Over the years we have noticed that all too often the people that bust their ass behind the scenes are rarely highlighted. In this feature we are going to put the spotlight on someone that has been in the trenches working to help bring new music to the world. Sylvia Von Süssekind is the owner and a big part of the team at Electric Funeral Records. Electric Funeral specialize in Metal, Extreme Metal, Hardcore and Punk Rock based in Brazil. We hope you enjoy!
Take a look at one of Electric Funeral Records releases from Backdrop Falls below.
The Daily Tune: What is your background in music?
Sylvia: I’ve been working with music production for the past 10 years. I worked with more than 300 bands and artists as producer, PR, music publicist, tour manager, booking agent and many other things. I have worked with acts such as Suicidal Tendencies, Belphegor, Napalm Death, Brujeria, Circa Survived, Fear Factory and many other international acts as well as a lot of underground bands in Brazil. I stopped counting when the number hit over 300.
The Daily Tune: At what point in your career did you decide to start a record label?
Sylvia: I have always had a desire to have my own label. It was in a production meeting with Abraxas Records, a label that I worked at, when I decided to move forward. It was Felipe Toscano, the CEO of Abraxas that gave me the push and the encouragement that I needed to put some real effort to make the label happen.
The Daily Tune: Was is difficult to start your label? What was the process like?
Sylvia: It is always hard to try something new and especially with the culture in Brazil. I think I was already set up to for success because of my music background, but it is always hard to start a new business. We started by developing the brand, logos, visual aspect and before we launched, we already had two bands in touch to be our first releases. We announced the label and focused on promoting to independent bands that typically try to approach record labels themselves but never get a response back. I can say that I didn’t sleep for 3 months while trying to promote and establish our brand in the music market.
The Daily Tune: What is the biggest challenge that you face while running your label?
Sylvia: The biggest challenge is to try to educated bands about the music market and to engage the audience to consume music in this digital era in different ways. Bands don’t sell records anymore like they used to and they don’t get very good profits with streaming platforms unless you get over a million streams on your song.
The bands need to realized that the only way to make it in this business is to strategically think about every step along the way; how to present your music online and how to get your physical records gain more exposure and distributed in other countries. Bands need to be organized and educated about the music business because most of them think that once they have a label then they are set to have big success and this is not true. The label only gets you to a certain point. If that band doesn’t know how to position themselves in the market, develop their brand, build a true fan base and identify their niche, it is not going to work. They have to be able to work and invest side by side with the label.
The Daily Tune: Do you run the label by yourself or do you have a team?
Sylvia: We have a team and we work side by side with Abraxas Records, Obscur Records and Canil Records. We are a group and all of us are a part of a larger company that Felipe Toscano, Guilherme Guerra, Ian Bueno and I have created. Every label has its own division and music genre that we approach. We respect each other and talk about our releases and how we can make our efforts as group grow together. Our team is very strong and with big names in the alternative music scene in Latin America. We truly believe in propagate culture and our main goal is to break the boundaries and promote all kinds of alternative and extreme music around the globe.
The Daily Tune: Do you typically use an in-house studio or do you outsource your bands to other studios?
Sylvia: We use our own studio and some bands work with outsourced studios, like our digital distribution platform.
The Daily Tune: How many bands have you signed?
Sylvia: We have our one-year anniversary of the label in October 2019 and we have already signed and released 33 bands. We also have another six bands to come up in the next few months, so we have signed 39 bands so far.
The Daily Tune: Are most of these bands local to you in Brazil?
Sylvia: Most of them are, but we have a few bands the we believe can grow internationally. I think that a lot of bands don’t fully understand how to work and promote their music. Even bands that sing in Portuguese can grow outside the country and try to distribute their music in countries with Portuguese language. It’s all about perspective.
The Daily Tune: What band has been the biggest signing to date?
Sylvia: I really can’t say just one. We have a few bands that surprised us such as music, esthetic, market position and appealing to the audience, such as: Backdrop Falls, Malvina, Pavio, Apto Vulgar, Tigersharks, Eskröta, Manger Cadavre? and Último Sopro.
The Daily Tune: What do you focus on more: Digital releases or Record / CD releases?
Sylvia: We have released more in digital only because the record market is really bad now days in Latin America. A lot of record stores have closed and we struggle with the shipping price, most of the time the cost is more than the record. We wish we were able to release every band in digital and physical record, but it is not the reality of most of the labels around the world. Independent labels are a necessary flame to continue to spread young, subversive and alternative artists and to present it to the young digital folks that physical copies are cool as shit. We are working to make the label a big distribution center in Latin America for all bands around the world who need to distribute their music and with this step be able to launch more bands in cd, k7 and vinyl.
The Daily Tune: When are you planning a US tour and what bands will you be bringing with you?
Sylvia: I’m planning a tour with Backdrop Falls to US and Europe because they are getting a lot of good feedback from around the world. I’m waiting for the end of the year to pick another band from the label to invest in touring and international distribution, possibly Malvina. Both bands are some of the best international acts we have so far, but we still have a lot of bands to release until the end of 2019.
The Daily Tune: What would you be doing if you were not involved in music?
Sylvia: Probably doing cinema and journalism because I love and also study this at the university.
The Daily Tune: What advice would give someone that is looking to follow in your footsteps?
Sylvia: You need to be a tough person and deal with a lot bullshit that will come in your way, that’s for sure.
My advice is to study, try to understand the bands, the market and the audience. Go to gigs, make friends and connections, because if you want to be in this business you need to be present most of the time. You need to understand that the only way to grow is to start working from the bottom and this will be your base in the future… When you start from a small role in music your creating a good base, you will get to know people with different backgrounds and experience.
The Daily Tune: Thanks for spending some time with us to answer some questions. We all look forward to your US tour next year!