Who: Greg and Flo, people behind Reaper Entertainment
Reaper Entertainment is a german independent record label focusing on metal bands. Although they are quite fresh in the industry, they have already been known from their quality rather than quantity: the bands under their name have been releasing very high-quality music all over the world. We got an opportunity to interview Greg and Flo, the founders of the label. So here we go!
1. Hello Greg and Flo! The music industry has gone through some major changes in the 2010 century. How did you find the courage to start your own record label with marginal music? Did you have any moments of doubt or fear along the way?
At first we thought it would be a pretty stupid idea of course. But then thinking it through and through we decided that with the right mindset and a good portion of passion it still would be possible to build up something and to even have success! But especially the fact that we are dealing with “marginal music” gave us enough trust that we can really achieve something here as there are still fans of metal music, that actually buy everything from the bands they are fans of! I think not beeing in the metal business it would just be senseless with all the streaming and digital part growing from day to day.
Of course the whole market has changed, but the average metal fan still will wear a shirt of his band and still buy the physical record, beacuse they want to support their bands. We had some struggles at the beginning but never serious doubts. It’s not easy for sure and if you don’t bring enough determination with you, you better not even start.
2. You have signed up some finnish metal artists as well to your label. Is there something special that fascinates you with bands coming from here?
Actually kind of half of our signings are finnish artists. I guess it’s simply the fact that the quality of the bands is super high. We get a lot of applications (even being small) and this way we get the chance to compare the levels from the different countries! And we have seen that finnish bands have just another level when it comes to songwriting and the production etc. I think this goes out to every band from Skandinavia…Maybe it’s the air up there?!
3. You say you want to focus more on quality than the amount of music being produced. So according to you that would mean that you sign up only 12 bands per year. How does this work on the economical side? Is there any risk to this and how have you planned to manage it? 12 bands for one year is a bit little, right?
Quality before quantity is our highest priority, yes! Of course this way its harder on the economical side…but this is especially why we started REAPER. We don’t want to become the average label that signs everything just to make profit, pretty sure there are enough of those out there! What we try to achieve is to really build up a family and that the bands know with whom they work and they know the faces behind everything and to whom they can address if they have questions and needs.
We have been working in the business for years and we see all the big companies where you dont really know anymore who is involved in what and who is the person on the other side of the keyboard. So releasing a maximum of 12 bands a year we can assure that every band gets the attention it needs and deserves making sure it’s not another band but “the” band. We are sure that our bands will grow together with us!
4. How did you end up with the name Reaper? Is there any story behind it?
We were searching for a proper name for months actually! Then we went to see our friends from a certain band that deals a lot with the “Reaper” name. I guess you can image which one 😉 Finally when we were starting to talk about the whole concept the name REAPER ENTERTAINMENT EUROPE came along!
Our original idea behind “Entertainment” was to offer newcomer bands a whole package from releasing an album up to improving their merchandising etc. even without singing a record deal with us. Kind of just providing the services so they can be able to create a professional image. But soon we noticed that “just” the label work was enough and there was a huge demand so we started focusing on our bands. Of course we still offer our services such as promotion campaigns and placing ads in mags etc.
5. A lot of metal bands come from Germany and Germany has had the role of being the messenger of traditional heavy metal. What do you think is the reason behind this and how has it been showing in your experiences?
I don’t know what the reason behind this is?! When I was a kid there was already a huge scene and this kept growing through the time never really fading away like other scenes and trends. Maybe back in the days the chances were good for metal bands and there was enough demand. Today I think there is no other country for example that has got so many metal festivals during summer!? It’s insane…from May to August you can attend to a metal festival every weekend if you wish. Sometimes you even have to decide where to go because they happen at the same day!! Of course this is also a chance for smaller bands to be able to present themselves to a bigger audience. I like to tell our bands: if you want to become big, you have to go through Germany! I think this is pretty much true.
6. Would you like to open for us and the readers what kind of deals you make with artist, or is this a busines secret?
It’s kind of a secret of course, but in the end it’s about creating an agreement together with the band so both parties are happy! We have a standard and from then on we just discuss with the band about everything. When the point comes where both are happy we sign the deal. This is something where we also like it transparent as normally you will get a super confusing contract not really knowing what you are signing.
7. Do you have daily jobs outside music or is Reaper a full-time job?
Our main focus lies on the label of course! But it’s no secret it’s hard especially trying to put in that much of an effort and time. So we have our additional sources to earn some money for the daily living.
8. In which direction do you plan to grow in the future with Reaper Entertainment? Will you focus more on digital music or do you still believe in the physical format?
We will probably just keep going. The exciting part is that it’s not really clear where we are going as this changes from signing to signing. But either way we will grow in the right direction! About the focus – we still believe in the physical part as mentioned earlier. There always will be fans that will buy the CD and metal mags to read etc. So I guess we will keep on as if the digital part never happened! Of course we are focusing on the digital part also, but this actually varies from band to band.
9. Top 5 metal albums of all time.
This is actually something that’s not easy to answer as it changes from release to release! It’s also the part we love about metal…you can find a band for every mood & every season 😉 So it would not be fair to name just 5!
10. Free Word.
Thanks a lot for the chance to talk about REAPER ENTERTAINMENT EUROPE and for your interest! We hope we will soon have more awesome releases (which you will also like) and get the chance to work with more amazing artists around the world! Stay focused and support the scene!!
Interview: Pekka Montin and Aili Viitanen
Edited: Aili Viitanen