Interview to the F.H. bo$$ made in November 2017 by Andy Wood for the Tarquin Zine issue 7, published January 2018.
INTERVIEW WITH MARC REINA – Curator of FacthedraI’s Hall label based in France – www.facthedral.com
TQ – Marc, thanks for speaking with TQ. What’s the history of the label, and are you the sole curator?
MR – Thanks for this interview and interest Andy. Well, I created the label in 1997. At this time, I was already composing experimental and electronic music with my good friend S0mniaK. We had individual projects, and one in common called Sizzle.
During 1996 and 1997, I started to send our music to a lot of independent labels. But in view of the few answers and ‘enthusiasm’ on their part, and maybe because the music we were doing at the time did not warrant a CD release in their opinion.
So I decided to create my own DIY label, to distribute and promote our music, and sometimes compilations with other artists, on cassette and CDr, limited from 30 to 100 copies maximum.
Yes, it can be said that I am the captain of the ship, although I have been accompanied and assisted on several occasions by good friends, family, and artists, and during 2001 to 2005, the label functioned more like a collective of artists, than a simple record label. Then, life made this collective disintegrate over the months. I found myself alone again to continue the label, so I contented myself with making it survive on the internet by publishing all our productions as free download, adding from time to time new productions of my group Sizzle. But at that moment I was no longer at all in a position to promote anything, due to lack of motivation, and also a wish to move on to something else.
And finally it was due to my friend Deadrow77 that the label was restarted at the end of 2015 to go to the next level, when he decided to self-finance the CD pressing of its second (double) album under the banner ‘FacthedraI‘s Hall’. So it was the first record manufactured and produced in 500 copies published on the label, and this gave me the opportunity to get back with something other than CDr, although I must confess that it is even worse than before, this hope to sell records of ‘unknown’ artists.
So I guess that Deadrow77 album was ‘Dark Waves for Little Greys’? Does the label have a particular genre that it’s interested in promoting as that’s pretty different from the Chalung-Gra ‘Mostaferi’ album reviewed in TQ4.
Not really, Facthedral was from the beginning focused on electronic music, experimental and industrial, in a large sense. Just recently I started to publish metal with the Silent Tower cassette, which offers very heavy instrumental metal played on bass guitar and tinted with industrial, and also the reissue of the first two 1987 demos of the French band Death Power, which played classic raw speed /thrash-metal.
Unlike many labels that focus on a specific style or universe, I try to diversify the catalogue of Facthedral, even if I admit that recently I asked myself many times if it was a good idea or not to switch electronic/industrial music directly to old school metal, which interested mainly only amateurs of the genre. I also trust to the open-mindedness that some style-lovers in particular might have, by focusing more on what the label has already produced.
I don’t know. . .there may be a reassuring state for the person buying records to know that a specific label proposes a specific style of music. At least the customer will not be disappointed by an artist in particular, as they all correspond to a mold and to his/her expectations. But it seems to me that it is up to the artist to distinguish themself from the others by seeking to evolve in their own style, with their own sound. Some labels seem to have taken the entity or the role of the artist by proposing a unique style and sound.
Are there any labels in particular that you look up to, and admire?
I take a look from time to time on the releases of labels like Cold Spring, Ant-zen, Cryo Chamber, Raubbau, Tympanik, EE Tapes, M-Tronic, Earsheltering, Reverse Alignment. I admire some of them, and also ancient/big ones like Virgin, Mute, Earache, Warp, 4AD, Prikosnovenie, Cold Meat Industry. But I confess that at the moment, I am mainly interested in labels for a more mercantile purpose, looking for those who could potentially exchange copies of their productions with those of my label, thus proposing other productions as well as ours in the Facthedral’s mailorder catalogue.
What about artists, if there were no barriers who would you like to see knocking on the door looking to sign to Facthedral?
Good question, which I have given a lot of time to answer having become a bit blase musically, probably because I d0n’t take enough time to search for new or established artists. I listen to some new things, if not on some French radio programs, on France Inter, or the excellent “La Nuit des Sauriens” by Patrick Pincot on Radio Stolliahc. Ideally, I would like these artists to surprise me, and take me to their universe from the first listen, reminding me of the sensations that I have had in my life during my musical apprenticeship, in listening to some Alan Vega, Motorhead, Autechre, Tangerine Dream, Gong, The Sisters Of Mercy, Ariel Pink, Von Magnet, James Brown, Swans, D.A.F., Burial, Siriusmo, Bathory, Pink Floyd, The Cure, Scorn, Skinny Puppy, Mike Oldfield, Liza N’Eliaz, Soft Machine, Ravi Shankar, P.I.L., Depeche Mode, A Tribe Called Quest, Joy Division, Einsturzende Neubauten.
I know you are currently working on a label sampler CD. What can we expect to hear on this, and when do you hope it will be available?
I’m hoping it will be available in November. To commemorate the 20 years of existence of the label, I thought that it would be a good idea to produce a compilation gathering a piece of almost all the productions from Facthedral, ordered chronologically. Many of the songs are no longer available on physical media as they have sold out as they were produced in limited quantities, so I am glad that some of them will re-exist physically, and in addition have been remastered for the occasion.
The idea is also to offer the discovery of the diversity of our new and previous releases to both our personal on-line customers, and also our distributors by offering them this label sampler CD at our on-line shop, and also directly on our merchandise stand at live concerts.
Also, it will clearly have a promotional purpose, since I intend to send it to some zines, radio stations, or distributors to add weight to my approach.
TQ Note: a copy of this excellent sampler CD will be sent to any subscribers choosing to re-subscribe when their current subscription expires, or those taking out an immediate extension to their subscription. As there are only 10 available, when they are gone, they are gone!
Finally Marc, what is your vision for the label, and what about yourself as a performer?
Well, as I said, initially it was for the purpose of promoting works in which my friends and I participated. Today I want my label to really serve other artists, and that people who will discover our productions will have the same sensations as when I listen to. Afterwards, I am realistic, to manage a small label in 2017 is almost for me a militant act. It is more difficult to tickle curiosity in our time, and people have unfortunately more concerns than buying CDs from unknown artists, especially in this period when vinyl buries this format.
The business aspect of the label, which I had underestimated at the beginning, is a bit counter-nature for me, being myself an artist. So I try to find the right balance in my works. Finally, everyone has to find its account: the curious and passionate consumer of music, the artist, and the label. The CD of Minitel’s ‘Abîmes’ is a good example, this album had not found a taker at the time, and it slept for 10 years in a closet. Its creator is very happy that his release can finally exist physically, and moreover I have had only good comments about it.
And to talk about my current musical projects, I play electronic percussion in Velvetine, I am also behind the dark ambient project Chalung-Gra that you recently reviewed in TQ. I also published a series of spontaneous tracks/sketches, under the name lngodeme. In recent years, I spent much less time composing on my computer where I just build some patterns, accompanied by low-end material (effects, electric instruments) on which I play, recorded on a 4 tracks cassette, keeping and using of my mistakes during the creation process, and finally I make some cuts and mix this on my computer. I no longer have the patience and time to spend hours composing or structuring electronic music tracks entirely with the mouse of my computer, as I did 15 years ago with my band Sizzle. So lngodeme or Chalung-Gra allow me to let off steam artistically.
Thanks Marc, I wish the label and you great success, and following on from this piece, l’m pleased to review the excellent Minitel album.
Thank you very much Andy. This is the first time that I have been inten/iewed about my label, and I admire your almost militant commitment to continue to spread your
musical tastes of the moment, on paper – long live TQ!
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