PitCam.TV conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Robb Flynn of San Francisco Bay Area metallers MACHINE HEAD at this year’s edition of the With Full Force festival, which was held June 29 – July 1 at Flugplatz Roitzschjora in Löbnitz, Germany (near Leipzig). You can now watch the chat below.
When asked about the recent Roadrunner Records “restructuring” under parent label Warner Music Group, which resulted in roughly 36 staff members worldwide being let go and several regional offices being closed, Flynn said, “It’s a shame, man. It’s a fucking shame. Considering that these are, like, the premier people in their field… I mean, when it comes to metal, there was no one better. They were profitable, which almost no label in this day and age can say. The thing that was most bizarre was that Warner had all of their rock and metal bands going through Roadrunner [in Europe] ’cause [Warner] didn’t know what to do. So it’s kind of like, ‘Why would you [close the Roadrunner offices in those territories]?’ But they did it.”
He continued, “We’re still trying to see how it is; we’re trying to get a feel for what’s going on. We’re in between labels right now — the last record was the [final one under our most recent contract with] Roadrunner, so we’re actually in a pretty unique position, because we’ve got a lot of different choices that we can go with right now, and the world is, basically, our oyster. It’s a rad position to be in. Eight years ago, we got turned down by 35 labels, and now every label on the planet wants to sign us. [laughs] So it’s pretty awesome. So we’re gonna play it out. Roadrunner’s still got a lot of people that we know and love there — especially in America, they’ve got a real strong… the core people that are there are huge MACHINE HEAD supporters. We’re gonna check it out and we may very well end up on Roadrunner. We just need to make sure that it’s the right thing and that they get what we’re doing, because we’re not a pop band, we’re not some mainstream artist. I mean, we’re the biggest underground metal band, I guess, there is.”
On the topic of how the record industry woes affect the up-and-coming heavy metal artists, Flynn said, “I don’t think any new band is gonna have trouble. I mean, you look at… SUICIDE SILENCE is the perfect example. They came out of nowhere, they got an Internet buzz and they made themselves a hot band. And they made people care. And that’s ultimately all that you have to do. That’s all any band has ever had to do for the history of time. You have to make people care about your music and about your trip and about how you do it. And if you can do that, then the labels will come to you.”
Flynn also stressed that, while the Internet is a great tool for new bands to promote themselves, they will still need the backing of an experienced and established label to get their music out to the masses. “You need money to do stuff, and you need [the labels] to loan you money to do stuff,” he said. “You need them to knock on all of the doors and go, ‘Hey, this is cool,’ or ‘This is not cool.’ You need a staff of people. It’s a lot more involved than most people think. I mean, yeah, you can get a buzz going, and you can probably put out a self-financed demo and do great stuff, but at some point, in order to make the whole thing work on a worldwide level, you need something like that. And [it’s] better to have their money than have to spend your own. [laughs]”
MACHINE HEAD recently announced plans to film a video for the song ‘Darkness Within’ in the Czech Republic. The track comes off the band’s new album, “Unto The Locust”, which sold more than 17,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 22 on The Billboard 200 chart — putting MACHINE HEAD in the Top 25 for the first time in the band’s 17-year history.