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With all the factors that make a great CDR/tape label (excellent hand-made packaging, good mix of familiar names and unheardofs, seriously fucked sounds), Belgium’s Imvated first caught my attention a couple of years ago. Having put out some astounding releases by such weirdos as Gang Wizard, Avarus, Davenport and Bunny Brains, head honcho Lieven Martens has clearly made a name for himself, but that didn’t stop him taking a few minutes to fill us in on the label’s background, his inspiration, and why being part of a ‘scene’ isn’t always a good thing.

Why the hell did you call your label that?

My psyche told me to call it this way.

How did you get the whole thing started? How long have you been running now?

I started the thing about 2.5 years ago. A time when the tapes were cheaper over here…. Nowadays, the fucking tape companies charge way too much for their poor quality tapes. Fuck them! They all drove us to the flea market and secondhand shops to buy tons of old dusty tapes.

Have you been inspired by any labels in terms of style/ambition/enthusiasm?

Of course. Veglia Records, a great Belgium label, was certainly a kind of inspiration when it comes to releasing CDRs and tapes and creating nice looking covers. Another inspiration was (K-raa-k)3. they had an amazing distro ’till about 4 years ago (I guess then the beer took over….), through which I discovered a lot of great bands like tons of New Zealand and psych stuff etc etc. great excellent bubbles. Nowadays they Kraak-companies is a bit cleaner (and more sober?), but still, good blokes. There’s more probably…. I remember the first time listening to stuff from Unread, Tapemountain, selected Morc stuff, Gang Wizard jams, American Tapes, etc etc. Yeah, that was cool!

What kind of a role has the internet played regarding your label? Some people these days operate exclusively via the ‘net, whilst others are still very much mail order based. What’s your stance?

The net is swamped with labels, bands, releases and whatever. You can’t even surf porn, or you’ll get an annoying label popup. And that’s good! I like the fact everything gets swamped with overkill. Overkill is good. The net. Ah, the net!

Do you feel an affiliation with other labels out there? Is there any kind of community or so-called ‘scene’ – be it local or not – that you feel linked to?

I guess I feel kind of linked to Veglia, Jelle Crama and his drawings and releases, Audiobot, Dennis Tyfus’ Ultra Eczema stuff and the guys of Mangenerated. All Belgian dudes who are doing great stuff. With some of them, the communication is very good. I even call some of them friends, sometimes.

On the other hand, I don’t think there is a vast clear scene of followers of this kind of music in Belgium, and that’s good. Of course you see the same people at a lot of shows, but still…… too much scene would be too much hassle. We don’t want to end up like HC-kids.

chorus: “Fuck the scene, we don’t fucking need it”
Actually, this is really a part of a song, some crazy straightedge HC-band (of which I forgot the name unfortunately) once wrote. Amazing stuff!!!!

Outside Belgium there are, of course, a lot of labels I look up to, like Scratch And Sniff, Heresee, Mangdisc, Grel (now R.I.P.?), Breaking World Recs, Yeay, LalLalLal, Tone Filth, Deathbomb Arc, Rampart, etc etc. I forget tons of good shit here.

Has there ever been a time when you felt like calling it a day, that the label was too much trouble?

When I didn’t have any money left. When John Olson refused to send in a master after I’ve send him several emails about that matter. When the IFPI hassled me because I released a Bunny Brains CDR. when a big box got lost in the mail. When someone told me the music on Imvated is stupid, braindead and moronic….

Nah man, It’s just too much fun!!! My life is a happy playground… I don’t think I’ll ever stop this! NEVER.

Where have you found bands you’ve released stuff by so far? Do you get demos etc sent to you? Do you ask the bands or do they ask you?

Some through demos. Some through records I’ve picked up from them. Some contact me, some I contact myself.

Speaking of which, do you have any hot musical tips for us at the moment?

DISKOSTER. A drunken mayhem performer. All his shows are darkdrone metalfests. What a guy! Back in the days, he was bleeding after nearly every performance. Nowadays he only pukes and looses his glasses. (Check the www.mangenerated.com site for pics of him and other stuff!)

Who decides the artwork for your releases? Do you have a major say in the matter, or do you let the bands decide?

Sometimes I do. Sometimes the artists decide everything. It doesn’t really matter to me. It has to be comforting though… And my shrink should like it as well.

Got any advice for the prospective new label mogul?

Answer your emails and send out packages in time. I get a lot of complaints since I don’t always do that kind of stuff. (A BIG sorry to all of you out there!!!)

Finally, what would be your dream release – which band, which format, and how would it be packaged?

A 15 tape box by Hair Police. All filled with leftover jamz. For some reason, the Hair Police is one of my favorite bands. I don’t know why though. I think I have more dream releases though…..