Why is it that the major labels of Greece were never interested in exporting all these bands?
I suppose, partly, the answer is simple:
Let’s say the mother major record label (we’ll name it “X” label) opens a branch in some country … er … Greece, for example.
The branch has to distribute or re-press the releases of this foreign “x” label. They are allowed to use some of the profit to sign local artists (bouzouki musicians) and to distribute them not only in Greece, but to also distribute them elsewhere, too.
However, there is a catch.
The Greek branch can sign a Greek rock band too but the “x” label won’t be interested in exporting these artists out of Greece.
Metro Decay – Σκιές (engl: Skies – Shadows)
Cause the “x” label has its own signed local artists and doesn’t want other foreign artists (that sound almost the same as the local ones) to do some serious damage and lose good money.
Skip the accent thing.
In this world there are more people speaking English (some with weird accents anyway) than Americans and English. It’s like Marianne Faithful said: “Don’t say it in Russian/Don’t say it in German/Say it in broken English”. Cause people want to communicate with more people from other countries and everybody uses the English language.
This wasn’t my decision … and this is why this blog is in English.
Because somebody may become aware of these bands if the blog is in English.
There are already plenty of blogs in the Greek language doing a very nice job passing on information about all these people. So, this thing with the majors is understandable up to this point and probably the same thing happens with other countries where English is not their native language, but…
This is why they call it “the industry”. It’s all about money. Not “art” or “expression”.
Its like selling cheese or shoes or… i don’t know… umbrellas lets say…
Its not about dreams. This is the real world and it smells really funny…
Of course, the branch of the “x” label cannot export the Greek releases to a random foreign major label. They can only export to the “x” label, or, to other branches of this “x” label, in some other part of the world or to small independent distributors. I am talking about distributors, not record labels that are not called “x branch of USA”, for example.
So here comes the question:
Why didn’t the biggies send Greek rock releases to these small distributors?
We all know that a demand is needed, but we also all know that promotion is bringing the demand.
And why is it that most of the Greeks living abroad have no idea about the Greek rock scene?
Cause promotion is an investment, meaning ‘well-spent’ money … and the Greek branches just don’t want to spend money on some weird looking kids (who might give them a new target group — people who don’t speak Greek). They are too focused in exporting the big bouzouki names, keeping the rock scene as a well-hidden secret.
You can call them narrow-minded people.
Being polite, I could call them all stupid.
Clown – Λευκά κελιά (engl: Lefka Kelia – White Cells)
By the time the first indie Greek label showed up in the early 80s, the scene was heated. Punk rock bands, new wave bands, heavy metal bands, and prog rock bands with Greek or English lyrics were playing in clubs, in schools, in theaters, and even in public squares. Some of them were signed to biggies, such as the band P.L.J (who later changed their name to Termites), as well as the band Apocalypsis.
In 1982, Babis Dalidis created the first Greek independent record label in Athens, Creep Records. It wasn’t an easy thing to do. He had no one to turn to for advice. Recording studios were not sure if these bands were doing the right thing cause they sounded nothing like the usual bouzouki stuff they were working on. These were loco new wave bands with singers crawling on the recording room floors while recording the vocals.
But Babis just loved music and he wanted to see some Greek bands on vinyl. That was all.
It was a long way. Going to recording studios, then to the pressing factories, and then finally distributing those weird Greek new wave bands in the Greek market.
But Creep Records left a mark beginning a new era for the Greek indie labels. Bands that sounded like the Birthday Party or Bauhaus found a home.
South of No North – Fell Frozen
Greek lyrics or English lyrics, it didn’t matter. The point was MUSIC. And Creep Records made this point very clear.
Cause thanks to this label, the Greek underground of the 80s survived on records. Eight 7″ singles and 13 LPs that keep the music of these bands alive and which will last forever. From the dark wave melodies of South of No North to the Birthday Partyish atmospheres of Yell-O-Yell.
The Art of Parties recorded their single in England. They live in the States now and one of them is a famous jazz sax player.
The Vyllies were from Switzerland. They released two more albums through some other label.
Villa 21 became big in the Greek underground.
Even Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys was thrilled by the Creep releases and exchanged a few letters with Babis. Actually, Biafra spoted Villa 21’s song “Too Much Nothing” in the American compilation “World Class Punk” released by ROIR “Reach-Out International Records” and he sent the first letter.
There wasn’t any official distribution for Creep’s releases abroad. There was no sign of help from anywhere. After “opening” the doors for future labels to put their releases on record store shelves without any problem, Babis decided to stop after a couple of years.
He sure did a great and respectful job.
CREEP RECORDS RELEASES
CR 08 Yell-O-Yell
Art Of Parties Shoot The Truth
I See No
Last Time – Central Room
L.P.’s: Creep 01
South Of No North
Angelo and His Egos
South Of No North Bare Hands
What It Means To Me
A Ghost On The Move
Egotriping at the Gates of Hell
Men Of Clay