lunedì 16 aprile 2012


Author: Mourning
Translation: Dope Fiend

The metal world, as the other musical areas, doesn't live only by bands and discs, there is a group of people that wheel around it and offering services as promotion, logistics support, information and reviews. Like any self-respecting industry every sector must be properly treated. Scott Alisoglu, a name unknown to many people, is a character that, in the size metal, has built a position year after year, let's understand why talking with him.

Hi Scott, welcome to Aristocrazia, how's life in Kansas?

Life in Kansas is busy as hell, but life is also good. I've got no complaints and am thankful for everything I get to do in the world of heavy metal.

I have the pleasure of being in touch with you very often thanks to Clawhammer PR, let's present the creature that you and your colleague Ryan Ogle have given rise?

ClawHammer PR is a music promotion and media relations company with a focus on heavy metal and rock music. Basically, we promote albums by independent bands and those released on record labels, which includes sending digital promos (and some actual CDs) for review by print magazines and online zines all over the world, as well as for radio play; setting up interviews; and generally trying to get as much exposure as possible for the releases that we promote. That includes sending out press releases as well. We also get involved in promoting tours and festivals on occasgsion.

Why did you decide to take this seriously commitment in music?

During a drunken conversation on my back patio mea and Ryan Ogle were kicking around the idea of starting a PR company and thought we could provide quality PR at an affordable price for the bands and labels that needed the promotion. Basically, after supporting the scenes as journalists and fans for many years we wanted to look into other ways that we could support it even more.

What are the label and the bands with which you work?

Currently that would include the following record labels: Listenable (France), Apostasy Records (Germany), Ibex Moon (U.S.) Mortal Music (U.S.), Goomba Music (U.S.), Cruz Del Sur (Italy), Deathgasm (U.S.), Lavadom Productions (Czech Republic), Dark Descent (U.S.), FDA Rekotz (Germany), Svarga Music (Ukraine), Horror Pain Gore Death Productions (U.S.) Dunkelheit Produktionen (Germany), Chaos Records (Mexico), and Abyss (U.S.). We are also currently working with these artists (many of them independent): Shroud of Despondency (U.S.), Vore (U.S.), Inferion (U.S.), Birth A.D. (U.S.), On Top (U.S.), Sacrificial Slaughter (U.S.) Erevos (Greece), Power Theory (U.S.), Chopstick Suicide (Turkey), Lords of the Trident (U.S.), Reign of Vengeance (U.S.), Fisthammer (U.S.), Dreaming Dead (U.S.), and Hemoptysis (U.S.). We are also promoting the Warriors of Metal Festival V Open Air (June 28-30 in Ohio).

If I remember correctly, the first to take part in your project was John McEntee with his Ibex Moon, right? How do you get in touch with him? You already knew?

I knew John in my role as a journalists for several years, as did Ryan. We had been talking and I mentioned ClawHammer PR. Due to some unfortunate circumstances (the death of publicist and legendary journalist Adrian Bromley, may he rest in peace), John was looking for promotion of his releases and the rest is history.

You are basically an armed wing in constant activity, with many magazines and websites you collaborate? Have you ever had problems with disks thieves (or we could call them rip-off)?

To our knowledge we have not had issues with journalists uploading MP3s to pirate sites for illegal downloads. It certainly helps that the music we send out via Haulix is watermarked.

You know very well the world of "critical" and "reviews", as you yourself are a reviewer for major sites such as Blabbermouth and Teeth Of Divine, then I ask you: what do you feel when you write about a disk and as you believe a reviewer should interpret his role?

I believe a reviewer should write from the heart and give an honest opinion, as well as taking the time to do research on whatever band/CD he is writing about. Fairness is important to a reasonable degree, although one can never be completely objective.

As you can see this proliferation of websites and blogs that write reviews? And, given your experience, as you choose with whom to collaborate with and who not?

We don't make promo-servicing decisions based on the "size" or "status" of a website or blog. We very much believe in the "every little bit" helps philosophy. However, if we know a zine to not be legitimate we of course won't service them. Occasionally we run into zines that download everything we send out, but never review anything and have to address the situation, but we more often than not give people the benefit of the doubt.

You know that sometimes, while contacting you for a request, I lament the absence of physical material to write about, is it obvious that today the mp3 is the most convenient and safe but how a label can entice you to buy records when sending files to its representation? Don't you think this attitude is counterproductive?

We both love CDs too, but the reality is that the music industry is struggling and it just makes financial sense to send promos digitally as often as possible since it saves our clients time and money, especially with regard to sending CDs overseas. We have CDs sent (and send some ourselves) to some zines that absolutely won't accept digital promos and a handful of others that have been supportive, including promosing an interview in addition to a review (such as yourself, and we thank you). The bottom line is that it is unfair and financially burdensome to ask labels who are struggling to sell music, in part because of the assholes that would rather steal it than pay for it, to spend a ton of money on postage by sending out a couple hundred promotional CDs.

How do you prepare yourself when you interview someone? What was the most complicated subject in which you asked questions?

I may sure that I know all the details about the current CD, including listening to it multiple times,as well as reading up on the band if it is one with whom I am less familiar. I honestly can't remember a situation in which a particuraly complicated subject was broached, but I know there have been some controversial topics touched upon in past interviews. I'm sure I'll remember after the competion of this interview, ha ha.

Who would you absolutely interviewing again? And if you had the opportunity to talk with someone departed from this earth, who would you like to ask all your questions?

I wouldn't hestiate to interview Rob Halford, Lemmy, and Wayne Kramer (MC5) again. As for the departed, Piggy (Voivod), Ronnie Monstrose, Michael Davis (MC5), and Rob Tyner (MC5) come immediately to mind. But the top of the list would certainly include Bon Scott, Randy Rhoads, John Bonham, and Keith Moon.

A couple of months ago was came put a news that some major labels thought was papabile the hypothesis of an introduction of the digital format to any release, thus eliminating the physical supports. Do you think this solution may be feasible and then we'll have to suffer and to hope in small labels that will continue to produce vinyl, tapes or CDs, or this process will become unstoppable? It's a sacrifice that is really worth doing in the name of money?

I've got an old school heart and would hope that the physical format could be preserved. I'm quite certain that an element of that will always exist, even if it is just through the small labels. I mean who would have ever thought that vinyl sales would increase in the 21st century!? Hell, I still buy vinyl and occasional cassettes! Big business is in the game to make big money and if that means eliminating the CD format and sticking with digital, then that is exactly what they will do.

What differences you note between overground and underground metal scene? From a couple of years seems that many bands do all without a label and they were able to produce a better quality material than even the big and well supplied means names, what do you think about it?

Image is probably the biggest difference betwen the high profile acts on big labels - with a few exceptions (e.g. Lamb of God, Mastodon, etc) - and the underground or small labels/bands. The big boys sell an image; the underground folks concern themelves with the music. That's an oversimplication of course and there isn't a damn thing wrong with selling a million copies of an album. But there is no question that in America in particular, it's all about flavors of the month and what the "in crowd" is listening to at any given moment.

How did the Scott Alisoglu music fan born? What are your early plays, your first concerts and the first album bought?

I got into music like most folk by listening to the radio and hearing the hits of the day. My exposure to rock 'n roll and heavy metal came largerly from my older brother's record collection, which included albums by artists like Ted Nugent, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Kiss, etc. Lots of classic rock like Queen too. AC/DC, Black Sabbath, and Ted Nugent comprised my gateway to the heavier stuff, which included Judas Priest, Saxon, and Iron Maiden, which lead to Slayer, Venom, Metallica, Megadeth, and you know the rest. I've always been into anything militant, extreme, and especially aggressive so that included other genres like punk and hardcore as well, whether Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Fugazi, Husker Du, or Rollins Band. The brutal death, grind, and black metal stuff came later. My first concert was Black Sabbath on the "Mob Rules" tour. I can't remember the first album I bought, but I do remember buying Ted Nugent's "Double Live Gonzo," AC/DC/s "Let there Be Rock," and Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" early on. In the early years (and even now in several cases) I worshipped at the altars of Black Sabbath, Ted Nugent, AC/DC, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Van Halen, Kiss, Dio, Y & T, Twisted Sister, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Venom, Celtic Frost, Motorhead, W.A.S.P., Helix, and many others. I dug stuff like Motley Crue, Ratt, Sammy Hagar, Black N Blue, and Def Leppard as well.

What are the differences, both positive and negative, do you encounter in today's metal than that of past decades?

I honestly don't think in those terms for the most part. I suppose the Internet would be both a positive and a negative. I still think a lot of great metal is being created and I'm not one to blather on and on about "the good old days." As Lemmy once told me, "Nostalgia makes you stupid".

There is a tendency in metal to overestimate certain kind of band? Trivium, Bullet For My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold are these really the new our messiah? Are we really that badly situated?

They sure as hell aren't my new messiahs! Seriously, I can find value in what all of those bands create, but I personally just don't enjoy most of that stuff. Trivium pumps out some good stuff here and there, and are certainly talented, but they tend to lose me rather quickly. Once in a while I do surprise myself though.

If you say you these words, what comes into your mind?

Lemmy: God.
Dio: The horns! Vocal magnificence.
Black Sabbath: Gods.
Slayer: A new level of violence. "Reign In Blood"! "Hell Awaits"!
Death Metal: Great players, great tunes, great fun, and tight knit community.
Grunge: I never knew what musical style was supposed to be considered "Grunge." It was more image/attitude. Pearl Jam, Mudhony, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees, Nirvana, and Soundgarden are all great bands and none of them sound anything like the others. As far as grunge "killing metal," I don't think it's that simple. And I'm sorry but Soundgarden IS metal. Many albums considered to be metal aren't nearly as heavy as "Badmotorfinger" or "Louder Than Love."
"Black Album": Loved it when it was released; can't listen to it now.
Simone Simons: Who?
Article: Read 'em if you got 'em.
Grind: Kill and kill again and then play Kill the Client. Brutal Truth! Napalm Death!

Who is Scott Alisoglu outside Clawhammer and metal? What are your other interests and passions?

I have a "day job" as well that I enjoy. Otherwise, it's friends, family, the puruit of knowledge, football, and many of the Michigan (my home state) and Detroit professional and college sports teams. Shit, I dunno; I work all the time!

What are the objectives that you and Ryan did you set out to achieve in this 2012?

Continuing the war on stupidity in all its forms, which would include the right wing, the corporate corrupt, Fox News, religious zeolotry, and racist inbreeders. Oh right, ClawHammer! Yes, we will use one if we have to. By any means necessary! But seriously, ours is but a simple goal for ClawHammer PR: World Domination. Bring it, bitches!

Have you news to report us?

That's all the news that's fit enough for human consumption. We shall forever remain knee deep in the blood of swine... I think.

We can stop here. Thank you for the time we shared and, making a big good luck for the projects you're doing, I'll leave you one last time the word, close as you prefer.

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