The 25 Most Important People in Metal: #17, Karim Peter
As much as metal is a genre of music and a lifestyle, it is also a community. And like all communities, it has its leaders — men and women whose work, be it by design or circumstance, affects all lovers of extreme music on a regular basis.
Throughout November, MetalSucks will celebrate these industry leaders by counting down The 25 Most Important People in Metal one per day. To be clear, this is a list of the people we believe are most important to metal today, in 2016 — not necessarily the most important people overall in the entire history of the genre. Some of them are musicians. Many of them are not. Some of them are people you’ve heard of. Many of them work behind the scenes and do not routinely get to take a bow. But they all have one thing in common: more than just cogs in a machine, they are truly, undeniably irreplaceable.
That metal t-shirt you’re wearing right now — and the 35 others just like it, neatly folded and tucked away in your drawer in all their blackened glory — almost certainly passed through the hands (or across the desk) of Karim Peter at some point along its journey from inception to your torso. As the unofficial Metal Czar of Indie Merch, the company that handles the merchandise needs of 99.8%* of all metal bands — Karim is in large part responsible for nearly every shirt, hoodie, beanie and tchotchke in your collection.
Those of you in bands know well how important it is to be on top of your merch situation. It’s crucial to have someone who’s organized and on top of things handling all of that, which — unfortunately — is a rarity in this industry. And Karim is those certainly those things. But, equally as important, he comes from a place of passion and respect for the genre we all love so much. He’s been working in metal for at least as long as we have, cutting his teeth as a tour manager for The Black Dahlia Murder and working his way up from there.
That dedication shows when your band is one week into tour and finds itself out of Larges and Double-XLs with an abundance of Smalls, and you need more merch STAT — no one works harder to make sure a couple of boxes of shiny new shirts arrive at the next feasible tour stop safe and sound, as quickly as possible. That dedication shows when he gets your band’s webstore in top-top shape, sets up an album pre-order and takes it on good word that yes, this ridiculous new design WILL sell, we promise. And that dedication shows with Indie Merch’s fair prices and commitment to quality.
Karim doesn’t own Indie Merch (hats off to those fellas, too!), but he’s the bridge between metal bands and their fans, the one who keeps things moving. In anyone else’s hands, taking care of the merch needs of almost every metal major label and all of their bands would be a veritable shit show; in Karim’s it’s a well-oiled machine.
*scientifically researched, wholly accurate number