Owner Follow-Up Interview
with Alastair Mabon of At War With False Noise
Name: Alastair Mabon
Label: At War With False Noise
City: Kilmarnock, Scotland
Artists Roster: Legion Of Andromeda. Bong, Moss, Sloth, Culver, The Rita
Websites: www.atwarwithfalsenoise.com, awwfn.bandcamp.com
Original Label Owner Interview with QRD
QRD – Any major changes to the label or your general outlook on running a label since last time?
Alastair – Expanded the distro hugely, opened a shop, failed with the shop, became absolutely disillusioned with the state of the underground, back to smaller runs & running the distro down. Depressing all in all, but determined to rise above!
QRD – How do you feel labels are more & less useful to artists now than they were five years ago?
Alastair – Absolutely less useful. Bands can do pretty much everything themselves these days, labels are little more than a bit of a cash injection for them.
QRD – There are a lot less record stores than their used to be. How has that effected your model for releasing music?
Alastair – It hasn’t had any effect as no record shops stocked my stuff anyway! Well, one shop in Glasgow did until recently, when they gave me them all back. I tried my hand at opening a store & did it for six months. I had a few regular customers; but honestly, there was not the support at all here in Glasgow. Many people were really excited at the idea of me opening a shop & many people came in & thought the stock was great & really well priced, but unfortunately very few of them actually bought anything. Which is a shame!
QRD – Spotify has become an undeniable force that has reduced download sales while (allegedly) fighting piracy. In the end what is good or bad about it for you as a label & do you embrace it?
Alastair – I probably should, but I honestly haven’t ever paid any attention to Spotify.
QRD – Most labels are making a bit less money than they were a few years ago. What have you done to lower expenses or find new sources of revenue?
Alastair – I’m not really interested in new sources of revenue; I’m a record label & sell records. As for lowering expenses... ha-ha-ha see above, I opened a shop! Will be a wee while until I’m not paying off those expenses any more.
QRD – What social networks are you active on & what ones aren’t worth the time & energy to you?
Alastair – I don’t have any presence on any social networks for At War With False Noise at all.
QRD – With the rise of social networks & trusted download shops, has your own website become less important than it was a few years ago?
Alastair – Ha-ha... I don’t think my website was ever that important in the first place.
QRD – Do you think fan funding (e.g. Kickstarter) is the future, a fad, or an awful thing for the music industry?
Alastair – I think it’s kinda lame. Where’s the DIY spirit? Save up, get cash together, work hard... don’t just beg for cash. In a way it could be great if it was done just like a pre-order style idea, but I’ve yet to see a band put forward a decent-value proposal through one of those things. “Donate $5, get our thanks!” Fuck off, I want a CD for that. The customer’s putting their cash up front well in advance of release by someone who can’t be arsed to work for the money? They deserve the records at a massively reduced rate.
QRD – What’s something you leave up to bands to do rather than handling as a label?
Alastair – I’m pretty easy with bands, I’m not a big label with much say in anything really, so I don’t organize tours or any of that.
QRD – Do you see albums, EPs, or singles more relevant than a few years ago or pretty much in the same place?
Alastair – Erm... how long is a piece of string? Everything has its place.
QRD – Do you have separate release dates for different formats (CD, vinyl, digital download, streaming)?
Alastair – Will stream stuff in advance to give people a shot at checking the record out. Beyond that, not really!
QRD – Anything else?
Alastair – Labels: TRADE. The underground is currently terminally ill & it’s due to greed & a need for personal glory & gain. Shipping rates are high, sure, but without a trading network we have nothing, just a bunch of small labels putting out limited releases that aim to sell out quickly & are unattainable for anyone on the wrong side of the sea. The underground is what’s given us all this music in the first place & it’s something worth saving & we’re currently sleepwalking into certain death & a future of bullshit middle-class, coffee table, coloured-vinyl, overpriced retro bullshit. Only start a label if you’re in it for life, DIY or die!