Norway is the home of black metal and has no shortage of record labels for black them, but one group of guys just outside the genre decided to start their own label for the underground bands. “Negative Vibe Records is supposed to be underground bands for underground people,” says Blodspor guitarist Bent Ronde. Negative Vibe Records was started by Blodspor, a hardcore band in Oslo back in 2012. The intent for the band to start their own label was so they could publish their own music.
“Big labels don’t want to publish small bands because they have to invest money in it and there really is no security in getting the money back so we just started our own,” says Blodspor guitarist Kristoffer Neegaard.
The band did not know about the record label business at the start, but with the help of others and learning along the way, Blodspor was able to release their own first album. They soon realized that there are a lot of other bands in the same situation as them. Since they have been a band in the area for a long time they knew of other bands in the city that could be a good fit to the label.
“We know a lot of them because they are our friends and thought it would be nice to create a home for all the bands in the middle between that don’t fit into the black metal scene and don’t fit into the indie scene. So more like the hardcore death metal bands. So the whole thought about negative vibe is that it is not a label to make money but more like a community,” says Neegaard.
Negative Vibe Records now has 13 bands signed to label but only eight are active bands. The label likes to emphasize the importance of live playing experience and won’t take on a band that doesn’t do many live shows or does not put on a good show. “They don’t have to have anything published, the live experience is what we focus on,” says Neegaard. The label goes to a lot of shows throughout Oslo and will follow a band they like until they hit the level they believe they need to be at to be signed.
When the label releases a new album they will go on tour and usually bring two other bands. They try to bring one other band from the label and one other local band or local to where they are playing. “We always bring other people up on stage to show just to show that there is actually a community and we are friends and we know each other,” says Ronder. Since there hasn’t been many new releases lately, with only two new releases this year, they are not touring. Even though no tour is going on right now the bands are still playing at many local venues during this time. The best way for the label to gain exposure is by playing these shows.
Neegaard talks about how they want to start marketing to other countries, specifically the United States because of the hard core scene there. “None of us have any experience with this from the start so we just kinda learn by doing one step at a time,” says Neegaard about expanding their fanbase. Currently they do not have a fanbase outside of Norway but plans on building it.
“Mostly we want out bands to break through the ice in Norway and step outside of the country because Norway’s way too small for these kinds of bands so we need to get them outside, into Europe or the U.S.,” says Neegaard.
Even though they want to expand their fanbase, they have not yet taken in bands from outside of Norway. There have been bands outside of Norway that have sent in demos and shown interest in becoming part of the label but right now it is too hard and expensive to take on a band outside of the country. It is too expensive now but Neegaard says it could still happen in the future if the label expands.
“Everything with the label is supposed to go in zero. If we go under, that’s bad. If it goes zero, that’s good. If we make money okay we have money to promote something next time,” says Ronde.
Negative Vibe Records likes to limit the amount of bands they take in. They get a lot of demos from bands in and out of the country but they want to help build the few bands they have before taking in a lot. “Like everyday there is a demo coming in,” says Ronde. They want to keep the number at a good amount to be able help each other out and not get too big where it is no longer a close community.
“There’s a lot of really good music in Oslo but not every band is for us” doesn’t fit in or share the same ideology and thats a really important part for us, they really need to share and contribute to the whole community thing. we want to unite the underground.”