Posted in metal | music on September 11, 2012

by Fred Pessaro // BBG

Hydra Head

Hydra Head Records has never been a smooth-running operation. We've spent the majority of our existence excitedly scrambling from one thing to the next, taking on more than we could ever possibly hope to achieve, and never quite finding solid footing in the midst of our self-induced whirlwind of chaos. Though not every second of doing this label has been enjoyable, it has been a very rewarding and meaningful project for me, and I hope for many of the other lives to which it has been directly connected. The fact that it has lasted close to two decades at this point is astonishing, and much has changed during that time - the lives of those directly involved with running the label, the bands and artists we've worked with, and the nature of the music industry itself. Though many of these changes have been positive, or at least illuminating, the impact of our history and current industry circumstances are culminating into a slow and somewhat painful death for the label. It certainly isn't an entirely unforeseen event, but we didn't think it would come quite so abruptly, or (perhaps naively) ever. -[Aaron Turner of Hydra Head Records, Isis, Old Man Gloom, etc]
The full statement is below. So sad to see one of my favorite labels of the 2000s disappear. It is truly the end of an era.... so many great bands have passed through their ranks.. from Botch to Discordance Axis to Torche to Coalesce to Pyramids to Oxbow to Circle to Xasthur to Old Man Gloom to Isis to Harvey Milk and on and on and on. This leaves a huge void. RIP Hydra Head, you will definitely, 100% be missed.

Full statement is below.

---

Hydra Head Records has never been a smooth-running operation. We've spent the majority of our existence excitedly scrambling from one thing to the next, taking on more than we could ever possibly hope to achieve, and never quite finding solid footing in the midst of our self-induced whirlwind of chaos. Though not every second of doing this label has been enjoyable, it has been a very rewarding and meaningful project for me, and I hope for many of the other lives to which it has been directly connected. The fact that it has lasted close to two decades at this point is astonishing, and much has changed during that time - the lives of those directly involved with running the label, the bands and artists we've worked with, and the nature of the music industry itself. Though many of these changes have been positive, or at least illuminating, the impact of our history and current industry circumstances are culminating into a slow and somewhat painful death for the label. It certainly isn't an entirely unforeseen event, but we didn't think it would come quite so abruptly, or (perhaps naively) ever.

The decision to pull the plug has not been an easy one, and in some ways is a not a choice at all. The simple fact of the matter is we've been running on empty for a while now and cannot afford to keep our doors open for much longer. Years of imbalance between creative ideals and financial realities, personal problems amongst the label operators, an unwillingness to compromise our aesthetic standards, a tendency towards releasing challenging (i.e. unmarketable) artists, and the steady decline of the music industry in general, are amongst the chief reasons for our inability to continue. It is a harsh but undeniable reality, and one which we are attempting to confront with as much integrity and grace as is afforded by the circumstances.

For the short term we will continue to operate as we have been, effecting our first step into shutdown this December, at which point we are cutting off new releases from the label. Thereafter, we will be remain operational only in the interest of maintaining our back catalog, with the ultimate aim of repaying our rather sizable debts. Grim though this prospect is, in the midst of it all I still feel an extreme gratitude for everything that has happened and for all the wonderful people with which we've been involved over the years. We've been lucky enough to work with some of the most unique and provocative artists of the last two decades, many of which have made indelible impressions in the underground, and by extension the larger world of music in general. We've also been fortunate to have had the support of a small but loyal following, who've constituted the very essence of our life force. We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude and love to each and every person who contributed to making this label what it is - all the artists who entrusted us as the custodians of their work, all the people that bought or listened to our releases, and all the people who performed the various label duties at various offices (and houses) across the continent.

...and this brings us to the present moment, where in all honesty we are in need of financial assistance from anyone and everyone who's willing to throw us a rope. Though it is highly unlikely we'll be able to resuscitate the label, we do wish to follow through on the final round of releases to which we're committed and pay off our debts to our artists and manufacturers. In order to do this we are initiating a massive sell-off of everything we can dig up and produce for the next 6-12 months. This will include discounted bundles of CDs/LPs/posters/etc, represses of certain titles for which we still have parts, test pressings, and whatever worthwhile items we can pull together. For anyone that is able and willing to fund our funereal arrangements please visit our direct mailorder or webstore and pick up whatever you can. Any and all support is greatly appreciated by our remaining team, and will be put to the best use possible.

There is no way to sum up nearly 20 years of incredibly important music, experiences, and evolution other than to say a big heart felt "thank you", and that we hope this closing will provide an opening into other even more positive and rewarding experiences for all of us and all of you who have been a part of our shared experience. For now we bid you all a very fond farewell....

-Aaron Turner
09/10/12

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Comments (63)

Well, that sucks... Thanks for all the good hard work tho, Hydrahead people.

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 2:27 PM

Man, bummer. They put out some great stuff. I still regret not getting an ISIS coffee mug!

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 2:46 PM

Look what you've done, Generation Cell Phone (because that's the only thing that defines you).

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 2:49 PM

Hopefully Southern Lord will pick up these artists

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 2:52 PM

^ dumb as fuck right there.

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 2:59 PM

2:49 and 2:59: Same loser, again.

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 3:02 PM

Don't forget Jesu Fred!

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 3:02 PM

BOTCH

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 3:10 PM

Damn. Some good, quality stuff from that label.

BTW, 2:52, not sure if that's a good idea, seeing as though bands like Pelican went from exciting and fresh to boring as fuck after their switch to SL.

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 3:13 PM

thanks for everything Hydra, it'll be sad to see ya go.

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 3:18 PM

I heard they are starting a new record label...
"Hummus Head Records"

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 3:32 PM

damn, that sucks

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 3:33 PM

Let Southern Lord reissue the catalog at REASONABLE prices. HH charged as much as 24.95 for single LPs which is ridiculous. At least Southern Lord for all their faults puts out DOUBLE LPs for 19.95. Our store stopped carrying HH releases because they didn't sell based on price alone. Torche released an EP and they had a 21.95 list price for it. That's insane. If they charged in line with other indie labels I bet they would've sold double the amount of records. And would be in better shape.

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 4:02 PM

Hey Aaron - if you read this, sorry to see HH go. That being said, is 4:02 telling the truth?

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 4:12 PM

R.I.P. Seymour Butts

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 4:12 PM

As HH stated: "Years of imbalance between creative ideals and financial realities..." 4:02 is telling the truth. But HH products also had 4x the production costs of Southern Lord because they wanted to do unique packaging and layout. So each HH release was its own unique piece. Fast forward almost twenty years and you're broke doing it.
HH R.I.P.

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 5:03 PM

According to 4:02's math, they would be in exactly the same shape.

Also fuck Southern Load for repeated mailorder rip offs.

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 5:03 PM

A lot of dudes with shaved heads, beards and tattoos are crying.

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 5:06 PM

^ Really? even tho your comment is towards the bottim... you STILL had to drop that wack ass joke?

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 5:40 PM

Wearing my HH Big Biz tee. Thanks fellas!

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 5:49 PM

Insolvent sausages.

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 6:05 PM

Southern Lord does lots of things wrong. Reissuing things over and over knowing some kids will buy multiple copies of things...mailorder prices are ridiculous. But they use high quality Stoughton sleeves, and always have great packaging. The new High on Fire reissue has a 40 page book inside of it. And that 2xLP was still cheaper than a single HH LP. The Botch reissue they did was an EP, and it had nothing special about the packaging and it was 27.95 list. Fuck that's more than the majors who are fleecing people due to the "resurgence" of vinyl. Yes my math isn't that well thought out, but you sell stuff for about 75% of what your current prices are and sell double the amount of copies. Last time I checked that's more money. And it will also create a constant flow of cash and product. Even when we marked down the latest Harvey Milk to wholesale cost it was still more than most new releases list price. We lost A LOT of sales of that LP because it was overpriced.
I've loved HH since the beginning, and they've put out a ton of great records. They've only lost the plot on their pricing structure over that last few years. Maybe that was them trying to play catch up.

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 6:06 PM

^ Nobody cares about your shitty band, as evidenced by the fact that the horrible video you posted up had about 10 views before your shameless self promotion above.

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 8:19 PM

Is Hydra Head what you sausages get at the Saint Vitus glory hole? Is that what you call it?

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 9:12 PM

@9:12.
Yes.

Now you can stop posting the same, sad, tired "jokes."

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 9:33 PM

R.I.P. Hugh Jazz

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 9:40 PM

^ LULZ@ 9:33

I knew it, Buckeye!

http://cache.ohinternet.com/images/5/56/Butthurt_pokemons.jpg

^ Is this you? C'mon, tell the truth.........


Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 9:47 PM

expect them to ripoff anyone that buys into this "massive sell-off" and not deliver on the product as the company will no longer exist and it will be difficult make claims against/ trace shipping and overall transaction with a non-existent business

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 10:13 PM

^ dumb as fuck right there

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2012 10:16 PM

Holy shit, jocuri, you have GOT to comment on this.

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 2:13 AM

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What a great article!
Thank you share my.

Posted by jocuri | September 12, 2012 2:18 AM

^I appreciate the effort, believe me I do. I miss jocuri as much as the next person. But come on. jocuri doesn't format his shit in verse, least not that I've ever seen. Plus there's not even a URL to click on when I hover over the name. jocuri--the REAL jocuri--always had a link, always had somewhere else to take me, another journey, another realm where that ephemeral "can be" is transformed into a wondrous, golden-hued IS. THAT is the jocuri I have known, and that--be't will'd by God or by Satan--is the jocuri that I will one day see again, in this life or hereafter, "as kinsmen met a night." And miniclip's pretty fuckin' cool too.

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 6:42 AM

Aaron shouldn't have smoked the profit from 2000-2004...fuck that guy, everyone hates him including every member of Isis

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 10:51 AM

R.I.P. Amanda Huggenkiss

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 12:33 PM

Fun with ad nauseums!:

1) Make re-hashed "Saint Vitus" joke

2) Wait for inevitable smackdown

3) Call the guy who responded "Buckeye Shrimper" + add stupid joke with silly lingo

4) Wait for any further responses that might possibly not be you

5) Respond in same re-hashed way

5) Respond to this post with "smh @ buckeye shrimper" - or where else might be necessary

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 12:57 PM

omg if 7pm is actually in cancer kids plz play reunion

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 1:09 PM

so sorry to hear. HH will be missed.

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 1:51 PM

12:57 is an accurate but sad summary of what this site has unfortunately become. All that it's missing is a post with something that's either thinly veiled or blatantly over the top racist.

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 2:32 PM

^ Yeah, true. Or some political BS that spawns about 2000 comments in under 2 hours.

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 2:44 PM

^ I'll fucking fight either of you two know-it-all fuck heads! Name the time and place - TIME AND PLACE!

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 2:49 PM

^

1) Your mom's place

2) Past your bedtime


:)

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 2:52 PM

^ exactly what I was saying.

Posted by 2:49 | September 12, 2012 2:54 PM

R.I.P. Ivana Tinkle

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 6:10 PM

LULZ@ U Buckeye (i.e. 12:57, 2:32, 2:44 and 2:54)!

You seem REALLY upset today. Are you? Why, don't you get "PAID" for keeping up with how many times I post here? I mean, I'm just some "pathetic old guy" who "sits at his computer literally all day", right?

LULZ #nolifewhatsoever

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 7:47 PM

#LULZ @ LULZ

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 8:13 PM

^ anyone that writes LULZ is a faggot ^

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 8:26 PM

I second that 7:47 is an old man who has no life whatsoever.

The lady doth protest too much.

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 8:33 PM

smh @ buckeye shrimper

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 8:37 PM

LULZ@ u 8:33 (i.e. poor ol' buckeye)

:-(

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 9:04 PM

Faggots are gay

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 9:50 PM

^ Yeah. You'd know all about that, wouldn't you?

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 10:06 PM

POOPOO

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 10:14 PM

Lulz @ "Anonymous", u are so gay

Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 10:14 PM

A day ago, this thread could've been saved by a well-timed miniclip comment. Now it's too late.

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Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 10:17 PM

LULZ at shrimperfags

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Posted by Anonymous | September 12, 2012 11:15 PM

iPods

Posted by s p i n d o c t o r s | September 12, 2012 11:48 PM

Taco Time For Mom & Dad

Posted by Anonymous | September 13, 2012 12:34 AM

iPods

Posted by Anonymous | September 13, 2012 3:26 AM

Ron Jeremy Lin

Posted by Anonymous | September 13, 2012 6:41 AM

Seagram's Gin Rummy

Posted by Anonymous | September 13, 2012 7:48 PM

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