We’ve profiled a ton of bands over the last handful of years but very few labels – yea I know, total fail. Today we’re proud to feature one such label, Vargheist Records, and its owner Justin Vølus. Vargheist Records is based out of South Carolina and is making its mark featuring some of the most extreme underground metal you’ll find anywhere. We’re in this really good place where these kind of labels are popping up again and it’s a very good thing indeed. In the coming months we hope to feature more but for now, head inside to see what Justin had to say to our ‘Record Label’ curated set of Profile questions, then head over to the links embedded below to load up on Vargheist Records’ offerings – their roster is growing so don’t miss out.
How did you end up 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?
I was signed in a brutal death metal band at 19 to Comatose Music in 2014. I ran sound at a local venue in Spartanburg, South Carolina at 20 and booked shows there for two years. I started handling all the merch for my own bands Morgue Walker, Putrefying Cadaverment and Vølus. All new releases of my bands did very well and I was shipping frequently so I decided to cut the post office out of the middle and ship direct with all my own materials and postage. It was a lot cheaper and faster, I liked shipping out merch and I always wanted to start a label so when I started writing the new Vølus (my solo project) full length I decided to start the label, that was in Winter 2018. My ultimate goal is being self-sufficient, I don’t care to rise to the top or to be the best label, it’s only about putting my personal records out and curating a black/death/grind catalog with other bands I sign.
What’s the most you’ve ever debased yourself in order to get a site to review/interview/feature one of your own bands that you really cared about?
I either get a review/interview/feature or I don’t. I don’t debase myself.
What’s your selection process for discovering and signing bands? How do you hope to grow your reputation as a label? Is that a process that will be in constant flux depending on who you sign and work with?
I sign Black Metal, Death Metal and Grindcore bands or anything within that mix. For example, here’s some of the many sub-genres I like: Dissonant Black Metal, Bestial Black Metal, Black Death, Brutal Death Metal, Deathgrind, Noisegrind, Powerviolence, Crust, Death Doom, Black Doom, etc.
How important are issues (social/political/humorous/etc) for you and how do you insert those issues into your work at the label? How do you feel about metal’s more pronounced social consciousness and do you feel this has affected who or what you’re willing to sign and put out there?
I find today’s politics a waste of energy and there are more productive things to do than be offended or complain constantly.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
My father got me into metal at a young age. He got me into Slayer, King Diamond and Judas Priest. My family has always been supportive of me and it has been very positive.
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the extreme genres in the eyes of a label owner?
I think everyone is doing their part so no criticism from me. I have a handful of reviewers I always send my releases to and it helps a lot.
If the label isn’t your day job, what is and how much time and effort are you able to pour into your label on a daily basis? Any hobbies you’d like to share with us?
I’m an auto glass technician career wise, I spend two hours, roughly, on the label a day. Hobbies are PC Gaming – preferably strategy, horror, RPG or FPS., going to black metal shows, collecting independent comics (personal favorite: Bedlam 4), and running.
If you could land any band, past or present, who would it be and why?
The Clearing Path. Excellent black metal band from Italy. They are currently signed to Voidhanger which is also another great label. Their recent album “Watershed Between Firmament and the Realm of Hyperborea” had some of the most interesting guitar work I’ve ever heard in a black metal album, it was a favorite of mine in 2017.
Finally, what are some of your favorite albums at the moment? 2018 is getting farther away but, any favorites you want to mention?
Krypts – Cadaver Circulation, Ascension – Under Ether, Oranssi Pazuzu – Farmakologinen, Portal – Ion and Terra Tenebrosa – The Reverses
Many thanks to Justin for his time!