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This interview was made for the coming Lieka zine (www.myspace.com/liekazine), but since the zine is in finnish, I thought I would post the original version for all you international readers to enjoy. It is quite a short one, but as you can see from previous posts, I have already interviewed Kurt about his band and his personal life. This is more of an insight to his record label, Catalyst records. As always; enjoy!
How did Catalyst records start? I understood that you had a zine named Catalyst at first?
Yes, everything started with a zine I had, also called “Catalyst”. There were three issues in total, and some material from the fourth issue (which was never printed) was published in the last issue of What We Have.
What has been the signing or releasing policy of your label? Has that changed over the years?
I think the policy has basically stayed the same for the most part. I like to work with bands that I like musically, and that have a message similar to the overall message of the label – promoting a drug-free lifestyle, veganism, feminism, social justice, and political awareness.
Do you have any favourites in the release catalogue of your label? Are there any releases you would have rather not done?
Some of my personal favorites have been Day of Suffering, Extinction, Point of No Return, and Gather. But honestly it is really hard to choose favorites, I have good feelings about most of the releases I have done, sometimes for different reasons. There are a few that I wasn’t as into, or that weren’t that good for the label as a whole (possibly Contempt or Horizon), but nothing that I really regret.
How do you manage running the label and getting money to survive? Do you have to work several jobs or does the label pay itself? Has the situation gone better?
Including the label I basically have three jobs. The label does support itself on paper, but of course maintaining a steady cash-flow is always a problem for a business like this. For example, I have to pay for everything the label produces up-front (CDs, shirts, etc) but if things don’t sell fast it can take a long time to get the money back to use for another release.
I live pretty simply, so most of the money I make just goes back into the label or towards my rent and other expenses. It’s not always easy, but I like keeping things as DIY as possible and maintaining as much control as I can. Vegan Straight Edge is more or less the common denominator with all the bands you have released. Do you feel that you have had chance to reach people with this positive message? Have you heard stories of people changing their eating or drinking habits because of the bands you have released?
I think there have been quite a few people that have been influenced by the label, or by the bands I have released. Not nearly as many as I would like, but I think it is necessary to grow organically, and not to force things. I have definitely heard from many people who have told me that the label had some impact on their lives. That is really what keeps me motivated. As for the hot topic-issues; do you think the ongoing financial crisis will have an effect on DIY hardcore distribution and releasing as well?
I think it will to some extent, but I’m sure it won’t be as much as it will affect larger entities. I don’t think most of the DIY labels and bands are big enough to see a huge difference. Of course it does affect me to some extent because it has become a lot harder to find good paying jobs here, which end up funding the record label. Hopefully it will turn around a bit soon.
What does the future hold for Catalyst, do you have plans for upcoming releases?
The next planned releases are a new CD by Eye of Judgment, and the Catalyst Records DVD collection. Also in the works is the latest Risen CD, and possibly a Day of Suffering LP. Hopefully more bands to be released in 2009 as well!