On the record, I would like to state that for 6 years, I have been trying to get a record label CEO to come on here and talk about the music industry and the ups and downs at their label. Most of them were all piss and vinegar at the start. “ Oh I have a lot to say, I am going to fire at this band and this label”. “ You have to ask me about that controversy, I cannot wait to expose those fakes”. So, they get the questions and not one can nut up and do it. Carlo Muselli of Sliptrick Records was not even supposed to happen. I think we were having a conversation about Italy and movies? I told him, I would love to talk to him about his label and I gave him some insight into where the questions would be heading towards. I thought for sure this man would decline. Ladies and Gentlemen, if you are not familiar with Sliptrick Records………………..
INFRARED MAG: Carlo Muselli, I have to say this is an honor. I know you are a very busy man. So, thank you for taking some time to do this. I have to ask you, what was the first singer, song, record or band that influenced to take on music?
CARLO MUSELLI: Thanks for the opportunity, if I have to break down a quick list, I’d say Angry Anderson ( Rose Tattoo ) as first singer, Dead Kennedys Too Drunk To Fuck as first song, The Who’s My Generation as first record and Motorhead as first band.
INFRARED MAG: As people may or may not know. You are the CEO of Sliptrick Records. Next year, will mark your ten year anniversary. What made you want to start a record label?
CARLO MUSELLI: I began at 17 years old, releasing 7” vinyls from a garage , that was in 1991 .. moving on to CD’s later and again to digital around 2004 and i must say i don’t regret any moment of it. I’ve been through the ups and downs of the music industry and had my fair share of tour managing, booking, production, engineering, pressing and distributing as well as promoting.. to me and according to my current lifestyle, nothing beats the pleasure and pain of being at the top of the food chain, so to speak. I personally love to work with debuting bands, I love them , I get mad at them, I get excited for every achievement and upset at every failure.. still I wouldn’t change my work for nothing else!
INFRARED MAG: You know with the internet, everyone’s a critic. People will hear a song or album, and have an opinion almost instantly. Do you read all the press your label gets? Also, when a bad review or bad comment comes down the screen does it bother you?
CARLO MUSELLI: We do always read each and every review or article about our bands, but honestly we don’t get bothered by bad reviews, everyone is entitled to share an opinion although ultimately the music enthusiast always have the last word.
INFRARED MAG: Do you think people these days truly appreciate music? The cd experience, and the experience of having a band live playing?
CARLO MUSELLI: Yeah totally, beside all the net jib-jabbing , there is an army out there whose life is completely devoted to live music, no matter the age, the family status, the job, the money.
INFRARED MAG: I bet you get flooded with demos all the time of young hungry bands. When you are going thru the demos or videos, what do you look for in a band that you want to sign? Is there anything that instantly sticks out to you?
CARLO MUSELLI: Well, when it comes to a demo mailed in by a debuting band, what we like to feel ( quality of the songwriting is a must of course ) is the commitment and devotion, the hunger and the will to break through. I do play the demos from my workstation to the staff and colleagues, their first reaction and interest is really valuable as they get to listen to new bands everyday , sort of a blind test where no personal bias is involved.
INFRARED MAG: There are bands in America, who claim that record execs and presidents seem to step in when they are recording or when they are handed the final product. Let me explain. Say, someone steps in and tells them how to sound or listens to the product and tells them what will sell and what to change. Have you ever stepped in and told a band after being presented with a cd to go back and change something? Do you feel that is your job or the job of the band?
CARLO MUSELLI: By the time we handpick an artist, it means there’s a mutual trust in his/her/their choices, unless the artist itself is asking for guidance and technical support we do respect the creative work we receive.
INFRARED MAG: I have asked singers and bands. I have never asked someone in your position. Do streaming sites help or hurt your business? Say, if your big new release is on bandcamp, spotify, soundcloud and etc. Does that exposure help or hurt sales?
CARLO MUSELLI: I do appreciate the streaming platforms just as running water. The constant flow of culture it’s what matters to me , more than sales and eventually it reflects in more people attending shows/supporting the live act. Of course the profits from streaming platforms are nothing to write home about, still i do like to think that it’s necessary to let the fans decide what they want to listen to at any given time.
INFRARED MAG: Does having your stuff on youtube, help or hurt your sales? I mean, you can see most full concerts or hear most full albums on there.
CARLO MUSELLI: I’m not entirely sure it’s hurting the sales, and even if , to me this is not a job you end up doing for the profit. We simply let ourselves go with the flow and get the benefits deriving from youtube and from the streaming platforms as well.
INFRARED MAG: In your honest opinion, do you feel downloading can still be blamed for music not selling what it once has? Also, do you think the government has done all it can to stop downloading?
CARLO MUSELLI: Some governments are enforcing some are not, that’s a fact. I just think that with all the free music available around, if you’re still downloading illegally you are nothing but a loser and I’m not talking about the industry losing money, business is business, I’m more concerned about bands losing money.
INFRARED MAG: How do you view the American music scene? What do you think could make it better? What would you want bands and labels to work on?
CARLO MUSELLI: From our perspective the US scene is alive and kicking , there’s a lot going on and the partners we are working with are extremely supportive. Music fans -wise, the demand for young European bands is really high and that is more than positive to us.
INFRARED MAG: What advice would you give someone who wanted to try and own their own label?
CARLO MUSELLI: Go for it , now. Don’t save any penny , keep investing wisely and live your label in full.
INFRARED MAG: Let’s talk about the press aka the media. Do you think a band being featured in a magazine still holds the same weight as it once did? Also, when was the last time, you went out to the store and bought a music magazine?
CARLO MUSELLI: We kind of buy and order as many magazines as possible every month, we like it old school.. as a matter of fact we also have a huge collection of 80’s and 90’s punk, hardcore and metal fanzines.That’s kind of our geeky side. Still, I do believe being featured in a magazine is quite a point, due to the effort required in breaking in the printed media
INFRARED MAG: Let’s pull back the curtain. Sliptrick is a record label. The reviews you read in magazines or on sites, is from you sending product to be reviewed. Not everyone can be positive. Do you think the people who are negative, should be able to keep the product they are sent? Should there be a rule in place, if they do not like it, they should send it back to you? Carlo, that could change people very fast on being negative. You would get all good reviews. No one would want to mail it back. Also, has someone posted something so negative, that your people had to step in and ask them to take it down?
CARLO MUSELLI: To be honest, I must admit it may have happened a couple of times, whenever we felt the bash was more personal than music related. We can’t let a good album and all the work involved with it, getting screwed up simply because the reviewer hates someone in the band. So yes we might have asked for a review removal a couple of times, but the reviews are still up there, so it didn’t really worked. As I previously stated everyone is entitled to his own opinion although writing a review or run a website comes with a certain amount of common sense. Beside that, they can keep the CD, no biggie.
INFRARED MAG: What is your label mission statement?
CARLO MUSELLI: Release outstanding music, build and ride awesome motorbikes, have fun at shows!
INFRARED MAG: The bands I have talked to, it seems a tour in America is always a goal. Would you ever consider merging your label with an American label? Say, a label that is pretty prominent in America but has zero reach outside of the country.
CARLO MUSELLI: Well of course we like to partner with other labels as we are already doing when it comes to co-releases. As far as for our reach to the US market, we are working with outstanding distributors, meaning you can pretty much get our titles even at Wall Mart , Amoeba , Hot Topic and more all across the country.
INFRARED MAG: Of all the cds you have released which is your favorite and which one do you hate and wish you could drop the band? I am joking, I could not do that to you. This is when I say thank you so much. This is such an honor. Any new cds you want to mention or things for the readers.
CARLO MUSELLI: I like them all , got some fav ones due to personal reasons and none I wished we’d never release. Every album is a piece of our history and that is what really matters to us. A special mention should go to all our bands for the efforts and for sharing with us their creative work, and of course to label’ staff for keeping up with me , seven days a week , 24 hours a day! And finally thanks to you and to all the media friends supporting us through thick and thin.
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