Unsettling Vibrations – An Interview with ‘N’ of Unpleasant Records

UNPLEASANT: /ʌnˈplɛz(ə)nt/

(adjective)

causing discomfort, unhappiness, or revulsion; disagreeable.

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Continuing the theme of great underground labels in this run of BMD Label Spotlights, today we have an excellent newcomer that deserves your unwavering attention: the Chilean Unpleasant Records. Only active for a year thus far, the label does exactly what a good label should – dig up the best artists from deep in the caverns of musical obscurity (some of these artists have no social media pages or much online presence at all) and drag them into the sunlight for the world to appreciate.

It’s also run by none other than the enigmatic N from Chilean/Venezuelan black masters Selbst, who took the time to sit down with us and chat about all things Unpleasant. But before we get to that, let’s have a quick look at the label’s first triptych of killer cassette releases:

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First, FOSA. Demo MMXVI was originally recorded in 2016 and this nihilistic carnage definitely deserved a revisit. Punishing, relentless crusty black fury with crushing tones meets a deep, deceptive melodicism and even a sliver of slithering dissonance and black noise; all capped off with hellish, proselytizing vocals and riffs that could crack open the earth, this celebration of all things negative is a winner from start to finish. Seriously, every track is incredible and the raw power in their sound is immense. I really fucking love this demo, and I’m shattered that by the time I discovered Unpleasant Records I’d already missed this tape. Jump on this at name-your-price download… while crossing your fingers for a repress. Oh, and it’s their only release of their four year existence, too. Perhaps it’s time for a full-length?

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I did, however, manage to grab a tape copy of both of these next two releases, the first of which is Nox Desperatio‘s austere debut album Anima Veritas Vita Morte. This duo summon raw, enflamed black metal done the old way, emanating esotericism and hatred from the shadows to drain you of all life. Some welcome depressive elements pop up here and there but overall this is nothing but old-school obscurity with no frills and no fucking about; just the way it should be. Name-your-price download and tapes are still available. Prepare thyself, for darkness and despair falleth over the Earth.

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And finally, Moriturio‘s Luminatione Exaltat Serpens – nothing but pure black metal. The songwriting shines through on this one, dark tension and ancient glory oozing from the tremolo-heavy compositions while the vocalist shrieks like a creature of the night. As N says below, these few tracks comprise all of their recorded material and might very well be their swansong; which, if true, is a crying shame as the atmosphere and energy they summon is something special. Raise your claws to the moon, grab a free download and/or buy a tape of this now before they all sell out – then read on below for our chat with main man N.

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Greetings N! It’s great to speak with you today. Some people may know you from Venezuelan/Chilean project Selbst, but you also run a label, Unpleasant Records! So, let’s start with the intent behind the label. If Unpleasant Records had a mission statement, what would it be?

N: The one of giving to know dark and terrible gems. Unpleasant, for the majority. Of black metal and related music in general, that only those who are prepared to receive in their hearts would listen and comprehend properly…

Hails. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the label has been active for about a year now; what made you finally decide to start it up?

N: For a long time I wanted to start in this, nothing ambitious but dedicated! I wanted to give an opportunity to bands that were looking to start and acquire a physical release to begin showing their work and to give them some support.

Especially thinking about good bands from my country, Venezuela (which are really, really few).

Well, I know one great band from Venezuela. As mentioned, you’re also a member of Selbst and I’m sure have many, many other things that also keep you busy. How do you find balance between your art, life and your label?

N: Sometimes I can hardly find a balance, I am a natural procrastinator… but beyond this, I am someone very null, a normal work-home-etc guy. I’m not into partying a lot, I’m a bit bitter in that aspect. This year I had another issue that I also had secretly between my eyes and for a long time, and that is playing live with SELBST. About that, it has been a bit year moved.

Unpleasant Records’ first three releases are: Fosa’s Demo MMXVI, Nox Desperatio’s Anima Veritas Vita Morte, and Luminatione Exaltat Serpens by Moriturio. Can you tell us a little of your personal feelings about each one?

N: Let’s see…

FOSA was a revelation for me. I loved their demo and their 100% nihilistic and anti-showbiz-egocentric attitude (a rare occurrence in the Chilean scene). They go against everything and everyone. It is a band with true attitude, created by true nihilists and fucked-up people. For me it was an honor to give them this little support. Besides, their songs were sung in SPANISH!!!

NOX DESPERATIO is very important for me because they are from Venezuela. Anima Veritas Vita Morte is a work with composition quality, totally sung in Spanish as well, and done in a masterly way! This is always a difficult language to work with for metal music, especially in black metal, but it seems that it flows naturally. Also, the people involved in this project are super talented and dedicated to black metal. They have sacrificed a lot, and still do, even with all the crap situation that my country is currently experiencing. That is not a little amount.

Finally, MORITURIO is one of my favourite and best-achieved black metal acts from my country. Unfortunately, they don’t have a wide or constant discography; this work feels like a goodbye (maybe?) for a great project that many people out there should know. Also sung in Spanish, although inspired in my opinion by the typical black metal like Sargeist, etc. it has an original and frightening touch. Catchy and deeply, extremely atmospheric riffs.

I hope to get more works like those in the future!

So far, you have released all three of those albums on cassette. What is the appeal of this format to you? Is this your preferred listening format, and do you have any plans to branch out into vinyl or CD for future releases?

N: I would LOVE to release vinyl formats in the future. But I’m working with cassette tapes now for several reasons. On one hand for a matter of costs, it’s much easier to start up. Also because it is a format I like; it is small, and it facilitates storage and shipping.

I like to buy cassette releases from bands and labels. Like vinyl, it has that classic touch that the CD does not have, and much less a digital download…

I agree, analog for life. Also of note: all three albums have been pressed in limitations of 50. Are you open to the idea of represses, or is it going to be a one-time-only sort of deal? What do you think about each option, which appeals to you more?

N: Of course, I’m totally open to reissues, but as you can notice, I am a normal person who wanted to start a independent small label with short editions. It was like a experiment. Therefore, if everything goes well, I could make more copies if necessary. One learns on the fly…

You should reissue FOSA so I can order a tape, haha. Anyway I hope it goes well – the releases are amazing. Some labels end up with quite an eclectic roster releasing a variety of genres, will Unpleasant Records take this path? How do you decide which bands or artists to release on the label?

N: I would like to, as long as it’s something unpleasant! Haha. The truth is I have little time and, mainly, I release projects of people more or less close to whom I want to support.

Especially, as mentioned before, bands from my country with a brutal sound, that touch my fibers, will have an advantage for me.

Is it only yourself that runs the label at the moment? If so, would you ever take on any help?

N: I took this decision on a personal basis, so I prefer to work and keep it like this. Even when some extra monetary help is always welcome, I prefer to take longer and do it on my own, to be able to work freely in any way I want, without waiting for second opinions from anyone!

The best way. Something that I guess many readers will want to know: Are you accepting demos?

N: Yes, although I have already planned the next releases for 2019. But you know, even so, my humble door is open for any not-shitty proposal!

Be prepared for an influx of shitty demos, haha. Now, I notice Unpleasant Records also acts as a distro. Are you open to trades with other labels?

N: Trades are, definitely, an important part in the underground! It helps the band, it helps the label, and even helps with promotion I think. You will not always get something good, but it will help you to promote unknown bands and keep the interest of potential buyers alive in the material that you bring constantly to your distro. Apart from strengthening ties and making contacts or some shit like that.

Given that the label is fairly new, you might be in a good position to answer this, as I’m sure you’ve come across at least a few problems: Do you have any advice for those aspiring to start their own label?

N: I can only say that if you want to make a living from this, you better get away. This is something that is done for the sake of Art. With passion and dedication. You can always recover, in some way, what you invest; but it is not likely to make you a millionaire haha.

Simply do it! And convince yourself to not worry about money. If you find music created with the soul, with approach, then support it and work hard in the promotion of it and it will find, for sure, a place in this world’s shitty metal scene with a lot of fucking bands coming out every day. That’s very important!

And finally – Everything you’ve released so far is superb. Can you drop us a hint of any future black gold you have lined up?

N: I can tell you now that I am working on a tape reissue of the second album of the Chileans ANIMUS MORTIS, and the second full-length of NOX DESPERATIO!

Two impeccable works!!!

Nice. Okay, I lied about that being the last question. While I’ve got you here, I’m going to sneak in a quick one regarding Selbst, as I fucking love Selbst: You’ve just released Secular Compendium – a remastered compilation of your demo and splits, which is excellent but serves to whet the appetite for more. So… any news on a new release?

N: For the moment I can only say I’m working on the next full album. But like the first one, I’ll take it easy, I want something worthy of showing!

But before that, next year will see to light the vinyl edition of my beloved “SELBST”! And more live performances as well…

Excellent, I can’t fucking wait. Sincerest thanks for your time, N. Any final words?

N: Many thanks to you for your interest in UNPLEASANT RECORDS and SELBST!

And don’t forget folks, “Without drugs, life would be a mistake”… Or was it music?

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Support Unpleasant Records:

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