Despite it’s still fledgling existence When Planets Collide is quickly become a go to label for all things Sludge, Doom and Stoner. Pure Grain Audio sits down with label founder Gareth Kelly to find out a little more.
Tell us a little about the history of When Planets Collide... Gareth: "It was started by myself in 2010 as a way to get my band GURT some better more suited gigs with like-minded bands and as a way of getting the Doom, Stoner and Sludge scene some brilliant bills, with an aim that each band involved went home with a bit of money in their pockets. So each gig I put on mean’s that the majority of the money made would be split amongst the bands involved. Too many gigs at the bands wouldn’t get paid at all or the bills would consist of a mish-mash of bands from all manner of styles and genres."
What was the thinking behind the decision to become a label as well as a promoter? Gareth: "It seemed like a natural progression, I had put on so many bands that were struggling to get their music out their physically and it was after speaking with Burden of the Noose (my first band released) that I decided I would invest my own money to get their single out on CD. Luckily it sold well and the profit made meant I could invest in other bands. I never do massive runs of CDs but enough to sell out quickly and get interest in the bands involved."
How does being a young independent label help and or hinder you? Gareth: "It’s great as it’s all done DIY. There is a massive sense of achievement when the release goes down well and the band get more attention due to us working with each other. The problem though is the music industry is very based on money and for the PR side of things I have relied heavily on small blogs and my contacts I have gained from other areas. It’s very difficult to get press in the larger magazines but luckily I have contacts with print releases like Terrorizer and Powerplay so that is a massive help."
At the moment the label is focused on Stoner, Doom and Sludge bands. Are there any plans to add some other genres to your roster in the future? Gareth: "Maybe, it’s purely based on whether I like the bands that submit stuff really. I have had some Black Metal bands send in stuff that I would love to release and I have a massive love for Grindcore too. So, if a band wants to release something with my help I would always ask them to submit to me for consideration."
The majority of your current roster in UK-based. Was this a conscious decision when you started? Gareth: "Yes BUT when I was asked by Swamp Machine to release their album I could not resist and with them having a following in the UK as well as the Netherlands I knew it was a risk worth taking!"
Are looking to expand to have more non UK-based bands? Gareth: "Maybe if the band is right but with it only being me running the label it is very difficult when I have a full time job to do too. As said before though don’t let that put off bands who wish to submit stuff for my consideration."
One of the first releases on WPC was released on cassette. What was the thinking behind that and is this something we likely to see more of for future releases? Gareth: "It was NOMAD who I did the cassette for and they asked me if I would do it. I thought it was worth trying out as a trial and it kind of worked (I still have just a couple left). I think I would do it again but it depends really, some people still feel that there is a real “hipster” element to cassettes but I think they are great, they are just better suited to more raw aggressive sounding bands in my opinion."
What would you consider some of the labels biggest successes so far? Gareth: "The PIST debut was amazing, it sold out so quickly and I had heard so little of the music when I agreed to release it as they were a brand new band. I was literally just sent riff ideas from John the guitarist but I took a punt and it sold out before the release date and they have come on to be a pretty successful band in their short existence!"
What do you have in store for 2015? Gareth: "I have already released a GURT vinyl and have just dropped the debut for Diesel King. I also have the new GURT EP lined up for release in April and a couple of brand new bands. A band from Wales and one from San Francisco USA whom feature the ex GURT guitarist. That’s all I will say for now and that’s already too much information!"
You are also involved in the hugely successful Desertfest in London. How did that come about? Gareth: "Desertscene who are the main organisers of Desertfest are the big dogs in our scene and had seen what I do as I put on the band STEAK a few times (which features Desertscene boss Reece in them). They liked what I did and saw how passionate I am and asked me if I would like to run the second stage at the first Desertfest along with my friend Matt from Human Disease Promo. We did such a good job that they asked us to curate our own stage in 2013 and since then it’s been a match made in heaven. I am so thankful to all of them but we all work together very well, there are no egos and no bullshit and I love that! Make sure you check out our stage at this year’s festival as it’s the best yet!"
Anything else you would like to add? Gareth: "DIY 4 LYFE!! And if you are a band looking to be signed make sure you get everything in writing and be careful what you agree to!"