Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Interview: Jurgen van den Brand (Roadburn Records)


I little while ago, I contacted Roadburn Records on the Netherlands, to ask them about the label, Roadburn and the releases that have seen the light of day due to the festival, and those that will see the light of day soon. Label owner and Roadburn Festival co-organiser Jurgen van den Brand was kind enough to take some time out of his day to answer my questions. Read on...

TNIO: Can you provide a brief history into the formation of Roadburn Records?

Jurgen: Roadburn Records started in 2008 as an outlet for me to release music I liked. I was organising Roadburn Festival with Walter and had all those contacts and all that music that came in. At the time it was mainly studio albums like White Darkness (Jason from Celestial Season/Bong-Ra) and The Angelic Process. I also set up the recording of all Roadburn sets around the same time, first only for streaming purposes. But then I heard the Wolves In The Throne Room recordings from 2008 and I thought: we have to do something with these as they add to the studio recordings. So I did and a lot of titles like Voivod, Ulver. Bong, Bongripper, Chelsea Wolfe and more followed. I started the label at home but my girlfriend told me to get all that shit out of the house when it got too big ;-). Now I share an office with Southern Lord Europe in Amsterdam which is working out pretty well.

How do you decide on the artist performances that are released? Is it driven by the band or artist themselves and how much input do you have as a label?

Normally all gigs are recorded so in theory all can be used. Of course with big bands like Opeth or Electric Wizard you know you are never gonna get permission but all the rest is indeed a combination of gigs I was blown away by or people whose judgement I trust really liked. I can’t see all the gigs at Roadburn but I try to at least see one in full every day. And yes sometimes bands mail me as well. Fu Manchu for instance asked if we had the 2003 set available and luckily we had so I could release it on vinyl and they will do it on their own label later on.

Of all of the “Live At Roadburn” releases you’ve worked on, which one would you say is your favourite and why?

That is a difficult question as as you know Roadburn music is pretty versatile. We started out as a pretty straight forward stoner/doom/psychedelic festival but it developed into a festival for all kinds of interesting and intense music. So some days I’m in the mood for the full brutal onslaught that is Nihill or Mizmor, other days I like to put on Yob or Elder. It depends, like with everybody I guess. 

What have been your favourite live performances at Roadburn?

Swans in 2011 was definitely a special one for me as both Michael Gira’s career and our development of the festival kind of came together. We started to do more experimental stuff and Swans got such a drive in their music it was a perfect combination. Certainly because Swans has been my favourite band since the 80s. Gira liked it as well as he came back again as a visitor later. 

Can you provide any teasers for future “Live At Roadburn” releases?

Well Hell is coming out this October, I just put a track from that performance on Bandcamp (roadburn.bandcamp.com). And also the Oranssi Pazuzu 2017 set on the main stage is about to go to the plant. That was a gig I really really liked. There’s also some stuff planned for the next 6 months that I am really happy about, more news on that later.

I can’t think of any other label that release records so closely linked to a festival like this. Roadburn as a festival is carving a big legacy amongst both the heavy music and artistic scenes. How proud are you to be part of that legacy?

Not on this scale no. Or some releases from big festivals that artists do themselves. As far as being proud, yes I am proud of getting good music to the people. If it’s by organising a festival or releasing records on my label, it’s really the same thing. It started out as a way to get the music out that Walter and me liked. The label for me is a continuation of that. 

You can stream Helmzmen from the new Hell: Live At Roadburn 2018 record, which is currently up for pre-order, via bandcamp below:-



You can buy physical copies via bandcamp above and also from Burning World Records here - 

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