Label Profile: Kolony RecordsSaturday, 9th July 2016
The product of owner/founder Lorenzo Marchello, Italy’s Kolony Records made waves in the summer of 2015 with the signing of heralded Canadian tech/progressive merchants Into Eternity. The band, once one of Century Media’s priority acts, may have been operating in a state of semi-activity since 2008, but for Marchello and his label, it was an opportunity too good to pass up, arming his label with a top-tier act to go along with a roster stocked with promising artists. In a business that usually dictates the opposite (i.e. a smaller label letting exciting new band go to bigger label), it can be considered a coup for the “little guy.”
Best known as a label specializing in melodic metal, Kolony was founded in 2008, going on to sign a slew of well-respected melodic death and black metal bands, most notably Australian crew Be’lakor (who are the best-selling band on the label), British progressive black metal masters De Profundis, Australian melodic death metal upstarts Orpheus Omega, and American atmospheric doom outfit Secrets of the Sky. An impressive roster no doubt, all this, after the label was created as means to foster Marchello’s in the music business after spending several years in the Italian metal scene as a musician.
“During my teenage years and later I had the opportunity of playing in a local band – and supporting a few others as a session player,” he begins. “This put me in contact with a few guys from metal labels, so I had an overall idea on how the music business worked. To be honest, I felt a lot of admiration for them and really wanted to be part of the business, too. Add the fact that I loved to handle the ‘managerial’ side of the band more than playing.”
As one of the few labels operating out of Italy (Scarlet Records is another that comes to mind), Marchello says there are few advantages to running a record company from such a locale. Citing high taxes and a lack of an active live scene, he often finds himself looking to other countries for a steady revenue stream. “It’s true that metal fans are more interested in stuff coming from Scandinavia or USA or Germany, depending on the genre they listen to. But I think this applies mainly to bands. So when you have, for example, a Norwegian band and the label is Italian…well, people look at the band in the end. Another disadvantage of Italy is that people don’t buy records anymore. But again: 99% of Kolony sales are abroad [with] Germany and USA being the two top selling countries, so that’s not a big issue to me.”
The label’s first signing was Fightcast, an Italian melodic death metal-on-metalcore outfit who released two albums for the label, 2008’s Breeding a Divinity, and 2014’s Siamesian. In need of a release schedule to coordinate with potential distributors, Marchello said he started looking for bands to sign six months before the label’s official launch. “I remember in that period I started to email several bands around, and Fightcast was the perfect band as they just finished recording their debut album, so debut label releasing a debut album ha-ha.”
While most of Kolony’s roster comprises of bands of the melodic variety, Marchello says the chosen style isn’t even his favorite, preferring black metal. Still, that didn’t stop him from signing a slew of up-and-coming bands, such as the above-mentioned Be’lakor, De Profundis, and Secrets of the Sky, with the latter two both going on to sign with bigger labels respectively. “I don’t mind too much about this, since for the time being, this is the best that can happen to an underground label like Kolony, which is having your bands signing to big labels. That means you have done a nice job when choosing and promoting/distributing them if bigger labels are deciding to sign them. And, at the same time, if any of those bands are going to be bigger, tour around more, etc., it means Kolony is going to sell more copies of the back catalogue, which is not bad.” [laughs]
This leads us to Into Eternity, who are by far Kolony’s biggest acquisition to date. The Canadian outfit became free agents after leaving Century Media once the cycle for their The Incurable Tragedy album concluded. A band with a considerable track record, fanbase, and critical acclaim, Into Eternity were originally considered out of reach for Kolony, but when Marchello was contacted by the band’s management company, he figured he’d take the plunge.
“I started talking to their agency at the end of 2014, and the contract was signed a few months ago. It took almost a year to get the deal signed. There were several things to be checked before signing the contract, by both sides, but in the end we made it. Now we’re working on the new release [Sirens] in order to give it the best promotion/exposure we can.”