Hydra Head Records, the renowned independent metal label, is closing its doors after nearly 20 years, according to a post entitled "The Imminent Demise of Hydra Head Records" by label founder Aaron Turner on the label's blog. Hydra Head, which has released music by such artists as Cave In, Xasthur, Boris, Lustmord, Jesu. Pelican, Sunn O))) and Harvey Milk among many others, says they will stop releasing new music after December but will continue to maintain their back catalog.
"The decision to pull the plug has not been an easy one, and in some ways is a not a choice at all," wrote Turner in his blog post. "The simple fact of the matter is we've been running on empty for a while now and cannot afford to keep our doors open for much longer. Years of imbalance between creative ideals and financial realities, personal problems amongst the label operators, an unwillingness to compromise our aesthetic standards, a tendency towards releasing challenging (i.e. unmarketable) artists, and the steady decline of the music industry in general, are amongst the chief reasons for our inability to continue."
Aaron Turner founded Hydra Head in 1993 in New Mexico while still in high school. Turner, who would later front the band Isis, began the business as a mail order and local distribution business. The label began in 1995 with the release of a 7" by the band Vent. Turner explained his label's founding to Noiscecreep: "There was a dearth of sources for more obscure underground stuff where I was living at the time [Santa Fe, NM], and I was hoping to be able to provide some stuff for the local community that was hard to get otherwise. This was in the days before internet ordering."
Turner addressed his label's immediate plans in the blog post. "For the short term we will continue to operate as we have been, effecting our first step into shutdown this December, at which point we are cutting off new releases from the label. Thereafter, we will be remain operational only in the interest of maintaining our back catalog, with the ultimate aim of repaying our rather sizable debts."
In order to pay down the label's remaining debts, turner is planning a "massive sell-off of everything we can dig up and produce for the next 6-12 months." The sale will include "discounted bundles of CDs/LPs/posters/etc, represses of certain titles for which we still have parts, test pressings, and whatever worthwhile items we can pull together. These items can be purchased either by direct mailorder or the label's webstore.
Hydra Head, which is operated out of Los Angeles, is distributed through Red Eye.