How did Streaks Records start?
Matze > It was always a dream to do a label as long as I listen to music. As a teenager I listened a lot to Death Metal and besides that to the whole Hellhound label catalog, so I was faszinated by Obituary, Autopsy and on the other hand Count Raven or Winter. I turned then pretty abruptly into Punk/Hardcore, because the Metal genre got more and more boring for me in the mid-late 90s and I was missing the politics and all that comes with that. Then later I discovered Corrupted and Grief, they merged both, the attitude and musical style I was into. So I met Marcel from Blinddate Records, cause I was searching for a copy of his Corrupted Split 7" and he was living in the same town.
One day Marcel came home from a Finland holiday and showed me some video from Loinen at Amplifier Worship. I said: "They are awesome! why don't you do a vinyl with them?" He said: "Why don't you?" Yes, why not? So we did a split label release (Blinddate and Streaks) with the Loinen LP, which helped me a lot to get started. That's the story.
How do you find the bands you release?
Matze > I sometimes get demos by snail mail and much more by MP3, myspace is boon and bane at the same time. Some bands just randomly send out requests which is boring. But most of the time I stumble over bands by messageboards, myspace, blogs or recommendations of friends. I am always on the hunt for fresh and unique sounding bands, but not feverish. I trust time and taste.
Do you listen to demos/sign bands on basis of their demo?
Matze > Yes, for sure I do! I listen to each demo bands send or when they point me on their myspace. At the beginning I somehow wanted to specialize on undergound bands, I find it challanging to bring them to a larger audience with the label. It is a bit of following a red line. If I like it and think the band is already enough matured for a proper release, I do it. The Hordes of Satan LP was in fact a demo, but I liked it that much and thought it would be worth a vinyl. So I just did it.
Why do you do only vinyl releases?
Matze > haha, counterquestion: why do you prefer vinyl over CD?
I love the sound and the format, so much more space for artwork, extras to put in the sleeve, I love to play with ideas on material. An album as a whole, not only the music. And I say album on purpose: You can not easily skip to tracks like you can do on CDs. The artist/band has to think about the dramaturgy, for example how to convince the listener at the end of side A to get from the couch and flip the damned record.
Also important: For me CDs are plastic, just a another needles piece of crap that our economy system produces. Maybe I am over-exaggerating, but the point is: CDs are so cheap and easy to make in large amounts for mediocre bands. To do vinyl these days is a much higher financial expense and risk because of the whole production process. So you have to think twice or more if you do this or that release. Means only music that deserves a larger audience and is worth being pressed will make it. Bands that would only sell say 100 copies should keep with their demos to CDrs or tapes until they are ready and good enough for a proper release. That is for me like a natural border or selection for good music. Works not always of course...
Do your records sell well?
Matze > Hm, what means well... I am getting rid of each record, but it needs a lot of trades to get them distributed. I can't afford much advertising, as well I do not really have the time for that. So I am always a bit cautious with pressing amounts. Mostly the music is special or not that kinda mainstream. So the audience is often not estimated too high from my side, that is why I do sometimes only 300 or 400 copies. Then they are faster out of my flat and no more occupying my living space, haha. But if it reaches the right 300 people I am happier than seeing copies of an unrealistic pressing amount for ages in distros.
Is there difference with sales on 12" and 7" records?
Matze > Yes, there are differences. The financial effort to produce them is much smaller and you have a much easier distribution because of lower postage rates. But it is in my opinion the wrong format for such slow music. As soon as sink in the mood you have to flip the disc. But it works perfectly for fast Hardcore/Punk where the playtime of a 12" can get boring. So the Frogskin/Taunt was an experiment for me as label and worked fine, I am still very satisfied with it. But I think I will keep in the future to the 12" format.
How your releases have been received?
Matze > As far as I get feedback the people like what I am doing. Most feedback I get from people I am in touch with, may it be labels or people ordering records. This feedback is always positive and supportive. And from my point of view it seems that people understand what concept I am following with the label and releases. Still it is kind of underground and that is how it was meant to be.
Do you have to work besides workin on the label?
Matze > Yes, for sure. The label is a hobby besides the usual job. And vinyl and especially small pressruns don't make rich or even make a living. When a release hits the break even in the end I am happy. On the other hand I am so glad that I don't live from the label. It gives me the maximum freedom to release exactly what I want, not claculating on possible sales and "mainstream" compatibility. As well if there is no interesting band to release, there is a time of silence for Streaks, I don't have to release a LP each month to pay my rent.
What are your future plans?
Matze > Lots of. 2009 there was not a single release for Streaks. Some cooperations were confirmed, but recordings, mixing and all that took way longer than anticipated. But good things are worth waiting for. At the pressing plant is at the moment the vinyl re-release of the first Ufo Gestapo CD which will have screenprinted sleeves.
Dawning as well is the debut album of finnish Caskets Open, which I am really proud of, the mixes I heard so far are so promising, a mix of Type of Negative and Reverend Bizarre somehow. Third in schedule is the new Wreck of the Hesperus album, which will have some surprises, but no details here yet. And a new Ufo Gestapo will come. Plus around 3 releases more 2010, if I am able to handle that output finacially and logistically.
Thanks a lot for the interest and support!