Tomas Nyqvist has had a long career as a label manager. He was the founder of No Fashion Records back in 1992. This label had a run of highly influental releases before Tomas Nyqist left No Fashion Records. After a well deserved break, he returned with Iron Fist Productions in 1997. The release of the very impressive Maze Of Torment "Faster Disaster" album earlier this year marked Iron Fist Productions as one of today's most promising European labels. The question is: Can Tomas Nyqvist bring his new label up on the same level as he did with No Fashion Records ? Only time will tell, but the signs are there. Keep an eye on this label.
1. First of all; we have to start with No Fashion Records. What was your background before you started No Fashion Records ?
The background to start up No Fashion Records ? HmÖ I had been doing Putrefication Ďzine in some years, and I thought "why not try out to start a label". At that time, 1992, there wasnít any labels interested in signing Black Metal and melodic Death Metal, and at that time, I really loved Black Metal. So I wanted to see those albums in my own record collection. So I started looking for bands and the rest is history, I guess.
2. Please tell us about the start up of No Fashion RecordsÖ
Well, it was in 1992 and I was in contact with a band from The Netherlands, Bestial Summoning, and they sent me a rehearsal tape. And I was really amazed how chaotic it sounded, so I suggested to them that we could release an album together, and they agreed. Thatís the start of No Fashion Records.
3. You released some very strong releases on this label. Please tell us more about everyone of them.
Thanx for that. The first release I put out, was the LP with Bestial Summoning; "The Dark War Has Begun". It was only released as a LP, and has sold around 900 copies. Then I began to release my stuff on Compact Discs, and the sales got better. The second release was with Fester "Winter Of Sin". A good release in my ears even today. The break through album was Marduk "Dark Endless". I could not believe all the massive support this album got. People wrote to me like maniacs. It was fun, and that album is one of the better ones with Marduk, I guess. The next release was Unanimated "In The Forest Of The Dreaming Dead". A great melodic Death Metal CD, which I still listen to every now and then. "Dance Of The December Souls" with Katatonia and "The Somberlain" with Dissection, doesnít need to be introduced. These albums really made
No Fashion Records big. I guess that "The Somberlain" has sold around 45 000 copies world wide. The two last CDs I was involved with was "The Unbound" with Merciless and the debut album with Throne Of Ahaz. I guess I have said enough about this subject.
4. You are no longer part of No Fashion Records. Please tell us what happened. Is it anything you want to say as a form of a statement ?
Well, I had some very personal crisis in my life after I had released the "In The Forest Of The Dreaming Dead" LP/CD (Unanimated). And my interest in doing the label was not on a high level, and I even went bankrupt due to all signings with studio budgets and cover charges. So I came to a point what I could not handle the label in the best way. And as House Of Kicks were my major distributor, I simply asked them if they could take care of the whole thing. And of course they wanted to do that, soÖ..
5. What is the difference between No Fashion Records when you was in charge and todayís No Fashion Records ?
The biggest difference is that No Fashion Records today are run properly. They have got an excellent distribution net and the guys behind the label, are very good people. Afterwards, I donít regret that House Of Kicks took over the label. They are doing a helluva job with it. But I donít think they have that many good bands signed today. It feels like they are signing bands on a routine basis, which is not that good. They need a new fresh act that sounds a bit different.
6. How is your relationship with their owner House Of Kicks, which is the dominant distributor in Scandinavia ?
From my side, itís a good relationship. I respect what they are doing and I guess they are respecting what I am doing. Besides of that, they are my distributor for Iron Fist here in Scandinavia. And they are doing a good job with it. All the greetings to House Of Kicks (I add my greetings too -ed).
7. What did you do between No Fashion Records and Iron Fist Productions ?
Between that period, I wasnít doing that much. I started to work on Putrefication Ďzine again, and I met my wonderful girlfriend at that time. I started to plan for a new label, all my past problems was gone and I really enjoyed to live again.
8. Was it emotionally difficult to start Iron Fist Productions after the hassle you had with the rumours around your split with No Fashion Records ? I mean; why return to hell when you could have a comfortable life outside the music industry ? Is it an element of "revenge" in the start up of Iron Fist Productions ?
Yes, quite a bit. All the fucking rumours surrounding my past activities with No Fashion Records may have destroyed a bit for Iron Fist Records. But I guess thatís the way it will be. The only thing I can do, is to release quality metal music, so people will know that I am back. Yes, it feels like a revenge with Iron Fist Productions. There are so many disbelievers out there, but we will show them. Quality before quantity is our trademark.
9. Please tell us when and where you started up Iron Fist Productions.
I started up the new label around the summer of 1997. I got an idea, to release the Merciless demos on Eps, so I talked with their "boss" and we agreed. This was a perfect beginning for a small label. The EPs has sold around 2 000 copies together, which is very good. And on this way it is, I love working with music. Itís my life, you see.
10. Please tell us more about the releases on Iron Fist Productions.
As I told you above, there are the two Merciless EPs out and a full length CD with Maze Of Torment entitled "Faster Disaster". This CD has got very positive comments and reviews from all over the world.
So, you who read this; donít miss this album. OK ?? And in the beginning of December I will release the MCD with Swedish thrashers Hypnosia. That one will be called "Violent Intensity". If you are into bands like Sadus, Dark Angel and Merciless, you will for sure love this one. I will also release some more EPs in the new year. Wait and see.
11. You are mainly doing Death Metal. Is it any special reason for that ?
Well, I donít want to lock me into one specific style, but as I have been listening to Death/Thrash Metal for around 12 years now, I guess itís naturally to work with it. But, I love so many different styles of music.
If I get something I really like, I will try to sign it, even if itís pop music. I am really looking for a Goth/Rock band, not a Goth/Metal band. Just Goth/Rock in the vein of Fields Of Nephilim/ Mission and so on.
12. How many people are now involved in Iron Fist Productions ? How is the Iron Fist Productions office organized with technical help like computers etc. etc. ?
Right now, itís only me and my girlfriend. We need to put out more records. And at a first level we will employ ourselves. And if things goes as planned, we can employ some other persons as well. Hm, technical help. Well, we have a computer and a phone.
13. When you approach a band; what are the most important reasons for you to sign the band ??
The most important for me to sign a band, is that the guys in the band are themselves. No image or rock star
attitude and that they are loving the music they perform. And I shall be a fan of their music. Thatís the most important thing, you know. I try to be a friend with the band, not some kind of a business guy.
14. Is it difficult to run a record label from Sweden ? What is the main problems and advantages being based in Sweden ?
Well, to run a label from Sweden can be hard from time to time. We have very big taxes here in Sweden and to run your own business means a lot of extra paper work. The advantage of being a label in Sweden, is that our music culture is known world wide, especially Swedish Death Metal.
15. What is your view on the Swedish Metal scene ?
Well, I still think we have the best metal scene in the world. And every day a new act is popping up. A band that I think can be big is Terra Firma. Great old sounding Hardrock, check them out. Also the news that Merciless has re- formed are killer. They will release a new album in 1999. We have a strong scene, I guess.
16. Without getting involved in this discussion: A lot of people says that bands like Dimmu Borgir and Cradle Of Filth has "sold out". What is your view ?
Well, honestly spoken, I have never been into these bands. So I am not the right person to ask. But the little I have heard with Dimmu Borgir, I really think that they sound like Enya !!
17. What is your release plan ? Could you please present these releases for us ?
Well, the only one I know for sure to be out, is the MCD with Hypnosia in December. Itís hard to find new and great sounding acts these days, but you will definite hear more great music from us in the coming years.
18. Besides of the release plan; what is your future plans for Iron Fist Productions ?
To make a living out of it.
19. Finally; when you have closed the door to the Iron Fist Productions office and desperate need a rest. What is your favorite music, except the kind of music you work with ?? What is your favorite past- time activities ??
When I have finished the work, I really enjoy silence, turn on the TV, looking at a good movie is very restful. But some music I like to listen to when I chill out, is KLF "Chill Out ", Dive, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, Tori Amos, Heather Nova. That kind of stuff.
I must thank you for the interview (my pleasure -ed). Please order my releases. Here is the list and prices:
Merciless "Behind The Black Door" Ď7/EP $ 6
Merciless "Realm Of The Dark" Ď7/EP $ 6
Hypnosia "Violent Intensity" MCD $ 10
Maze Of Torment "Faster Disaster" CD $ 18
Thanx for reading this interview and good luck with the web magazine. See ya all !!
Iron Fist's address are:
Iron Fist Production
c/o Tomas Nyqvist
645 42 Strangnas