As a companion piece to our Les Acteurs de l’Ombre label profile (read a catalgogue review snapshot here) I had an email conversation with label founder and head honcho Gérald Milani, here’s what he has to say:
Can you tell us a bit about your background, and the labels?
It all began in 2001 when I decided to create the association Les Acteurs de l’Ombre with two friends of mine. We started off as a webzine then I quickly moved on to organizing shows in Paris, including three yearly festivals dedicated to Black Metal, Pagan Metal and Doom Metal for about ten years. The team got bigger over the years and Les Acteurs de l’Ombre has organized about 100 shows and worked with over 500 bands. I started organizing shows in 1996, mostly for the Black Metal bands in which I was doing vocals. Only the Cernunnos Pagan Fest remains today and the Webzine gets by. I decided to let someone else take the lead of the association in 2009 due to professional reasons, which is when I offered to start a label related to the association. I started by myself and many friends helped along the way. Today, we are a tight and stable team of volunteers.
Where does the name Les Acteurs De L’Ombre come from?
This name came straight from my imagination. Acteur because we are active, de l’ombre because of the Underground aspect : we are working in the shadows for the shadows. This term represents us as well as those we work for. In Extrem Metal, we all are Acteurs de l’Ombre.
Is there anything in particular you look for in the bands on your roster?
The label started out with PENSÉES NOCTURNES. Vaerhon, the man behind the band, was a member of the association and was helping us organizing shows. I liked his music and it was important to me to work with “family” so to speak. Pensée Nocturnes was the perfect band to start with.
Today, before deciding to work with a band or an artist, there are several aspects that we take into account. Last year, we started EMANATIONS, which is a sub-division of the label created to release cassette tapes and CDs of less experimented bands, fresh out of the demo days if you will. In order to work with LADLO (Les Acteurs de l’Ombre) it is necessary that the vast majority of the team enjoy the band’s music. We all have different taste in music and everybody’s opinion matters. Just by looking at our roster, it is pretty obvious that, although all of our bands are influenced by Black Metal, they also have their very own sound, universe and approach of the style. It is also extremely important for us to be able to talk to the band easily and to share similar ideas regarding our future collaborative work. We see each album as a team effort and we expect the band to be completely involved. It is necessary for the artistic concept and artwork to match the music and the final product should be flawless (at least to our eyes and ears). We support the bands in all of their choices. We only release a limited amount of bands every year, which is why quality is extremely important to us. Last but not least, we think it is important for a band to play live shows as it helps the promotional aspect a great deal.
Does the label have a particular ethos/outlook, and if so, what is it?
Our concept is quite simple, we want to release albums we like, help we bands we believe in and try to offer them as much exposure as we possibly can. We use the label as a promotion tool, which is why we dedicate a lot of time and effort to promote our bands. There is no mystical concept behind the label. The idea is simply to help out bands and to follow our passion.
Best/favourite bands on your roster?
I am absolutely obsessed by WILDERNESSKING, a Black metal / Post Rock band from South Africa. They combine a wide array of influences and give it their very own spin to cover a spectrum of emotions that really speak to me. The release date is set to February 20th and I listen to it at least twice a day. I’ve been keeping an eye on them since their first album in 2011 and I have been waiting to work with them since. We just released a LP mixing their 2 Ep with some bonus tracks. We will also be working on their 3rd album on CD/LP/ Tape support, for marsh 2017.
Their last album goes beyond our expectations and they won the entire team’s heart. WILDERNESSKING is from Cape Town (South Africa), they surprised us with their music free from the frozen style of the genre, they go on and explore emotional sonorities. Mixing influences and bringing post-rock structure with tortured vocals and blast-beats from Black-metal, WILDERNESSKING travels from one world to the other with great fluidity: giving birth to a progressive, immersive and addictive music.
Furthermore, I was taken with the REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER live performance. I was really blown at our release party, this past September, as much as I was the first time I saw them, asking them to join the label ; even if between this last show and the first one, I saw them more than ten times. Yet, even with one year of silence, they came back, stronger, taking a new step in terms of professionalism and scenic performances: a real mastodon!!! They are real hard-worker, they deserve what is happening to them. I personally think that REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER is among the best French artist in terms of live performances.
What do the next five years have in store for LADLO?
We don’t know what the future might holds. Because of our activity’s status, everything could end in the blink of an eye. We all are volunteer, we all have a job, a family, a house… We direct the label during our free time, and it is not always easy. We all have a huge impact on the label, and if one of us stops, the label will suffer that loss: but as long as we can continue, that is ok. We do not have flashiness or great project to come, we just want to continue to enjoy ourselves. But it is now obvious that the label gains in popularity as our bands does, leading to an increase in terms of work for us (more promotion, re-issue, …). We also have to lower our ambition, we don’t want to be overflown by too many commitments; we want to give the best on every release, especially in terms of promotion. We have to refuse bands every day, even famous bands. Our release are all booked until the end of 2017.
And finally, is there anything you want people to know about the label that we haven’t already covered?
There is so many things to say… I think most of the readers don’t know the label, I would like to invite them to discover what we do at http://ladlo.bandcamp.com/
Moreover, every year since 2012 we produce a Sampler to promote our release of the year. It is free with any purchase and also available on streaming at :
Feel free to come and visit our website http://www.lesacteursdelombre.net/productions/
And enjoy yourself at: http://www.lesacteursdelombre.net/productions/v2/shop-3/
Thanks for supporting us.
Visit the LADLO Store HERE.
By Mike Tasak