Band Logo

Interview with Josh Diebel from Alleysweeper Records - conducted by James Graham - 7/98

James: Why start up a label?

Josh: A friend of mine, Blake and I decided to start up a label for fun in 1994. He worked at a local record shop and figured we could get some decent distribution through some connections he made. Our first release was from a Techno project called Larceny. He had a CD single and 12" out on one of the many Earache off shoots. We talked about it a lot and couldn't find a band to start out with. We had driven to Canada to see Napalm Death and Brutal Truth in Windsor and the sound guy was wearing a Larceny jacket. We liked the single a lot and found out from one of the bands that the sound man was indeed Larceny, so we asked him about doing a 7" and he was into it. He dubbed us a tape after the show and gave us his address. The tape was great so our first single was 'Who Are You'. From there we just started to contact bands we liked and found most of them to have interesting projects like Mick Harris and KK Null, James Plotkin, Justin Broadrick, and Neurosis.

James: What was your intention when you started Alleysweeper?

Josh: We were very interested in putting out music that we liked on 7" because we loved 7" records with cool packaging and to make enough money to keep putting out records. It is a big thrill to do this because we are dealing with a lot of our favorite bands/artists.

James: Has everything that you expected to happen, happened?

Josh: For the most part, yes. We never dreamed we'd still be doing this almost five years later. I never thought we would ever be able to put out a cd! we have bigger goals now than we did back then but it's still lots of fun and we have made some great friends along the way.

James: How did you come to be affiliated with invisible records?

Josh: I moved to Chicago a little over a year ago and a friend of mine Steve let me stay with him until I got on my feet. He interned at Invisible when he moved to Chicago, so I called them up and asked if they needed any help. Their retail/receptionist Caroline was moving to England when she graduated college so they offered me the position. When I interviewed with Dave and Martin I brought them some of the stuff we had put out, they wanted to help us out so they offered us a distribution deal. It was very unexpected and I couldn't believe they were interested as we had only done four CD's at that point, but they liked the stuff. We were very excited to be a part of what they have going.

James: What do you like about Alleysweeper?

Josh: I like the fact that we don't run our label as a business. It's very low stress and we don't deal with contracts and lawyers and egos. It's on a very friendly basis and the people who do records with us are very cool. I dread the day that this will all change, but it has to sooner or later, in order to progress. As soon as money gets involved you need to look out for yourself and the artists you represent.

James: What pisses you off about the music industry?

Josh: I don't have much experience with the business, but from what I get so far is how a lot of people in the business don't know what they are working with. It is not about the music, it is about numbers and ass kissing. It is too bad because as labels, distributors, record stores, and magazines start working together to expose good music rather than throwing money at them, we have more pull because people will start getting quality instead of slick pitches. Basically, it's very elitist and if you don't know so and so you don't get a chance.

James: What won't you release on Alleysweeper?

Josh: There isn't a type of music we won't put out. As long as we like it we'll do it.

James: Define the Alleysweeper sound.

Josh: There is no set sound. We'll put out anything from black metal to experimental ambient. We started out doing a lot of noise and stuff like that but we've covered a lot of ground from tribal to punk rock.

James: What have you been up to as of late?

Josh: We've been getting our feet wet with our new deal and working on getting some stuff out that has been sitting around for a while including Tribes of Neurot, Final, Otraslab and Waterwheel CD's. We also started a side label called Double Barrel. That label will specialize in our love for heavy music such as Metal and Hard Core. It's very hard to get someone who likes Ambient/Noise to enjoy a Metal or Hard Core CD, so we decided to use a different name for that stuff so that people don't get pissed when they get a loud band screaming at them.

James: Future plans for Alleysweeper?

Josh: We are working very hard at Double Barrel the rest of this year and early next year to try and establish that. So it will be kind of like doing two things at once. I think if people give that stuff a chance they will really like it. It won't be a typical straight forward kind of thing. We will be doing some very unique stuff. Really aggressive but with personality not just the same old crap.

James: Touring? What touring? You've been touring?

Josh: Well, the first big tour I ever did was with the invisible records tour last spring. I sold merchandise for that. It was great! I had never done anything like that before and didn't know what to expect. But I'm still alive and gained a huge amount of experience from that. Then my band, 7000 Dying Rats, did a short tour of the East Coast and Midwest for three weeks and that was a blast! We just do it for fun so we hung out with some friends and drank a lot and made a mess. We have seven people in the band so it was us and all of our gear packed into this little van screaming across the country. I still have a hangover from that!

[Interviews] [Sonic Boom]
Last Modified: