One of the coolest underground labels around at the moment certainly is New Jersey’s NECROHARMONIC PRODUCTIONS. Label founder Roy Fox is a helluva cool guy, deeply rooted in our beloved scene, blessed with the right attitude and a big addictive love for sick oldschool Death Metal. Unlike many other scene wannabees his intention of running a company is mainly to release the music of bands he personally likes instead of trying to sign the "next big thing" and to sell as many copies as possible of ’em… And that’s probably why he delivered so many gems already! I mean, which serious Death Metal worshipper didn’t fell in love with AUTOPSY FUNEBRARUM, DERKETA, DR SHRINKER, GOREMENT etc. etc. at one point or another? All the great old bands that basically started this movement… Of course there’s already tons of bootleg releases circulating, featuring classic demo, EP, live and rehearsal material of many bands of the late 80s / early 90s, but none of them comes up with such a killer packaging as the Necroharmonic stuff and even more important: none of them gets transfered from the original recordings (mainly it’s just very poor quality, tapetraded material)! So, we figured, we should find out a little bit more about all this and ended up doing the following interview with Mr. Fox himself recently…
Greetings Roy… hope you’re in the right mood to do an interview today? Which record will be playing at your stereo while answering these questions (or do you prefer to keep it quiet while you’re busy)?
"Hello sicko Frank!! Yes, I am in the mood for an interview, I have been quite crazy trying to buy a house for myself here in the USA, which is driving me batty, but otherwise things are fuckin cool! I am playing an old 1990 comp. tape made by Schaus Fred from Belgium called "Apocalyptic Things" # 1… I always listen to obscure old Death Metal!!! Live for it!!!"
To kick things off, I think it would be helpful to start with a little introduction of yourself as there’s probably a handful of people out there who are not familiar with your person yet…
"My label Necroharmonic Productions has been in exsistance for over ten years, but started as a distro-service around 1991 with distro of audio tapes with bands like Goreaphobia, Lesch Nyhan and alot of Incantation stuff… later around 1992 / 1993 I released my first 7" EP of Doom Death band CEREMONIUM, then followed by EPs of GUT and Autopsy… then I moved onto CD format and have 10 CDs out to date… Me as a person, pyscho, depraved, ugly, twisted with taste in death, gore, horror, exploitation, serial killers, satanism and of course brutal music."
When and how did you get involved in the underground scene, who introduced you to heavier music and when did you decide to be an active part of this fascinating world yourself?
"Around 1985 / 1986 I started getting heavy into worshipping Slayer like most Metalheads of that time, of course Metallica etc. These were the underground bands of this time period (for me at least) being like 13 years old. But later through cool friends and the fanzines of that time and years onwards like Blackthorne, Slayer, Kerrang, Metal Forces etc. These were my real first gateways to hell and underground music from Europe and the world especially BlackThorn magazine. I just started writing to bands in the world and such and started getting involved with my local scene and Metal bands from my area. Of course Thrash / Speed style and later Death Metal… When I started to go to L’amour in Brooklyn, NY back in the days of early NY Hardcore and Metal it got me crazy into the scene, later bands like Immolation, Revenant etc. started me on the Death Metal path… forming friendships with bands I liked… like Mortician, Incantation etc. Helped me towards my obsessions even more!!!!"
Was it Necroharmonic Productions right from the start or did you do different things before that already, like playing in bands, running a fanzine or whatever?
"I only started as a distro for some audio tapes, which I released of bands I loved at that time… then I started to release some 7" wax , later I released my own fanzine before I started making CDs for my record label… the zine was called "Flophouse Of The Freaks"… this mostly explored the early roots of goregrind and some late 90’s Death Metal bands… I did two issues total and spread maybe 200 / 300 copies of each…"
When and how did the idea pop up to release material on your own and how did things develop from there?
"Fuck man… I don’t know… it was weird, I watched a lot of bands I was directly friends with start having their CDs spinning worldwide. I wanted in on the action. Since I did not have any band I have to release these bands!! Starting with my friend Oscar’s band Ceremonium!! He just was like "you should release this" and I did!"
How did you manage to finance your activities in the beginning? Did you loose a lot of money due to inexperience or whatever?
"Well, of course I lost some money due to inexperience and such, but I worked a full time job at a gas station pumping and sniffing gas-o-line everyday, living for extreme Metal between lunch breaks and such… I think anyone who starts to release and spread music knows that it is its own job and takes on a life of its own… you get out of it what you put into it."
Judging you just by your releases so far, it seems pretty obvious that you’re more into bands that were around in the early 90s… Any particular faves there?
"Yeah!! 1990 freaking brutallity!! I could write a ten page list of obscure demo bands I worship and love, but of course some of them are the main ones I released already!! Being a tape trader throughout the 1990’s helped build my obsessions and writing letters, looking at fanzines and seeing pictures of wierdos all over the world helped me build ALOT!! Knowing that I was not alone was cool… I love the bands I released like AUTOPSY, DR SHRINKER, etc… These were some of my faves that helped get me into it… Why not go one step further and release material by them? I formed alot of friends among the bands I wrote with, so that helped me towards my label… I am just like the average "obsessed fan", it’s like… the CD or 7"EP of a band was not enough for me… I needed the rehearsal tape, the live soundboard… EVERYTHING!! Haha, I hope to hastle all my favorite bands into releases on my label…!!!! Ahh, some of my all time favorites are Autopsy, Dr Shrinker, Nihilist, Necrovore, Goreaphobia, Incantation, Immolation, Grave demos, Abhorrence, Disgrace demos, Gorefest demos, Rottrevore, Corpse Molestation, Funebre demos, etc etc…"
What is it, that fascinates you so much more about that period of time as opposed to bands that are around now?
"Pure raw non-digital recordings were cooler, band images and artwork was better when it was drawn instead of photoshopped the fuck out… bands back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s were paving the way for Death Metal, this is before Black Metal really became the big three cord waste of time… Bands were singing lower, playing more mid-tempo instead of 1000 miles and hour blast beats and it didn’t sound as clean or sterile as today… shit was just ugly!! I figure I release what I love… why try to conform to what’s new because it will sell? I don’t care what sells, I release what I like even if it loses money, I wanna poison at least a few more like minded people…"
Please tell us how things usually develop which your releases, from the first rough idea to the actual release of a record…
"Each release has its own life and experience… alot of old demo bands from the "oldschool " don’t like their demo recordings as much as I do… some think they didn’t play good or the studio did a shit job. Alot of times that’s what gives each band its own sound. Releases start with ideas and sometimes take years to finish… I’m not in a rush to push out CDs without the proper work or graphics and feel behind them… which gives me alot of bullshit in the scene… "Necroharmonic takes too long to release this… and that" I don’t have time frames… I’m not in this to make fast bucks… I’m into this for good sick music, brutal listening… not money! The Dr Shrinker CD took about a while to put out for an example… It was worth every wait… sometimes bands hold up certain aspects, so I prefer their input 1000 percent!!!"
Do you get in touch with the bands themselves or their old labels in order to gain the rights for the material you release? Do bands maybe even offer their old stuff to you as well?
"Yes , I dig into everyones heads and band’s own archives to release these CDs… I like using the band’s own source material instead of some dub tape or whatever… I am dealing with bands I was freinds with, so it’s not like some labels who just contact whoever is "Hot" or selling to make releases… bands due offer stuff too… For example, my friends of Goreaphobia offered me some old stuff we are going to release soon… It works out cool because I was there back in 1990 watching them, being a fan, headbanging and going to all their shows… I would travel with people every few weeks about 2 hours drive to see them… (thanx McEntee, hahaha!)"
Isn’t it often difficult to make them compile old pictures, artwork, flyers etc. which you are incorporating in the impressive booklets of your releases? Or do you have a collection of stuff on your own as well?
"Yeah, it is difficult… the band’s rare photos and original artwork is the most tricky… alot of bands let things slip away over the years… I don’t know how many times I have heard "I have stuff at my parents old house" and such… bands are usually into doing the music and not doing an archive of their own works (pictures, flyers, artwork, etc), but being a packrat I have saved a zillion show flyers, ads, logos, photos, fanzine interviews etc… half of the stuff comes from my own archive or sewage pit basement where I store all the stacks of boxes full of stuff… I always lived for this music, so I saved ALOT!!!"
Would you mind giving us a little rundown on the stuff you released so far and what each one of them makes them special to you?
"Here is my official releases: GOREAPHOBIA "Morbidious Pathology" demo tape, LESCH-NYHAN "Fetal Brain Deterioration" demo tape, CEREMONIUM "Nightfall In Heaven" 7"EP, GUT "Hyper-Intestinal Vulva Desecration" 7"EP, CATASEXUAL URGE MOTIVATION / GOROPSY – split tape, AUTOPSY "Tortured Moans Of Agony" double 7"EP, AUTOPSY "Ridden With Disease" CD, DISCIPLES OF MOCKERY / WOMB – split CD, FUNEBRARUM "Beneath The Columns Of Abandoned Gods" CD, BITCH INFECTION "The Gory Side Of Life" CD, DERKETA "Goddess Of Death" CD, DISCIPLES OF MOCKERY "Prelude To Apocalypse" CD, DR SHRINKER "Grotesque Wedlock" CD, AUTOPSY "Dead As Fuck" CD, ABSCESS "Thirst For Blood, Hunger For Flesh" CD, GOREMENT "Darkness Of The Dead" CD. Each release is fuckin special to me!! I don’t release bullshit CDs… I release fuckin sick stuff!!! I am 1000 percent into my releases and jam them like any other CD I worship… I’m the ultimate fan!!!"
One of your re-issues was the debut of DESCIPLES OF MOCKERY, a musically very cool and blasphemous Death Metal horde that features almost the entire classic INCANTION "Onward…" line-up… Does it bother you that mainman Craig has turned into a very controversial direction with his new projects? Did you have to face any problems with that release, that people accused you of being a fascist also?
"I don’t get into politics or anyones beliefs and truely don’t care what anyone does, or likes… Craig does what he wants and even though he’s doing whatever, I don’t think it effects the sound and times of Disciples of Mockery… if anyone accused me of being a facist, I don’t care either. I don’t care what people say or think or do. I know all kinda of wierd people who are into heavy wild shit anything from Paganism, Witchcraft, Veganism, Animal Rights to Heaven’s Gate, Branch dividians, White power, Black Power to Hip Hop Niggers, Dirtbags, Rednecks, Hill Billys to Anti-Facist, Rich kids, Drug addicts, Santeria, Satanist, Vikings, Hookers, Kiss Impersonaters etc. etc. etc., you see??? I know people of all walks and more… I don’t care what they like or do, I guess if I hang out with them I can be branded as such… hah. People in Germany are really obsessed with Facism in general… Also so maybe that’s why you asked too… I know certain people are for and against everything… I don’t care!!!!!!!! Ahhaha!"
I noticed that FUNEBRARUM’s Daryl is responsible for the layout of your stuff… When and how did you get together about this and do you have any other people working for you?
"Daryl from Funebrarum / Abazagorath is alot like myself, we share the love of the 1990’s fuckin brutality and so on… He gives a great insane artwork layouts to the latter Necroharmonic releases… I also work close with Rob from Elegy Records, who has helped me with a good portion of my stuff too… both fuckin guys are true warriors of hell!! No one else really works with me, but that will change someday…!!!"
How do you handle the distribution side of things? I could imagine that this is the most annoying part of the business (apart from money you loose), isn’t it? Have you already built a certain distribution network around the globe or is it mostly mailorder that you’re doing?
"I don’t think distribution is annoying, it’s cool actually… I like seeing my releases flying worldwide… I handle everything personally and I still need to expand more and be distributed more places, record stores, online etc… I have been building a distro network from day one… that’s the ticket!! I am still just a freaky fan… I am here to feed people’s music addictions, maybe my own too. I hope to be distributing a large shit log among my bowl in two seconds."
How many copies do you press of each release and which is the best seller on Necroharmonic so far?
"I press as many as I need!!!! I have not limited any CD releases yet, yet some lay dorment for reasons known only to me and the band… Best seller would probably be AUTOPSY "Ridden With Disease "… yet I guess that’s so far… don’t count any out! Ahha… Hopefully they will hand my CDs out like they do American Online installation disc someday… ahha."
What else is necessary to know about the man behind the label? How do you spend your time outside the label activities? Any hobbies apart from music?
"I spend time being a fuckin computer hacker, septic horror freak and the regular serial killer in training shit… I am obsessed with European horror films and sick films around the globe… I was just at a horror convention of people selling nasty DVD’s posters , etc. last night. I like to watch films when I don’t listen to sick Metal, as of late its been Italian crime flicks, like ones by directed by Umberto Lenzi, Mario Gariazzo, Fernando Di Leo, Stelvno Massei etc… with cool punch you in the face actors like Henry Silva, Antonio Sabato, Tomas Milian etc. I am a freak for these… also of course all sleazy shit like nasty lesbian nun films, Cannibal flicks, Bug Barfing, psudo-Snuff etc… I collect international film magazine on obscene films and hardcover books on the same… shit like European Trash Cinema or Amarcord etc… I guess maybe these scenes go hand in hand with music, maybe not, but I am obssessed with cool directors, so I try to go and find many films of each… some have 10 – 100 flicks… it is a hobby I guess… I also hang out like the Munsters with my family… we cannibalize weak travelers…"
What kind of stuff can we expect on Necroharmonic in the near future? Is there anything you’d really like to put out if you were able to gain the rights for it?
"You can expect alot!!!! Oh yeah!! Tons of stuff… some I don’t wanna talk about because people ride the coat tails… Tons of stuff I would like to put out… of course whenever I think about it someone comes out with a crappy bootleg, or shitty edition on some lame, no band input bullshit… some bands I would die to put out would be like Nihilist, Necrovore, Unleashed demos, these are just off the top… some bootlegs already exist too, but done not so great… I wish someone could do those bands better justice… let it be me, aahah, please, ahhah! I have alot I’d like to release, but some I won’t talk about because someone else will make an inferior bootleg, like in the past…"
Ok Roy, I guess that’s about it for now… if you’d like to add something to this interview feel free to do so… All the best from my side and keep on releasing more of this cool stuff! Cheers!
"Watch for my next CDs of Fatal, Corpse Molestation, Rottrevore, GUT "Reign In Bukkake", Abazagorath, Traumatic, Goreaphobia (demo + reunion old tracks + new) etc!!! Necroharmonic hopes to make 2005 a bigger and sicker year!!!!! Please check over some of my sites too like www.necroharmonic.com or www.deathmetalsite.com, support band sites like www.derketa.com, www.abazagorath.net, etc!!!! Fuck yes!! Bang your head into the stage… Intense Metal is all that you need!!!"
P.O Box 1271
Kearny , NJ 07032