Heathen Harvest: Why did you choose to start Ván Records? Were/are there any partners in the beginning/now?
In the past we made some unpleasant experiences with other labels who released “our” music. So, during a certain time the bands of the “Wód Ván”, our local “brotherhood”, just released their stuff as CDr and spread a dozen copies among themselves. But then I received that copy of The Ruins of Beverast
`s “Unlock The Shrine” and for me it was mandatory that this one needs a real release. As Meilenwald was uneager to let it be done by someone else, we decided to do it ourselves. We started as a three-piece (w. Weigand, Meilenwald), and now it is only me who is left.
Tell us about the name "Ván". It's a pretty simple name and I'm not sure of the translation into English. What does it mean and what relevance does it have to the label's purpose?
“Ván” is a mythological river arising from Fenrir’s drivel. We chose the name to underline the bonds to the “Wód Ván” and being a part of it.
HH: Ván Records is now entering its fourth year of existence as of 2008. You now have 15 releases under your belt (including two t-shirts). Out of these releases, which has done the best?
It is impossible for me to tell… I do not run Ván as an accountant, but as TROB’s UTS has been re-released in the USA by Battle Kommand Records
and has been banned on wax as well, I think this is the most spread release so far…
HH: Have there been any new signings that you'd like to make us aware of?
Indeed we agree on cooperation with few new acts:
- Heritiers De La Haine (France): performing very brutal blasphemic DM
- EgoNoir (Germany): very special BM, we will release the upcoming MCD
- Geist (Germany): outstanding BM, already released two albums, and it looks like we will do the third.
And end of the month I will meet some Dutch maniacs to see if we can fix something. I am working quite long time for that and hope the best.
HH: Earlier this year/late last year you re-released Nagelfar's "Virus West" album. Now one of the next releases on your plate is another Nagelfar re-release "Hünengrab Im Herbst". Why are you interested in re-releasing this band's material, and how did you get this licensing?
Short time after the release of “Virus West” “Ars Metalli
” (the label) closed down… so later on, the edition could not cover the demand, that is why we decided to re-release it. For the same reasons we decided to release the first two as well although we will do them with some bonus tracks (all already known from other releases) and new artwork. It is also planned to ban them on wax later on… As “we” never gave away the rights for any Nagelfar stuff, there was no need to get any licensing.
HH: Your second release was a Demo CD-R for the band Abusus. Why have you decided to not continue a partnership with them?
I really regret that we did release this masterpiece on a CD-R and not as regular CD. Back then I thought it suits, but I was totally wrong. Vangard is not that fast in writing songs when it comes to Abusus, but we are still “bound” and I am very excited when it comes to the first full length, maybe this year?.
By the way he just contributed a “new” track to the 2CD compilation that is given with the “Herbstnebel III” magazine, highly recommended. When the magazine is sold out we will offer this track for download as well…
HH: Speaking of demos, do you ever plan to do Tape or CD-R releases, perhaps on a sublabel? Crucial Blast has come up with a unique idea in creating a sublabel specializing in uniquely packaged Pro CD-R's under "Crucial Bliss". Even Drakkar Productions releases demo tapes to this day.
We have no certain plans yet, but I like the idea doing demotapes… Yes, in my opinion Adam is really doing a very good job with his label(s), but I doubt that this would work that good here in Europe and with BM related releases… but who knows.
HH: Tell us about a new band on your label, Inarborat. What are they like and how did you come across them?
Inarborat is a band that succeeds in combining aggression and atmosphere, melodies and harshness with an appropriate sound and a “good” 90s feeling. I know parts of the band for some time now and I proudly agreed fast to cooperate just when I heard their first instrumental recordings of the demo stuff. Really an amazing album… You can d/l the whole demo with artwork from their site, and a full track of their full length from ours.
HH: Who is this Grifv band that Sol plans on releasing a split album with?
Good question. I do not know much about Isar, the responsible person behind Grifv. It is a comrade of Emil Brahe (Sol) and it was his wish to release that split and after hearing it I gladly agreed. As Grifv is signed by “Det Germanske Folket
” (label) we will release it in cooperation with them. The bands are still working on the layout, but I hope we can send everything to the plant soon…
HH: Does Ván Records have any tours currently being scheduled for any of your artists?
No, unfortunately not. I think that will be one of THE challenges for Ván in the future. Until today there was no need to even think about that as work or studies blocked all serious planning, but time will change… I would love to see the guys on tour and maybe we will find a promoter who wants to take care about...
HH: When can we expect to see new Vinyl releases from Ván Records?
We are really working hard on this. Focus is set on The Ruins Of Beverast’s “Rain Upon The Impure”. I just abolish all original ideas regarding to cooperate on that with other labels. I reset everything and I hope we can release this Nightmare soon on wax with a really cool layout. If I am content with the result, this will be the start of a series of limited vinyl, all in this special layout. If the edition of maybe around 300 cannot cover the demand we will do a slimmer version as well later on… but, for the very most parts it will be enough. So, everything is on the way and decisions will be made VERY soon. Due to a lot of handcraft that has to be done by me solely it may takes some time, but I am quite optimistic, that we can see the result before the summer. For all those who are interested in upcoming releases I would recommend to subscribe to our newsletter that will be sent maybe once a month.
HH: Do you ever plan to venture from Black Metal / Doom into other realms of music? Will we ever see a compilation from Ván Records?
From the very beginning Ván was not bound to certain music styles, I am open to all kinds of dark and obscure arts as long as I am enthusiastic about the very result. I think a compilation would be very interesting if it offers exclusive material solely. But everyone can imagine that it is very difficult and would take a really long time to gather all the contributions from the bands.
HH: Has The End Records done a good job with your American Distribution? Who were your distributors prior to The End?
Yes, The End is the ONLY label / distro that is handling our stuff on a regular basis in North America. We are cooperating with some others as well on single releases, but these are really exceptions. It would be fine to establish a real distribution / licensing deal over there, so that all our releases can be ordered easily in NA for reasonable prices wholesale or mailorder.
In the past we cooperated with Blake of BKR, but we all knows that he experienced two hard years (flooding of his house, touring with his band, etc.)… I hope we can continue with the coop one day and I am quite sure we will the one or other way.
HH: Why don't you have any South American Distribution? Has China's Temple of Torturous worked out well for you?
Fu (of TOT) is a great comrade and even if our stuff is for sure no top-seller over there I am proud of this cooperation. Only one of my parcels I ever sent to SA arrived with the first attempt… So, to be honest, I never put that many efforts in finding an appropriate distribution there and no one contacted me about that either.
HH: Are you yourself currently in any projects?
HH: Are you involved in music in any other way than Ván Records?
HH: What bands influenced you early on?
How early? Nothing special, the usual ones…
HH: As of right now, Ván Record's distribution center is rather small as compared to most label distros. Do you plan to extend your distribution center to include more releases eventually?
No, it is even bigger I ever planned. I am not much into this trading policy, so I try to offer only more or less selective (hopefully) gems. But who knows… time will tell.
HH: Does Ván Records have any specific political or spiritaul views?
Spiritual ones for sure, but let the bands speak. We only sign a band when we share a good part of the views. So, if you know our bands, you know a good part of our views as well…
HH: Thanks for this interview! This space is for you to tell us what's on your mind, or to update us on information concerning your label, or to simply leave us with some last words of wisdom. Feel free!
I have to thank you for your interest in Ván and our work and the great support during the last years.