Line Out Music & the City at Night

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"The Imminent Demise of Hydra Head Records"

Posted by on Tue, Sep 11, 2012 at 1:25 PM

This morning Hydra Head records founder Aaron Turner posted the bad news on the label's blog—the end is near:

Hydra Head Records has never been a smooth-running operation. We've spent the majority of our existence excitedly scrambling from one thing to the next, taking on more than we could ever possibly hope to achieve, and never quite finding solid footing in the midst of our self-induced whirlwind of chaos. Though not every second of doing this label has been enjoyable, it has been a very rewarding and meaningful project for me, and I hope for many of the other lives to which it has been directly connected. The fact that it has lasted close to two decades at this point is astonishing, and much has changed during that time - the lives of those directly involved with running the label, the bands and artists we've worked with, and the nature of the music industry itself. Though many of these changes have been positive, or at least illuminating, the impact of our history and current industry circumstances are culminating into a slow and somewhat painful death for the label. It certainly isn't an entirely unforeseen event, but we didn't think it would come quite so abruptly, or (perhaps naively) ever.

The decision to pull the plug has not been an easy one, and in some ways is a not a choice at all. The simple fact of the matter is we've been running on empty for a while now and cannot afford to keep our doors open for much longer. Years of imbalance between creative ideals and financial realities, personal problems amongst the label operators, an unwillingness to compromise our aesthetic standards, a tendency towards releasing challenging (i.e. unmarketable) artists, and the steady decline of the music industry in general, are amongst the chief reasons for our inability to continue. It is a harsh but undeniable reality, and one which we are attempting to confront with as much integrity and grace as is afforded by the circumstances.

Read the full thing here.

Hydra Head's roster is long and impressive—they've released records by so many great bands including Botch, Coalesce, Harkonen, Isis, Big Business, Cave In, Helms Alee, Torche, Isis, Neurosis... and literally dozens of others.

Turner started the label in 1993, when he was still in high school. Now, he says they'll cut off new releases in December and then maintain the back catalog in hops of repaying "sizeable debts."

Now would be a good time to show the label some love and stock up on those records you've been meaning to buy. To start, I recommend this, this, and most definitely this. Their whole online catalog is here.


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a tendency towards releasing challenging (i.e. unmarketable) artists...

This is true. I'll have to ask my friend who is a devout lover of most Hydra Head artists, but what label would put out a quality product for an artist like Merzbow? I'm just attempting to get my mind around Merzbow and I can only think of one other label (Ipecac) that would have him in their roster.
Posted by sisyphusgal on September 11, 2012 at 6:01 PM · Report this

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