JUMPING DARKNESS PARADE: DAATH’S EYAL LEVI ON THE HEIRARCHY OF THE METAL WORLD
So playing underground metal is interesting for various reasons. There’s a real hierarchy to it. It has its own set of stars. Its own celebs. Legends. Etc. But in the grand scheme of the music industry, it’s nothing but a drop in the bucket.
Forget Metallica and the huge bands. I’m talking about everything else. Maybe these days, when records don’t sell like they used to and metal sells like it always has, it’s a bigger drop in the bucket. But check this out. A metal band sells 100,000 units. I’ts something to open up champagne and do coke off of strippers asses over. Tour buses, flat screen TVs, WOW WE’RE ROCKSTARS. Do you guys realize that on a major label in the mainstream world, 100,000 units is an abject failure?
I remember a few years ago when Dope (I HATE DOPE SO DON’T GIVE ME SHIT) only sold 250,000 units and got dropped. Dr. Edsel was giving a speech on how he got to do more than most artists ever do, etc., etc. Dude, if you sell 250,000 units now in a heavy band you are goddamn royalty. Like Five Finger Death Punch. Dropped in the 90’s, now is some huge shit. Again, I’m not saying I like this band, I’m just talking about numbers.
The numbers are low. They’ve always been low for most metal, but now they’re really low. If a band on an indie label sells 80,000 records they are some big time shit. Imagine that in the 90’s. FAILURE! Imagine that on a major label. FAILURE! What I’m getting at is this: metal is its own little bubble world with its own set of standards that have nothing to do with the rest of the music industry.
I like it that way. Its not for outsiders really. Maybe it’s the vocals, even though there’s a million styles of ’em. Maybe it’s the fact that to really listen to the music you basically have to be ready to drive fast and red line yourself. Maybe people just need easy listening at the office. For whatever reason, this kind of music is for the few. What’s cool to me is that, even within this tiny genre of music, there is an entire community with a hierarchy and a set of unwritten rules. This is a genre you can prosper in outside of the larger music industry without pulling in pop/rock/country/rap numbers. It’s a small genre, but a dedicated genre.
It fascinates me that in genres like rock, I have NEVER seen an underground scene like this where bands that sell 15,000 units (e.g., Satyricon) can headline tours, roll in buses, and make that money. Metal has its own set of rules. Maybe that’s why I like it. You can’t be in it for the money. Its all about music and lifestyle. If you are lucky enough to make enough money to live, by metal standards you are rich. Those who have actually gotten rich by real world standards…. well… consider them winners of the metal lottery.
Help Eyal become a winner in the metal lottery by visiting Daath on MySpace.