DYLAN TAYLOR-LEHMAN INTERVIEWS SEVARED RECORDS’ BARRETT AMISS III

The following interview will be published in the forthcoming Wormhole Collective Zine #3.  Please contact Dylan at dylantaylorlehman@hotmail.com for previous issues and information about future releases.

Just wanted to make a quick editors note that Barrett has been a class act at every metal event I have been to, offering great prices and customer service.  He will gladly explain which releases are current, “most brutal” or plain “sick”- like a death metal encyclopedia in the flesh.  His passion and business acumen for a genre that is not readily accepted by the mainstream is an inspiration.  Even if you are not familiar with the world of brutal death metal, take a look at the interview below and see what dedication means.

DTL: Of course, the obligatory first question: please introduce yourself and give us a short history of the label, reasons why you are fascinated with DM, which cool older relative or friend first introduced you to metal and when, and any other personal information you’d like to share!

Barrett:  Dylan, what’s up?  Thank you for the interview bro, much appreciated!!!  Well, my name is Barrett and I run Sevared Records.  I started out in 1997 when my roommate Ryan Parrish (Disinterment, Darkest Hour) had a band called Disinterment, and I was a huge Death Metal fan, and they keep seeming to play shows with no direction, and I asked them if they wanted to release a CD.  At that time I wasn’t thinking of doing a label really, but I was seeing what they wanted to do, because they were and still are an amazing band!!   So, to make a long story short, once I asked them that, the said hell yeah, but they didn’t have the money to release the CD, I did at the time, so I said I would release it.  And since I was doing a zine at the same time called “Sevared Pages”, I decided to call the label “Sevared Records”.

DTL: And one more slightly trite question: how do you personally define death metal? Why is underground DM so important to you that you want to dedicate your time and money to populating the world with more of it? Why are you obsessed with DM and not say, for example, sports or model trains (though maybe you are!)?

Barrett:  I define Death Metal and Brutal heavy as fuck music, but for the most part (with the exception of some bands) it MUST have Deep vocals!!!  UG Death Metal has been my life since I was about 14-15 years old, I’m not really sure why exactly, just the 1st time I heard it I was hooked, and I wasn’t just hooked like you heard a song on the radio, I heard Cannibal Corpse’s “Put Them To Death” and it was over!!!

It’s funny you ask about dedicating my time etc. as opposed to Sports, etc..  I’m a huge sports fan!!  The Chicago Bears are the greatest thing ever, other than Death Metal!!  But you ask why Death Metal and not Sports, Sports players (unfortunately, don’t play for the sport, they play for money) “Most” Death Metal bands don’t play for money, they play for the love of the music!!!

DTL: Sevared has the reputation of being a label run by an underground death metal maniac for underground death metal maniacs. Obviously you have a huge love for the scene – you release tons of records by bands from all over the world, are down for trading, travel the festival circuit, etc. – to what extent do business concerns factor into the label? I understand that you have to make money to keep releasing musick, but are there strict DIY ethic by which you abide? Are there certain labels or distributors that you don’t want to be involved with because of their corporate way of doing business? Do the bands you release have an “exclusive” deal with you or are they free to release splits or albums on other labels?

Barrett:  That is true bro, I am a Brutal Death Metal Maniac thru and thru!!!!!!!!  And for Sevared Records etc.. I only release what I like personally, it has nothing to do with what is popular at the time or whatever, if I like it I try to sign it.  And If I get that band, amazing, if not, I’ll make them another offer later, and hopefully get them then!!  Yes, I trade with 100’s of underground labels from pretty much every country on this planet, I don’t think the Underground Death Metal Scene would really survive without all us labels trading and helping each other out.  That is what the Underground is all about!!!  Yes, I travel a lot, to festivals all over the East Coast, and I drive 14 hours to a Festival in Central Illinois, The CIM, I’ve been at every single one of them since Matt started it, it’s an amazing fest!!

As far as the money making aspect of the business, yes, of course I have to make more in order to release new releases, but it is done in a very underground way!!  You can ask my wife, all the money made from Sevared Records, goes back into Sevared Records!!!  As far as dealing with “Corporate” labels, there is a blurred line now, because some bitch ass labels like Victory Records are releases sick bands like Pathology, and a normal wholesale rate for underground labels is around $5.00, labels like that about $9.00.  So when sick Brutal Death Metal bands are on bigger labels, it’s harder for Underground labels to get their CDs in stock, because you have to pay up front for the CDs, and it’s a good bit more, than underground supporters!!

Most of the bands I release on Sevared Records, we have a contract, but most of the time it’s only for one or maybe 2 albums.  The bands are free to do what every that want to do, but in the case of a new full length CD or whatever, it is nice if the band at least gives me a chance to try to keep them on Sevared Records, before just blindly signing to another label!  But basically it’s different with every band!

DTL: Similarly, what is your take on metal being much more popular now than it has been in recent years? Obviously MTV and more corporate avenues are treating very heavy metal like an actual music genre and recently in Columbus, Ohio the car company Scion staged a metal festival where some of the more “respected” metal bands like Absu, Brutal Truth, Voivod, and Cannibal Corpse played (though it seems like they will play any place there is money). Death metal had its fair share of money-making in the early to mid 90’s and so it’s no stranger to financial interests, but what do you think of Red Bull or Jaegermeister-sponsored tours or festivals put on by a car company? Obviously most of the musick from your label probably wouldn’t be considered for a shoe advertisement, but the idea that noisy, violent music being used to sell something seems counterintuitive.

Barrett:  Yeah, I would say the media and people in general are way, way more accepted to the reality of Metal!!  It’s been more mainstreamized with the whole metalcore scene etc.  And with the brutality going on around the world in real life, Brutal Death Metal, and just any extreme music seems to fit more in these times, just because well all now live in Extreme times!!!  But yeah, there is more radio play for semi-hard bands, and a lot of college radio stations having metal shows (very late night) and with all the extreme sports and the music fits perfect with that, and horror movies coming back, and people loving them, and the music was made for them, I think in the next couple years, it’s going to be crazy!!!  If Nike want to make a Sevared shoe, it would be great because I have a paralyzed leg and I can’t find good shoes!!  And it might help me out, and proceeds could go to spinal cord injury victims!!   LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

The upcoming Sevared X Nike collab

DTL: And speaking of being uncommercial, you have released a number of albums with fairly extreme artwork or song titles (ie the more “traditionally” offensive things like the Cesspool of Vermin disc and every Meat Shits release, but also the pro-vegan Animals Killing People) – is there any subject or image that you consider too extreme for your label? Have you ever had to turn down an album or band because of its stance or beliefs? Are you careful to note that the opinions are those of the band and not yours personally?

Well, that’s actually a great question!!  All the albums you named, I have a problem with!  Cesspool, At first I thought it was just a sick ass cover, but then I got hate mail from animal rights activists, and letters from the German Government saying I can’t sell that CD in their country anymore, but I still loved the cover, and the cover was even sicker.

Cesspool of Vermin cover in question

If people and Governments are so hung up on drawings, don’t you think their time would be better put in other things like homeless people, worldwide debt, etc. Instead of worrying about a bad ass cover!!!  The Meat Shits, just classic hate, but I know Robert personally and he’s not like that, he’s one of the nicest bro’s I’ve met, and for AKP, good for them, if they feel that strongly about not eating meat, cool!!  I eat meat, and they know that, but I like the music, I really don’t care what the band is singing about!!  Where I draw the line is Nazi shit, I won’t do that!!! I won’t tolerate Skinhead shit!!

DTL: What does your family and non-death metal friends think of your business? What is their reaction when you tell them that you just released the new Vulvectomy record or that an upcoming release has “Festering Fuckhole Slop” as its title?

Barrett:  It’s funny bro!  My family is great with it, I’ve been doing it for so long they just know, friends, like my wife’s friends never know what to think, when they see me, they think murderer, crazy fucker, just like my wife’s parents did, but once people get to know me, They know I’m just a good guy who likes morbid things!!

DTL: What are you doing when you are not working on Sevared-related things? Does the label leave any time for other hobbies and interests? How many hours a day do you dedicate to Sevared? Are you interested in any other kinds of music? Do you play any instruments or in any bands? Do you want to?

Barrett:  Not much really, I do Sevared Records full time!!  If, I’m not working on Sevared, I’m at a show selling distro, or when I actually get a chance, I hang out with my Family, and I always watch Football on Sunday, DA BEARS!!!!!!!!!  I spend about 10 hours a day on Sevared, and yes I love 80’s Hardcore, old school punk, some thrash, tons of grind, Metallica is the best band ever, I don’t care what anybody says!!!  Yes, I’ve played drums since I was 12, and I’m in a couple bands, I do the vocals for the Brutal Death/gore band Venereal Messiah, I do all the music, guitars, vocals, real drums, etc. for a band called Wasteland, and a couple other projects in the works!!

DTL: Are you friendly with the post-office workers from mailing so many packages?

Barrett: LOL, Yes, I’m very friendly with the ladies that work at the post office I go to!!  I’m in there everyday, Except Tuesdays, because of this PIECE OF SHIT that works on that day!!!!

DTL: What is the most rewarding experience of running Sevared?

Barrett:  Just meeting people like you, and all the people in the scene, and many like minded people!!!

DTL: How do you handle rip-off bastards?

Barrett:  I don’t, they can go fuck themselves!!!

DTL: Do you have any specific goals that you want to reach with the label? Do you plan on running it for a limited amount of time or are you going to just keep working until you get tired of it? Do you think this kind of music will hold your interest in the next 15 years?

Barrett:  Yes, I want Sevared Records to be the best Brutal Death Metal Label ever, it’s my passion, Brutal Death Metal is my life!!   And I do my best to get it out to everybody!!  I will never stop doing the label, unless I’m forced to, but I will still keep it going even at that time, just on a limited bases.  Yes, I don’t think Death Metal is going anywhere, I know if went about in the mid 90’s, but that won’t happen again!!!!

Putrid Pile- an essential Sevared release

DTL: Underground DM is arguably some of the most extreme music being made, and some see it as the pinnacle of the evolution of the brutality of music – what do you think the future holds in terms of metal music? Can it get any more brutal/disgusting/uncommercial?

Barrett:  Yes, there are always brilliant people that love this music that will make it bigger and better, but the true heart of Death Metal will always be the same, just a group of people that love the music!!!

DTL: What do you think is the best aspect of your label? Is there something you think you do better than others?

Barrett:  I’m not sure bro, I just release bro, I just release bands that I would buy myself, I do the best customer service I can possibly do, and basically I just release music from a fans perspective, and business wise, I do my business like if I was buying stuff from somebody else, and what I won’t want from them.

DTL: Are bands that have existed since the advent of brutal DM (Immolation, etc.) still able to compete with the newer crowd? What do you see as the biggest between the newer and older bands?

Barrett:  Absolutely!!!!!  Immolation, Incantation, Mortician, Napalm Death (Yes, Napalm Death) most bands wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Napalm Death!!! Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Broken Hope, etc. I think if somebody is serious about the music, they would want to know where it came from, and will always look to the past for the masters!!!

We at Weedsteeler are huge Mortician fans

DTL: Is there something that the newer generation is getting wrong? Is the older generation too stuck in its past?

Barrett:  I think the newer generation will miss the past and all its glory, and I think the older generation for the most part will miss the present and all its glory!

DTL: What are the top five or ten releases you wish you could have released?

Barrett:  Damn bro, that’s one of the hardest questions ever!!!

Cannibal Corpse – Tomb of the Mutilated

Broken Hope – Repulsive Conception

Morbid Angel – Covenant

Suffocation – Human Waste

Grave – Into the Grave

Not in any order, I’ll just write those!!

DTL: Top bands you’d love to see live?

Barrett:  Rottrevore, Original Grave line-up in the early 90’s!!!

Rottrevore

DTL: Ideal split release?

Barrett:  I really don’t like split releases, but if I had to pick, Grave w/ Jorgen

on vokills split with Broken Hope!!!

DTL: Vinyl or CD or tapes?

Barrett:  All Death Metal!

DTL: Are death metal shirts able to legitimately exist in any color other than black?

Barrett:  Black is the best color for the artwork, but I just released a couple months ago my first white colored shirt for Vulvectomy, and it’s sold out now, so maybe some Death Metal fans want color, LOL

DTL:  you mentioned that your definition of death metal is primarily concerned with the music and vocals, but I’m curious as to what you think about lyrical content. Traditionally DM has always had a blasphemous or at least anti-religious message – do you think that this is part of DM’s essence? Does it have to say something critical about the religious establishment, or are Christian bands, for example, that play DM just as much a part of the DM scene as any other band?

Barrett:  I think in the early days Death Metal was more blasphemous and anti-religious than it is now.  Nowadays, it seems to be who can out brutal, sick, offend the next.  But yes, it will always be apart of the essence of Death Metal, even if it’s not satanic or blasphemous out right, talking about killing people is anti-religious.  I have to say, there are some fucking sick Brutal Christian Death Metal bands out there, Crimson Thorne, the 1st 2 albums of Mortification etc..  If nobody told you they were a Christian band, most Death Metal fans would love them!

DTL:  Similarly, a lot of death metal, because of its lyrics and imagery, has an anti-“normal society” bent to it but there are some death metal bands with patriotic themes as well – does any of this matter to you personally? Does singing pro-government songs make a band less legitimately DM because they are basically supporting “mainstream” values?

Barrett:  I really don’t care what they sign about (except for racist shit), but other than bands like Napalm Death, Misery Index etc.. , it really doesn’t work for many bands playing Brutal Death Metal.  But I love a ton of old Punk and new punk and that’s pretty much all they sign about so go figure, LOL

DTL:  You mentioned on your Myspace page that you were looking for a chair/throne made out of human or animal bones – how is that search going?

Barrett:  LOL, you’re the 1st person that has mentioned it, so as you know now, the search isn’t going good, lol.

DTL: What countries or area of the world do you consider to have the strongest scene or best bands? The worst?

Barrett:  Wow, that’s hard to say, pretty much all countries are booming w/ Brutal Death!!!  The worst would be South Africa. I don’t know one band from there!  But I do have one customer from there – thanks Anton!!!

Thanks for the interview bro, much appreciated!!  Sorry for all the misspellings!!  Be sure to check out HTTP://SEVARED.COM for the cheapest prices, best deals, and fastest shipping!!!  Free postage in the USA!!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “DYLAN TAYLOR-LEHMAN INTERVIEWS SEVARED RECORDS’ BARRETT AMISS III

  1. brandon

    Excellent interview. Love the football talk. Hate Cutler but can respect the Monsters of the Midway.

  2. steve

    great job dylan. MORE WHITE SHIRTS IN DM!

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