Exclusive Interviews Only Found Here at MetalCore!
Stormspell Records is owned and run by Jordan K and is a great label re-releasing a lot of stuff from the 80’s as well as some new bands to boot and I thought it would be neat to do an interview with and he agrees so I sent him some questions and here is what he said to them
MC: Tell my readers who you are and what do you do.
JK: Hello, my name is Jordan and I'm a freelance graphic designer and the owner of Stormspell Records.
MC: I know the label is based out of CA. Is that were you have been all your life?
JK: Currently the label is located in California. However, I'm an European who came to USA not so long ago. I'm a transplant here, not really attached to the local scene (if such even exist, haha) and therefore I consider Stormspell a universal, territorially unrestricted entity.
MC: When did you discover the lovely form of metal music and what were some of the 1st bands that you listened to and got into?
JK: Back in 1984 when I was in 8th grade. I moved to a new school and a classmate gave me a C90 tape with Def Leppard - Pyromania and RATT - Out of the Cellar on it. It laid the foundation and quickly snowballed from there.
MC: Where is CA is the label based out of? Are there any cool record stores around in the area that carry a good selection of metal music?
JK: I'm right in the heart of Silicon Valley, in San Jose. From my windows I can see eBay and PayPal headquarter offices. There used to be several Rasputin stores and a vintage vinyl place nearby, but all of those are either closed, or their owners research and price their inventory according to eBay, so it is pointless and I don't bother going there anymore.
MC: What are some early metal shows that you saw and can still remember to this day?
JK: Ah, it was bunch of local Bulgarian bands, AHAT, IMPULSE, BTR, EPIZOD, etc. The first "international" show I saw was ARIA in 1988 on "Hero of the Asphalt" tour - they were in their peak and totally blew me away.
MC: How did you come up with the idea to start a label? Did you work or do any label work prior to starting Stormspell?
JK: I always had this desire to expand on my hobby and be involved somehow. Once I moved here to USA and found myself making unimaginable loads of money (compared to what I was being paid back at home) it was sort of easy and natural progression from the crazy amount of trading and album hunting I was involved with anyway. I had no previous experience in it, and it was a trial and error affair from the start, which goes on till this day.
MC: How long did it take you from planning the idea for the label until you actually had a first release out?
JK: Not really long. Few months maybe. It took more time to prep the first release than to conceive the label idea and set it into motion. I'm more of an impulsive person - planning was never one of my strong sides :)
MC: So take me through the steps that made the label from being an idea to a reality? Did you have to shop many places to go to where you get your cods pressed up?
JK: I think I was frustrated of not being able to find plenty of the old 80s demos/albums I loved, and after talking to a friend the idea of starting a small indie label just popped into my head, and I went for it head over heels... Shopping for places/services is an ongoing process to this day.
MC: How many people work at the label at the present time?
JK: There are three people here currently: Me, Myself, and I ;))))
MC: Now when you came up with this idea to do a label is it now what you thought it was going to be and was starting up a label harder or easier than you thought and how did you get the funds together to start the label?
JK: Starting a label seemed a cool idea and I plunged into it head-first. My first release almost killed me as it was a disaster sale-wise (INSPELL - Arcadian Tales). I still have plenty of copies left from that release, and still consider it one of my best releases music-wise by the way, ha-ha.
Anyhow, I survived and my next releases generated decent sales and I was able to carry on. It was an uphill battle from the start, and it is still the same, nothing has changed really. Stormspell is 100% self-financed entity and all investments in it has come out of my own pocket.
I did not have any expectations when I started, other than to have fun and hopefully break even so I don’t have to reach into my own pocket to keep it from rolling over, so it was more or less what I imagined it would be. What I did not know is how hard work it would be and how much time it will consume - most of which is just unpaid manual labor. You get used to it after a while though :)
MC: How did you come up with the name for the label and were you considering any other names?
JK: I borrowed the name from a friend. It sounded cool and since I'm a huge fantasy buff it hit straight home. If it wasn’t Stormspell I'd have probably named it after a character/place from any of the books I love, which are like bazillion - Feist, Eddings, George R.R. Martin, Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, Pratchett, etc. etc.
MC: Now when you started the label was the idea to just re-release old stuff or sign new bands and re-release old stuff?
JK: It was both actually. I never limited it to anything - if I find something I like, it may end up on Stormspell. Of course I do have preferences in re-releasing old arcane demos, which I can repackage with new artwork and good booklets. But I do have plenty of current bands too
MC: How hard is it for you in contacting old bands to see if they want to see their stuff re-issued? Are most easy to work with or are some a pain in the ass? How do you go about in contacting these bands?
It all depends. Some have been hard to track down, some not. Some have been hard to work with - after all most of those releases are 20-30 year-old demos and people have moved on and have other priorities in life now. Sometimes I hit organized bands which are happy to see the release out and it is pleasure to work with. Sometimes I hit a band which seems interested, but once the time comes to dig up stuff and write band story, things fell apart... different people - different cases ;)
MC: Do many bands send you stuff in the hopes you will put it out? Has any old bands emailed you and asked you to re-issue their old stuff? Do most of the bands you work with have the master tapes of their music?
JK: Yeah, sometimes. I've got some cool bands approaching me which resulted in good re-releases, like IMPACT for instance.
Having masters for 20-30 year old demos always have been an issue, especially in cases when the demos have been recorded on 4-track machines and then used to dub tapes until worn to shreds, literally. It is not uncommon to lift and remaster some arcane demo from cassette tape, if that's the only source left available.
MC: About how many releases do you put out in a given year? Are all of your releases still in print? When something sells out, do you ever re-print any or is it when they are gone they are all gone?
JK: As much as I can. I do not have long-term plans. I always have a bunch of releases in progress, and whenever I get 3-4 finalized, I put them out. It is very hard to plan ahead as most of those bands are dragging their feet in providing all materials required and this always creates delays and messes any semblance of schedule.
Reprinting is case by case basis. With the arcane re-releases I tend to keep those limited and not re-press. With current bands I'm more open to do it, although very few really took it to that point so far.
With a very few exceptions, most of my releases are still available, which is a bit depressing actually. I'd like to see old stuff gone which will give me room to keep cranking new things.
MC: What has been your biggest selling band so far? How has the response to the label been so far and is doing a label what you thought it was going to be?
JK: I never had a super-seller really. The GAMA re-releases licensed from Battle Cry sold good - Vectom, Sergeant. Also AMULANCE just sold the 2nd pressing. LICH KING did okay for a current band with a DIY recordings... I actually have a lot more releases which didn’t sell as expected to tell stories about, ha-ha, sad but true...
MC: What kind of styles of music is the label focused on mainly? Are there any bands out there that you have been searching for, but have had no luck so far?
JK: Anything I like personally, which tends to be classic heavy/power/speed/thrash. I also dig the occasional hair/glam/hard rock/AOR stuff. Rarely into the extreme spectra of things, maybe do some old school death now and then.
Oh yeah, I'd love to get in touch with LORDS OF CRIMSON ALLIANCE for instance.
MC: The stuff you put out, the re-issues, is it mostly old demo stuff or is some of them actual record releases that are out of print and the bands old label is folded dead and gone?
JK: I tend to love putting demo stuff coz this gives me the chance to come up with completely new artwork and packaging. I really hate it when die-hard purists scowl at re-issues coz they didn’t use the uber-crappy generic shit some cheap-ass 80s label slapped on it without the band's input whatsoever. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about preserving the original feeling and such, but some artworks were just too crappy to be preserved. It is a personal opinion anyway.
Anyhow, it is mostly demos/previously unreleased albums I tend to release nowadays; although I have done the occasional album re-releases, like IMPACT or TARGET, LAST DESCENDANTS, etc.
MC: How far do you think the label will end up going?
JK: Since Stormspell is mostly hobby than real business per se, I guess it will be around in one form or the other while I'm alive. Stormspell is like a bad case of Athlete's foot - the more you scratch it, the more it itches. Once you conceive it, it is attached to you, forever.
MC: If you had a chance and an offer to join a big indie label or major label would you do it?
JK: I don't think any corporate label would be interested in Stormspell - it is not compatible to be absorbed and utilized by the industry standards. Not even as the smallest part of the corporate machine I'm afraid, ha-ha.
If the offer is personal for me, as individual, to utilize the skills I've developed, yeah, why not. Especially if it comes from a European label and allow me to relocate back to good ole Europe! It will not affect Stormspell though - wherever I go, it comes with me.
MC: How much time in a given week is spent doing label stuff and do you get much actual mail or is it mostly emails and stuff?
JK: All my spare time and then some :). I do get some promos in the mail, but it is mostly e-mail these days. Which is fine by me.
MC: How many copies of each release do you print and is it just cds for now or does releases come out in other forms?
JK: It depends on the current project and sale expectations; in general my releases are pressed in 500 or 1000 copies. So far it has been all CDs, although I'm going to try my hand on vinyl, even if only to know I've tried it once. Time will tell when.
MC: Plug any websites you have and do you like social networking sites such as Facebook and My Space?
JK: Well, my main website is www.stormspell.com, which at this moment has not been updated in ages as I'm in a process in developing and migrating to a brand new word press powered website. It takes me like forever to find the time to work on it among all the other stuff I have to do, but I'm going to get it done one of these days. Hopefully sooner than later...
For more current info please like Stormspell's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Stormspell.Records
And of course Stormspell's webstore, which always have cheap deals and FREE shipping worldwide (on orders of 9 or more CDs): http://stormspell.bigcartel.com/
MC: Any last words and thanks again for doing this interview and who came up with the man you use in your ads and cds?
JK: No, thank you for giving me this opportunity, appreciated very much! I'd also like to thank all Stormspell fans for their ongoing support, without you guys this would not have been possible.
Stormy - the Stormspell wizard on our logo has been drawn by Dimitar Nikolov (Keep it True Festival, AFM Records, Ross the Boss, etc.)