What I’m about to say today is something you won’t often read here on this site. I may never write anything like this ever again. Actually, it would be nice if I don’t have to do an entry like this in the future. It would mean good things are happening.
I’ve written a lot in the past about Gilead Media, a damn awesome label that has released some of my favorite music of 2011. In fact, when the time rolls around for me to reveal my picks for best metal records of the year, you can bet Gilead Media will be represented. In an age where so many labels sign questionable bands just to move units, make money and end up on terrible horror movie soundtracks, Gilead Media is a rarity. I rank them up there with Profound Lore and Flenser Records as boutique-style operations where you know the music they’re distributing is out there because they believe in the artists 100 percent. I’m certain that if Gilead Media leader Adam Bartlett discovered a band that blew him away, yet everyone else hated the act, he’d release it anyway. You can tell he believes in what he’s doing and he takes the Gilead Media stamp very seriously. He’s not stamping it on your music just to make money.
So it was disturbing when I woke up this morning and got the regular Gilead label update e-mail. I saw the words “label status and future” and my insides nearly turned to liquid. You may find that overly dramatic. It isn’t. I think that much of Gilead Media and enjoy their output to such a great degree that not having it in existence would put a serious dent in my music life. Reading on, it was not quite as dire as I feared, but the news wasn’t sparkling either. Here’s what Adam wrote in his message. And keep in mind, his regular updates never contain content such as this, and if he wasn’t worried about the future of Gilead Media, it wouldn’t have been revealed. Here it is:
2011 has been a year of immense growth for the label. I made the decision in 2010 that I would focus solely on metal releases, and that was a choice I’ve become very happy with. I’ve released a large quantity of records this year, especially for being a one-guy operation with some-time help from friends. I handle almost every aspect of a release, organizing the mixing and mastering of the audio, rendering and laying-out art files for packaging and inserts, screen printing all patches and posters that come with releases, and making all buttons. It’s a huge task for just one release, let alone the batch I’ve done this year. As of November 19, 2011, that total is seven new releases and six represses – all of which were vinyl.
It’s been a crazy year, and it’s been rough. While doing all of this I’ve also been managing a screen-printing shop, Offbeat Press, and working on producing a film I co-wrote & co-directed, Dead Weight. 2011 has been a year of very little rest, a lot of coffee, and a lot of stress. On the opposite side of things, this has been the most productive and fulfilling year of my life.
On the label side of things, I owe that success to all the people that have ordered records and to all the folks that run websites, blogs, magazines etc. that have covered or promoted my releases. I’ve met tons of incredible people and built some great relationships over the course of the year. The level of support I’ve had is overwhelming. It started to feel like the label was unstoppable.
That’s what made things so hard when I found out I won’t be seeing much, if any, of the $5,500 I was owed by my old retail distributor, the Independent Label Collective. It was like running full speed into a brick wall.
There are 1,300+ words written in this little essay, and you can view the entire statement over at the Gilead Media blog. I didn’t want to bog down this entire email with 2.5 pages of it. Basically, the label has hit a big financial rough patch because of this situation, and I need people to pick up some records if they were thinking of it and haven’t. Please head over and check out the full article I wrote.
I’ll give you the link to his blog below so you can read it in full. I care deeply about independent metal, and I try to champion those bands, releases and labels to people as much as I can because they need the support. Losing something like Gilead Media might not make a gigantic blip on the mainstream world, and it wouldn’t even get a blurb in a business journal somewhere, because they’re so invisible to so many people. But it would be one fewer place for bands such as Barghest, FALSE, Thou, Fell Voices, Arms Aloft, Ash Borer and many others to find an outlet. These are bands that probably won’t be snapped up by a Nuclear Blast or a Century Media anytime soon. Would these bands cease to exist without a Gilead Media? Probably not since those bands thrive on their musical passion, but they’d have less of a chance of getting their art out to people who would devour it. I credit Adam and Gilead Media for introducing me to Thou many years ago, way before plenty of other people started to catch on to what they do. I am eternally grateful for that.
If you value Gilead Media or labels like it, there’s something you can do to help. Go buy something from them. Don’t download it, buy it. If you need suggestions for what to get from Gilead Media, look at the bands I listed above. You cannot go wrong with any of them. Go buy some shirts, too. They have a pretty sweet Krallice design, and it isn’t exactly easy finding that band’s shirts unless you go to a show. They also have designs for Ash Borer, Thou, FALSE and Barghest, among others. All are more than reasonably priced and they don’t just look like your average metal merch. I have purchased from Gilead Media many times in the past, and the items always are excellently packed, contain goodies such as buttons and matches, look amazing and, most importantly, sound great. I’m going to do what I can this holiday season to see to it that my metal-loving pals get a few Gilead Media-related goodies.
More than once Adam has written to me to thank me after something I posted about one of his bands. He doesn’t need to thank me. I love the music and the bands he presents, and if anything, I should be thanking him. I also feel compelled to mention that no one asked me to write this. Not Adam, not anyone. I did it because I believe in Gilead Media and would consider it a great tragedy if one day it didn’t exist. Adam runs a great shop, and I have yet to be disappointed by anything he has sent my way. I hope that lasts well into the future. Now let’s go out and make sure that’s possible.
For more on the label, go here: http://www.gileadmedia.net/
For the label’s web shop, go here: http://www.gileadmedia.net/store/
For the label’s Bandcamp page, go here: http://gileadmedia.bandcamp.com/
For the rest of Adam’s message, go here: http://broad-cloak.blogspot.com/2011/11/status-future-of-gilead-media.html