July 7, 2015
Joel De’ath runs Music For Nations within Sony Music’s Catalogue team. Created in 1983, the label specialised in heavy metal and rock and famously licenced and released the first three Metallica albums in Europe as well as other giants from the scene.
In the late 90s the label, well respected within the industry, developed a roster of some of the most innovative and recognised artists in the genre including Opeth, Cradle of Filth and Paradise Lost. The label became part of the Sony Music Group in 2003. Joel, along with Jon Cauwood, gave the label a new lease of life in early 2015 and released reissues by Anathema and Spiritual Beggars and recently took on the Combat Records catalogue from New York which includes releases by Exodus, Dark Angel, Nuclear Assault, Possessed and many others.
What was your first record?
I grew up in a house with two music obsessed elder brothers and a father with an enormous record collection, so the house was full of music from every room. I was 14 years old when I bought my first album, a cassette of Megadeth’s ‘Youthanasia’. This was MY music in a house which had so many sounds already, so I really got into heavy metal and other heavy genres. I loved it because it was the sound I owned and discovered.
Who is your favourite Sony Artist?
With a roster that includes some of the greatest musicians and songwriters, including the elder statesmen of Dylan, Springsteen, Elvis, Cash to classic rock including Ozzy, AC/DC, Aerosmith and Judas Priest to 90s alternative giants, Rage Against The Machine, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters and Korn to more recent sounds of MGMT, Passion Pit and Foster the People it’s difficult to name a dozen favourites, let alone one. But my soul seems to return to The King, Elvis Presley. For whom without the world would be a bit like Mordor run by that wrinkly dude from Star Wars. Also, the rumours are true, he is alive and currently recording a new album.
Favourite Track: Hound Dog
What is the best gig you’ve been too?
It’s difficult to top one of my first shows ever; Foo Fighters at Brixton Academy 1996. It was their first UK gig after their legendary Reading Festival performance earlier in the year where people were climbing up the poles to catch a glimpse. I got tickets from an elder brother and it was a complete thrill ride from start to finish. I was lucky enough to join Foo Fighters on tour across North America when a band I once managed opened for them. I got a chance to tell Dave and the guys of this first gig experience, but I think all I achieved was making them feel old. Moral of the story… when meeting your idols, don’t make them feel old.
What is your favourite album?
Guns and Roses – Appetite for Destruction. If ever there was a collection of songs which just explodes with youth and life. I can remember the precise moment an elder brother played me ‘Sweet Child of Mine’. Nothing I heard before mattered. My obsession with music began there and at that moment I wanted to hear everything and as often as possible.
Do you have a cool piece of memorabilia that you’d like to show us?
I’ve been collecting a lot of old original Music For Nations vinyl. Some of the releases and artwork are fantastic. Especially Battle Axe’s Burn This Town and Tanks’ This Means War. Oh… and all the compilation LPs. They are legendary!
Any other stories you might want to share?
My first job in the music industry was as a long haired teenager full of spots and enthusiasm who was a work experience nuisance at Music For Nations. Fast forward almost 20 years and I’m now running it all. Life and the music industry is funny.
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