off, how and when did it all get started with Good Life? What was the idea
behind starting a record label?
started the label back in 1995. He wanted to help out some local bands by
putting their record out.
Bands like Congress,
Liar, Deformity were doing pretty well in these areas. So, all those bands
released records, started the entire H8000 edgemetal thing and the ball got
many people are currently working at Good Life? And how many people started the
label or was that Edward's baby? By the way, I heard that Hans Liar is also
working at Good Life, is that true?
started the label on his own. His hard work in the beginning years brought the
label where it is at the moment. A wide variety of hardcore kids have worked
here over the past years...
Right now, we're 5
people. There's Edward of course. He's the main man. All big decisions go
through him. Then there's Hans of course. He's doing mostly artwork and keeps
himself busy with Soulreaper. Bjorn, who sings for The Deal, is handling all the
orders and the distribution. Rene (Edward's dad) (Cool! – Stefan) is
sending out all the mailorder stuff... and I (Birger) take care of the promotion
and a bunch of other things. We all help each other out when needed, so we work
really good together.
planning to hire more people to work for Good Life in the future or do you think
you can handle all the work with the current staff?
the moment, I think we're all set. I don't see what we would need extra people
for... But you never know what happens, right?
do you see the development Good Life has made since the beginning?
Life has steadily grown over the years. I think we made a normal growth. When
Good Life started out, our market was more local, but you always try to expand
and that's what we're still trying to do. Making sure our releases get better
distribution, that more people get to know the label... It's really a never
ending process... you always have to convince people... Over and over again...
there a certain philosophy behind Good Life? In other words: What do want to
achieve with the label?
I wouldn't say there's any other philosophy to the label than releasing quality
hardcore music. There's so much variety in Hardcore these days and that's what's
keeping it interesting. You can release awesome records by bands like 100
Demons, Arkangel, Waking Kills the Dream or Grey Goose. They're all hardcore
bands, but they all do something different. Some people like some bands more
then others, but at the end of the day, all these bands will still be part of
the same scene and they're all in it for the same reason: The love of music and
the underground scene...
you say that European labels have to work harder for gaining attention than
American ones? Sometimes fans of hardcore music seem to prefer bands from the US
to European bands (I think that is slightly getting better with people
recognizing that there are so many great European bands), have you made similar
experiences with the label in the past?
I would have to say it is like that. If you're a European label, it's really
hard to get the same recognition American Labels get, Especially in the US
itself. Which is kinda normal. They can see all the time what is going on over
there in the scene. They can see what bands work hard, what bands kids are into.
They always have the first chance of signing the really popular bands. As a
European label, all you can try to do is find the new hot bands, or be lucky. In
Europe itself, it's hard as well. There's so much backstabbing and shit talking
in the scene that every time a label is getting somewhere, it gets so much shit.
It's happened to us, it happened to GSR, I Scream and so many others. Kids just
believe whatever people tell them. The nicer you put it, the quicker they'll
tell it to all of their friends. It's too bad. Europe really has killer labels.
If only people would see and focus on what is real. As for the bands. I kinda
have to say that US bands are way in front of what Europe is doing (Well I
don’t know if I can agree on this one – Stefan). Bands and styles that
are big there now, will be here in like two years :)
Life has signed bands from all over the world, right? Was that always your goal
or did you focus on Belgian or European bands in the beginning?
I think a label is always looking to expand and the best ways to expand is to
release the best music possible. It's no use releasing only H8000 bands, as
people will get bored after a while. You have to try and sign the most diverse
bands possible. So, the first US band on the label was Morning Again. Back in
the days, this music was really original, so it was good to sign this band. It
helped to spread the name Good Life a little bit in the States, so more people
got in touch with Good Life. More kids sent in demos, so it's normal that, if
you're looking for quality music, you get to sign bands from all over the place.
But to answer your question. I don't think that it ever was intended to release
only Belgian or European bands. The intention was to release a record by some
friends band. The fact that this went well opened doors that no one could've
ever predicted. It's more like being the right person at the right place and a
lot of hard work...
are many labels out there that are famous for a certain sound, just like 625
Thrash. Whenever I heard from Good Life in the past I thought of it as a
metalcore label, but obviously that's not the truth as there are also some very
melodic and emotional acts on Good Life. So would you nevertheless say that Good
Life has its unique sound/bands?
wouldn't say we have a specific sound. I think at the moment, we have a wide
variety of bands on the label. Arkangel is doing the metallic metal thing,
Waking Kills the Dream is more emo/metal, Last Year is more pop punk, 100 Demons
will appeal to the more tuff guy crowd and I could go on... I like it that we
have lots of different sounds. I love good music and I don't care what a band
plays, as long as it's done well...
do you see Good Life among other European/international hardcore labels?
I wouldn't say we're the biggest label around, but we're definitely amongst the
bigger ones. We're working hard to get our name and our bands out as much as
possible, so maybe one day...
release of Good Life are you most proud of and why? Which one's your favourite?
of my all time favourite records is still the Morning Again 'Martyr' record. My
favourite record at the moment is Waking Kills the Dream 'Depending on
Tomorrow'. I love that record. Other favourite records are, Poison the Well
'Distance', all of the As Friends Rust records, Dead Blue Sky, Angel Crew, 100
band/album was the most important one for Good Life's development? Was there
some kind of a crucial band/record that changed everything for the label?
I don't think there was such a record... I think all of the first releases have
found their way to crowds all over the place, so... nope, nothing in
band sold the most copies of an album released on Good Life?
couldn't say exactly at the moment what band sold most, but Arkangel, 100 Demons
and Statecraft are amongst the big sellers.
there any band that you didn't sign but would like to sign now? Which one on a
different label would you like to sign if you could choose?
Hard question. Edward once had the chance to sign 18 Visions. I love that band.
But that was a long time ago. Of any band still playing today, I'd have to say
for myself Shai Hulud would be the coolest band to have on the label... :)
decides which band gets signed and how do you get to know a band? Do they send
you demos and then you get in touch with them?
think we all decide. Edward has the final word... Mostly bands send in demos.
Every once in a while, it happens that we're blown away by a band playing
about the deals with the bands: Are these deals made for only one record or for
multiple albums? What do you think is the best way?
from band to band... Sometimes it's best to have a deal for multiple records,
sometimes the opportunity comes along to sign a band for one record. It's hard
to say what's best.
you finance recording sessions and tours? I could imagine that especially in the
early days of the label it must have been pretty hard?
it's hard for every label in the beginning. I don't think you can compare...
Tours don't really get financed. That would just not be possible. I don't think
any label finances tours. We help bands out, but tours have to pay the tour
about vinyl, are you still pressing the new release on vinyl or are they only
coming out on CD?
the moment, we don't do much vinyl for our releases. There's not a big market
anymore for vinyl. It's no use pressing vinyl, selling 100 and have 400 left...
has been some bad talking about Good Life in the past, with bands being not
satisfied with Good Life. Some said you were giving them not the right amount of
support when it comes to touring etc. What can you tell me about these issues?
I told you before, I don't think you can compare the label from now to the label
a few years back. Things change, also in hardcore. There will always be bands
that are unhappy. Every band always thinks they're better then other bands.
Every band always thinks other bands have gotten more than them. If you ask a
band on Trustkill or Ferret (who are amongst the hardest working labels I know),
they'll still find bad things to say about their label. It's how the world
works. Every person is self centred. Every kid always thinks someone else gets
more than they get. It's sad to say it so harsh, but it's reality. If you work
with so many people we do, there's no way every single one will be happy. You
can try, but there's so many factors that can fuck something up...
other labels do you like and why?
so many labels I like. I won't name any, because I don't want to leave any out
of it... There's so many great bands out there, so many great people running
labels and so many great labels... I don't even think I could name a label I
hate... So, says enough, doesn't it?
long do you think Good Life will go on? Do you think that the label can go on
sometimes in the future without Edward, the founder? Would you like this idea of
no longer being involved in the music industry?
that is a hard question. First of all, I don't know if there would be any Good
Life without Edward. That's one weird thought :) Secondly, well, how long will
it go on. I hope long enough so I don't have to start looking for a shitty job
:) I like the underground music scene. I'm not 100% sure if I would be able to
work for some corporate music label that doesn't really care about their bands.
For me, people always come first... I don't know if that thought would stroke
well with majors...
that's all I guess. Did you like this interview and do you have anything to add?
I liked it. Took me some time to fill out, but I tried my hardest to be correct
and honest... I hope kids will enjoy reading this...
anyone would have questions or wants to share something with us, mail firstname.lastname@example.org