2/14/2013 - Though a prodigious number of edgy performers call it home, Bluntface isn’t a typical record label. Based in Raymond, it began as a vehicle for Chemical Distance, a band that formed in 2009 and put out a pair of albums before going on hiatus in 2011.
These days, Bluntface is a music company with an avant-garde bent, sporting a growing roster that includes industrial metal band Varicella, experimental mystery man Bradox64, death metal quartet Dark Vision and zombie rockers Virus Cycle.
But it’s best to start with what Bluntface isn’t, believes founder Otto Kinzel.
“We don’t sign artists and then treat them like they are our employees or that they are indebted to us – we don’t hold them ransom,” Kinzel said by telephone recently. “We’re trying to make it more of a community where everybody involved is pushing in the same direction. It’s like if your neighborhood had a co-op instead of a grocery store.”
Beyond its imprimatur, Bluntface lets its artists choose the best way to reach an audience. Kinzel records as a solo performer and sells his most recent album, We Are All Doomed, on digital stores like iTunes. But his latest project, Fiends of a New Republic, is a free download. It’s a collaboration with former Stonewall Siren singer Pixy Dust, Kinzel described it as “songs that rock hard but have an almost Pink Floyd-esque kind of background – a little weird in parts … but we keep people banging their heads.”
Kinzel believes that with new bands, getting the music heard is more important than selling product. Varicella is based in Philadelphia and is looking to expand touring, so there’s no charge for the band’s debut EP, We Belong Dead.
“They don’t play anywhere in New England, so it was about let’s give it away and promote the hell out of it so you will get some recognition when you put out the full-length album that would be for sale,” he said.
Bluntface works behind the scenes, developing cross-promotions and building relationships with other independent-minded companies like Alteria Motives, a British e-zine; Road Rayge Metal Magazine; 13 Steps Radio, an online station based in Wisconsin; Massachusetts-based Street Team Productions & Promotions; and The Ringmaster Review, a British based e-zine, radio show and podcast.
“We work together to promote each other’s product, more or less,” explained Kinzel. “They give us coverage, airplay, interviews, and in return we are always promoting their features and specials. We’re indie people helping each other out.”
A similar team spirit exists among Bluntface artists. As Varicella books live shows here, a Mid-Atlantic beachhead is beginning.
“Virus Cycle is already going to play in New York, New Jersey and Philly, so we want to start getting this three-state area thing happening a little more,” said Kinzel. “My new band will start going down there, so that will be eight to nine states where our artists play.”
Additionally, Kinzel’s solo work will be heard in writer/director Flood Reed’s forthcoming Slew Hampshire, a cerebral slasher flick starring Dayo Okeniyi (The Hunger Games). Kinzel sent his solo album to Reed late in the project, and the Granite State native was impressed enough to include two songs and commission a third.
“There is a recurring theme throughout the movie, and I will record a song for that,” said Kinzel. “I’m very excited about it. It’s a chance to get in front of a whole new audience of people who don’t even know I exist.”