Black Sun Records is a three years old record label from Sweden. They are a part of Dolores Records, the biggest underground record- shop in Scandinavia. Dolores Records also released At The Gates first MCD, before Peaceville (and later Earache) snapped them up back in the beginning of the '90.
Black Sun Records first released some tribute CDs to Metallica and Slayer with great success. Then they started to release some very good releases with Swedish metal bands.
Black Sun Records are one of the few, true defenders of the Swedish Death Metal tradition. This record- label is therefore among the most interesting record- labels in the world at the moment.
Lord Loch Lomond e- mailed Rolf in Black Sun Record an interview sheet the night before he was going on a well deserved three weeks holiday. After working 96 hours non- stop before he was going off to his holiday; Rolf was unable to answer all our many questions. Rolf is only a human being and we are very gratefull that he took time out to answer some of our answers instead of taking a well deserved sleep. Rolf is our man !! Here is his answers.
1. What does the name Black Sun Records means ?
- Nothing I suppose but it fits the label and the music (death metal) well. Dolores Records and Comics, which was the name of the company when it
started, had a great logo which I wanted to use for this new label and as it looked like a sun the name was obvious! The logo was anyway too brutal for Dolores Records who released only hc/pop music.
2. When and where was Black Sun Records started ?
- In Gothenburg December 1994 When we released the first CD, Metal Militia.
3. Black Sun Records are a part of Dolores Records or close connected to this company. Can you please tell us more about Dolores Records ?
- Dolores is a record shop and a mailorder company owned by me and 2 more guys. It started some time around -78/79, as a comic book shop. When I joined in 1983 I started to import metal records from the UK. Since then we have specialized in metal and punk music. As I know most of the bands in and around the Gothenburg area through the shop, it came natural that we should release a record with one of them, Grotesque. This was in -91. As it sold quite well we released 2 more death records, Liers In Wait and At The Gates. At this time the label was called Dolores Records.
After these 3 metal releases one of the other Dolores' guys released a couple of pop records, as this was more to his taste, so the label was not pure death anymore. This is why I decided to start Black Sun and only release Death Metal on this label. As Black Sun takes a lot of time I haven't been working with the shop or mailorder during the last
The "comic book side" of Dolores stopped 3-4 years ago when the guy who handled it left and opened his own shop. Some month ago we sold the label Dolores Records and the new owner changed the name to Dolores Recordings. We keep the name Dolores Records for the distribution but we won't release any records in this name.
4. Is it difficult to run a record label from Scandinavia ? What is the main problems and advantages being based in Sweden ?
- Yes I suppose it's quite difficult. I mean I have never run the business from any other country so I have nothing to compare with but there are a lot of things I imagine would be easier from Germany or the UK. The best way to get your bands famous is to know the right people like certain journalists, people who arranges gigs or runs distribution companies. From Sweden I have no possibility to meet them or party with them, to get to know them in a more personal way. If, for example, Nuclear Blast release a new band you can read articles in every magazine and they get gigs at all big festivals even before the album is released. This is impossible if you don't know the "right" people!
I've been trying to get The Crown and Sacrilege to play at some of the bigger festivals this summer without any luck. They have both made 2 records each, sold 7 000-8 000 of each album and gotten absolutely great reviews everywhere, what more is needed? The answer is obvious: good contacts! It's also difficult to arrange gigs from Sweden. I don't know which clubs there are outside Sweden which take metal bands.It's also very expensive to send the bands from Sweden to the rest of Europe. It's quite a distance to the south of Germany, France, Italy etc.
The advantages are obvious: The best metal bands come from Sweden, and a lot of them from Gothenburg! I know most of the bands and I can have a personal relation with the bands I sign. It's much easier when you speak the same language!
5. What is your future plans for Black Sun Records ?
- We're releasing Sepultural Feast - A Tribute to Sepultura and Impious - Evilized on the 29th of June and in September/October we will release Sins Of Omission - The Creation, Dog Faced Gods - tba and Diabolique's second album.
Impious is a very brutal Death Metal band from Trollhättan (the same town as The Crown comes from). Sins of Omission is a young band from Stockholm and which plays fast, aggressive, melodic death. Dog Faces Gods is the singer and the guitar player/songwriter of Ebony Tears' new band. They play much more brutal than Ebony Tears, no more "soft" guitar harmonies, violins or female voices. Dog Faced Gods is a side project, Ebony Tears still exists. Diabolique's new album is far more gothic than their first one. The metal side of their music is almost gone but still it is much,much better than their debut. It's like a mix of The Mission and maybe Paradise Lost. The vocals and the songwriting are immensely better now !
Other plans are to get our bands on the road which isn't easy from Sweden. It's the only way to get a bigger audience.
We have also started a new label called Gothenburg Noise Works (GNW). On this label we will release "classic metal". First out are Destiny with their fourth album The Undiscovered Country and Evergrey with their debut The Dark Discovery. Both are set for release on the 29th of June.
6. Do you run a mail- order list ?
- Yes we do. It's possible to buy directly from Black Sun but also from Dolores Records which has a huge catalogue with all kinds of metal, punk, hardcore and some indie releases.
Reviews of all the Black Sun and Gothenburg Noise Works (GNW) releases can be found in the review pages in this magazine.