Interview with Greg Werckman from Ipecac Records


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Interview with Greg Werckman from IPECAC RECORDS. An Indie Label that released Fantomas, Melvins, Young Gods, Kids of Widney High and much more good stuff. Brought to you by Marcel Thee for DEATHROCKSTAR.

Its been 4 years since you started Ipecac. What has been some of your proudest achievements?
The biggest is that we are still around and that we have been very successful. With the type of music we put it out, it has been pretty astonishing. The other thing that are we proud of is how happy the bands we work with are. It is great to writ royalty checks.

Ipecac has an image of releasing a spectrum of weird-experimental music, except for a few artists. Do you ever see yourself releasing a basic pop-rock record?
Have you heard Kaada? We just release things we like and we have very eclectic tastes. Stay tuned! As long as it is unique.

Does this image of a strictly-experimental label bother you?
Nothing bothers us. We really don’t care about our image. Anyone can call us anything you like as long as people enjoy some of the music. We certainly don’t try to be “strictly experimental.”

You?re an independent based label, yet your releases have reached countries such as ours (Indonesia), more so than a lot of other indie-labels. Do you concentrate your sales and promotions as much in the outside American-market?
It is our goal to reach the whole world. People all over are looking for something unique.

Tell us what goes on during a working day in the Ipecac office
The same thing as any other office in the world. Out of control parties!!!

Why did you decide to release the Young Gods record? Have you always been a fan of theirs?
Mike and I have always loved the Young Gods. More people should learn about great bands like Young Gods. One of the coolest records we’ve released.

What are the most important criteria for a band wanting to sign with Ipecac?
We look for unique and creative music. It might be a popular stlye but as long as it is done in a unique way. We also look to work with nice people who share our same outlook about music. People that are realistic.

How do you (Mike and Greg) divide your duties around the office? Are you planning on hiring more staff? Indonesia is filled with cheap, uneducated and easily exploited labors!!
I run the day to day business. We have an office in New York and one in California and also distribution offices in London and Sydney Australia. Mike is on the road or in the studio almost always but I speak to him a couple times a day. He is very involved in artist side of the biz. We have other people that work with us too. Might have to look into Indonesia, Nike does right? The music biz is all about exploitation.

Greg, how is working in Ipecac different from working at Alternative Tentacles?
Well, ATR was not my label, it is Jello’s, so I did not have the same amount of say in who we signed or how things should run. Having said that, ATR was and still is a great label. I learned a lot there. Jello is a great person. We have a similiar outlook in a lot of ways.

What is the most important lesson a person should learn before starting an independent label?
Don’t do it unless you have a distributor you trust. Don’t do it to get rich.

Which part of releasing a record is the most difficult? The promotion/etc?
Finding good distribution and finding money.

When is the new Fantomas album going to be released? What can we expect from it?

Was the whole Phantomas name change into Fantomas true?
There is so much drama behind the scenes. Psychis help with a lot of the drama.

Does Mike do most of the artwork/art-direction for the records?
No. We let the bands choose there artwork but try to give some guidance. Mike comes up with great ideas but we also work with some great artists.

How superstitious are you? E.g. would you release a record containing black magic mantras?
VERY! If it was good, hell yeah. We are actually working on something pretty scary.

Are the Kids of Widney High going to release a second record? We loved the first one!!
You mean third record? We put out their second. They just fished their third but we will not be putting it out. Find it on their website. They are great and deserve your support!!!

What?s the first word that comes to mind, when someone says Melvins?

What are the plans for 2003? Are you planning on signing new artists?
Oh my. All kinds of things. The rest of the year we have some BIGGIES. Mondo Generator from Nick Oliveri (Queens of the Stone Age), Desert Sessions from Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), new Fantomas, new kid 606. We have a couple new bands that will come out next year. Did you hear Kaada yet?

What is the most common intoxicant in the Ipecac office?

When are any of your artists planning on touring Indonesia-really!! We are depraved of good music.
When they get a good offer, they will go anywhere. Our bands love to travel!

Lastly, how many bad rap-metal demos do you receive per-day?
Too many! It is sad and scary. Also a lot of unlistenable noise.

Are you planning on releasing them as a Christmas compilation album?
A Christmas record would be great, huh?

Thanks so much for answering these questions!! And thanks for releasing great music!!
Thanks for your support and go to to stay up to date.

Greg Werckman
Ipecac Recordings “making people sick? since 1999
PO Box 1197 Alameda,California 94501 USA

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