Mold Dominion is a new record label co-founded by J.R. Hayes (Pig Destroyer, Virginia Creep, Enemy Soil). To date, they've released titles by Profligate, ATKA, Deliriant Nerve, and Bandit, encompassing everything from black metal to grindcore.
I connected with J.R. to talk about the label's formation, get some insight on its early releases, and what the future holds for Mold Dominion.
What inspired you to start Mold Dominion and how long did it take from idea to actual implementation? Since you’ve been in many bands, releasing tons of music going back to the ‘90s, you surely knew how tough and a headache running a label can be!
My buddy Jesse and I are both music fanatics, and we wanted to take that passion to another level and start putting stuff out. Then we brought our friends Neil and Kylie on board and things took off from there. We especially want to help document the local DC/VA/MD scenes, which I feel are really strong right now.
As far as the business part goes, our goal is just to try and make enough back to put another thing out, so it's really a labor of love more than anything.
Did you reach out to friends who run their own labels for advice/guidance, or did you just take what you’ve learned from being on other labels and go about it that way?
No, but that's a really good idea! I should definitely do that. [Laughs] I guess I just prefer to blunder right into things and figure them out on the fly.
Let’s dig into the first four Mold Dominion releases. How did Profligate land on your radar and what was it about their sound that pulled you in?
I've been friends with them for a while, and a couple of their members also play in a death metal band called Blood Spore, who are slimy and brutal, so when Kyler told me he was starting a black metal band, I figured they'd be pretty sick.
I'm super-picky with my black metal, but I think Profligate approach it from a unique angle. They also bring the evil, which I respect. I'm excited to see what they do next.
Deliriant Nerve is absolutely bonkers stuff. There are times they remind me of Terrorizer, Noothgrush, and Morbid Angel in the span of a 1-minute song!
About a week after we decided to do the label, I went to see my boys Triac for their record release show. These guys were one of the openers and they ripped my face clean off. I'm glad we got a chance to work with them, 'cause I predict a big label will be coming for them soon.
The records are sick, but they are unbelievable live. You gotta see them.
The first time I listened to the Atka record, it reminded me of when I first heard Discordance Axis. It’s techy as all hell and the vocals are apeshit-crazy, so it makes sense why I would feel that way. But Atka is definitely carving out their own lane on the album. It’s great to listen to on headphones because the bass lines are not to be missed.
This album was one of the things that made me start the label in the first place. I heard this record on bandcamp when it came out in 2018 and I became obsessed with it. I thought for sure some label like Willowtip would snatch it up, but it just never happened.
I wanted a physical copy of it so bad that finally I was like, "Fuck it, maybe they'll let me put it out." Even in the crazy, ADD world of grindcore, it's a pretty over-the-top record.
Lastly, I was already fan of Bandit, and that’s saying something for me these days because I’m incredibly picky about grindcore. I don’t remember if it was Dave Witte who put me onto them or not, but they do something really well that most other bands I come across in that world do today: write catchy songs. Did you guys meet through playing shows together with Pig Destroyer through the years?
Yeah, we've been friends for a while and played together a handful of times. Lovely bunch of guys when they're not throwing up all over the place or jumping through their own merch table. When I told Scott that I was starting a CD/tape label, he said that Bandit had been asking him if he knew anybody who would be willing to put out a CD version of their new album, so it felt to me like something that was meant to be. Life is weird like that.
It's funny that you mention how catchy it is, 'cause they specifically told me that was their main focus on this album, and I think it really shows.
So far, you’ve released both cassettes and CDs through the label. Is that going to be an exclusive thing? I know vinyl plants are a pain to deal with right now and things are so expensive on that side of things. Curious if that informed your decision.
I've always been a CD and cassette guy. Vinyl is definitely the king these days, but I feel like there's still a lot of people out there like me. I would be down with maybe doing some vinyl at some point, but honestly, I kind of like our little corner of the universe. It's quaint.
What’s next on the release schedule for the label? Anything you can divulge yet?
Next up we're doing a CD reissue of Abominog's 1995 album, Chaos Unleashed. It's been completely remixed and remastered and it sounds like a million bucks. Abominog are one Virginia's very first death metal bands. Really mean, bruising stuff with a little DC hardcore mixed in. They're local legends, so getting to work with them really means a lot to me.
Mold Dominion on social media: Instagram