Gabriele Fiori (guitar & vocals)
Interview par e-mail – Thursday March 22, 2018
“I have a little experience and you know I work 24/7 with bands and festivals and every story possible but I will probably shit myself at the end”
How the hell are you?
Fine! Pretty busy as always! I’m happy how things are going though, it’s a good moment for the label (Heavy Psych Sounds) and the band!
How do you balance running a label and being in a touring band?
At the end of the day we don’t tour so much. I have two kids as well so it’s pretty busy. This will be the first year I am really busy with the label and I have two people working for me now. Everything should be fine and I always have my iPad with me on tour and I don’t do month long tours. I think it’s doable. Maybe I will have a lot of work when I come back home but that’s ok.
Something I’ve talked about with other label guys who are in bands is how does being a label owner inform how you create music?
I don’t think there is much of an impact on the music, but more the opposite. Being in a band gave me an idea of what you want from a label. So you can understand better the will of the bands. Sometimes A&R people cannot deeply understand what a band really needs. Sometimes it’s more about humans being there for each other and being there for your bands. It’s a small scene, even with big contracts. You need support. If I cannot help a band because I am taking too many on I feel bad. I try to give at least a piece of my time to every band. I try to answer the bands who write to me on Facebook and fix their problems. This is what the bands want. Of course they also want to release a good album and all this stuff which is obvious for a label. What you can add though is being there for the bands.
Which came first, the band or the label?
The story between Black Rainbows and Heavy Psych Sounds… they run on similar lines. When I started the label the band gave a lot of support to the label because it was a known band. Economically all the money I got from Rainbows I put into the label. It happened during a time that the label helped the bands and sometimes the bands helped the label. I don’t like that people know it’s the same person doing both because these are two different things. For sure they help each other but they are totally different things. In this moment the label needs all of my attention. I learned how to spend energies and the last Black Rainbows album is very good – the best we recorded. With the band I know what I want to do. With the label, the market is always changing, maybe you get a bigger artist or some other crazy thing happens. If you have a last minute release you have to do that! With a band you always plan many months out because if you want to tour… I will tour in April and I started booking in September-October! With our record we recorded it in November and want to put it out in July and that’s crazy!
How did it feel to get the call to play Hellfest?
Very good! I’m always in touch with a lot of festivals. Believe me, I don’t offer my band as the first band, ever. I’m not that kind of guy. I’m even tired of playing live! I’ve played so many shows, maybe I’m getting old! I’m not scared of sleeping on floors or driving and doing merch and playing but in this moment of my life my priorities are not live. I’m happy to go on tour but it’s not like five or six years ago when I always wanted to be on stage. So I offer my roster and a lot of times but a lot of people know the band and the name. I understand from the point of view of the promoter they want a band who have a name. There are new bands that I think are better than mine but they need a name, I know this because I organize festivals and shows as well! I’m very excited to finally play Hellfest!
Will this be the biggest show ever for Black Rainbows?
With festivals it depends. I don’t know for sure because I haven’t been to Hellfest. We will play early morning, second slot. So I don’t really know. If there will be 6 or 7 thousand people as has been discussed this will be the biggest show we have ever played.
How do you think you will adapt?
When we played with Brant Bjork we came to understand! We will have fun, I’m not scared about that. We will be fresh off another tour too so it will be good! If you haven’t played for a long time and then pop up on a stage with 6,000 people out front that can be scary! I have a little experience and you know I work 24/7 with bands and festivals and every story possible but I will probably shit myself at the end. It’s going to be nice! We have already played many festivals, I don’t feel stage fright or whatever.
I just remembered 2008 at Stoned From The Underground. We played in the tent where they do the merch now! There was like 800 people and I remember I was shaking before playing! I think it will be good though. In years past you didn’t see so many festivals. Now you see so many, they are everywhere so you are a bit more prepared! I say this now, but when I will be there I will be uber happy to play there and jump all over!
You mentioned there being a lot more festivals lately and it feels like there’s a new stoner rock festival every day – why has there been this resurgence in the genre?
This kind of music became… not trendy but it’s so solid and I’ve followed it since the beginning and it’s been like a black hole until 2010-2011. Suddenly, and I don’t know why, everybody is pushing a lot. It’s still a small scene though! With social media it’s easier to get people to come to your events now! Everyone can do it. A small one can grow – look at the first editions of Hellfest and Roadburn, they grew up! This audience is really true. Everybody is really together. The scene is true. This audience spends money as well. They are between ages 30-55 or so. They have beards and they drink beer and they spend money. It’s not big but everybody buys merchandise. If you go to a show with 50 people in a club everybody buys some merch. Maybe you can go home with money. If you go to a punk or hardcore show and 200 people show up sometimes no one will buy merch. This is an important thing!
It’s also why there are so many labels out there right now in this genre! They have all grown up because the scene. Everybody is buying records. The bigger festivals for stoner rock like Stoned From The Underground and Psycho Las Vegas show there is definitely a cap. It’s not a metal audience.
It’s been interesting to watch it develop. You’re kind of one of the best connected people in that world! How did that happen? You were talking about the band starting up at the same time as the label, but where did the connections to make this happen come from?
It came naturally. With bands and small labels you go on tour and you meet people, promoters and bands. I know what a band wants so I try to give them that. There is a small business going on with that. A lot of times there are issues over small amounts of money. I try to avoid that as much as possible. It’s okay if I lose money, even if I try not to. I do this because I love the scene. Everything arrived pretty naturally.
Heavy Psych sounds is the kind of label that likes to work with a lot of artists. I like to work with new people all of the time. It’s not a label like Rise Above that has a few flagship artists. I have a lot of smaller artists though, that’s because I’m addicted to putting out records!
Interview: Matt Bacon.