|If I'm not mistaken, Vuz Records started
as a mailorder service. What compelled you to start releasing music?
Actually it all started a very long time ago (ca. 1983) when I was involved in the industrial tape scene. Thanks to the international network I got hold of lots of interesting tapes which I distributed and soon I started to release tapes of my own musical projects. Due to various reasons (school, apprenticeship, ...) I paused for some years. In the early '90ies I reactivated the mailorder (now under the new name VUZ) and quite soon I thought about releasing some stuff again. But here in Germany the tape is not accepted as a regular format, so it had to be on vinyl or CD this time.
With the quite interesting music of D.A.R.P.A. I found my first artist and we planed to release a CD mini-album. Then I heard the first Wumpscut demos and after contacting him, I decided to release his debut too. At first we planned to release a whole series of 5" CD mini-albums, but then the idea of the NFE series was born: Why not compile these mini-albums on one regular CD, offering more music for the money? From then on one came to the other and the label developed and grew.
What do you generally look for in bands that you consider signing?
First of all, I have to like the music! I could never release anything that I do not like 100%. Another point is the personal contact with the artist. I think it is very important to have the same wavelenght, otherwise it is quite difficult to work together over a period of some years. So besides their output I also have to like the person(s) behind the music.
Can you explain the numerous collaberations Vuz is involved in, including the recent partnership with Arts Industria over here in the US?
Well, we have a lot of contacts from which various collaborations result (from joint releases as the "In The Butchers Backyard" compilation to distribution agreements as with Arts Industria).
When I am in a good contact with somebody, I try to help where I can and it is also the other way round. Working with other people also makes things easier, you have a lot more idea input and a lot of additional contacts.
You seem to be especially fond of releasing material in limited editions and/or with special packaging. Why is that?
To be honest, I do not like the normal CD format too much. It is easy to handle and it matches the norm, but from the artistic side it is boring. So from time to time we release something in special packaging to satisfy our aestetic demands. Besides that I am also one of the hunters and collectors and I like special / limited editions. So the step to release limited editions myself was just a small one.
We feel that the idea of releasing a few seperate EP's on one full CD, with seperate artwork for each (such as your New Forms Of Entertainment series), is a phenomenal concept, and some other labels seem to be following suit. Why did you decide to do that?
As I said before, it grew out of the idea of releasing several mini albums. It also reveales more about the musical abilities and style of a band when you can hear about 20 mins. instead of just one song which may or may not be representatvie for the band.
To me the idea was new but there where some others who did similar compilations of which I was not aware at that point of time.
Tell us about your new sub-label, Cat's Heaven.
Cat's Heaven is not a sub-label but a lable of its own. It is dedicated to the more darker side of music, which includes ritualistic, ambient, trance and industrial influenced material.
I found it necessary to make a clear split between the more electronical releases on VUZ and the more industrial (in the classical sense) releases on Cat's Heaven. We do not work with bigger distributors, we are free to experiment with all sorts of formats and packages. Cat's Heaven is dealing with CD releases and its sub-labels Chat Noir (vinyl), MFW (tape) and Spirit Of Sound Source (tape) also offer other formats.
What does the future hold for Vuz Records?
Only good things, I hope. We have some big plans, but I have to see how everything developes before I can make any definite decissions. VUZ is still a small label which has a hard time surviving in this pool of sharks called music business.