of learning the ins and outs of producing a record without having one sole band's artistry at stake, so for our first project it took a bit pressure off for that reason. As for the bands that actually feature on the compilation, they are all bands we really dig in the scene at the moment. It was important that they were hard working bands who do a lot for themselves. It was hard to choose the final 12 as there were quite a few bands we wanted to include but we didn't want to make the album too long. All the bands were really into it as its another platform for promotion for them. We are still hugely grateful to all those bands getting involved.

Heavy Planet:
You’ve recently announced the signing of a new band, SADA. What can you tell us about them?

Ross:
Soooooo excited about this album!! These guys were making waves about 7 years ago!! They shared a stage with ORANGE GOBLIN and OBIAT and many other cool bands. KERRANG called them the "future kings of stoner metal!" But they called it a day before ever releasing a full length record. I got in touch with them about the possibility of releasing their material, because I thought these guys were truly awesome. I never really expected to hear anything, but we did and they were very much interested and now boom! the album should be out in June. SADA are officially back together and have already started gigging again! We saw them live the other week, and they are, without a doubt, balls-out heavy stoner rock!

Jeremy:
In simple terms I would say I am a huge Clutch and Five Horse Johnson fan, and I think other fans of those bands will be absolutely blown away by SADA.

Ross:
Right on! Exactly what Jeremy said. I think fans of Halfway To Gone, The Atomic Bitchwax and even proper metal-heads are going to dig SADA.

Heavy Planet:

Wow! That kind of excitement certainly has me anticipating the release of SADA's first full length album, under the Stargun Music label to boot!

Any more signings on their way that you can mention?

Ross:
Well I just mentioned MOTHER CORONA, they're our most recent signing. We saw them live in our home town and I can honestly say they were one of the most exciting live bands we've seen! Dave Oglesby, the drummer and vocalist, had so much energy on stage we knew straight away we wanted to work with these boys. Their self released first album "Cosmic Dust" was very well received and is a great record so I have no doubt that the new one will be even more awesome. I believe they're hitting the studio in May this year so it won't be out until later this year.

Heavy Planet:
That will be two major releases in 2013, following closely on the heels of your first band release last December of Enos' "All Too Human". It appears as if the momentum created by "Sonic Titans" has strongly carried through this first year of operation with what will end up being the release of three very strong albums.

What are your expectations for year two? Will it be more difficult than the first year, or do you feel the momentum you have will continue?

Jeremy:
I think it will be both easier because we have this great momentum, but also harder because "All Too Human" by Enos was so well received the bar has been set quite high.

Heavy Planet:
How far ahead have you been able to look and to plan for Stargun Music?

Ross:
Being independent and completely self-financed, the budget is incredibly tight so we can literally only plan one project at a time to be perfectly honest. We do have a small hit-list of bands we would like to work with and if we can, at the very least, release say 3 records a year that would be pretty awesome!

Heavy Planet:
What kind of stuff are you guys working on other than simply signing bands? I notice on your Facebook page a DVD for Enos. Stuff like that.

Jeremy:
Well, full credit to Enos, they organised the shoot for the DVD themselves. We have pencilled in a few projects including video shoots, but I’ve felt that due to time constraints it should always be our priority to focus on the albums.

Ross:
I really want to do a Stargun Music Showcase, which would get all the bands together for a show, and for that to become an annual thing. Like Jeremy said, definitely want to do some music videos as well.

Heavy Planet:
It appears to me that you focus on communicating with the world via Facebook and possibly Twitter as opposed to through your website. Is that fair to say? Or am I reading too much into it?

Jeremy:
That is spot on. Due to having limited time and full schedules we keep posting short but current updates to Facebook and probably update the website every 4-6 weeks. I do use Twitter reluctantly but that said it has led to some cool introductions to guys like Joe’s Pedals (custom guitar pedal maker) and a few others.

Heavy Planet:
You guys work closely with artist extraordinaire, Alex von Wieding. How did that relationship form?

Ross:
Alex has done the artwork for some of my favourite albums. He was quite literally the first name I mentioned for SONIC TITANS. We genuinely thought it would be a long shot but we emailed and he was really enthusiastic! It helped that he was really into a lot of the bands that featured on SONIC TITANS. Alex has been a massive support for us. He doesn't just do the artwork, he gets fully submerged into the whole project.

Heavy Planet:
Are there any other album artists you work with or plan to work with?

Jeremy:
Artwork decisions are made with the bands so they might lead us in another direction at some point. The thing is, Alex basically has god-like illustrative power and he’s a really decent guy, so I’d always be happy to work with him.

Heavy Planet:
Jeremy, Ross, thank you very much for your time and your thoughtful and enlightening answers. Your enthusiasm and hard work not only pay off in terms of your company, the newly awesome label Stargun Music,



Ross Diamond, Jeremy Lawson

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STARGUN MUSIC - SWAG EMPORIUM

As previously mentioned the prizes listed below are available to the select few who correctly, and quickly, answer the stupefying trivia questions we've conjured up to stump our awesome fans of fuzz. Be the first, or in some cases, among the first to send correct responses to the following email address:

gunnerkee19@gmail.com

Be sure to include your name and postal mailing address in the email. Failure to do so regardless of correctness or timeliness of response will result in no swag.

Prize #1 - Signed copy of "All Too Human", with autographs from the members of Enos. 1 prize available to the first correct answer.

Trivia Question:

1. What is the basis, or storyline, for Enos' "All Too Human"?


Prize #2 - Advanced CD copy of "All Hail the Beef Lords" by SADA. Three copies available to the first three correct answers.

Trivia Question:


2. How long has Stargun Music's mission statement of 'dedicated to the preservation of heavy rock n' roll' been in effect?


Prize #3 - CD copy of Denizen's "Whispering Wild Stories". Five copies available to the first five correct answers.

Trivia Question:

3. Who was the first band signed to the Stargun Music label?


Prize #4 - CD copy of the compilation album "Sonic Titans". Five copies available to the first five correct answers.

Trivia Question:


4. Who is the latest band to sign with Stargun Music?

Again, send correct answers and your postal mailing address to gunnerkee19@gmail.com. Prizes will be dispatched in as timely a manner as is feasible. 

Stay tuned tomorrow to HeavyPlanet.net as we continue the celebration of Stargun Music's first anniversary with another interview and trivia question / prize package. The second interview will be with the incredible rock n' roll artist Alex von Wieding.

In the meantime, enjoy the music from Stargun Music's awesome compilation album "Sonic Titans"
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"SONIC TITANS"



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2 comments :

  1. Awesome guys, excellent label and a great interview! Well done Nuclear Dog!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I had no idea. Thanks for sharing. This is excellent.

    ReplyDelete

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