- Hi Phil. How are you? How are your
children? How does it feel to be a 4 times dad? How many questions did
they ask you a day?
A: Hi Tomi! I’m still breathing, that’s all i know! My children are all healthy and growing so i’m grateful for that. I have to pinch myself when i think i now have four of them, they’re great of course but that’s more than enough for anyone I think haha. They keep me busy and make me feel old everyday. I have two girls, 3 years and 6 years and two boys, one is nearly 2 years and the other is only 6 weeks old right now!
- First of all tell us something about Phil
O'Grady in general.
A: What can I say? I’m an honest, hard working guy who is passionate about music and punk ethics. I like to think i’m easy going but maybe i get more grumpy as i get older haha. I don’t have a lot of patience. I work full time to support my family (60 hours a week) and spend the rest of my spare time trying to make a small difference to the punk world by helping out bands, labels, gig promoters and distros whenever I can.
- How did you get to punk? When? How? What
where the coolest bands of that time?
A: I got into punk when I was 13 years old and met older kids who already knew the bands and music. I was instantly hooked on it all. The look, the sound, the aggression and the rebellion. I started buying old records and making copies of tapes as much as I could. This was 1985-1986 and back then punk was still a big thing as bands like Conflict, Subhumans, Amebix, Antisect, Dead Kennedys, MDC, Legion Of Parasites, Exploited etc. Were still releasing records and main stores were still selling punk and Oi records a whole lot. It was kind of a funny period in punk as Crass had not long finished and the Oi stuff had all turned into a joke, or was heading towards fascism. At that time I was caught between listening to a lot of anarcho punk and more classic punk bands like The Partisans and UK Subs. There was also a new group of bands emerging at that time such as Extreme Noise Terror, Electro Hippies, Generic, Concrete Sox, Broken Bones, Doom etc. Who all brought a faster more aggressive sound. So I listened to all those bands as well as nearly every anarcho band from the few years earlier too. To me, the coolest band back then was Icons Of Filth.
- What is the difference in the scene from
that time and the scene of nowadays? Some things are sure. Of course no
internet and stuff. But is there anything else? Like atmosphere of the
gigs or stuff like that. For example when I was younger, lets say 15 years
ago, punks, hardcore kids, metalheads was going for the same gig, where
played punk, grind, metal bands and so. The scene wasnt separated like
A: That’s a tough question to answer as of course, my perosnal feelings were different when I was younger of course. Not my beliefs, they have stayed pretty much the same always, but of course, things felt more exciting and dangerous back then. No internet for sure! It wasn’t as easy to meet or discuss punk with others back then and I spent a lot of time writing letters to bands and labels, some of which I still have to this day. I think gigs were also a bit more scary back then, fights would happen, in fact, anything could happen...nowadays gigs feel a lot more tame and artifical to me. Maybe a young kid going to their first gig would feel the same in 2014? I don’t know..In the UK, there was still a mix of styles at gigs, bands would play more benefit gigs and so it didn’t really matter what stlye of music they were playing. There would be dub reggae, ska, thrash, crust, hardcore...but the grind bands usally played together as I remember. Certainly, punk and metal crowds were separate in those days, not like now. Which is weird because a lot of the older punk bands like Antisect, Discharge, Amebix all started playing a lot more metal around then. Punk bands like Peter & The Test Tube Babies, GBH, Chron Gen, Exploited...they would usually play together and of course there was a big skinhead scene too with bands like The Business playing a lot. I have to say though, at that time, most of the skinheads were into racist bands and not Angelic Upstarts anymore. Also, there were the free festival bands like 2000DS, RDF, Culture Shock, Thatcher On Acid, Smart Pils, Hippy Slags that had manged to create a whole new sense of freedom and resistance in the punk scene.
- Was it harder to buy / collect
records/tapes like nowadays? When have you started to collect records? I
think all the collecting started by duplicating tapes. Well it is how it
started in my career.
A: Of course, yes, it was much harder but for many reasons. There was no internet so you had to go and find the records yourself. Most shops would only stock the larger distributed bands on labels like Cherry Red, No Future, Link, Clay etc. I would usually have to wait about 6-8 weeks to get one package of records after writing off for them and sending cash! Who would be happy to wait two months for a package now? Haha. So to keep listening to bands, I had to borrow older friends records and make copies onto cassettes all the time. This was great, it meant I could find out about so many new bands very quickly. About once a month I would go to the record shops with money I had saved up but a lot of the time there was nothing left in stock..or it was just too much money to be able to afford more than maybe 2-3 records. I have been collecting records all my life, since I was 7-8 years old and I still have most of my first ever tapes and records even now.
- How many records do you have? How many
new records do you usually get a month (by buying or trading)? Do you have
any favourite ones? Or any special ones because of their shape or special
A: Oh dear...I honestly couldn’t say but it’s thousands I know that much. I’ve been buying records for over 30 years so I guess that’s my excuse. Put it this way, i’ll never live long enough to play them all again that’s for sure.
I get dozens of new records every month, I have no idea how many really but of course, running a distro means i get lots of new stuff all the time and I still buy records for myself as well. I have many favourite records! Some I have owned since I was very young and still play now and enjoy, I have some special ones of course..maybe very limited editions or strange shapes / designs / colours. Some are special because of the packaging and I wonder how the bands ever afforded to make such releases...I even have some records with autographs haha or records I got directly from band members, I guess they count as special. I have a copy of The Exploited – Lets Start A War LP that is signed by Steve Ignorant from Crass...weird story hahaha.
- Imminent destruction records is your
record label. Quite young but very active. How did it all started?
A: Imminent Destruction is still very young yes, only 2 years old. I have been busy all that time though and have now made nearly 25 releases. I started it because I wanted to make releases from new bands because I was bored with what was available to buy elsewhere. I kept hearing more and more exciting new bands and wanted to make sure other people got the chance to enjoy them as much as I did. I didn’t know anything about releasing records but I learned fast...and i’m still learning all the time.
- Please tell us some words about your
A: Well, there are many other releases that are still at the planning /discussion stage but here is a list of past and present releases for now..nearly all of these will be out by the time this zine is published.
ALEA IACTA EST / RAS – SPLIT 7” ID-001
VENDETTA – S/T 7” ID-002
V/A – ACCELERATION TO DOOMSDAY 7” (LASTLY / DISTURD / DESPERDICIO / AGAINST THE GRAIN) ID-003
AGGRASTAT – NOISE EXTERMINATION EP ID-004
PROXY - SOMETHING WE'VE ALL SEEN BEFORE LP - ID-05
V/A - A ROAR OF INDIGNATION LP – ID-06
VIOLENT PARTY - POISON MIXERS 12"- ID-07
PANDEMIA - MODERN PLAGUE LP –ID-08
WARCUPID - S/T 7" - ID-008
RATS BLOOD – PUNKS IS MUTANTS 7" – ID-009
VIOLENT PARTY - POISON MIXERS 12"- ID-07
PANDEMIA - MODERN PLAGUE LP –ID-08
WARCUPID - S/T 7" - ID-008
RATS BLOOD – PUNKS IS MUTANTS 7" – ID-009
POLTERGEIST - EFFIGY OF THE GROTESQUE LP – ID-10
LIFECHAIN – UNIFORMED COWARDS 7” ID-011
WARVICTIMS - 4 TRACKS EP ID-012
LETHE - ANON 12” – ID-13
BESTHOVEN / FINAL SLUM WAR – SPLIT 12” – ID-14
HYSTERIA – S/T EP – ID-015
NAPALM RAID - STORM 7” – ID-16
PMMA – ALL SHE WANTED 7" – ID-17
MOCK ORDER – DEMO TAPE – ID-XXX
ISKALLT REGN – S/T 12” – ID-18
BAND OF ACCUSE – MEMENTO MORI 7" – ID-19
SEKIEN – WAGA I NO YOAKE 7” – ID-20
KRIGSKONTRAST / SKIPLICKERS – SPLIT 7” – ID-21
V/A – DIVINE WIND COMP 7”
(CORBATA/MASS COLLAPSE/PICNIC/MOLD) ID-22
LIFECHAIN – NO LAUGHTER EP – ID-23
PARADOX – STRANGULATION EP –ID-24
RATS BLOOD - LP – ID-25
SOW THREAT – 7” – ID-26
THE DOMESTICS - ROUTINE AND RITUAL LP - ID-27
VISITOR – HIGH SPEED SAVAGE LP –ID-28
AND MORE TO COME!!!
- Do you co-release records or you want to
have everything under your control and make just IDR release? How much
money can you spend on releases? Is it hard to sell stuff and earn some
money for the next release? How much money is back from the invested
A: I do sometimes make some co-releases, but only with close friends who I trust and respect. It can be a difficult arrangement if two or more lables are involved and have different ideas on how things should proceed. I’ve worked with some cool people who are on the same level and think the same way I do but i’ve also been involved in some co-releases where I do not know some of the other labels at all, only the band we are working with. It can be frustrating because each label wants to do things their own way, or maybe they don’t get involved too much at all, only help with money. I think this is the main reason for co-releases anyway, to share the costs, but I have certain friends who I will always be happy to co-release with because it makes sense for the bands involved too. If I co-release with a label from USA or Japan then I can cover Europe and they can sell the release on the other side of the world, it improves the exposure for the bands we release and makes things cheaper for people who want to buy them. The amount of money spent on each release depends on how many copies are pressed, if there are any extras, such as colour vinyl, screen printed sleeves, posters etc. So a 7“ can cost anything from £600 - £1000 or more. It is harder than before so sell each release, although it should be easier. Any label needs a support network of distributors / shops that will always help stock each release but personally, I only have about 5 that will always take my releases and two of those are in Europe, so it becomes more difficult each time to regain the money to make the next release. I usually only make about half the money back in the first few weeks and then I struggle and sell stuff slowly, so for a long time now, each release has made a loss. I think people just assume that every release sells out but this is not the reality. Eventually, if this continues, it’s obvious that the label will not be able to continue, as I do not have an endless amount of money to invest.
- Which pressing plant is the mother plant
of your releases? Are you satisfied with their work?
A: I have used several different pressing plants to make my releases. Pirates Press, United (both in USA) Mobinenko (Germany) DMS (UK). In Europe it doesn’t really matter which company you use because they all press at the same plant in Czech Republic (GZ) Some experiences have been better than others, some have taken too long, or had errors and some are cheaper than others (but not always better) Each release is a risk and you never know for sure how it will turn out. I would never use MY45 plant in Germany though...my friends have told me horror stories about them.
- Are you looking for bands or bands are
contacting you with their promos? How is the cooperation with the bands?
Do you have any bad experience with any band? If yes, tell us what was the
problem. You dont have to mention the name of the band.
A: It’s a bit of both really, sometimes I hear bands i really like and contact them about working with them. Often, a band will approach me, sometimes i get sent stuff on a daily basis. I find about 80% of it isn’t for the label or maybe I just don’t like it enough but I have released some bands who approached me before I knew of them. Nearly every band i’ve worked with has been easy to work with and really friendly, i’ve kept a lot of friendships and also made many new ones. I’ve had one or two bad experiences as well but they’re best forgotten and like I say, 90% of the bands i’ve worked with have been more than cool.
- How does the process of releasing a record
look like? From the beginning to the release party? What is the hardest
part? What time does it take you to release a new record?
A: Well, the first stage is contacting a band or perhaps the band will contact me and send me their demo tracks. Then we’ll discuss how they want the release to look, which format is should be released on, how many songs etc. They’ll send me masters and artwork / labels and i’ll decide how to print the sleeves and what type of vinyl to order. The whole process usually takes about 2-3 months for each release but sometimes stuff can happen fast if the band are helpful and already have masters and artwork ready, other times it can take much, much longer. The hardest part for me is designing the artwork because I don’t have photoshop or anything like that, I have to either pay an artist or ask favours from good friends who will help me with the design layout. I also listen to all the songs hundreds of times to make sure the stuff I release is gonna be good and to work out which songs work best. I try to find a balance between promoting the releases and not boring everyone by repeatedly shoving it in their face. Hopefully, by now people will look for new stuff from the label as so much comes out regularly these days...there’s always something new just around the corner.
- Your logo looks great. Who made it?
A: Thanks! I really like it and I think it looks good on the record covers. Some crazy grind freak from Slovakia actually designed it for me right at the beginning when I was starting the label. I’ll always be grateful for his help and good vision! I bet he never imagined he would see it so many times when he drew it haha.
- I know you also contribute some zines in
the US or EU. Tell us something more. Do you write just reviews or do you
make also some interviews? Have you ever had your own zine?
A: I regularly contribute to several zines, including Your War and Maximum Rock n Roll. I mostly write reviews and stuff about older bands and records as well as columns where I talk about new stuff that’s happening in the punk world. I also create interviews for bands when I have the time. It is diffcult to make time to do all this as well as run the label & distro but I try to create something each month, I don’t always succeed! I was going to make my own zine many times over the years, I made a cut & paste zine in the early 90’s but never got around to printing many copies. The last time I tried, I had band interviews, reviews and all sorts of stuff but then decided i would spend my time starting the label instead. So I still have unpublished interviews from some bands..Maybe I should have made the zine instead haha.
- Is there any printed zines in the UK?
What are your favourite ones from all over the world?
A: There are some zines in the UK yes, I don’t know all of them but some I can think of are Serpent Zine , More Noize (now dead), Ripping Thrash, Gadgie, and more that I cannot remember right now. I’ve always enjoyed zines, in the past there were some great ones from the UK such as UK Resist, Raising Hell, Eat Sh*t, Punk Shocker...I still have many old copies at home. My favourite zines around the world right now are Distortion & Faith, No Exit, Gadgie (always a great read and very funny) I don’t know if Agitate zine is still going but that is cool too, same with Accept The Darkness but i’m pretty sure that stopped some time ago now. I wish more zines were around, I never read online blogs, but people don’t seem to want to buy zines anymore, even though they’re really cheap. It’s sad, because they have always been an important source for the punk world and a free voice for people to show their opinions. People spend too much time online and not enough time reading.
- I think I never asked you this question:
Do you play in any band?
A: Ha! A lot of people ask me this question but no, I don’t play in any band. I used to play bass (badly) and nearly joined a band in London in the 90’s but it never happened because I didn’t have time. I have plans to record a 7“ with one band sometime as a vocalist but I don’t know when that will happen right now. I’ll have to practice my screaming!
- There is a button on your logo. If you
have a button causing imminent destruction what would you like to destroy
from this world? Which attribute of the mankind?
A: I guess I could give a different answer to that question every day haha, depending how I am feeling.. but for now? I will push the button and totally eradicate mankind’s selfish nature, which causes people to lie to everyone around them and even to themselves as well.
- Tell us something about your future
plans. I think thats all. Cheers mate.
A: Well, I try not to look too far into the future because all of this could stop at any time really, but my plans for 2014 (so far) are to complete and release all the projects i’ve committed to and discussed with bands / labels. There’s about 12 of them so I probably won’t have much time left in the year after those anyway! I still have a few ideas of things I would like to do and as long as the passion is still there then i’d like to think I can make those happen too. I also intend to try and spend more time with my family so i’ll slow things down after the summer.