After numerous of reviews here at The Metal Gamer from Realityfade and Vicious Instinct I finally got around to do my very first label interview! Who would be a better guy to interview than Dimitri Sagaidak, the owner of both labels and who have built Realityfade to a extreme metal powerhouse in just five years. I just had to pick his brain!
What made you decide to start a record label Dimitri?
Hello, Jimmy and the Metal Gamer readers! Since I can remember my love for the Death Metal genre started, I not only liked to follow the bands but the labels that produced all the albums I liked. It was all so interesting to me and I loved to read all the news and check the releases these companies were putting out. In 2015, without any prior experience or knowledge, I went to try the craft for myself and dived into this business full of enthusiasm and excitement. The reason is that I just wanted to do something in the scene I loved. Since I don’t play any instruments I decided to try myself at running a label.
The first release I am sure was a learning experience. What was the number one thing you took away from the release that’s been with you ever since?
The first 2 releases Abhorrent Aggression ‘You Only Die Once’ and Reprobation ‘One Final Autopsy’ were worked on and released simultaneously early summer 2016. Just from these two, I’ve learned a lot of things, such as, for example, that you should never release something without a proper promotional campaign 🙂
Every release for me is trial and error and I still learn every day. Sadly they don’t teach this in uni or online.
A few wise points that I’d like to share are promotion (never stop the promotion), distribution (distribute to as many shops and labels as possible), and money (don’t be afraid to spend some if you want to make a good product).
Have you ever thought of getting your own hardware in order to press albums, castes, LP, or other merch yourselves?
Quite a surprising question but yeah I did actually! I’ve had the idea to buy my own screen printing equipment many times. Though after contemplating and researching I found it to be unreasonable. It would have required to print clothing for other bands, labels, and customers out of the music scene which in turn would require additional space and team to run this as a completely separate business. This would ruin the purpose of running a label for me but I do know a local label who does exactly that and we work with them on most of our merch orders.
Realityfade has grown a lot during the years and seems to have always stuck to the profile with slam, brutal death metal and deathcore. Was this a choice from the start or did it just happen along the way?
Initially, Realityfade was not meant to become a serious business as it is now. I wanted to make a few releases to support a more old-school type of Death Metal with no clear plan after that. All the music that was released after just came naturally. I do try to keep the level of sonic extremity high but there are no clear boundaries for genres.
You bought Australian label Vicious Instinct Records two years ago. Known for having had bands like Vulvodynia, Whoretopsy and Internal Devour. What was the decision behind that takeover and how did the deal go down?
Prior to the acquisition, we’ve been actively communicating with ex-owner Matt Turkington, sharing our experience with bands, doing distribution deals, and discussing our day-to-day running of the label. One day out of nowhere I asked Matt how much he would sell his label if such a possibility would appear. This was the first step in that direction, a question asked just for fun resulted in me becoming Matt’s assistant for some time until we arranged a full transition.
At first, when I noticed the communication went into a serious direction, I didn’t think much, I just loved the idea of getting another label who worked with some strong names in the underground scene. Now I have a much clearer vision of VI’s direction.
Do you work full-time with Realityfade and Vicious Instinct or do you have a job on the side?
When I stepped in Vicious Instinct I immediately started working and released 3 very solid Deathcore releases. After a short pause with the label, I started to grind like a madman to make VI as awesome as Realityfade. Both labels take a huge chunk of my time and music is my full-time job now.
Which release has done best so far in terms of sales for Realityfade? Has there been any release you think did a lot worse than you thought it would have?
For the past 2 years, I’d say all releases went similarly well. I do have to point out that all 2020 releases went even better. I think that the underground community (and especially bands) should understand that the release goes as well as the label and the band managed to push it. I’ve seen people release crappy music which got a lot of praise and do well in sales, and I’ve seen outstanding music wither. All because of promotion or the lack of it.
It is very hard for an indie label to push its music when you have to compete not only with many other bands and labels, big or small but also with other types of media such as video-games, movies. I think most if not all RF releases deserve to be loved more and the bands should have bigger audiences, but that’s just the thing of promotional capability.
Has there ever been a band you could have signed but never managed to for one reason or another and regret today?
The most memorable would be Molested Divinity. At the time the label and the band were just starting out. There was no telling if MD would grow big or stay a studio project and we, as a business, were cautious about putting investments into bands like that. We almost had them but the stars didn’t align 🙂
Is there a dream signing for Realityfade? Doesn’t matter how big it is.
I wouldn’t say there is any particular band that I’d like to work with. What interests me more are bands which have already established themselves, bands whose music I like, and bands that have a release or two behind their backs. I still like to get new bands but I rather prefer those who already proved to be serious about what they do, capable of creating great music and growing their fanbase. Sometimes, new bands don’t take their craft seriously, and a label can waste money and more importantly TIME growing and promoting them. In the end they can just split-up or go elsewhere, that doesn’t motivate me.
Have you ever thought of having a Realityfade festival or tour package with Realityfade bands?
Oh yeah we did! This is something that I’ve been dreaming to do for quite a while, and got a few offers too. If the future is bright we might do a Realityfade tour next year featuring a lineup of RF’s Euro bands. That’d be just legendary.
You’re a gamer and a collector like me. Which shows in your new collector’s boxes which has trading cards in them and comes in a nice DVD package with other cool stuff. What made you come up with the idea?
A company called Limited Run Games. When I saw how they treat their game releases I immediately came up with the ‘collector’s edition’ idea for our current release at the time Esophagus ‘Defeated By Their Inferiority’. This is still pretty new for us but people love these editions and they always sell like hotcakes haha.
As a fellow gamer I have to ask, what do you play now and what’s your favorite game of all time?
Oooh, nice question. Like yourself, I’m a huge video-game fan. My very favorite game would be Thief: The Dark Project, so many fun memories and good times with it. Besides the amazing story campaign and 2 awesome sequels, it has a ton of fan-made missions which could make you play it for years.
I also like these franchises a LOT: GTA (with 3’d and Vice City being the best), original Hitman Series, Prince Of Persia Sand Trilogy, Max Payne Trilogy, The Elder Scrolls Series, Gothic Trilogy, Assassin’s Creed, new Batman games, Zelda Series, Castlevania Series. The past few years I’ve been trying to catch up on all the console goodness I missed or haven’t played since I was a kid. I just beat Zelda: The Minish Cap for the Gameboy Advance and currently getting through the Castlevania Circle of the Moon also on GBA, it is such an amazing game!
Thank you, Jimmy and The Metal Gamer for the opportunity to talk about Realityfade and Vicious Instinct. Thanks to everyone for reading. Stay sick but stay safe!
Facebook RF: https://www.facebook.com/realityfade
Facebook VI: https://www.facebook.com/viciousinstinct
Instagram RF: https://www.instagram.com/realityfaderecords
Instagram VI: https://www.instagram.com/viciousinstinct
Bandcamp RF: https://realityfaderecords.bandcamp.com
Bandcamp VI: https://viciousinstinctrecords.bandcamp.com
Merch Store: https://www.realityfade.com