Interview with USA manager Paula Hogan | By Ridge Briel
With an impressive past and present roster featuring the likes of Emperor, 1349, Krieg, Opeth, Marduk, Burzum, and many more, Candlelight Records is one of the most important metal labels today.
What were your first five releases?
We opened our North American office Jan. 1, 2001. Our first releases started in April with Zyklon’s World ov Worms, Extreme Noise Terror’s Being and Nothing, Emperor’s Emperial Live Ceremony, plus U.S. reissues of Thou Shalt Suffer’s Somnium and Peccatum’s Amor Fati.
What genre of metal does Candlelight cater to?
The label is well known for having a varied music lineup, but all with a darker message pertaining to their music. We are known for black and death metal, but we have worked with all kinds of metal, from Crowbar to Pro-Pain, In Flames to Fear Factory, Christian Death to Falloch.
What are a few of your upcoming releases?
We start the New Year changing distribution for both the U.S. and Canada. So, a lot of new [things] for us for the year, [like] getting used to a new team to work with for all our new releases as well our extensive catalog. We are planning to celebrate our catalog this year with several box sets—1349, Insomnium, Blut Aus Nord, and more—plus limited edition special format pressings of our Opeth and Havok catalog.
As for new albums, we are really excited about the new Vision Of Disorder. The band will start recording in March. Absu will hopefully also finish up their new album to get it in for the year. Sigh are finishing up their new one now. And we are pretty excited about Hateful Abandon, a new band from Bristol, U.K., that are very unique.
Is it difficult having both a U.K. and a U.S. office?
Our U.S. office is outside Philadelphia, so when we get in at 9 a.m., the U.K. office is starting to wind their day down. Having only a few hours of time to discuss everything can be difficult sometimes. But, we do our best and have never had any major meltdown that has been traumatic. How bands are worked also is very different, but we have dedicated staff in both offices that work very hard doing the most we can for our artists.
How do you decide which office will represent each artist?
We do always try to sign bands for the world, as it does help with a global push; we can use all the successes in one part of the world to attract attention in another. But sometimes, that’s not possible and we have a band only for Europe—like with Altar Of Plagues—or only for North America—like Fear Factory. When we have bands that we sign because of their popularity in a particular market, it may not be something we can exploit to the fullest in another. So that will have us doing the release on a smaller stage: like a European release, but only mail order for North America. Or doing a global digital release with a limited global physical special edition.
What albums get played at the office to streamline the workflow?
Our office is very interesting as far as what we listen to. One minute, we will be listening to the new Orange Goblin, and next, tuned in to programming in NPR. We’ll crank some Howlin’ Wolf, then Slowdive, then jump the coop, dropping music altogether and yelling along with the hosts of ESPN Radio. We each have our own speakers for our computers, so it really depends on the mood. In our U.K. office, the music all depends on who gets in first to control the main office stereo. It’s always interesting when I work over there for a few days.
Is there a Candlelight motto?
We don’t really have a motto. We simply try our best for all our bands. Like any label, some bands we are more successful with than others, but it doesn’t mean we don’t try as hard. Working at a label—or being in a band—is a labor of love that doesn’t work on a strict nine to five schedule. I personally spend a lot more than the norm 40 hours a week at my desk. The U.K. staff does as well.
Where do you see the company five years from now?
The business changes so much and so fast. Ultimately, in five years, I hope we will be at a place that allows us to continue to be successful releasing music that we love, and to keep helping bands and their careers. We continue to thank all the bands and the fans who support them—and us.