Interview: Carlo Bellotti of Womrholedeath & Epictronic records

Interview: Carlo Bellotti of Womrholedeath & Epictronic records

- in Written interviews

Wormholedeath records is an independent record label, as well publishing and film production company, focusing on metal and rock, with an activity for over a decade now.
The label was founded by Carlo Bellotti, which also own another small label, Epictronic, focusing more on indie rock, shoegaze, ambient jazz, dub.
Here you can read an interview I had (again) with the labels’s boss himself, Carlo, who have answered some of my questions, more regarding the currect covid sitution and the impact it has in the music industry.

Hi and nice talking with you again Carlo. Greetings from Antichrist ’zine. How is everything going?
Hello Carla, great to talk to you again. Everything is ok at my end. I am a bit tired ’cause work takes all my energy, today it has been like a ‘war’, here at Carlo Bellotti Publishing, like every day after all. Btw everything is going well here, considering the overall situation I can’t complain. The fact is that I don’t believe in the restrictions or anything else so I just keep going.

Hard and weird times nowadays, caused by this corona virus, which ”ruined’’ somehow the music scene, especially the bands. Did the current corona pandemic affect your label in any way?
Of course this crap has affected us. The bands cannot play live anymore, and the live shows are a big part of the promotion, it’s where we physically sell a lot of products and where the people get to know our bands. On the other hand, we have tried to fill up this void with more media promotion and radio airplay for the artists. Somehow, we have succeded, as the volumes of press and radio airplay are growing, but as I’ve said live shows, festivals are so important even for the mood of the bands, not only for the sales and the promotion. The bands that we have signed are stage-beasts and they want to play…They are lions in a cage. They are depressed. The bands are all trying to fill up this void writing new songs, but then they can’t go into the studio. This sh*t from the goverment is destroying the people with this virus-bullsh*t, I just hope that everybody will open their eyes very soon.

Since bands cannot tour yet, the only way now for them is online promotion through media and live stream shows. How are the latest bands signed to the label managing the album promotions?
Yeah, as I said above, we are trying to increase the number of airplay, interviews, features, articles and so on…The bands, they do what they can, we do our best but they want to play. These idiots in the governments (every country is the same except a few,Australia, Japan) have to go to hell and we need to take our freedom back.

What’s your opinion about livestream gigs? Are they good, have you talked to the bands to do something like this, free streaming or ticketing?
Aaahhh…That’s bullsh*t! How can you feel the vibe of a band via streaming ?? Come on, this is just useless. Increase the media presence and write songs. Possibly release new products. That’s the only way to spend this time in a positive way.

Do bands press less CDs now than before, since they cannot sell them during the gigs?
We are lucky because most of our bands still sell all the CDs we press but it’s harder now obviously. It takes more effort and doesn’t have the same impact because a CD bought after a show is forever, a CD bought online will be forgotten at some stage. Isn’t it true? A CD bought after having seen a band live, doesn’t is have a stronger connection for you?

What can you tell me about CD sales as well? Did the sales grow during the pandemic?
No Carla, they didn’t grow. As I said we are fighting to try to keep things in the way that they were but it’s a struggle, and the people (the bands) are tired. We are lucky that things for us are not going that bad compared to many others who cannot work at all.

Since I got to know WHD records and discover new bands, I know that then there were more extreme bands (death, thrash, blackened death, dark metal), and by time, more and more modern, rock, punk bands. Is it something you stopped signing up, less extreme and more modern bands? Is it what the media/fans are looking for from WHD?
I think it’s a combination of a number of things. If I get 2 submissions, one from a modern band, one from an extreme band and the modern band is better, I will sign the modern band and not the extreme. So what does it means? It means that the ‘modern’ submissions (as you call them) were better than the extreme. Obviously, it is a coincidence but you noticed it, so I have to answer. I don’t only listen to the music but I also evaluate the sound, the image of the band, the production and often the extreme bands send homemade albums, the ‘modern’ bands care more about their sound so they have better productions, better image and the songs are obviously more mainstream. I don’t want to close the door on my work in the ‘extreme music cage”’. I want to do what I think will sell.
My model to follow has always been, Nuclear Blast… Look at them. They don’t care if the band plays gothic rock or extreme deathcore. If it’s great, they sign it. That’s how I work as well (obviously I am not comparing us to Nuclear Blast, they are the biggest metal label in world) but still I look at them and learn. I don’t care if it’s modern or extreme, if it’s great and the album has a great production I will sign them. Obviosly more ‘modern’ bands have sent me good materials, more extreme bands have sent me stuff which was not suitable for release. Carla, make it possible that more extreme bands send me great albums, and I promise I will sign them.

Past vs present: from your perspective, was it better in the past how the music was promoted comparing to nowadays? Do you think the streaming platforms ruined the music industry, that people buy less records (CDs, vinyls)?
I know this is a long subject to be discussed, if you ask me, I don’t mind at all how is going on today. I think is better to just check online a band and their music, if you like them, then you decide if you want to buy their record, but before, you would buy everything and keep it there, since was not the internet…
The problem is not the streaming, the problem is the amount of products that the million of ‘labels’ (or wanabee labels with a logo and a facebook page) release, the self-release homemade products. Nowadays people who don’t even know how to play an instrument, can record an album with fake instruments, VST plug-ins etc. There’s no difference between the recorded tape that we were trading/passing and the MP3. Actually, the MP3 is better, it’s free, it’s faster and can be posted, sent, streamed etc. etc. The problem is the quality. So the truth is somewhere in between.
The digital era has opened a lot of new possibilities for bands to self-produce, self-release and self-‘promote’ albums but on the other hand, it has destroyed the market due to an immense quality drop. When I started working in the music indiustry back in 1990 and I produced the first 7” from Necromass, everything was different. The competition was still strong but there were just a few bands able to record an album, then you needed a label which was usually picky. Nowadays? Drumkit from hell, superior drummer, guitar plug-ins and guitar editing, melodyne on the vocals, wild editing all over the place, electronic intruments. Then Youtube, Distrokid, Spotify and the crap is done. I am not saying that every self-released band is crap, but most are. Real labels make a selection and at least you can expect high quality releases only from us. And this is the selction that we should have. I know I am saying a lot of things that a lot of people will dislike but this is how I see things, it’s my opnion and I say it in the way it is, as I’m not afraid of people talking sh*t about me after having read this interview. My work is too good to be destroyed. Dear hater self-marketed whatever bullsh*t music, always remeber: I was here before you and I will be here after you!

What’re the next label plans, actually for both labels that you own. WHD and Epictronic.
Wormholedeath and Epictronic are so different so the future plans are very different as well. Wormholedeath as a brand is reliable for the heavy rock and metal scene. Epictronic is still trying to show everytbody its huge potential and trying to establish the label as a brand for ‘experimental mass market music’. With Wormholedeath we are improving and improving, and improving the services that we offer to our bands as the label network is now quite big (we release our artists in Europe, USA, Japan, South America and Australia). Obviously, we cover the whole world with more local distributors and digital. We are trying to get more media contacts, more festivals on our side, more clubs promoting our bands and giving away our products, more music supervisors that could buy songs for TV adverts or videogames, more licensings in other continents, getting to know more college radios, getting more spotify playlists etc. We are trying to give a better service to our artists and also better communication with them, so we invest more time in talking, planning, brainstorming with the musicians. Also, we are working more with publishing and trying to develop opportunities in the publishing field.
With Epictronic we are looking for an artist that will sell million of copies, get billion streams. These are 2 completely different approaches even if Epictronic already offers all the services I’ve mentioned above. It’s just a different label concept. But be careful, I didn’t say that we want to release pop with Epictronic, I said that we want to break through with ‘Experimental Mass Market Music’. What is that? Listen to our catalogue and you will understand: ambient jazz, dub, downtempo, shoegaze, indie rock. Epictronic is a mainstream label for experimental artists.

Thanks a lot for your time, again. My pleasure as usual! Cheers!
Thank you too, Carla. Just a final message to the readers, please go to a shelter and adopt a puppy, or a senior dog, there are beautiful souls suffering in there… If you see a stray dog or a stray cat adopt him, he/she will give you so much joy and love. Be good to animals, help them ALWAYS. Be kind to them, they are so innocent and vulnerable. Stop eating them, they are friends not food. Please listen to me, you need love, we all do. These beautiful creatures are pure love, they know the truth and wil help you to live a better life, fix your problems. Please, listen to me.

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