Tridroid Records opened its doors in 2012 and has specialized in seeing many underground metal albums make their way into the public’s hands. Through unique label signings and limited edition cassette releases Tridroid has been a crucial component in the metal landscape. Earlier this year the label changed hands to Christine Kelly and under her ownership the label has seen even more signings; Final Sign, and Violet Cold to name a few. Passion for the music obviously comes first (more on this later) and because of this every aspect of the label has seen new life since she took the helm. We recently spoke with Christine to dig a little deeper behind the scenes, see what she had to say after the jump.
How did you first get into being so involved in the music industry and have you achieved all your wildest dreams that you set out to achieve? How meteoric was your rise to the top?
Whenever I’m interested in something, I tend to become obsessed – I want to know everything about everything. When I was about 8, I got obsessed with different kinds of car door handles (don’t even bother asking, I have no good answer). At 11, I was obsessed with sneakers. I’d always been around music – my father is an organist and I started playing classical piano at 6. Around 12 or 13, I started buying my own music and became obsessed . I always wanted more – still do! In college, I became the Metal Director of the college station (WQFS) and got to talk to label promoters, conduct interviews, and go to any show I wanted – and I went to as many as I could. I always wanted to know how everything worked – how records were made, how distribution worked, who did what. It may seem weird, but I never really wanted to play in a band. This quote from Tallulah Bankhead always rang really true to me: “If you really want to help the American theater, don’t be an actress, dahling. Be an audience.” So I decided to be the best damn audience I could. I wanted to be a music writer, so I wrote a message to Marty Rytkonen at Worm Gear that said, “I love your zine, but it’s a total sausage party. You need a girl writing for you and it should be me.” Amazingly enough, he obliged! So I was able to dig in deeper from that angle. I also helped briefly with a label a few years ago and learned a bit about the ropes, so when the Tridroid opportunity came up I jumped at it. My wildest dreams, though? That would be to support myself by supporting music. We’ll see how things go.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get a site to review or interview a band on your label that you really cared about?
I haven’t had to yet, but I ain’t too proud to beg. Kind of. Maybe. Actually, I’m pretty glad I have a PR guy who’s in charge of any and all debasement.
What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?
As for great, the metal scene around me in New York City has grown a lot in the 10 years I’ve lived here – we have an actual dedicated metal venue in Saint Vitus, which I definitely didn’t think would happen after places like North Six closed. There are more amazing shows here than I can even attend at this point and great bands like Anicon, Yellow Eyes, Imperial Triumphant, Bezoar, Luminous Vault, Throaat, Tombs…. just tons of great stuff.
But that does bring me to the worst, because with great growth comes great masses of stupidity, apparently. Lots of irritating people at shows who I wish would stay home and listen to their Mountain Goats records or whatever. I was having a cig outside Vitus at a Krallice/Yellow Eyes show and this dude (from Connecticut or something) said, “Krallice is the fine wine of metal.” Like, what the fuck? Fine wine? Metal isn’t wine. Metal is beer. It could be a craft brew, it could be a Bud Light – but it’s always BEER. And beer kicks wine’s ass 100% of the time.
It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your work at the label?
I’m pretty passionate about drinking beer. I drink a lot of it. I promise to drink a lot of it while running Tridroid. If you’d like to buy me a beer, I could give you a Tridroid button or something.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
Well, my first metal show was Gwar and Goatwhore, and I was 19. A little late to it, I know. I wasn’t one of those kids whose friend played them a Venom record and it blew their 8-year-old mind or whatever. And as for my family taking the news? Well, I told them I had a girlfriend around the same time so I highly doubt they noticed the metal thing at all.
What’s the stickiest you have ever been?
So my day job is in quality control for a food company and I instituted a composting program where we gather all the food scraps and shit we can’t sell and donate it to a community garden. Recently I was away for 3 weeks and of course, nobody did shit and just left it all for me to deal with when I got back. So I got to go through piles of decaying produce, removing rubber bands and whatever else for several hours. Elbow deep in rotting vegetable matter. Every once in a while, a rubber band snapped and misted me with leafy rot. Maybe not THE stickiest, but pretty sticky.
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a label owner?
Honestly, just keep writing. Review stuff you don’t like along with stuff you do like. I feel like nobody writes negative stuff anymore – I guess because there’s so much material to work with, so people just write what they like. Even negative reviews are better than no coverage, in my opinion. I wrote some pretty negative reviews for Worm Gear back in the day and didn’t understand why the labels would post them anyway – now I totally get it. I know when I read reviews in magazines I like to check out the highest-rated and lowest-rated. We all wanna know what absolute shit sounds like, right?
What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.
My main goal is to not be an asshole. Except to assholes. I always want to be an asshole to assholes.
Finally, when you’re not listening to, writing or playing metal, what are some of you favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)
As far as full albums, I can listen to Obsequiae’s Aria of Vernal Tombs on repeat – it’s one of the only ones I can do that with. For non-metal, I listen to a lot of classical – I have to drive A LOT for my day job (commuting from Brooklyn to Long Island and back daily, it’s a total pain) and the only thing that keeps me from total vehicular rage is the classical radio station. I don’t know what about the overture to The Magic Flute is so mollifying, but it’s probably saved lives at this point.
Thanks to Christine for her time!