Ali “The Metallian” graciously invited Ivan Magdalena of Art Gates Records for an interrogation to Metallian Towers to find out more about the Spain-based label, man and the roster. Read on to find out all the details on the topic including what is upcoming for the said company. – 03.08.2018
METALLIAN: Good day, Ivan. Thanks for your time. Scream at the serfs any time if you like more piel de sapo melons. Could you introduce yourself and the label? Would you give our readers the background and history of the company?
IVAN: Good morning, Ali and thanks a lot for having the time to prepare these questions. My name is Iván Magdalena. I am the label manager at Art Gates Records, an independent rock and heavy metal label based in Valencia, Spain. The label started in 2012 with a few releases of local artists, expanding soon its distribution to the national territory and then to the international scene. We like to say Art Gates Records is much more than a record label because we like to provide our artists with everything they need to go out and ‘eat’ the world. Some of our outstanding artists have been: Noctem, Killus, Trallery, [IN MUTE], Mad Hatter, et cetra. and our new signing Mind Driller now. We increase the size of the company every year including more activities to develop and associate with third parties, other companies, et cetra. We are creating the merchandise lines of all of our new artists now, working with them on publishing rights and tour support. We started out as two persons, Xavier Tolosa, who does A&R and I, and we have eight to ten people working at the company now.
METALLIAN: Does that mean that Xavier and you are co-owners?
IVAN: Yes, well Xavier and I started the company. I am the main owner now. I usually control every department of the label, supervising and taking care of all procedures and the artists’ evolution from the moment they get signed to the moment they leave the roster – and I do it with pleasure.
METALLIAN: The company name is different and intriguing. Could you speak to it?
IVAN: We never liked the idea of a very ‘metal’ name and wanted more of an artistic name. With ‘Art Gates’ we pictured a scene where our releases are pieces of art being thrown to the world through our different departments or ‘gates’ That is how Art Gates Records was born.
METALLIAN: How did heavy metal and you come to get to know one another?
IVAN: I discovered heavy metal by myself at the age of fourteen starting with Metallica, Megadeth and some other classics; soon discovering other sub-genres and expanding my taste in the metal world. This has been my passion since I started to develop my personality and it then became my job so I can say metal is my life (laughs).
METALLIAN: .. and your personal favourite album of all-time is?
IVAN: Wow, this is quite a weird question for me because I keep changing my taste in music, then going back again in circles you know … I could say to you Master Of Puppets by Metallica and I would not be wrong for a while!
METALLIAN: Sticking with the label do you have a philosophy behind your signing policy? Is there a unifying philosophy that bands and customers should know about? I ask this because you seem to cover the entire spectrum of metal and its sub-genres.
IVAN: We cover several sub-genres in the metal scene. Our A&R Mike La Riva is the person in charge of this matter. The most important element for us is that we see the potential of an artist and the possibility of working with a band. Taking them to the next level is not always an easy step. We need to detect that and then start working with the musicians.
METALLIAN: Let’s see if you can be frank. Which one has been the worst Art Gates’ release thus far?
IVAN: We had a few releases expecting to receive a better response from the market and the result wasn’t good. I can’t talk about specific releases, but I can talk about sub-genres, Folk releases or ‘core’ releases are instances. We learnt how to work these subgenres better now, but it wasn’t a piece of cake in the past.
METALLIAN: The problem with the folk rock releases is that they run contrary to the mantra of heavy metal, which is to be harder, heavier and faster than mainstream music. They also run contrary to the spirt of heavy metal, which is to be a unifying force of worldwide heavy metal brothers and sisters because they focus on their own narrow niche national idiosyncrasies. Never mind that most of these bands worship Manowar’s bloated trashy bellies when alone at home. With that said, one could say that the label has thrown a few impressive records at the fans recently. Sudden Death, Mad Hatter and Injector come to mind as examples. How do you find these bands?
IVAN: That’s part of our A&R’s department’s magic! I am not an A&R person, but I can tell you there are bands with real talent out there with a certain personality in their proposal that makes them unique even if they are not big rock stars yet. We have the potential to increase their fan base and change their size to ten times bigger. That’s our goal. Sometimes the bands send in digital and physical press kits to us. At other times we are in the seeking mode on the Internet.
METALLIAN: The obvious question is to ask how business is. How is it that all the music is available freely on the net and yet labels keep issuing records?
IVAN: The music business these days has changed. Everything revolves around streaming, live shows and publishing now. We still sell records, physical I mean, but the digital medium is growing of course, much more than the physical format.
METALLIAN: To get more in-depth, how do labels compensate for all the music that is freely available all over the Internet? You have a staff of ten. How does that work?
IVAN: I don’t know if you heard about the ‘360 deal.’ Well, we try to get involved in all the ways an artist can monetize. That involves taking care of merchandise production, publishing rights, license deals, sometimes even booking… it’s not about selling records anymore.
METALLIAN: That is an amazing revelation and a profound statement for the music business. Let’s switch the subject matter. Donald Trump: hero or villain?
IVAN: Absolute villain, of course.
METALLIAN: Right answer. Our apologies to any fascists and trash that read Metallian. Go kill yourself now since you hate the planet so much. Did the Spanish national football team achieve its goal? Did they complete more passes than there are fat particles in two buckets of KFC?
IVAN: (Laughs loudly) I don’t know man. I don’t like Football, but I hope so.
METALLIAN: Back to the company, Ivan what is next for the label and what is coming in the upcoming quarters?
IVAN: We are setting all the releases for the autumn period and also arranging releases for February and March 2019.
METALLIAN: Could you drop a few names, titles or details for our readers?
IVAN: Of course! We have the new albums by Insight After Doomsday, which is contemporary metal, Moonshade, which is melodic death metal from Portugal and Whitemour, which is death metal from Finland. The new Mind Driller will come out at the beginning of next year and we are working on other titles.
METALLIAN: A final question and an obvious one. Why, in your own words, is Metallian the best source for metal anywhere?
IVAN: It is an honest and sincere metal site and there is no way to pay for reviews or interviews (laughs). Why should you visit another one?
Indeed. Thanks again to Ivan for his investment of time to speak to Metallian and delivering the music of the gods to the fans. One can find the label’s website at http://www.artgatesrecords.com.