It was by pure chance that I happened upon Legion Blotan Records & Distribution. I was in Beatdown Records in Newcastle – probably one of the greatest record stores on England’s shores – when the nice lady behind the counter popped a business card into my carrier bag along with my newly purchased obscure releases.
I was intrigued, and tapped into Google when I arrived home. I sat for a fair while browsing through pages listing tapes, CDs, vinyl…and shrieking excitedly about all the new discoveries I was making. You see, I’m someone who is never satisfied. I’m always, always hungry for new music.
Anyway, I contacted George, the owner, and to my delight, he agreed to an interview.
How long has Legion Blotan been in existence, and what was the initial inspiration to establish it?
Legion Blotan first came into being in 2007 with the release of my first White Medal 7” which was a co-release with Grief Foundation. The label was created as a channel for releasing my own music primarily but has of course expanded a lot since then. Now it functions as a label focused on releasing raw and honest pagan metal from the North of England as well as the occasional release from further afield.
You stock a hefty load of tapes. Are they your best selling format, and where is the majority of your clientele from?
Tapes are my best selling format indeed, closely followed by vinyl. The majority of my customers come from the loosely defined region of Northern Europe, be it Scandinavia, Germany or here in the “UK”. That is probably how it is for most black metal labels I would imagine.
In your work as a label, what do you look for in a band and their music?
I think the most interesting and thus the main thing I look for in any band that wishes to work with the label is an identity of their own; something the band and musicians can get behind both musically and ideologically speaking. I am most interested in “ancient” and pagan themes but not exclusively. It’s hard to not like or at least appreciate music made by people who truly believe in what they are doing regardless of what it is.
I noticed that you don’t have a Facebook page, and wondered if you deliberately avoid social networking sites?
Yes, I don’t feel it’s necessary to contribute to such sites from my own personal point of view and that carries onto the label work as well. I think the label must be a reflection of my own ideas.
How we go about accessing and listening to music is unrecognisable to how we went about it fifteen years ago. What do you think about how we now live our experiences with music primarily through the internet?
I think it is what it is but as fans of mostly obscure underground music, I feel that there should be no reason to change the way we listen to our music regardless of what technology is available. I do have a bandcamp page (legion-blotan.bandcamp.com) but that is where my devotion to the modern form of listening ends. My distro is stocked to the brim with all things “physical”; be it CD’s, Tapes or Vinyl, T-shirts or patches etc… so in that regard nothing has changed from 15 years ago to now, its just done on a smaller scale.
Can you name a few English black metal bands that have grabbed your attention recently?
For my taste I feel England doesn’t have too much to offer by way of black metal but of course there are exceptions. Not from England but Wales, there is a band I really like a lot called Ghast very doom inspired and have an honest sound of their own. As for other interesting English projects from England; most of the ones to my taste already have releases on Legion Blotan!
Do you get around to many festivals to sell your wares, or is it all strictly online?
I have had stalls at the occasional gig but its 99% online where I sell my wares.
What was the last gig you went to?
The last gig I went to that I wasn’t playing was Danzig in Manchester. An excellent set from a true legend.
Where do we go to find Legion Blotan?
Please visit the website for hundreds of underground black metal titles sold at decent prices with paypal cart – http://www.Legion-Blotan.co.uk and for those of a digital persuasion, some of the releases are available from our bandcamp site http://www.Legion-Blotan.bandcamp.com