Interview with Devin Joseph Meaney
When did you found Gorecyst Records and what was your purpose in doing so?
I started Gorecyst Records in 2006. I drew the original logo and artwork in eleventh grade art class, and the purpose was to release underground CD-R's and dub-tapes in my high school. Now I mostly release mix-tapes and dub-tapes, but I also release the occasional CD and online download compilation. At one point Gorecyst was also a webzine, but in the later years of the label we have been focusing more on tapes. Gorecyst is a D.I.Y label dedicated to my love for the underground.
When did you think of founding an independent label and how well known were you planning for it to be?
When I first started, it was just meant as a hobby for pushing tunes at school years ago. It is still only a hobby. But I really enjoy supporting the underground anyway I can. The idea was inspired from the slew of micro labels available on the net. I figured as long as I continued to do things on a small time basis I could pull it off. That was eleven years ago.
What were you doing before you got the idea to start a label, as far as supporting your local scene? How much of a scene exists where you are as far as record outlets and clubs?
Before I started the label I was only fifteen so aside from jamming and playing in basements and garages the label was my main outlet for supporting the underground. The scene is small where I live. A few bands spring up here and there.
How many issues did the webzine incarnation of Gorecyst were released? Were the same bands on the label interviewed or did you contact other bands?
The zine was a compilation of stuff I did online plus a bit of new stuff. There were only ever a few issues. Now I do everything online. I tried to keep it updated at least once every two to three days.
You are mostly into grindcore and goregrind. Were these genres primarily supported by your label at the start, or were you willing to support others?
When Gorecyst was first created, it was made mostly for goregrind and grindcore music. Now I release noise, thrash, black-metal, death-metal, and punk. You name it, I release it. I would much rather release demos and EPs. Full length albums are not my strong point. Short demos and EPs are where I generally work my best magic.
For what reasons do you prefer demos and EP releases to full length albums?
I like demos and EPs because they take less time to transfer over to tape. Anything between fifteen and twenty minutes is "perfect" for how I release music.
How long were you into grindcore and goregrind before you started Gorecyst? Who were the first bands you listened to?
I started listening to grindcore and goregrind when I was about fourteen years old. I listened to metal and death metal since I was a preteen, but for gore and grind I was first introduced through Braindead Webzine. There are too many bands to name, but a few that I stumbled upon were Gut, Haemorrhage, Impetigo, Gruesome Stuff Relish, Regurgitate, Unholy Grave, Maggut and many others.
Many grindcore bands from England such as Napalm Death were heavily political lyric-wise. What was your view of those bands and their subject matter? Do you prefer political lyrics or lyrics based on horror (such as Carcass)?
As far as politics go, I am not a politically motivated individual. With that being said, grind will always be protest. Don’t like something? Write a grind song about it. I do tend to lean more in the direction of horror based lyrics. Carcass was not one of the first bands I listened to. I have heard quite a few bands before listening to Carcass, but they are without a doubt pioneers within their own realm.
Which grind and goregrind bands write song lyrics you like most of all?
My favorite types of lyrics are the ones that pay tribute to old horror films, or alternatively create a "creepy" atmosphere. I'm not a fan of porno-grind lyrics and stuff like that. I look at good goregrind like a horror movie for my ear-drums.
How did you start spreading word about the label in search of bands to distribute? Were there musicians at your high school who were in bands or did you have to look elsewhere?
We spread word for the label in high school, through webzines and old school MSN messenger. These days we can be found on Facebook. We never really did release bands from our school, we were more about bringing foreign bands into our area. In 2006 our first release was a CD-R titled "where?" by a noise artist named The Masked Stranger. Aside from my own personal musical creations, that was the only release from a member of our school. Myspace was also used to find and promote bands years ago.
Have you been managing Gorecyst Records independently or do you have people handling the responsibilities with you?
I do a lot of it but I do have people who help me. I co-release a lot of my stuff as free downloads with various underground labels. Friends of mine also help with art and various other duties. Every single person that gets a tape will forever be a part of GORECYST RECORDS.
Has Braindead Webzine remained active since you discovered it? Where was it based and how many subgenres did it feature? How did you first hear of the webzine?
Braindead Webzine as far as I know is still active. It was mostly for gore, grind, noise and brutal death metal. The first time I heard of the zine was scrolling through Google one night when I was in junior high school. I’m not sure as to where the zine is based, but it is all done by a man named Pierre. He is an amazing artist and has a goregrind solo project called "Blue Holocaust". It is amazing stuff. I have only ever spoken to Pierre a few times.
What underground/independent labels have you worked with to release your material?
I have worked with Tornflesh Records, TrashFuck records, SBT Records, Spettro Records, Nihilist Records, Distrozione, No Tomorrow, Southern Moonrise Productions and Seven Times More Scary. I'm sure there are a few others I am forgetting.
Are those labels mostly based in the U.S. or were some from overseas? How much did their distribution help your label?
A lot of the labels are from the States but some of them are from away. Distrozione and No Tomorrow are from Italy I believe. I think SBT Records is based in Canada and Europe. All these labels were great at helping spread the noise
Do the artists helping you with Gorecyst design logos or album cover art?
I meet people either online or in person. Mostly online when it comes to grind and stuff. Sometimes I get people to make me art and sometimes I do it. The tapes I create are all done in an old-school way so for cassettes I usually throw a cover on it. My friend Betty Rocksteady has done some art for me in the past. So has The Masked Stranger.
Describe the artwork designed by Betty Rocksteady and The Masked Stranger. Where on the net can their work be viewed?
There are various places on the net where they can be found. They each have their own distinct style, but it always worked for Gorecyst.
From where does your affinity for black metal come? As definitions of true black metal vary, what do you look for in the genre?
As far as black metal goes, my friend Neal really enjoys it. We hung out and wrote music together for years. His tastes were passed down to me over time. Personally, I really enjoy bleak and depressive sounding black-metal with chaotic vocals. My favorite black-metal project from Cape Breton (where I live) is a one entity project known as Cernunnous.
Does Cernunnous have official releases out? Describe the project’s videos to readers who haven’t seen them?
Cernunnous put out a three track demo a few years ago. Not long after, two singles were released. Eventually, these five tracks were compiled and released as a free download on SBT RECORDS. It was also put out in limited supply on GORECYST in the form of a simple xerox dub-tape. We are hoping to release new material soon. When it comes to Youtube videos, there are various clips available on the net. I suggest everyone checks them out themselves to get their own opinion.
Tell some more about The Masked Stranger and how much of his material you helped distribute and is still available.
The Masked Stranger has put out various releases. Aside from "where?” a few years later we put out his EP "Under Ain". I am unsure if The Masked Stranger has been up to much in the last few years but the guy behind the project was playing in a black-metal band called Thaumiel for a while. He is also the member of a power-electronics band, but I forget the name of that project.
How much of a response did Under Ain and where? receive? What is The Masked Stranger’s lyrical content? How long was Thaumiel functioning as a band and releasing material?
Both of those releases turned some heads in the underground. His lyric style varies. He would be a better voice for his style and inspirations. As far as I know, Thaumiel has at least one EP that is still available. They may have more but I am not sure.
How many of your projects were distributed through Gorecyst? Did you and The Masked Stranger ever collaborate? Can your solo projects be purchased or streamed?
Pretty much all of my projects were put out on GORECYST in some way. Proctophobic, Acute Onset Psychosis and Casket Sludge are a few of my projects I have released. The Masked Stranger and I have worked together in Proctophobic and Casket Sludge, along with various random recording binges. I would love to record with The Masked Stranger again. Someday it will happen, but no current plans are in the works. A lot of my music is available online. Nothing new as of now.
Which of your solo projects have gotten the biggest response? Describe the differences between those you mentioned?
My only solo projects are Acute Onset Psychosis and Meaney (RIP). Meaney was an old grind project and I still plan to do some AxOxP in the future. Both projects got a bit of publicity. Proctophobic and Casket Sludge were more popular.
How much are you currently promoting Gorecyst on the internet and how much do you plan to do so in the future?
I have not been promoting much as things have been slow. As soon as I get more on the go I will work on promotion a bit more.