One of the most arising management labels in Greece (well almost a management, read the interview to understand), Dark Angel Promotions has begun cooperation with one of the leading record labels in Greece on the Heavy Metal scene, Sleaszy Rider. Efi Kalfa that works for Dark Angel took the time to answer to me a few questions and apparently a lot of interesting things popped out of this conversation. All the unsigned bands can find things that are very interesting on this interview. So read and learn some tricks maybe on what you should do in order to succeed. |
Hi Efi, thanks a lot for taking the time to answer to my questions about Dark Angel Promotions. Would you be kind enough to give me a biography of the label?
Efi: Well the whole try has begun one year and half ago, when a friend of mine from Germany proposed this to me. Since I love very much this music, I thought of it and since he works in a record label as well and we could cooperate, I agreed and this was how it was done.
So, Dark Angel Promotion is a distributor and management?
Efi: No. I don't do distribution, since distribution is commerce, you know imports and exports. It is a kind of management. What we do is help some bands that are interested in signing with some record label. I sent promos and demos to some labels -mostly on Germany- and I give the bands the chance to be heard.
How many people are you working on this project of Dark Angel Promotions?
Efi: We are three people. Since I am working somewhere else as well, I don't have the time and the energy to do this for 24 hours per day, two other people are helping me with that.
You have also started cooperating with Sleaszy Rider. How did this come to life?
Efi: Basically I have found Tolis Palantzas that owns Sleaszy Rider on a bar here in Athens and we talked and saw that we share common interests and tastes. We have a common vision on what we want to do and I am optimistic that this will go very well. Of course Tolis is a very kind, very cooperative and responsible person, something that you don't find very easily. We work on very good and common ground. I think we will have something good out of this cooperation.
So it is almost the same thing with what you do for the various record labels in Germany right?
Efi: Yes, but I am also arranging the distribution of Sleaszy here in Athens.
When a band sends you a demo or promo copy, do you accept all kinds of bands there or are you specialized on a certain sub-genre of heavy metal?
Efi: Yes of course. On all the sub-genres of heavy metal there are good and bad bands. We are interested of course on the good ones. We don't have any problem if the band is black or death or power or progressive metal, as long as it is good.
So if a band reads this interview, what do they have to do in order to get your attention?
Efi: Well they simply send their material to us along with their biography. If we like it and we see that it has potential we sent the material to the labels and try to sing the bands.
What do you mean by 'like it' and 'has potential'?
Efi: Look basically the demo must have, which is very important, a good production. Something that here in Greece at least is very rare. Almost all the productions that are done here in Greece are the least mediocre, well less than mediocre on most of the cases. So, a good demo must have a good production and originality. Because you know, if you send me something that will be the same as 50 other demos or albums... it must be a bit unique. But very important is the production. My advice to the Greek bands at least is to go abroad to make their production or at least the mixing stage.
So the demo that you receive will appear as it is on the album right?
Efi: Yes of course. Of course. Well you know there are cases that record labels like the material so much that they take the band and record it from scratch. But, they must like it very much and there aren't many record labels around that do this kind of thing.
So mostly what you do is support bands.
Efi: Yes, we try to help them especially with live shows. For example we are trying to help Greek bands to reach festivals. Of course not on big festivals, although I have done some tries. But for smaller festivals I can help a Greek band for example to go abroad for a concert. I don't manage specific groups, I am just helping them on their early stages.
So what have you done in the past on the concert area and what are your plans for the future?
Efi: As Dark Angel I haven't done anything yet. I have started a cooperation with Wizard Live Production that is on Thessalonica. They have a representative here in Athens but because things here in Athens are a bit strange concerning live gigs, it didn't work out as I hoped, as I imagined it. However now, together with Sleaszy Rider we have some plans for the future and we are very optimistic about it. We are on very early stages on that, so I cannot tell you anything specific.
Is there anything else you want to add about Dark Angel Promotion?
Efi: All I have to say is that any band that think they have good material on their hands, they should send it to us, they don't have to worry about anything, we give all our power and energy to help them. For those that will accomplish something, they should be wary and have their feet on the ground and not dream because they loose opportunities if they don't work hard.
So how hard it is for a band to accomplish something?
Efi: I don't think it is that hard. As long as there is good production and originality involved... this is the magic recipe for me, good production and originality. It is not that very hard, but they have to pay attention to these two things, originally and good production. If they don't have any of these two, they don't have any possibility. On this matter I am absolute. I mean, there are cases when I am sending material to record labels and they come back saying: "Well they are very good, but the production...". It is a shame because, they can earn some more money and they should try to make a good production.
Well, it is not that easy of course...
Efi: I know, you can tell me, it is not that simple, where to find that kind of money, but since they will try to make a demo or a promo and you want it so much, don't rush it, because there are many cases that bands are rushing things on this matter. They should relax, put back the demo/promo a bit, but do a good work.
Yes you are absolutely right on that. But with the home recording revolution now, you can do some pretty nice things.
Efi: Well I have heard material coming out of home recording, but the result was not that good.
Yes anyway. Lets talk about something else. What is your opinion about the underground scene, since you obviously listen to a lot of it?
Efi: Well, look, even the biggest names, I believe they have come out of the underground scene. It is going ok, I mean there are bands that are better from bands that are known sometimes. The Underground scene shouldn't be that much underestimated in my opinion because there are many bands with capabilities that could be very big names.
How about the heavy metal scene, as a whole. What do you think of it for the last years?
Efi: Well look, it has its ups and downs. But I believe it is a kind of music that will never fade nor lost since at the time a big name is fading some other bands will come out and the whole thing is a recycling machine. Even if Heavy Metal is on a crisis -and it is on a crisis- it survives.
Do you think that heavy metal is mainstream nowadays?
Efi: Yes, because it has to be mainstream, mostly for commercial reasons. Unfortunately.
Yes, I think we agree on that one.
Efi: Yes (laughs).
I have also seen that a website about Dark Angel Promotion is not present. Why is that?
Efi: Yes this is intentional for the moment. I didn't want a website since I don't think there is a reason for that. Well better, there WASN'T a reason, but it is on the planning board and it will happen.
Do you know when?
Efi: Oh I don't know when, but it will soon.
So tell me some of your personal favorite tastes?
Efi: Well, I love all kinds of sub-genres of heavy metal, but I move towards mostly to black metal. For me the gods are MAYHEM, IMMORTAL, BURZUM and ARCTURUS. That kind of stuff. Oh, yes, DIMMU BORGIR of course and CRADLE OF FILTH.
Ok, Efi thanks a lot for this interview. I hope the bands have learned a few things out of what people, Dark Angel Promotion and Sleaszy Rider is looking for. Hope to see you soon.
Efi: Me too take care and my thanks to you and to Bleeding.