Sliptrick Records formed in 2007, undergoing a series of home base location changes before settling in Latvia in 2014. In the time since their inception, Sliptrick have released literally hundreds of albums that range in style from singer-songwriter to hard rock, brutal death metal and anything else that they enjoy. Decibel had a chat with Carlo Muselli, head of Sliptrick’s European operations, to learn more about their selection process, the business of running a record label in 2018 and why Sliptrick often works with young bands on their debut albums.
When was Sliptrick Records founded? Why did you decide to start a record label?
The label was founded in 2007-2008, first in the US with a subsidiary in Italy, then relocated in Latvia in 2014.
Everyone here at the label comes from similar backgrounds (former musicians, producers, running other labels previously, etc) [and is] willing to run a solid operation for mostly debuting bands. We came together as a staff organically and so far, it’s working well. Some bands are on their second or third album already, growing with the label as the label grows with them.
Sliptrick has released a couple hundred records since starting out, across various genres, locations, etc. What do you look for when signing an artist or deciding to release their album?
This year we will release our 400th title and so far, we have been ranging from singer-songwriters to avant-garde black metal (and every genre in between), signing bands from different countries all around the world. We mostly look for the unexpected factor that only debuting bands tend to have, coupled with the exotic factor wrapped-up in a complete package of quality music, marketing potential (image, history, social media reach, etc) and general group professionalism.
It’s no secret that the music industry has changed a lot over the last few years, and continues to change today. Do you find that it’s hard to get people interested in your titles?
Within our primary focal area (debuting and young bands), we benefit from a lot of local support both online and on the street. Overall interest is not really an issue for us; it’s more about converting that into customer action, which means the quality of the product is super important unless the band already has a readymade set of fans.
What is the most difficult part of running a record label?
Trying to balance the need to run a sustainable business with the idealism that’s intrinsic within the label due to the fact that we’re run by ex-musician who try to put the artist first. It can also become incredibly obsessive/compulsive and the difficult part can be allowing yourself to stop working on it for a few hours a day to get some sleep.
Conversely, what is the most rewarding?
Definitely when you get to see things evolving and your bands are getting bigger tours, more releases under their belts and real recognition. Seeing a band we take from a starting level, realizing their potential and producing music that raises the profile of both themselves and the label, along with generating income for the band and for us to re-invest into more projects.
What is Sliptrick working on right now? What titles and other things do you have coming up for the future?
Continued growth and raising the profile of the label is currently our main concern, while in the meantime we are working on several country-focused releases, like Slot, Louna and Stigmata from Russia, working on the third album of Swedish power metal sensation Veonity and adding new Japanese acts, considering the feedback we had for the Lovebites, Mary’s Blood, Doll$Boxx and Saber Tiger releases.
Our roster is getting bigger by the day, also with American and Australian bands and the Bootcamp project is getting a major upgrade with new facilities and extended support.