There is a wealth of top quality extreme metal located in France, and Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions is one of my favourite French labels that’s primarily dedicated to uncovering it. I’ve watched them develop and flourish over the years, producing some first-rate albums that I regularly listen to and enjoy. To my mind, if it’s being put out by Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions, then it’s almost certainly going to be worth listening to.
The label has almost been around for ten years at this point, so it seemed like a fitting time to get to know a bit more about the label that has been responsible for unleashing so much quality underground music on the world.
Below are some words from the label manager Gerald Milani. So sit back, have a listen to the label’s sampler, and learn a bit about Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions…
Tell us a little about Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions
Our concept is quite simple: to produce what we like, to share our musical crush, and to help them the best we can. We see the label as a promotional tool, this is why, for us, promotion is very important. There is no mystical concept, just enjoying our passion and sharing our discoveries.
We are an associative label. Our name came from my imagination and defines us well, but also those we work for. “Acteur” because we are actives, “de l’ombre” for the underground aspect of our work: we work in the dark, for the darkness, the underground. That is why this name defines us and the one we work for quite well: anyway, in extreme metal, we all are “acteurs de l’ombre”.
We are trying to get an identity and to keep an artisan aspect; this is why we regularly produce prints, limited boxes…We love this connection with the object; it almost became our trademark. Our musical tastes tend toward atmospheric black metal, marked with influences from sludge, post-hardcore. This is on that niche market of extreme metal that we are. We also like to promote French bands, not because we are chauvinist, but because of the great quality of the Black Metal French scene and we want to contribute to its continued existence.
How did the label start?
It all started back in 2001, when I decided to create the associations Les Acteurs de l’Ombre with two friends of mine. At the begging, we were a webzine, but quickly I started to organise gigs in Paris, among which 3 annual festivals (black metal, pagan metal and doom metal) for more or less 10 years. The team quickly grew and we reached a hundred gigs organised with more than 500 bands. I used to organise gigs since 1996 for the black metal bands in which I was a singer. Now, only the Cernunnos Pagan Fest still exists. I left the presidency of the association following my professional change in 2009: this is when I decided to create the label. I had this idea in mind since many years: I started on my own, help from my friends quickly came, and we are now a solid and steady team of volunteers.
Tell us about the first band you signed?
Pensées Nocturnes is the band with which the label was born. Vaerhon, the multi-instrumentalist, is a former member of the label and was part of the organisation of our concerts. I loved what he did, and it was like a family business: a perfect reason to start the adventure with Pensées Nocturnes.
How has the label grown over the years?
Three or four years ago, I would have not bet a coin on the label. My familial situation taking a turn, I was thinking about putting the label in standby. I cannot spend 6 or 8 hours a day working for the label, next to my own job. I couldn’t see how I could continue by myself, and I didn’t want to give bad quality work. My new colleagues came in the most providential way; they got invested in the project and took over the label. This is the best things that could happen; I am very grateful for that. They gave quality to our activities and allowed its continued existence.
What were some of the important milestones over the last decade or so?
The label took a huge turn with the release of The Great Old Ones first album in 2012 and Regarde les Hommes Tomber’s in 2013. The overwhelming welcome of those albums has been a springboard for the label; those bands performed at the HellFest, Roadburn…
Then, in 2015, we decided to create a division of the label: Emanations. We wanted to create a division where you will get to discover new emerging French bands through limited releases: mostly production of tapes, some Demo CDs and albums. The same years we released for our first time 4 albums in the same time: Regarde les Hommes Tomber, Maïeutiste, Moonreich and Déluge. This was a huge work for the entire LADLO crew. We can also note, in 2016, the release of Wildernessking’s album, our first non-French release for this band comes from South Africa; a band for which I had a massive crush.
Do you have anything special planned for your 10th anniversary?
Yes, in this occasion we would like to organise a two day festival gathering as many bands from our past and current roster as possible.
What does the future hold for Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions?
We can only expect to proceed and blossom through our common passion that is the label. The year 2018 is going to be very busy, for this will be the 10 years of existence of the label: in this occasion, as previously said, we would like to organise a two days festival. We are also working on the distribution on North America. Many releases are also planned : Monolithe, Aorlhac, Hyrgal, Moonreich, Maïeutiste, Pensées Nocturnes, Pénitence Onirique, Clouds of Dementia, but also re-editions : Maïeutiste, Pensées Nocturnes, The Great Old Ones, Au-Dessus. And finally, as usual, we will go from festival to festival with our stand and our LADLO Samplers.
In addition to the linked reviews above, below are some more reviews/interviews for releases/bands on Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions.