[media stories: english: 1999]

S T I C K M A N    R E C O R D S

Interview with Sticksies-Jeanette and Rolf taken from the
Dutch e-zine

When your passion for a band gets so out of hand, you can only do one thing: set up a recordlabel to spread the word. (Or would that be records?) Jeannette Gustavus and her partner Rolf did just that. The band? Motorpsycho. The label? Stickman. Want to know more? Just read on!

  Stickman dolls

First of all can you tell us more about why you set up Stickman Records. Who, when, why and where?

«The idea for Stickman Records popped up the first time in the summer of 1994. At the time we (meaning Rolf and myself) were both working in the record industry and were responsible for Motorpsycho promotion and marketing in Germany, due to our ties with Motorpsycho's first label, Voices of Wonder. To make a long story short, during the course of 1994 we got to know the guys from Motorpsycho, discovered that we had the same opinions about the record business, labels, etc. and decided to continue working together. One thing led to another and before we knew what hit us, we had started up Stickman Records - the new label of our absolutely favorite band! Our first release was in December 1994, the Wearing Yr Smell EP, followed by the classic 'Timothy's Monster' album at the beginning of 1995.»

Why did you pick the name, is there a special story behind the name Stickman?

«Actually Motorpsycho picked the name 'Stickman Records' for us. And yes, there's a story behind the name - 'The Stickman' is the nickname of a certain person that Motorpsycho know...but I'm sworn to secrecy about who it is....»

The label was set up to promote the band Motorpsycho. How closely linked are you guys?

Motorpsycho...back in 1994  

«We have a very close link. The members of the band are involved in every decision concerning Motorpsycho. It's important for them to have control over their music and to know what's going on, and we respect that. I guess that's why we get along so well! The label is owned by Rolf and I, but Motorpsycho also have a say in what other bands are signed to the label, so even if we work with other bands, you can be sure that Motorpsycho has had something to do with it...»

You have bands coming from all over Europe: Belgium (GoreSlut) but also from Norway (Dipsomaniacs)... how do you find these bands?

  The Stickman-band Dipsomaniacs (Norway)

«Most of the time they find us! Gore Slut is one of the few bands that we signed simply because we liked their demo, which their manager sent to us. As for 35007, we were already fans of theirs. Also, one of their members happens to be Motorpsycho's sound-man, so we knew him quite well. We drove to Enger to see them play and told them that it was high time that they recorded a new album and that we would like to put it out. It was as simple as that! As for the Dipso- maniacs (photo right): we licensed their record from Progress Records in Norway, whose boss happens to be an old friend of ours, also simply because we liked what we heard. And we're both Fireside fans, so we bugged their management until we finally got to license their releases for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy, where they weren't out yet. I could continue like this, because every situation is a little bit different - but you should keep in mind that we receive tons of demos and once in awhile one just blows us away...»

Can you describe the sound of Stickman? When signing on new bands, what do you look for?

«I think I'm too subjective about our label to be able to define a certain Stickman 'sound'. I know it's there, because there are people out there who tell us that they buy everything we put out because they know they'll like it, even if the bands aren't really similar to each other. We just happen to have the luxury of putting out records that we personally think are very good, so if you have a similar music taste to ours, you'll like it. Sounds too simple, but that's as good as I can explain it...
I really wish I could define what that 'something' is that makes us sign a band. Their music has to give us goosebumps! Once again, a very subjective thing. First of all, we both have to agree that we want to work with a band. Not only do we have to both totally love the music that a band is making, but the chemistry between us and the band has to be "right" too. We have to have the feeling that these are people that we want to work with. Then, it has to pass the Motorpsychodelic crash-test. That's the hard part.»

Independence seems to be a very important factor for Stickman Records. Why do you want to keep it uncommercial?

«We don't consciously keep the music we put out 'uncommercial'. Like I said, we put out what we like. We don't get involved in the band's songwriting, we don't insist that our bands record 'radio-compatible' songs (although we're very happy when they do!). If we like a band enough to work with them, we give them total 'artistic freedom' - if we let them do what they do best, then we can do what we do best, which is selling their records. And yes, independence is extremely important to us, so we can do our own thing, release what records we want, when we want to release them, etc. And even if we should have a Top 10 hit one of these years, it wouldn't change anything - except our bank account, of course :-) »

Do you have any other activities/plans besides Stickman?

«Well, Rolf works part-time at Indigo, our german distributor, doing exports. When I have the time, I do free-lance promotion jobs for other labels. I also play in a band (no, you've never heard of us). We don't have alot of time for anything except the label, but that's OK because it's what we want to do. There's still only the two of us, with an occasional student helping us out, so it's alot of work.»

You also started expanding by setting up sublabels. Can you tell us something more about HomeBase Communications and Sticksister Records?

the Stickman logo  

«Homebase Communications is a label for more electronic-oriented bands, anything from drum-n-bass to trip-hop. There are some good bands out there - actual bands that play live, not just one guy behind a computer putting together techno beats. This is mainly Rolf's baby. Stick- sister is a sublabel of Stickman Records which concentrates on more pop-oriented bands from the german-speaking countries. The next release is by the swiss band Favez, but it's such a great rock record that it could actually be on Stickman!»

Any new record releases? What is Motorpsycho up to these days?

«The rest of 1999 will be quiet for us, but the year 2000 will start with a bang. The upcoming Motorpsycho album will be released at the end of January, followed by Favez in February, Dipsomaniacs in March and Fireside in April. Motorpsycho have been very busy in the studio recording an album for Stickman and an EP for 'Stickman's Ruin', a collaboration between us and Man's Ruin.»

What album would be a great start to begin the Stickman-ride?

«Last year we put together a label sampler called 'Stickin it to you'. I think that's a pretty good way to get an idea what we're all about. It's cheap too!»

Check out Stickman Records' website.

Nathalie Claeys

Please note that the MP-photo was not part of the original layout but was inserted in the process of relayouting ...
You know, this is the MP Unoff ... (-;