Happy Halloween, a little gift from us here at A Certain Taste – Jaff & Rebecca from Clobber Records very kindly took the time to answer some of our questions.
Can you introduce the label with a brief history, the people behind it and the reason for the label’s name?
Clobber Records started its journey in 2016 and was a natural progression from the promotions we run through NeCrow. The gigs we were putting on were becoming more popular and our loyal followers have stuck with us and continue to support all the bands that we present. It felt like there was a need in the UK for a focal point for bands within the scene that we have, and continue to, passionately support.
There is a diehard bunch at the centre of the UK extreme metal scene who will think nothing of driving miles to watch and support the bands they love and to hang out with like-minded people – often in some pretty far-flung places! A record label is a statement of unity for bands on both an individual and a collective basis, and presents another continuum within an ever-evolving scene. We feel it is vital to allow bands to grow, to gain some support, to strive for their exposure and, most importantly, to become increasingly relevant within something that is so creative and so pure. Thus, Clobber is a labour of love and driven solely by the desire to see bands succeed through whatever means we are able to assist.
There are two of us behind the label – Jaff who is heavily involved in the scene and now part of Gorgonchrist, having just drawn the final curtain on Shadowflag after ten years; and Rebecca who runs NeCrow Events in Birmingham and is an ever-present face at pretty much any black metal event in the UK! Between us, we have a great deal of experience and knowledge when it comes to UKBM!
The name Clobber should have a fascinating back story but it’s actually quite simple. During the first conversation where starting record label was brought up, Jaff was asked by Rebecca what he would call a label should they run one. Without so much as a thought, the first words Jaff said was ‘Clobber Records, obviously’. Often the first idea is the best. So, it remained…
How many artists do you currently have, and can we look forward to any new signings?
We tend to sign on a release basis, rather than following the more traditional approach of signing artists. Gone are the days when you could pick an artist up on a multi-album deal and become closely involved with their recording process, as well as the promotion and marketing of the record. This is certainly true for smaller, independent labels anyway. We have artists who have remained with us though – for example, we have been the main label throughout the lifespan of UK depressive/atmospheric black metal band And Now The Owls Are Smiling. We also enjoy being there at the start of an artist or band’s career and providing them with a strong platform to build on. This has been particularly true for band’s like Wolvencrown whose self-titled debut EP was our very first release, and who went on to release albums through a more established label – but did return to their roots with their 2021 EP ‘A Shadow of What Once Was’. This really sums up the true spirit of what Clobber is about. We also released the second album from UK black metal band Abduction, ‘A Crown Of Curses’, in 2017…and look where they are now!
We can always look forward to new signings and they will come when the time is right. We aren’t looking to try and generate a constant stream of releases because we only invest ourselves in a record when it is, firstly, something we want to listen to and, secondly, right for all parties involved. We would prefer to, and have, turned down releases because, although they are of a high quality, we don’t feel that we would be the label that could do the most for the release, or the chemistry between us and the artist doesn’t feel quite right. It’s just how it goes and always comes back to our core values of wanting to remain relevant, integral and able to operate according to our own ethos.
What has been your highlight so far running the label?
I guess there have been many over the years – and all have been, in some way, a highlight or a step forward that you have to reflect on as you observe the growth of the label. I think the exposure that the latest release from Wolfbastard, ‘Hammer The Bastards’, received has been a particular high point of late – especially seeing them getting such positive coverage in more mainstream media publications such as Metal Hammer. Yes, we want to stay loyal to an underground ethos but the bright lights of commercial success must be walked under for any artist, or label, who has ahunger to succeed and a desire to achieve a certain level of notoriety.
It is a question of keeping your integrity as you grow and your profile expands, rather than losing sight of the reasons that you started it all in the first place. Anyway, ‘Hammer The Bastards’ is such a huge and grimly fun record that it clearly deserves every bit of success that comes its way.Another achievement for us has been releasing the debut record from UK black thrash force Devastator, entitled ‘Baptised In Blasphemy’ and watching their popularity grow both at home and around the world. Their reach has been quite incredible and they have turned heads on every continent. You certainly feel very proud as a label that you have contributed to the success of not only a great band, but people we consider friends. Again, that’s a good reason for doing this.
What does 2023 look like for Clobber Records?
It will look like another year in the history of the label….! We don’t know what is going to happen yet. Obviously, the world is going through a bit of a tricky time and this is no more apparent than in the UK where we seem to have an uncanny ability to make life really difficult for ourselves – one way or another! We will remain true to our values and to the reasons we do this and, if the right records come along, we will no doubt snap them up and hope to find the next Devastator or Wolfbastard or Sidious! We are not relying on the label to provide our income so we can be flexible and step up or step down as life flows onwards, and we are genuinely excited because out of the toughest times comes the greatest music. So knuckle down folks and start writing something!
Thanks very much for asking the questions, and for listening to what we have to say.
For more details on Clobber Records check out the links below
If that isn’t enough the kebab foraging de generates Wolfbastard have a brand spanking new video entitled ‘Buckfast Blasphemies’ that’s so fresh the mutton is still steaming – check it out here.