There’s a lot of labels supporting extreme music but few that do it with the consistent quality of Redefining Darkness and Seeing Red. With one of our writers going bananas about Funeral Hearse, Owlcrusher and a whole mess more, we thought we’d have a chat with label founder Thomas about why this scorching pair got started, what’s cooking, and who’s lethal.
How long have the labels been running?
I started Redefining Darkness Records and Seeing Red Records in May of 2015.
What prompted you to start the labels? What did you set out to accomplish with them?
I think the same reason a lot of labels start… I had a lot of friends in bands that needed help putting out their music. Also, once I stopped touring and more or less exited the music industry, this was a way back that made sense for my new life where I could potentially give back a little in order to help underground bands I believed in get recognised.
What do you look for in the bands you sign?
I don’t know if I look for one specific thing. It’s pretty subjective really. Since I’m not doing this to make a living or to keep feeding the machine (the way bigger labels do) by looking for something marketable/trendy etc., I have the freedom to simply listen and see if the music moves me. If the music speaks to me, that’s really all it takes, no matter if you have 100 FB likes or 25,000.
What’s been your most rewarding moment with the label so far?
I don’t know if there is one singular rewarding moment to reflect on – there are many. I am always flattered when any of our bands receive great reviews or when major metal media gets behind one of our releases. It may be sad to say, because at the end of the day it should be the fans that matter most, but I must say it’s pretty validating. These major media sites have so many followers that one post from them could potentially make or break an album… these are the guys that drive record sales these days…not labels….they are the “gods” bands ought to be courting to, rather than worry about getting signed.
Write a great record and hire the best PR firm possible and you’re good to go. Also, any time any of our bands are mentioned in print, since print is such a rarity already these days, that’s pretty fucking rad. I have to say, if it wasn’t for Decibel Magazine and No Clean Singing, and their great teams of writers, I wouldn’t have had as much success as I have had this early. These guys both truly support the underground and walk the walk, rather than just talking the talk. I owe them a debt of gratitude for sure.
If our readers wanted an overview of your roster, what three records should they get their ears around?
Wow, that’s a tough one. I put out my first compilation in 2016, that covered releases from both labels. That would probably be a good place to start. Things are always developing and evolving though, and there are some newer releases I am extremely proud to be involved in. But, to answer more directly, here’s what I’d say:
Redefining Darkness Records:
Imperial Triumphant – Inceste
Sentient Horror – Ungodly Forms
Khandra – All is of No Avail
Seeing Red Records:
Owlcrusher – s/t
Shadowmaster – s/t
True Cross – s/t
What have you got coming up in 2018?
SOOOO much coming in 2018 that I’m a little overwhelmed to be honest haha. I’m probably overextending myself a bit, but some wonderful opportunities have presented themselves to me that I could never say no to being a part of. You will have to stay tuned to see…
Check out these twin rosters of bone-breaking ferocity at:
Facebook: /redefiningdarkness & /seeingredrecords
Instagram: @redefining_darkness & @seeing_red_records
Words: John Tron Davidson