Such is the case for Mike Hill’s Brooklyn metal outfit TOMBS who recently completed their contract with Relapse Records—after three LP’s and an EP—and are now pursuing a new venture through Metal Blade.
“We were not dissatisfied with Relapse,” he says. “We just wanted to test the waters and see if there’s any other opportunities out there,” explains Hill. TOMBS also posted to their social media the following statement, “A huge thank you to everyone at Relapse Records for every thing over the years.”
Keeping metal labels interested four releases later is no easy feat. And as Hill explains, having the right team in place was instrumental. “[Our manager] had a relationship with Metal Blade. ... Lo and behold [the label was] interested and it just kind of fell together.”
"Never second guess what you're doing creatively."
And while DIY can be fruitful in today’s dreaded market, Hill explains how having a team has its advantages as well. “If you talked to me maybe five or 10 years ago I probably would just want to keep everything DIY, but today I just feel like team-building is very important.”
Hill also likens the band’s success to a few key elements. “First thing, never second guess what you’re doing creatively. ... That’s the kiss of death. ... And then, have great-looking merchandise. ... Try to have an aesthetic or some kind of visual theme that encapsulates the band’s vibe. Because merchandise and touring is where all the income comes from [in hardcore, punk and metal].”
Touring also holds its own set of necessities, as Hill continues. “You’ll need a reliable vehicle and one guy who knows how to fix shit, too.”
Then, he advises, break out and play out-of-town gigs. “There are these other industry-minded people [outside of the punk/hardcore/metal scene] who believe that they’re gonna become these massive successes by just playing in New York City. Start going out of town, put together long weekends, form bonds with other bands similar to what you’re doing and trade shows and play in each other’s towns. That’s kind of what punk/hardcore/metal [is all about]. Likeminded people who weren’t the most popular people growing up, who were on the outside of things, and this is where everywhere bonds in this crazy music we all play.”
TOMBS is on tour now and returns to the studio in January to prep for a Spring 2017 release.
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