These last months a lot of Metal Mind re-releases saw daylight and I wonder if you can give us some extra information about this attack on the CD market. So, first of all I would like to know it is correct that you are licensed to re-release a lot of the old Roadrunner and Nuclear Blast releases, and if yes, how did you manage to get this deal anyway?
We started the whole re-release thing in 2006 already. Back hen we had our first bunch of re-release albums out. But the talking with Roadrunner about this already started in 2002. It took us almost four years to get it so far! But let me explain: Metal Mind Productions is releasing Roadrunner albums in Eastern Europe since 1990, and I often said to them: “Look, I have a lot of the old Roadrunner albums on vinyl, why not re-release some on CD?”. But Roadrunner was not that interested, they said “no, we are focussed now on Slipknot and these sort of bands, we have no time for it. So I told them to give me a world wide contract for the complete back catalogue. In the end and after three years of talking and organizing the legal work (administration and stuff like that) I finally could do the first thirty albums. Roadrunner saw how we handled this, what we did to the albums (digi packs, bonus stuff etc) and we got another deal for more titles. At this moment we have seventy Roadrunner re-releases on our name and we are working on more.
Last year at a metal convention we met some guys from Nuclear Blast. They asked us if we where interested in doing the same thing with their back catalogue as done with Roadrunner. So we agreed and now we have about two hundred titles in this area.
I know that it isn't polite to ask, but how much money does such a deal cost anyway?
Well, I am not going to tell you of course, but we know what we can sell so we are talking about safe deals here.
And how do you decide what album must be re-released again? Is this a personal thing? What standards do you use?
Basically I always check out the list with re-releases by myself. I am a metal fan for more then twenty years now and I know what was popular back then.
The bands on you're re-release albums are very diverse. It goes from soft rock like Enuff 'z Enuff' to thrash and death metal bands. Some are very known, others are rather unknown. So when is a band Metal Mind Productions worthy?
We are open minded when it comes to re-releases. There is no use in being limited in a certain sub genre like only thrash metal. We look out for classic bands that cover the whole genre of hard rock and metal, but we also give some Polish bands a change because we know a lot of the Polish scene, and then we are even interested in genre crossing bands like Front Line Assembly. Sometimes I also put in some of my personal favourite bands, like I have done with Artillery. I am a fan of this band from the beginning, and when I asked them to re-release the old albums they were very cooperative. They even got so enthusiastic that they decided to release a DVD via us and now we are talking about a new album also! For me things like these are like a dream come true, it makes the circle go round.
Some albums like those by the Polish band Dragon are packed with bonus stuff, liner notes, extra photo's and so on. Other albums (like the latest live album re-release by Annihilator) don't have all those extras. Why?
This depends mainly on the artists themselves. There are artist who say: “great, we will look if we have some stuff for you that you can use as bonus”. Or they are willing to write liner notes and they give us some rare photos and stuff. But there are also artist who hate the old label and they are not interested in a re-release or they do not have access to their own past. This is sad but true. You can believe me, we are always looking for some extra things to add on a re-release CD, but it has to fit. For Dragon it was easy, we have released all their albums in the past so we had a lot of material in the archives. For Annihilator this was harder. We are talking about a live album that represents a certain period in time for this band, and we had no other stuff from this period available, so we had to leave it like this.
And why are those re-releases limited to two-thousand copies only?
We wanted to create something extra for the fans. If you buy the first edition you have a special digi pack, it gives the CD a bit more the identity of a collectors item. A special run for the real fans to keep it exclusive you could say. If the digi pack is sold out we will sell the album in a normal CD box.
Isn't it strange to create such a CD boom in a time when nobody seems to be interested in buying official CD's anymore?
Well, I think that a lot of metal fans still want to look at the whole product. The want to see the pictures, they want to read the lyrics and they want to study the artwork you know. Metal fans want to hold something in their hands. And besides this, the re-releases are mostly bought by fans who are from a different generation as metal fans today.
Apart from releasing stuff you guys also offer bands your skill to record DVD's, as already done with bands such as Marduk and Cannibal Corpse. This is not a regular combination. What can you tell us about these recordings you made so far?
Our DVD catalogue of releases that are made by ourselves contains about one hundred and forty titles. But there is more. The new Soulfly album will be released as a limited edition album with a free bonus DVD. This DVD contains a full concert witch we recorded in Poland, only for this album. The latest release of At The Gates will also have a bonus DVD that was shot by us, and in the past we already where licensed to release a lot of DVD's, even stuff that was only on video before.
I also noticed that Metal Mind organizes some Events in Poland and you also organize concerts like the upcoming gig for Cavelera Conspiracy in Poland. So how many people work at Metal Mind Productions? And doesn't all those other activities distract you too much from the releasing stuff, or is it all necessary to stay alive as a company?
Hmm, how shall I explain this? You could say that the only full time employee of Metal Mind Productions is me. But I work together with groups outside Metal Mind Products that work with me on projects. If we need to shoot a live DVD I have a group of professional people who work with me, if I need to organize a concert I work with other professional people, but with al this people I work together for many years now, so they are also some part of the company. All these people together are about twenty six people, and working with them on these projects does not distract me, it even pushes me to great things like the organization of the Monsters Of Rock Festival for Poland in 1991 and the once in a year festival called Metal Mania.
What are the plans for the future of Metal Mind Productions? What more is there to expect?
At this moment there are a lot of negotiations going on, so I cannot tell everything yet, but you can prepare yourself for a busy autumn!
Okay, that's it for me. Thanks, good luck and do you maybe have a final message for us?
I wish Lords Of Metal and their readers a nice summer with some good festivals!
Gorgoroth's DVD "Black Mass Krakow 2004", also out on Metal Mind Productions.