Wednesday 4 April 2018

Label Spotlight - An Interview With Mats Florstam - Owner Of OZIUM RECORDS

Ozium Records are one of the coolest Record Labels/Online Stores I’ve came across over the last few years. They’ve released a great line of Psych and Stoner Rock albums over the years.

I wanted to find out more about Ozium Records and the person who operates this. Mats Florstam is the master-mind behind both the record label and online store. Mats has kindly agreed to do this interview where we discussed how the label was formed and what records are coming our way from Ozium Records later this year.

So lets find out more..

Hi Mats. Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today.

Hi Steve! Everything's fine, thank you; listening to some new music as usual and checking if something interesting turns up to take in to the shop or perhaps a new band to sign later on... I'm quite picky, I can tell you; I only take in stuff that I personally, REALLY like :-)

You own and operate the fantastic online store and record label – Ozium Records. Can you give a brief history of when this label started.

The webstore and label started in 2011 and shortly after that I signed LUGNORO. However, it took a year for the band to finish their recordings, so the first official Ozium-release came out in 2012.

What were the reasons why you started the label. Any life-changing events that help influence your decision.

Since the age of 16 I've always wanted to start a record store/label and the background for the idea must have been that my father had a jazz-club and a label. Many years later, I started to work for Transsubstand Records and got plenty of good advice. You live only once, so I decided to do something to reach for my lifelong dream.

What are the overall aims for the record label itself. 

Ideally, the biggest dream would be to be able to make a living out of it... But the main thing is to keep things rolling in satisfying level.

Why did you choose the name Ozium Records for the online store and label.

You might think I took the name from Monster Magnet's first album, but NOPE. The name was born from the well-known odour neutralizer product (smokers know this..) and the slowly cracking ozone layer, that separates us earthlings (good band by the way!) from the space.

What was the first record that Ozium Records officially released.

Lugnoro - "Annorstädes" · Groovy prog with psychedelic stoner vibes. This was still in the "golden era" of CDs; I pressed 1000 copies - CDs ONLY! And now the record is sold out.

How many albums have you released then.

After I started, 17 releases so far - hopefully there will be AT LEAST 17 more! 

Do you have a favourite album that you’ve released on your label.

Yes I do, to be honest. It is Mamont - "Passing through the mastery door" · It's a very strong debut-album and I love every second of it.

Not a single "bad" track on this album! I used to listen to the album every single day, for about a month in a row; at home, in the car on my way to work...I think that is quite obvious sign of a good album.

Do you have a set of rules and ideals when signing a band to your label.

First of all, I sign "only" Nordic bands. This is because, I like to have a good contact with the band - to be able to see them perform live and because English is not my native language, it makes the communicating much more easier and there's lesser risk for misunderstandings. The band should be able to tour/play gigs and the personal life should not be on the way if some good opportunities/offers come up.

How hard is it operating a record label within the digital age.

I've actually released just one album digitally (Magic Jove - "In the Fields" EP) and it didn't sell that well... Currently, Öken is selling quite well digitally, out of all Ozium-releases.

Are you fearful of the endless and ongoing download culture that’s within the record industry.

No, not at all. CD and vinyl still sells better than digital releases overall, so I'm not that worried about the future of physical releases.

Stoners still seem to prefer the "real deal".

What formats do you prefer releasing more of. CD or Vinyl.

I personally like CD the best, but vinyl is getting more popular these days, so there will be more vinyl releases from Ozium as well - maybe a professional CD-promo or two...

There seems to be a very cool and thriving Independent Record Label Owner Community currently going on within the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Rock scene. With labels like yourselves, Argonauta, STB Records, Ripple Music, RidingEasy Records, Cursed Tongue Records and any other great label that I have missed out. Do you speak to the other label owners on a regular basis. Do they provide help or assistance to each other if needed.

I talk with the other label owners now and then, I really should do it more often because all of em are really nice to work/have a chat with. I've got plenty of help from few and shared thoughts about the business in general. No names, you know who you are! :-)

If someone asked you advice on how to start a record label and online record store. What advice would you give them.

Seed capital! And don't be afraid to TRY. I got the feeling that we, independent labels, support each other and we are not afraid to give a helping hand to new labels/stores when needed. Just go for it.

Looking back over your journey with Ozium Records, would you do anything differently at all.

I should have talked with people online, been more active in general in the social media (which my wife now does for Ozium). Social media contacts have really given a boost for the label

Does Ozium Records have any exciting plans or releases that we can look forward to for the rest of year.

SURFING IN HELL will release their full-length vinyl soonish and ANGUS BLACK is also following the vinyl-path. I really would like to push out more good releases, but I'm currently unemployed - that makes the planning a bit difficult.

Thanks for doing this interview Mats. Best of luck with your future endeavours.

Thank you Steve for the great blog! I've been following it since the very beginning :-)

Words by Steve Howe and Mats Florstam

Thanks to Mats for doing this interview. You can check Ozium Records from the links below.


Official | Facebook

I leave you with Mats favourite album that's he's released on Ozium Records. 

MAMONT - Passing Through The Mastery Door.