In my continuing quest to find producers of underground cassette tapes, I found another label. This one is from France called The Ritual Productions. While the label mainly produces tapes, they have also produced the occasional CD, such as Unholyath. The label has some fantastic releases and I highly encourage everyone to seek out some of their albums once done reading the interview below with label head Jasper.
Curt: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me! First, can you introduce yourself and go over a brief history of the label?
Jasper: Well, the label started around 1987 when I was living in France. At this time we were a group of young thrashers and it was more easy to start an “Association loi 1901” (it’s usual in France!) to support our activities. The name was Thrash in France and under this name we supported the underground scene with a fanzine, compilation tapes, organizing gigs and playing also in a thrash band! In late 1992, when I moved to the Netherlands, I changed the name to The Ritual Productions to continue my activities.
Curt: The label has released both CD and cassette albums. Do you prefer either format over the other? If so, why?
Jasper: Yeah, it’s not the same! When I started to listen to metal in the beginning of the 80s there were only tapes and vinyl. Later came the CD and I remember in the beginning it was something special to have a CD but now…
Now I still buy or trade my personal music on tape and vinyl. Also some old thrash bands that I still listen to, like Sodom or Overkill for example, I still buy on vinyl. Black vinyl of course!
Curt: From what I can see the label currently does not release their albums in digital versions. Why not? Are there any plans to do future releases in digital format? Perhaps a Bandcamp page set up?
Jasper: No, I am not interested! The Ritual Productions is a small and underground label and I want to stay as much as possible in the underground vein!
Curt: Any plans on releasing an album on vinyl at some point or is this too cost prohibitive at the time?
Jasper: Lately, I released Unholyath and Excruciation on vinyl. Vinyl is my preference but as you know it’s difficult to release because you need a lot of money for it! To release vinyl is expensive and so are the shipping costs unfortunately.
Curt: How important is the packaging and the art to your releases? Who comes up with the design?
Jasper: Yes they’re an important part of a release. With the bands we talk about this and all details need to have a good result. Also Wolfram of New Era helps me with some designing!
Curt: What is your upcoming release schedule?
Jasper: The next is a vinyl of Dodenkrocht. A very promising band from The Netherlands. They play a mix of doom/black. Here we also look at all details from music to logo! Later the tape version with different artwork and bonus tracks will be released!
Curt: Are you able to do the Ritual Productions full-time or is this something that you just do part-time?
Jasper: No, no it’s just my passion. I listen now for over 32 years to heavy metal and it has always been a passion. Money and sales are just important to fund the next release! Outside of music I have my work and, very importantly, my family. For these two reasons I prefer to stay part-time with The Ritual Prod.
Curt: Any advice that you would give to someone else planning on starting up a label?
Jasper: An advice? Well, follow your passion and don’t forget that your passions are more important than money and friends!
Curt: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, anything else you would like to say?
Jasper: Yes, about the strategic choices of The Ritual Prod.!
I work in two ways:
– Old bands that I know since the 80s like Mercyless and Asshole. Also Excruciation, I listen to their music for over 25 years!
– On the other side I look for good promising bands. I think I have made good choices with Dodenkrocht, Unholyath or Anthro Halaust!
Thank you Curtis for your support and supporting the scene!
The Ritual Productions Website