Bearded Label Love: Holy Roar

In our ongoing series of looking at our favourite independent record labels, Bearded grab a few words with Alex Fitzpatrick, a man who's in it for the love of it. Welcome to the passionate sounds of Holy Roar.

Posted on Jan 14th, 2011 in Features and Interviews, Holy Roar / By Peter Clark
Bearded Label Love: Holy Roar A look at the Holy Roar roster has a tendency to get the saliva glands flowing, whether you’re storing up enough phlegm for an in-the-moment explosion, or soothing your throat for some almighty screams, bands like Hang The Bastard, Brontide, Maths, and Run, Walk, do nothing if not stir up some passion within your bones, fist clenched, on the edge of alyssum.

After dragging our carcasses from the sweat fuelled pit on the dance floor, Bearded decided to find out the story of the label responsible for our neck aches ( and also the label with possibly the greatest logo ever).

Hello! First off, who the heck are you and what do you do?

Hi, I'm Alex, I'm 27, I live and work in Crystal Palace in South London. I run Holy Roar Records and co-manage Rolo Tomassi.

Where does the name Holy Roar come from?

There is a song called 'Holy Roar' by a band called Torche. When the label was started we searched through our record collection looking for names, and this stuck. Luckily Torche are one of the greatest bands.

How does the average day go for you?

Luckily there isn't really an average day. There are days where I am out'n'about in central London meeting up with PR people, distributors, publishers, people from other labels, bands and such, there are days where i'm in the post office with sacks of orders, there are days where i'm sorting artwork for releases, designs for t-shirts, uploading content, organising new releases, checking out bands, updating the website and our various social media bits'n''s never the same thankfully.

How did the label start out?

We started at the beginning of 2006 when myself and Ellen (co-conspirator) moved to London. I had put out a couple of very minor releases when we lived in Birmingham, but really started to make a go of it as an aside to the day job when we moved to London. Our first releases came out in the summer of 2006.


Holy Roar seems to specialise in hardcore and aggressive sounds. What is it you look for in bands/artists to garner your time and effort?

I agree that this is generally what we release - but i think to call us a hardcore or metal label would not quite be the truth. We have releases by Dananananaykroyd, Pulled Apart By Horses, Gallops, Youves and other artists that have crossed over into electronica, post-rock, acoustic and indie. Musically all I look for is an ethos, an attitude, an isn't limited by musical genre - although obviously I am aware of what we are and who we appeal to - so it would be pointless us releasing a trance single for example. Beyond this - I will pretty much release anything i think is good in limited quantities, or if a band is working hard, touring alot and such then we can look at doing bigger and better things. There is a direct correlation between records sold and number of shows played!

What drives you to keep pushing to discover and promote new music? How do you measure success?

I have no idea, it's not money that's for sure! I just love music, and love having a (small) platform from which to get other people to hear it, and from to package it nicely and get it out there! It's just a drive inside me, a drive for new bands and supporting our current bands, that never stops. Music is better than anything else. As for success - I measure it in people enjoying the bands, good shows, people saying they enjoy the records, people in other countries finding us and becoming big fans, peers and people i look up to saying that they like what we are doing!

You put out a lot or small run pressings of merch. Is this to try and reclaim a magical/personal feel to products in a market filtered with mass produced mp3 files and swagger?

There isn't a huge amount of thought behind it really - I don't have a lot of room to store vast quantities of merch and I don't want to be left with a pile of unsold shirts or jumpers! So we make small batches, hope they sell and then make more if it works. I DO however want people to feel part of something, a bit of a club, I like seeing people wearing our stuff, it rules, and I know I have an instant connection with them! I want them to feel like they belong to something they believe in. I want our logo just to be a stamp of quality..

What have been some of the highlights and lowlights in the 4 years of Holy Roar?

Highlights have been the success and response to Rolo Tomassi, Throats and recently Hang The Bastard and Brutality Will Prevail. Alot of the bands we have worked with have done some mindblowing stuff - like Holy State supporting Biffy Clyro at Wembley Arena for example, or Rolo Tomassi playing to 10,000 people at Reading Festival......lowlights were Pinnacle going bust and us having to suffer some of the financial consequences, likewise with a manufacturer we used - we lost £1000 there, which was a lot to us! We might have made a musical mis-step or two, but it wouldn't be fair to name them....


In an ever changing world of music formats and distribution, how do/are you evolving and keeping current with the current scene, and where do you see the future of Holy Roar heading?

There is certainly a bit of a swing to vinyl, and we sell more vinyl than ever before, which is cool.....until i have to lug it to the post office. But generally I guess we try and release as much music as possible without compromising quality - therefore putting less emphasis on breaking-even with a single we are generally making more, smaller releases, putting less financial pressure on any one release. As for the future - we will be clubbing together with a couple of other labels to give ourselves more clout in various ways, nationally and internationally, without compromising what or who we are at all. Vinyl will continue to be a big thing for us and I think merchandise will be more important. I think our baby logo has a lot left in it yet!

Any advice for someone wanting to start up their own record label?

I get asked this quite often and advice right now would just be to work very closely with 1-3 bands and see if you can do almost everything for them in a way......and make sure the band is amazing. It's a stupidly hard marketplace out there right now, so it has to be pure passion, and not done on any gainful fiscal basis!

If a multi-million pound corporate label asked you to go work for them, would you?

How much are they paying me? Regardless - it is very unlikely at this stage. It would have to be an amazing offer of some kind!

Do you have an ethos or a mantra?

Good people, honesty, sweet music, energy, fun, HARD WORK.