Interview – Feast of Tentacles

Feast of Tentacles is a DIY record label and distro based in Nottingham, UK, that has already put out a plethora of great releases by bands like Thou, Cough, Rot in Hell, Army of Flying Robots, Kowloon Walled City and many more. Whenever he gets a break from lacerating his vocal chords with local sludge behemoths Moloch, Chris Braddock runs the label on his own, so M3 decided to ask Chris about the label’s history, the unfortunate death of the record store and the resurgence of vinyl…

M3 – First of all, could you tell us a bit about Feast of Tentacles, and what it is that you do?
Chris Braddock – FOT was set up in 2006 and is a DIY record label and distro that focuses on HC, punk, metal releases. My first release was a split 7″ between Army of Flying Robots and Kamikazee.
FOT is a one man operation so I do everything from mailorder to paying for releases.

What inspired you to start the label? What is your own musical background?
I had been knocking around the local HC / punk scene for a while and wanted to get involved. I wasn’t in any bands at the time. I had been on tour with friends bands and went to a lot of gigs. So I started the label to release something by my close friends in Army of Flying Robots. I went on to be in some local bands and am currently in Moloch.

What would be your preferred medium to listen to music (eg. Vinyl, CD, tape, MP3 etc.), and why?
Definitely vinyl. The whole package of an LP or 7″ is much more special and impressive that CD or tape. MP3s serve a purpose in that it is an easy way for people to access music but they are pretty disposable.

Do you feel the idea of an album, as a piece of art that people will listen to from start to finish, has been undermined or forgotten about in the digital age?
Yes in certain circles. Many bands still aspire to write and record an albums worth of material, but some punk/HC bands concentrate on smaller releases like 7″s and splits. Which is understandable as there is more cost involved in recording/releasing an LP and people can be hesitant to shell out more money on a full length of a band that is less established. Although many people in the HC/punk scene that I know spend more money on vinyl than downloads.

Much has been made of the supposed death of the record store in recent years. Do you believe the digital age has killed the record store, and if so, do you think that this is a necessary part of progression, or a tragic loss?
It’s a tragic loss. I used to love trawling record shops and spending hours in Selectadisc (RIP) in Nottingham. Online stores and downloads have definitely played their part.

Do you think the widespread adoption of MP3 has in some devalued the musical experience? Is the popularity of small pressings, differently coloured vinyl, limited edition versions etc in some way a reaction to the vast availability of digital files?
Small record labels (like FOT) need any help they can get to shift units. Hence small runs, limited colours, pre-order versions etc. I don’t think it’s necessarily a reaction to digital files. People will make digital copies, post tracks on blogs, share with friends and hopefully people will go on to purchase the vinyl on the back of that. These limited editions just make it more desirable.

Recently, there seem to be a large number of bands offering their releases for free via sites like Bandcamp. What do you think of this distribution method, do you think it is an effective solution to the problem of illegal downloading?
I think it is pretty effective – at least it’s the band’s choice to give their music away. The amount of blogs I found offering FOT releases for download without any label / band info / links is crazy. I don’t mind blogs putting my stuff up for download as long as the label/band is credited.

Do you think traditional copyright laws are still enforceable in the digital age, or do you think we will have to rethink the concept of copyright itself?
Copyright has gone out of the window especially in underground music. It needs a rethink – closing file sharing sites helps. But once the music is out there it’s OUT THERE.

Finally, what does the future have in store for Feast of Tentacles?
I have 6 or 7 releases pencilled in for the next 12 months or so from Moloch, Thou, Lich, Seven Sisters of Sleep, Column of Heaven, Pinebarrens and more.

For more information about Feast of Tentacles, you can visit their website and find the label on Facebook, Twitter, Bigcartel & Tumblr.

About M3 Event

The music industry is rapidly changing. The internet has enabled widespread piracy, as well as a variety of new business and distribution models. We want to offer an engaged audience in and around the Euregion an opportunity to develop a coherent and detailed picture of the future of music distribution. On the 31st of May 2012 a music conference in Maastricht, consisting of oppositional debates, creative workshops and lectures, will provoke opportunities for intellectual stimulation, debate, as well as networking. We hope to utilise the skills and ideas of some of most forward thinking minds and operators in the industry in order to highlight some promising new ideas and areas which can be improved upon.

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