Interview with Jane Orpheus of Funere Records
How long have you been managing Funere Records? What is the purpose and goal of the label?
The label was founded on September 9, 2018. Its goal is to release doom metal. For me, it's not the amount of bands that matters, but their quality. I want to help musicians realize themselves so the world can hear them. I do everything I can. I always listen to my bands and their wishes. It seems to me that in 2019 Funere has moved forward and developed more and I want to do better every time. Everyone should know about my bands.
Were there projects you were involved in before Funere Records, or is the label your first contribution to the underground?
Once I was a guest vocalist on a song from the ambient funeral doom band Songs From A Tomb. But of course the label is my first serious contribution and I’d like to do it more.
Where is Funere Records based and how would you describe the underground in your home country? Are there bands, zines and labels/distros people around the world should take note of?
The label is Armenian, but it is based in Russia where I live at the moment. Of course, there are bands in Armenia, but not on the same scale as countries in Europe for example. I don't know of any labels or zines; as for bands, I don't really listen to them as they mostly play black metal.
How recently did you relocate to Russia and what was the reason for the move? What is the underground scene in Russia like compared to the scene in Armenia?
I’ve lived in Russia for a long time; the reason for moving was personal. The metal scene here is more developed than in Armenia, and I think there are more opportunities.
Do you run Funere Records on your own or does a staff assist you?
I run the label alone. I make layouts of booklets for CDs and flyers, and I premiere video tracks. I send material out for reviews, advertising, etc. If a box with CDs weighs ten kg for mailing, my husband helps.
Do you ever consider hiring a staff to help out with the label or are you able to handle the responsibilities independently?
My label is small and developing. At the moment, I want to do everything alone. Maybe someday if I really need help, though I doubt it because I'm very picky when it comes to doom metal.
Why did you decide to exclusively support doom metal, funeral doom metal and doom/death metal on your label?
The first subgenre of doom metal I heard was funeral doom. Doom metal in general is closer to me in spirit; it’s a whole world to me. And I want to help musicians give it to the world. I think doom/death and funeral doom are better than black/doom, sludge/doom, stoner/doom, etc. I don't really like those mixes. But of course, in any case, I will consider and listen to such a project and draw conclusions. Doom metal of all the subgenres of metal has the most rich and beautiful emotions.
Do you design and print layouts for CD booklets or do you have them printed professionally?
It happens in different ways. If a band does not have anything, I develop layouts myself. If you need a cover there are artists who can draw; make sketches of the logo for example. If the musician has everything ready, he does it himself. The layout can include anything you want, depending on the preferences of the musician and the label. Everything is mutually decided. This can also be for photos, lyrics, words of gratitude, etc. I can make a pit-art in the form of a band logo or a picture. When everything is ready, I send the layout to the factory.
How do you define quality over quantity when it comes to supporting bands? How much input do your bands have in that regard?
The main thing is I should like the material. When a band writes to me and sends me music to listen to, I listen to them several times. If a band is another genre (for example, black/doom), I do not consider them. If I don’t know whether I like a band or not, I turn off the music, go back to it later and then decide whether to release it.
I try to do good promotion so my bands are heard, listened to, and known. I do advertising, track and album premieres on various metal sites, and reviews. All I need from bands is good music, and I put everything else in.
Do you prefer to advertise through email and social media or by placing ads in printed fanzines and mailing fliers through the postal service? On which formats do your releases get the biggest response?
I do advertising through magazines, flyers, the Internet, promo CDs, etc. Most of my releases are in CD format. Some of them are in digital, but there are more on physical media. I also put flyers with my releases in package along with orders or mailing lists for reviews. I think this is good, because after that, often people buy CD when they see ads.
Name some of the websites you have advertised your bands on, and indicate how often you correspond with them.
I make track and album premieres on No Clean Singing, Metal Injection, Decibel Magazine, Freidhof magazine, Indy Metal Vault, Subterrãneo Webzine, etc. We communicate whenever there are releases. The guys are doing well and I thank them for their help!
How many bands are currently signed? Do you mostly get into contact with bands or invite them to contact you?
I had two official reissues by bands from CIS countries, Mournful Congregation and Evoken. From the rest of the world I have Sinister Downfall, Ornamentos del Miedo, Evadne and Vofa. Contact happens in different ways; I write the bands or they write me.
What releases by your signed bands are available for streaming? How many downloads have they gotten since their release?
My digital releases are Sinister Downfall’s “Eremozoic”, Vofa’s “Vofa”, Evadne’s “The Dethroned of Our Souls” and Ornamentos del Miedo’s “Este No Es Tu Hogar”. Downloads vary; I get about nine to thirty. But I don't think it's important; it's important that people buy CDs and support their favorite bands.
How many opportunities do you usually have to be interviewed? I noticed on your Instagram page you were interviewed for a couple of zines. How much exposure did those interviews get for your label?
I get few requests for interviews. Only Atmosfear magazine and the Mastersland website were interviewed. I just had questions, then we had a conversation and got an interview. I think they learned as much as they were interested in learning.
Have reviews of your label’s releases been favorable? What zines recently covered your bands?
As far as I remember, all the reviews for my releases have been good. We should not forget that everyone has their own tastes, but I'm glad that I hear positive feedback for my bands. Ads for my bands and reviews often appear in Atmosfear and Encomium magazines. My friend Lucy SD helps a lot by reposting my releases and has a radio station where the songs of my bands.
Can Lucy SD’s radio program be heard online? How long has she been helping the label? Do you help spread word about her show?
Lucy has a Facebook page where she places all her info. I guess I’ve known her for about a year; I'm grateful for her help. She also likes doom metal. About spreading word of her show, I do if it has something to do with my releases.
You recently signed two new bands to your label. How soon do you plan to release their material?
Let's start with Evadne from Valencia, Spain. They play melodic doom/death. I’ve loved their music from a long time ago; even when I didn't have a label I wasn't unfamiliar with them. I thought for a long time of how offer them cooperation. I wanted to release them but I was a little afraid to offer, haha. But I was happy when they agreed. It’s a double joy when you release a band you love and listen to for a long time. The next band is Vofa from Iceland, a new band playing funeral doom. The members prefer not to name themselves in favor of being anonymous, and I respect their decision. I know and often hear from people they were able to win the hearts of many with their talent. The guys have a lot of experience and have created a beautiful style of funeral doom; you need to listen to it. It is not yet known whether these bands are planning to record an album this year. But if they want to release their work with me again, I will always be happy for them. My label is home to my bands.
Are you looking for new bands to support at present? Have you gotten into contact with anyone who you’re considering signing?
Most bands find my label and write themselves. I plan to release new bands this year, but this is still a secret and we are in the process of discussing it with the musicians.
Are there countries with doom metal scenes not as well-known you would like to help get more exposure?
I think doom metal is everywhere, it's a genre that probably not everyone understands, and there are people that find it difficult to listen to. The only thing I can do is release bands from different parts of the world.
In what countries would you like Funere Records to become more well-known?
Any label wants to be known in all countries, and I'm no exception, but it's more important that everyone knows about my bands.