Pest Productions is one of the few extreme metal labels out of China. With the more prominent black metal bands such as Skeletal Augury and Midwinter being signed onto this label, along with a few other foreign acts, Pest Productions is definitely one of the up and rising labels to look out for. We speak to Deng, founder of Pest Productions about what it is like to own a label in China.
(Interview has been published in both English and Chinese, for the benefit of those who can read Chinese to view the responses in it’s original language.)
Hello, thanks for your interview. In brief, I’m a mad music lover, a musician, a graphic designer, and also running 3 labels.
Give us a brief history of Pest Productions.
PEST Prod成立于06年夏天,由我和我的朋友WU（Be Persecuted）创立，在Be Persecuted的Demo出版之后,WU退出了厂牌,于是我决定一个人把PEST进行下去，整个07年对我来说都是异常艰苦的，除了厂牌一直是入不敷出之外，私人工作的情况也让我很疲惫，这一年我有打算结束厂牌的打算，但是通过一些朋友的帮助，我还是坚持了下来，并在07年底发行了一张伟大的唱片: Zuriaake – Afterimage of Autumn,这张唱片是中国黑金属的一个里程碑，也让海外乐迷开始注意到这个来自中国的黑金属厂牌，你知道，这对很多欧美乐迷来说是很不可思议的事情。进入08年之后，我们开始广泛的和世界范围的乐队接触和合作，至今出版了很多高素质和好评的唱片。
Pest Productions was found in the summer of 2006 by my friend WU (Be Persecuted) and I. WU quitted the label after the first demo of Be Persecuted came out, but I decided to continue with it on my own. The whole 2007 was pretty tough for me – got stuck with the personal job and the financial situation of the label was also not optimistic. I intended to close it down, but some help from my friends made me decide to keep it going on and a masterpiece was thereafter released, i.e., Zuriaake – Afterimage of Autumn. This record is regarded as a milestone in the Chinese Black Metal scene and made more people from other countries be aware of Pest Productions, as you may have imagined, this might be inconceivable to some people from the west. A series of cooperation with international bands were initiated after 2008 and we have now released a number of highly-appraised records.
What was it that made you want to start this record label, and what were the initial difficulties that you encountered?
It was initially to put out the first demo of Be Persecuted and there was not much in our mind. The biggest difficulty back then should be the production of music: lack of funds and experiences. Not too much experience was available from which could be learnt in the scene at that time and we had to figure out everything in the dark. A lot of efforts were put in.
As far as we understand, the media control in China is very strict. So what are some of the difficulties that you still encounter? Are there any legal red tapes that you have to bypass, and how do you go about doing that?
It is very likely that western people do not know much about what is really going on here in China. Indeed, governments have extremely control on media, publication and expression of opinions, however, as long as you do not stand in the opposition of authorities and spread prohibited contents such as pornographic stuff, they’d rather leave it as it is, no matter in which way you publish.
Is it possible to give us some insights of your day to day job? What is your day to day routine like?
Basically I check new emails and promos from some bands every day, negotiate some affairs with the bands that are about to release their works, and have a look at the webshop targeted at Chinese customer group. If it’s in the period of release schedule then I’d need to design covers and frequently talk with the pressing plant plus loads of advertising works. In addition to these, I also have my own job. Used to be a lecturer in a college and now doing some designing job at home.
We notice that a lot of the bands signed onto Pest Productions are bands of the black metal genre. What is the metal scene in China like?
Pest productions is a Black Metal label in general but we also once in a while release music in other genres. Metal music is growing very fast in China involving nearly every kind of style, although the young bands are mainly metal-core and nu-metal.
There are also a lot of bands that are not from China that are signed onto Pest Productions. How did these come about, seeing that China is pretty much closed to music from the metal genre?
In my opinion, the whole world did not have much knowledge about Chinese metal music before the foundation of PEST. Things have changed a lot by now. My friends and I have been doing a lot of work in order to put Chinese Black Metal to the front and let more people know, as well as to attract more good bands to cooperate with PEST. I’m constantly going through some promising bands.
Just a question out of curiosity, how did these overseas bands find out about Pest Productions, and why were they interested to sign onto this label?
The point here is about the particular spirit and release style of Pest Productions. We release a good deal of DBM and POST-DBM albums and EPs. To my knowledge, Pest Production is quite well-known in the realm.
As a record label, what is your take on illegal downloading of music, despite China’s strict take on the internet?
Download is a double-edged sword – it works positively in raising our reputation of the label and related bands. On the other hand, it adversely affects our benefits. I have to say those people who know us by downloading the music released by PEST please purchase records. China does not manage anything related to illegal download, although something is quite incomparable, like low income level (1/10 of the developed countries).
Seeing that most of our readers are pretty much unaware about the scene in China, what are some of China’s favourite metal bands? Any updates regarding bands such as Zuriaake, Midwinter and Dark Fount?
中国的黑金属乐队相比其他风格的金属乐队来说数量较少，你提到的3支乐队都在中国最优秀的黑金属乐队之列，其他的还有DEEP MOUNTAINS / DOPAMINE / Heartless / Skeletal Augury / In The Abyss等等，毫不客气的说，PEST聚集了中国最出色的黑金属军团，以上乐队大多都有MYSPACE，你们可以通过PEST的MYSPACE页面找到他们。
The amount of Black Metal bands in China is relatively less than other styles. The 3 bands you mentioned are some of the best acts in China, plus DEEP MOUNTAINS, DOPAMINE, HEARTLESS, SKELETAL AUGURY, IN THE ABYSS and so forth. I’m quite confident to say that PEST has gathered the best Black Metal bands in China. Most of them have MySpace sites which can be used to reach them.
I also had a Shoegazing Black Metal band called DOPAMINE. You can take a listen if interested. Unfortunately this project was pretty short-lived; I’m however planning to start another project.
Any means for fans from around the world are able to get hold of the albums on Pest Productions?
如果你们喜欢我们的发行的话，可以发邮件到pest.email@example.com来购买，或者可以在你们自己那的厂牌/分销搜寻一下，有不少厂牌/分销也在销售我们的出品。我们最新发行的合辑< Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer>是由预言来做官方分销。
If you would like to order our releases please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can search through your local distributors and labels – quite a few sell our releases. The latest compilation “Der Wanderer uber dem Nebelmeer” is officially distributed by Prophecy Productions.
Any parting words for aspiring musicians out there?
If you have any good ideas, dig them out carefully and steadily. You get nothing when everything is in a rush. Keep up your Metal soul!
Once again, thank you for taking the time off for this interview with us! We wish you all the best in your future endeavours!
非常感谢你们的采访，这样将有更多乐迷了解我们，你们的工作很出色，希望你们一切顺利！ 对新民谣/工业音乐/阴暗氛围感兴趣的朋友也可以关注一下我的另一个厂牌：MidNight Records，我们即将出版Peter Andersson(Raison D’etre) 的新专辑，Belborn的BOX以及The Soil Bleeds Black的BOX。再次感谢HMT！
Thanks very much for your interview – making more people know about PEST. You guys did a nice job and wish everything goes well with you. People who are interested in neo folk/industrial/dark ambient music can check out another label of mine: Midnight Records. We are about to release the new album by Peter Andersson (Raison D’etre), the boxset of Belborn and the box from The Soil Bleeds Black. Thanks again HMT!
Album review: Skeletal Augury – Victory of the Holocaust