Interview with Greek/German Madman COSTA of IRON PEGASUS RECORDS / TALES OF THE MACABRE magazine
Interview conducted by Wilhelm
Date online: June 20, 2001
Costa has become somewhat of an icon in the scene. First with his cult magazine TALES OF THE MACABRE and now IRON PEGASUS, which has blessed the scene with the best REAL Heavy and Black / Death metal music. Listening to official IP bands and reading his magazines you can tell Costa has no time for wimps or posers! As always Costa had a lot of interesting words to say about his projects, daily life, the Hellbanger's moselfranken and fucking sexy blonde bitches with silicon tits! Read on in this great interview.
Greetings my Friend Costa. It's unnecessary for us to open up with a bio of IRON PEGASUS or TALES OF THE MACABRE as any idiot should know something about these two projects by now. So why don't we begin by discussing a little about IRON PEGASUS and it's current status shall we?
Hi Wilhelm how are you maniac banger? Thanks for saving me from the bio, haha... Yeah, every idiot should know something about IRON PEGASUS and TALES OF THE MACABRE, but things are different. Anyway, the current status of IRON PEGASUS? Hmm, the label now prepares the releases of the new albums by METALUCIFER, the Heavy Metal beast from the Far East, and the Greek band AGATUS. These albums will have my priority, because they are brand new and should break a lot of headbangers' necks. But beside that, I'm always doing some Vinyl releases, too. Like ROK, METAL KING, MORTUARY DRAPE, HADEZ, etc.... the label is not growing, it seems that I will always do works from the underworld, because the major scene is more into stuff that I personally don't like that much. Time will tell if the label will stand or fall...
While there are many other such small labels around that carry mainly new releases and sign norsecore crap you've kept it almost exclusively for old school and traditional Black / Death and Heavy Metal music. Why did you take this initiative?
The answer is simple: I'm a traditionalist myself and I don't want to release music I don't like myself, very simple. I'm doing all the stuff, because I still believe in these traditional styles of Metal, I'm naive enough to believe that quality music will prevail. Other labels don't interest me very much, I like the good ones and ignore the bad ones, no jealousy or competition shit, that's for losers. I'm only concentrating on IRON PEGASUS.
Most people will also notice the vinyl format of the albums you make available. I for one think this is great! While some would argue the vinyl trend is to make money some like me would rather have a vinyl release do to the expanded artwork and "richer" sound. Although I can see why some would criticize IP for limiting various editions (Picture disks) to 100 copies but still it's something I don't mind. Maybe you could tell us more about this and your overall views on the vinyl format itself.
Perhaps people are right when they say Vinyl is a new trend, because now Vinyl sells better than 1- 2 years ago. But this doesn't matter much, because only freaks (an some die hard collectors who just buy it for the collector's value) buy Vinyls. I think it's a cool format, I always preferred it to the CD. But of course I have to respect people who prefer the CD. About those "Limited to 100 PicDiscs": First of all it's really expensive to do them (remember all of them have a real LP sleeve/ cover!!) and if you don't want that PicDisc, you can always buy the normal version, too. The PicDisc is really for those who want something special. I'm not making big money with the PicDiscs, so that argument fails... Vinyl is cool for bands who sound "old", because "old" (-fashioned) Metalheads used to buy LPs in the 80s ,too. So why should they stop this tradition and buy CDs only instead? Just because that's the (new) trend?? For example, I like the 7"EP format. It's a good and cheap format for a fan to check out a new Underground band, because I think that not every new garage band should release a real album as soon as possible and overfloat the market with another release that nobody was really waiting for. Start with a Demotape or a 7"Ep first, wait for the maniacs' reactions/ response, get your name established in the underground and then probably attack the scene with a real album. Well, Vinyl still rules and I hope that we can keep this tradition alive.
It would almost seem that the vinyl format is getting more popular then ever thanks to people like you of course who seem to worship it! Hahahaha! do you see focusing mainly on vinyl for IP is a good or negative thing? You know, I see a lot of people who are just getting into the scene and music who don't seem to like vinyl at all which is a bit unfortunate if you ask me. On the other hand there are people who have LP's hanging on every available space on their wall! Well? Give me your opinion.
The definition of a "Fan" can always be different, so what can we say? Is a fan someone who has to have everything or is somebody who only owes 50 CDs a fan, too? Am I a real VENOM fan only if I have the "Here Lies Venom" Box and the "Die Hard" PicEP? Ok, people who are only into Vinyls just "to owe them" are a bit strange, because these people sometimes forget about the music itself. I used to buy LPs and EPs only, but sometimes I had to make an exception when there was cool stuff on the market that only can be heard (or bought for a fair price and not a fortune) on CD. So I advice every CD-adicted fan to check out some cool Vinyl- only releases, too. Good music should not be missed...
How do you feel about your accomplishments with IRON PEGASUS this far and also the bands you have helped? I know that you've not only focused a lot of energy on the Japanese bands like METALLUCIFER and SABBAT but now recently your Bretherens DESASTER! I for one was excited to hear about them signing to IP with their killer new "Tyrants of the netherworld" album. Tell us alittle bit about your accomplishments with the label and your relationships to the bands you support through it.
For me every band is equal, I like them all and try to help promoting them as much as I can. Ever band is different on the label, so fortunately I can't compare them. METALUCIFER, SABBAT, DESASTER, ZEMIAL, AGATUS, etc... all are cool, including the persons involved. We have good contacts and we treat each other very fine. With DESASTER things are easy, because I know them since 1993 and we always had a good friendship since that time. Things are fine with the bands... and if a band wants to leave, because they think a different label can do better work, why not? I have to be fair and say "good luck!"...
Are there any ever any problems with the rather distant contacts of say bands like IMPEITY or SABBAT? I know Lord Infernal was telling me that Gezol and crew came to Germany for a DESASTER release party not to long ago, but I guess this doesn't happen much unless you supply free airplane tickets.
Well, unfortunately IRON PEGASUS is not Sony Music, so I can't supply free tickets, haha. But contacts are not difficult. For example, I met Shyaithan of IMPIETY twice so far (great guy!) and yes, Masaki (aka Gezol) of SABBAT / METALUCIFER visited us last November and we had a great time with this true maniac. The only guys I haven't met yet are the two brothers from ZEMIAL/ AGATUS, but they want to visit Germany this year, so our paths will cross and we will have a good time... So, contacts are no problem unless you mean sexual ones, that's indeed a big problem from my side, haha...
What do you eventually want to do with your label? Is IRON PEGASUS is a life long dream of yours to help support our scene or is it to help you financially so you can buy every available metal item (yet little or no money for food... Or beer?) Maybe both? Where will this venture of yours lead you?
That's a hard one to answer. Of course I would like to see albums being successful, fans that are crazy about them, the bands who are satisfied with the result, etc. It's a challenge to do IRON PEGASUS and release good music.... the label wasn't really planned, it came into life because I wanted to help METALUCIFER, then SABBAT; etc. to establish their names, because I believed in their music's quality. So things got bigger and bigger... I didn't really think about the "mission", I just did it, step by step. I'm not doing the label to buy my own Metal goodies, because I don't need that many anymore, and the contacts I need for the stuff I'm still after are different ones from the ones I need for the label. I have no idea where this venture will lead me.... only Zeus knows...
What other bands are you currently looking into? I know there may not be to many interesting bands forming but there are certainly a few good ones about you could make millions with. As a matter of fact I could hook you up with some Atmospheric Black / Goth bands, heh? (hahaha)
Oh, really? Well, I think there are too many competitors for me when it comes to labels that sign trendbands, so IRON PEGASUS won't have a chance to get one of those bands on the label (that's why I have to do the traditional shit, because nobody wants to do this old shit anymore, hahha...). I'd like to keep ZEMIAL on the label, but I doubt that it will happen, because I can't fulfill the demands they have for the next album. I always enjoyed the demos by US band PAZUZU, but I don't know what they are doing. INQUISITION (USA) is cool, too. I have certain plans in my head, but I will keep my mouth shit about upcoming releases until things are for sure. But wait and see (and probably be surprised!!).
Well obviously you won't take me up on that offer! Hey, I don't blame you! But it brings me to something you recently mentioned to me that there just doesn't seem to be that many good bands in our scene today. I have to agree with you. It seems most are of the ridiculous DARKTHRONE / EMPEROR variety and less that emphasis "real' heavy metal structure over watered down tunes and annoying blast beats. What do you think about the current... "Scene" and the bands / people involved. Maybe we should take these posers and feed them to the mighty DESASTER drummer Tormentor! Hahahahahahaha!
That would be a great idea, because Tormentor always cries that food is so expensive and that he spends all is fuckin' money for it, haha... Most Black Metal bands have no spirit anymore, it's the 20th generation of DARKTHRONE (still a great band!) fans. IRON PEGASUS tries to show the scene that traditional and real structured Heavy Metal is still alive and ready to conquer the world.
And would you blame the big labels for this relatively slow and monotonous market rather then the people or the bands? I know you are a huge fan of Nuclear Blast by the way.
Big labels tell the stupid fan what he has to like and buy. But fortunately there are still some independent labels and bands left who have their own ego and taste of music. But it's mainly the fan who is responsible for the monotonous market, because he/she is the one who pays the money to buy a product, like a CD or shirt. So if a lot of fans said "No!", then the situation would be different. The big labels just know this and try to have a big psychological influence on the fans with the help of different strategies, promotional campaigns, etc... Big labels do everything to follow or set new trends to make them big and exploit them. Very easy, creating an interest in something that is "new". Nuclear Blast is a big powerful label, but they are not the only ones, there are much more labels with the same mentality existing than you think, even small labels who want to act like big ones which is ridiculous... And about the bands: Stupid fans form stupid bands, that's I think the only explanation for their existance....so who is to blame again? The stupid fan, arrgh..
Well, this of course will lead us directly into TALES OF THE MACABRE itself, the zine among zines that will soon kill off the mighty SLAYER mag and become king in Metal's journalistic field! (Of shit, was I supposed to give away the secret already? Hehehe) Well, Mr. Costa. It would be interesting for you to tell us what's the hold up for issue #7. Surely, it couldn't be the stagnate scene.. Or is it?
Thanks for the trust in my work. But I have to disappoint you. No plans for TALES OF THE MACABRE #7, because the scene has to become stronger again. I don't want to feature the same bands again and again, and (for my taste) there's certainly a lack of good new unknown Underground bands. Another problem is that I'd interview bands that I would generally sign for my label, too. I mean, my musical taste for TALES OF THE MACABRE is not different to the one for IRON PEGASUS, that's obvious. I don't want people to say "Oh, look at this, he's promoting the bands that are part of the label too." That wouldn't be good, would it? So TALES OF THE MACABRE is not dead, it's more like a crionic which will return again from the abyss one day...
You told me you want to make this next issue of yours as big and bad as possible so it will make SLAYER mag look like a pamphlet. Bwahahahahaha!! Seriously though, what do you hope to do with the next issue of TOTM? Are there any special ideas you have in store to take the scene by storm? Any bands you want to cover? It was interesting that the last issue you supported almost entirely old style Black / death / heavy bands. Will this continue?
My mission is not to crush SLAYER, I want to be the best of all anyway, haha (joking). As I told you, no inspiration for TALES OF THE MACABRE now... but it will never really change, old style Black/ Death / Heavy Metal rules in all eternity. The frontcover will always be a surprise, so expect the unexpected. We'll stay "conservative!"
Do you feel there's been any mistakes with TOTM? Anything you would have liked to gone back and redone?
Yes, but I won't tell you which ones, hahahah...
I'm sure you've received lots of crap, like I have when doing my zines. Much of it is from people I have never even heard of. Are these bands ever actually fans of your magazine or should I say... Previously fans before you reviewed their material?
Perhaps some, yes, but most of the crap bands only sent something, because they saw the magazine's address on a flyer or in a review somewhere in a magazine. Today more than 90% of the material is boring music, so that's another reason for the lack of inspiration. Should I write 300 bad reviews and 10 good ones?? Hmmm....
There doesn't seem to be anything in the way of exciting zines these days as most have moved on to webzines and such. While it's not bad I still prefer something that I can take with me anywhere I go and read whenever I wanted to. That's the advantage of having a zine printed on the traditional paper format! Have you formed any opinions on the webzines and will we ever see TOTM wimp out and go digital?
I often see things with the eyes of a fan, and as a "fan" I'm not interested in webzines, not at all.... it's boring, and you can't read them on the toilet or in the train or wherever you get bored... and you can't put them in the shelf! No chance to see TALES OF THE MACABRE turning into a webzine. Of course I can put some interviews into the Internet, but TALES OF THE MACABRE will at first place always be a real printed magazine.
By the way, it's always interesting for me to find out people's opinions of different mediums of printed zines- Xeroxed, newsprint and professional (glossy / white woven) Maybe you can give some thoughts on these. Is one better then the other or lack a certain quality the others do not have?
The most important thing at zines is the content. Why should I care about a glossy full colored high tech magazine when only crap bands are interviewed and stupid editors give good reviews for stupid releases of stupid bands (for stupid fans?!)? The most perfect thing is of course a professional printed magazine with great content in it, that's really "value for money".
One thing about being a former editor myself is you get a lot of shit and junk in the mail like typical Norsecore garbage and such, and of course some fantastic stuff from time to time, but it's almost exclusively delt with by the labels, signaling that there is little band to person contact anymore. Do you think a lot of bands have lost their place in promoting themselves and letting their labels do it for them? I don't think this is a good thing at all as it represents a lack of communication among the band and it's supporters.
Perhaps you are right, but the good thing for the band is that they save some time and can use it for new songwriting session, rehearsals, etc. But I think that a band should at least know what some fans think about the music, every person needs some feedback to get new inspiration and motivation. But sometimes, of course, with too much good feedback, they can turn into rockstars and megalomaniacs and that's fuckin' shit!
Maybe we could find out some of the bands that have been closets to your heart and why.
IRON PEGASUS bands or bands generally? Hmm, first of all I like every type of Metal, not only Black or Death Metal. Black Metal is great with bands like VENOM (ugliness), BATHORY (still show what real Black Metal is all about!), DARKTHRONE (grim feeling), ROTTING CHRIST (1st MLP, 1st - 3rd LP, great dark atmosphere and mystical keyboards), MASTER'S HAMMER (evil symphonic hymns), MORTUARY DRAPE (obscure riffs), etc...... just read TALES OF THE MACABRE to know about my taste, god damn it, hahha.... Thrash has always been an important part for me, I love all bands who love old satanic SLAYER, like THE UNSANE, HOBBS', LEVIATHAN, DESTRUCTOR (well, not satanic but still kill!), or crazy bands like BULLDOZER (Dirty Venomous cocktail), MESSIAH (vokills!!! And wild guitars!!), RAZOR (speed and raw voice), SLAUGHTER (heaviness), DEATH (1st + demos, total mayhemic and wild Death Thrash from Hell), etc. Obscure Metal forces like CIRITH UNGOL, SATAN'S HOST, MANILLA ROAD, FLAMES OF HELL, PENTAGRAM (US) or traditional stuff like BLITZKRIEG, SCORPIONS (70s), MERCYFUL FASTE (1stMLP, "Melissa" and "Return of the Vampire"), IRON MAIDEN (with DiAnno), JUDAS PRIEST (esp. 70s), generally a lot of NWoBHM stuff (great feeling), etc.... all great. I like music that sounds "Alive!", I don't want aboslute perfect, digital dead music ... I want it hard, heavy , loud with natural feeling and riffs that come straight from the heart and soul (well, I don't the style of music, haha).
Had you any contacts with the infamous legion of ABSURD before or after their arrests? It's surprising almost none had heard of them before the book Lords of Chaos now they seem to have gained a sort of cult following among the NS crowd. What do you think about this band and their actions? Was their murder plot reasonable?
I think I'm the wrong person to talk about this band, because I only know their first demo which was sent to me in 1993 (to review it in TALES OF THE MACABRE #1). I also don't know what the Lords of Chaos book is all about, I've never read it or even held it in my hands, so you see, I'm not that involved with things. In Germany the band always had been known by some people mainly due to what happened, but ... don't know what they are doing now, if they split up or not..... as I already said, I'm not involved with this part of the "scene"...
Do you feel there is any sort of future for this world? At the rate of human population increasing, forests being leveled and the environment being polluted / destroyed there seems to be a rather bleak outlook on the coming life for man. If you feel this way to what do you hope to be doing in your final hours, other then fucking sexy blonde women with big silicone tits?
What happens I for my part try to live in a conscious way, that's all I can do. Perhaps a collapse of the world is what Man deserves for all his exploitation that he has done to it. We are all part of it. It's a discussion which will most likely never end... I never thought about the final hour, perhaps a special song would be great to hear that reflects a part of your own personality, don't know.... what is your wish? (To go sky diving without a parachute!-Wilhelm)
What do you consider to be some of your favorite releases so far on your label?
Sorry, but I don't wanna answer this one to stay loyal and fair to the bands, because I always want to treat and respect the bands the same way. Hope you understand... Something has to remain secret, hahhah.
Well, what kind of adventures are you having these days? I know you're pretty busy with your label... And maybe not so busy with TALES OF THE MACABRE, but I am sure something exciting is happening in the heart of Germany you could tell us about! Let us in on some of you recent misadventures...What are some things you are doing these days?
Besides working for the label I hang around with my Metal mates, have some Beers, etc... my life is not really what I would call "exciting". You cannot imagine how boring life can be in our part of Germany, because there is almost nothing to do except for doing barbecues, storming castle ruins, etc.
And let's not forget about the Hellbanger's MoselFranken!!!!! There are some wild stories like we discussed in a previous interview that people reading now must hear!!!! Let it rip!
Wild stories? Hmm, you can always have a good laugh when you see the Hellbangers in action, that's for sure. I'd better send you a videocassette of it, haha. Tormentor for example wanted to climb through the roof window to install something on the roof of his house, but since he is quite big he didn't fit through that window, so he had to call the bassplayer Odin who had to do the job for him. It had to stay secret, but it didn't. Or Blumi of Metal Inquisitor/ Metalucifer wanted to have special photos for his image as "Thai"-Blumi (he likes Asian girls), so he called all local Asian whorehouses if he can take photos with him and some sexy whores on it.... after several attempts he was finally lucky and did the job, but the photos look like shit, because the girls looked quite bored and not really what I would call "sexy" (more like standard housewifes). So he wasted 100DM for 2 photos , haha.. he better took the money to get a blow job (and take some photos at the same time). There is so much happening that I really can't tell you all the stories in detail, you just have to come to us to experience it...
That's it for now at least! Shit, we have had a long one over 20 fucking questions but it was worth it. Now then Brother Costa, the last words are for you. As always it's a pleasure to chat with someone of your immense intellect,- take it away!!
Thanks for the cool interview, again. All maniacs who give more value to music than to image should contact IRON PEGASUS, and I will help you to keep your addiction for Heavy Metal sounds alive!!! Girls who send nude photos will get better prices , haha.... just "take a ride on the Iron Pegasus".Till next time.... shout it out loud and keep it heavy!!!
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