|Label:||Immortal Frost Productions|
After many years of successful collaboration, it's time to learn more about Immortal Frost Productions, underground yet extremely professional Belgian label specializing in spreading Black Metal from the most varied parts of the world. Passion and love for the darker sounds drive the work of Surtur, my kind interlocutor.
Hi Surtur, welcome and thank you for your time. Let's start right away. Immortal Frost Productions was born from Josh Young in Australia, then you took over the management of the label and moved it in Belgium. What made you decide to start this journey? What are the ideals of your work?
Surtur: Hey man, first of all I would like to thank you for this interview with Immortal Frost Productions. What made me decide to start this record label, well I've been a musician since I was fourteen years old, playing already in several bands over the years, and at one point in time, creating music wasn't enough for me anymore. My passion for this kind of music was already so big that I wanted to do more with it. I came in contact with Josh Young in 2007 and a few years later, in 2009, we started our band: Hammerstorm. Well, he started it and I joined on the vocal and lyrics part. Also, in that year, Josh had just self-released his very first demo of Astral Winter under Immortal Frost Productions. Me and Josh spoke about the possibilities of Immortal Frost Productions for some time before I actually joined the record label. The main reason for me to join the label at first was to handle merchandise pressings here in Europe and the distribution worldwide. But we soon came to the conclusion that it was not a good idea to have the CD releases in Australia and the shirt releases here in Belgium. So Josh moved all the remaining CD copies of our second release to Belgium. This way I could distribute everything together in one package. When the third IFP CD release was about to come out in 2010, I was already taking care of most of the record label. On top of that, some personal things also caused Josh to decide in 2011 to hand over the name of the Record Label completely to me since he no longer participated on the activities of the record label and he could focus on his bands (Astral Winter, Atra Vetosus, Hammerstorm, Lost In Desolation…). Also in 2010 I recuited Moornebheym, who since then is a full member of the record label handling all graphics and design within Immortal Frost Productions. What are the ideals of Immortal Frost Productions? To support the true underground!
How do you choose the bands that you would like to add to your roster?
This depends on many different aspects: first of all, the idea behind the music needs to represent a certain point of view and also the quality is something I take into account. The last two years, I try to focus more on bands that can also play live shows. But to be honest, I don't sign that many bands anymore. I like to keep working with those bands who are already signed under my record label; they keep me busy enough [laughs].
Do you consider Immortal Frost Productions a real job, from which you can get economic support, or just a great passion?
I never saw Immortal Frost Productions as a real job. For me it was, and still is, a great passion. I run this record label like a full-time hobby. I still have my normal day job where I work wight hours every Monday to Friday and where I get the economic support to pay my bills. Everything that is earned with the record label is always reinvested in new productions, distribution, promotion, etc.
What are the activities in managing an underground label? Do you have any collaborator?
Well, it depends on the kind of services that you want to deliver to your signed artists. We have many different activities within the record label. I do everything with regard to the management and sales and distribution, while Moornebheym handles the graphics and designs. The things we deliver to the bands are: management, worldwide distribution, worldwide promotion (reviews, promotional video's, digital flyers, printed flyers…), artwork for the releases, other graphic designs, and much more.
Why did you choose to specialize in the Black Metal field and all its variants?
I already explained this a bit earlier in the first question. I started with this music at a very young age and the passion for this type of dark music only grew more in the years to follow. Black Metal is something that lives inside of you!
Which is the album that sold the best? Can you estimate the average number of copies sold for each album you release?
This is a difficult question. As you know, I've released more than thirty albums by now and I really don't keep track of how many copies I've sold of each album. However, I do remember which album was sold out the quickest and that was Photophobia – "The Seven States Of Mourning". I think the album was sold-out in less then a year after the release date, if I'm not mistaken.
You released more than thirty albums up to now. Is there one which you feel really proud of?
I'm proud of every album that I've released. Even if I'm not the artist who created the music, I feel exactly what these musicians are trying to achieve and therefpre every album on my catalogue has the same value. Otherwise I would not even take the effort to release it [laughs].
Aristocrazia Webzine always strives to support physical releases (cd, mc, lp). On your Bandcamp page it is possible to buy digital albums. What is the ratio of the albums sold in physical format and the ones in digital? Which kind of format is the favorite of your customers?
It's the same for Immortal Frost Productions. To be honest, I'm not a fan of digital releases and I tried to ignore this trend for a very long time. But since we got so many questions of customers asking for MP3s instead of physical formats, we decided to make our own releases also available for digital download for a very reasonable price. And strangely enough, we actually sell more from our own releases through bandcamp then in physical format through our online webstore the last couple of months. It seems that the era of physical formats is really dying.
You have been a loyal partner of ours for some years, always sending us your releases (in complete form). I want to take the chance to publicly thank you for your faith in us and for your great work. Which are the reaseons that make you choose to collaborate with a magazine?
Well, I would need to thank you for your efforts in writing reviews for all the releases that I sent to you. I always contact a webzine or magazine first to see if they are interested to promote my releases before sending them physical copies. Mostly, they all answer directly with a yes, but I already had many webzines and magazines who've never delivered what they promised. That's why I like to keep working with the same 'zines for years. I enables you to build up a trustworthy relationship, which is good for both sides.
I admit that I don't know really much about the Belgian Metal scene, but I can say that I am a fan of early Enthroned. How is the scene in your country, about bands, audience and chances to play live?
Enthroned is indeed probably one the most famous black metal bands from Belgium. The scene in Belgium is okay in general. It's a small country so it's a very tight scene which is also a disadvantage for live shows. At least that’s my opinion.
Your presence in the underground Metal world also consists in playing in some bands. Can you tell us something about them?
Well I've been around for nearly twelve years now playing in several bands. Most of them split up a few years ago, since I wanted to focus more on my main band, Ars Veneficium, and of course Immortal Frost Productions. Playing live with my bands has always been a goal since I was young and none of my bands ever reached the stage so far as Ars Veneficium did. So I'm actually very curious as to what the future will bring. For now, we've worked more than a year to finally finish our full length album "The Reign Of The Infernal King" which will be released by IFP on the 26th September 2016 on CD, followed by a 12" vinyl release later (since the production time takes a lot longer as well).
Are there any bands or insiders of the Italian Metal world (labels, magazines, graphic designers, etc.) that you like?
Sure, I have many partners/friends in the Italian scene. For example: I work very closely with Avantgarde Music/Sound Cave with whom I have very trustful relationship. They've distribute all the Immortal Frost Productions releases in their country for me for several years now. So they're surely worth mentioning. Regarding 'zines in Italy, I only work with you guys for now, maybe this might change in the future when something shows up. Regarding bands, I know a lot of Italian artist. Some worth mentioning are my close friends of Deathrow, Kult, Fides Inversa, Frostmoon Eclipse and Tumulus Anmatus.
What are you planning to release next? Which are your plans for the future?
For 2016, I have a few more releases planned:
- IFP 034 – Ars Veneficium – "The Reign Of The Infernal King" (26/09/2016)
- IFP 035 – From The Vastland – "Chamrosh" (26/09/2016)
- IFP 036 – Astral Winter – "Forest Of Silence" (28/11/2016)
- IFP 037 – Khaospath – "…For The Devil Speaks The Truth" (28/11/2016)
As for 2017 you should keep a look on our website. We will update our website with a bunch of new upcoming releases for the first half of 2017, including a few new 12" vinyl releases.
Which are the last five albums you listened to?
Damn, this is a hard one [laughs]. Let me see, the last 5 albums I listened to today and yesterday where:
- Ars Veneficium – "The Reign Of The Infernal King": had to check the final mastering
- Kalmankantaja – "Tyhjyys"
- Blacklodge – "Machination"
- Spektr – "The Art To Disappear"
- Arckanum – "Fenris Kindr"
Last question: who is Surtur in the everyday life?
This one is very personal, which I will not answer in too much detail because I don't feel like people on social media need to know these things about me. I can say that I'm a normal guy who goes to work every day like everyone else and of course likes to enjoy some beers in the weekend with friends. The rest is for me to keep [laughs].
That's all for us, you can leave one final message to our readers. Thank you again!
Once again I would like to thank you and of course your readers for their time and interest in Immortal Frost Productions. I hope I can keep supporting the underground scene for a few more years and bring life to a couple more amazing records through my record label. Thanks and hailz!