Death Metal Underground

Profile: Jill Girardi and Dead Beat Shop (Malaysia)

by Brett Stevens
November 4, 2013 –

dead_beat_mediaThose who have been around the death metal scene will remember the name Jill Girardi. Originally a founder of maverick label Razorback Records, she now runs Dead Beat Shop in Malaysia, where she continues to keep death metal strong. We were fortunate to get in a few words about Dead Beat Shop and Jill’s own history in music.

I understand you run your business from Penang, Malaysia. How’s the metal scene there?

Yes, that’s right. I’ve been living in Malaysia for about four and a half years now. I’m originally from New York! For such a small country, the metal scene here is very big. New bands are forming all the time. In the past, it seemed like bands took a great deal of time to release demos and albums, if at all.

But now there seems to be a new crop of bands coming up such as Humiliation, Succubus, Nonserviam and others, that have an unusual work ethic for this part of the world and work hard to get at least one release out every year, if not more. More bands are starting to take note of this and follow suit, which can only be good for the scene in the long run.

As far as shows go, the size of the crowd really depends on the band that is playing and the scene politics here are much the same as they were in the States.

Can you tell us a bit about your personal history, and how this came to be your path?

Well basically I was a lonely kid and metal was the only thing in my life that made me feel better. Most kids discovered metal because the had an older brother, relative or friend into it, but I found my way to Metal all by my lonesome nine-year-old self.

I started a zine and record label called Mortal Coil in the early 90s with Jay Lipitz from the band Insatanity. That lasted a few years with a few releases, and then folded. I then formed Razorback Records with another partner which was very successful, although I quit the label in 2009 and moved here to be with my fiance (now husband), who is Malaysian.

I was going to quit the music business, but I found there was no other work I could really do, having been doing this for most of my life. So my husband and I opened a metal shop and a new label.. to make a very long story short, Dead Beat Media! haha

What sorts of metal does Deadbeat specialize in, if any? Why do you choose this style(s) over others?

We specialize mainly in death metal as I always wanted to stay true to my “first love”, so to speak. Death Metal has been my life for so many years, I don’t think I could change it now even if I wanted to.

I’m not averse to releasing other styles of extreme music, and in fact I have. But Death Metal is the music I’ve always been passionate about ever since I discovered it. I’m sure you understand what I mean…

You’ve recently released Warmaster – The End of Humanity. What do you think are the strengths of this band?

This band has heart. They love what they do and they truly enjoy playing Death Metal. And I think that shows in the music. The obvious way to promote them is to compare them to Bolt Thrower and Benediction but there are other elements in there as well, a little bit of Cannibal Corpse and also a little bit of a punk influence.

I enjoy the mid-paced songs that will suddenly break into a crushing, catchy riff that hits you like a hammer, and the unique vocals. I’ve released probably something near 100 CDs in my time in the scene, and some of them were sheer embarrassments, haha. But this is a respectable CD I can stand behind and be proud of having released.

If someone wanted to get into old school metal today, what would be your advice to them?

Take suggestions from your friends and peers. There is a reason why the classic old bands are still talked about today. Find out who they are, buy their CDs and explore the genre.

But remember to make up your own mind.. don’t just listen to what other people say or what the critics say. Don’t be afraid to disagree with others’ opinions. Trust your own judgment, and your ability to decide for yourself if a band is good or not.


DEAD BEAT SHOP [ email ]
LOT 2B-04-05 4th Floor
KOMPLEKS TUN ABDUL RAZAK (KOMTAR)
GEORGETOWN, PENANG
10000 MALAYSIA
Tel: +60124460316

dead_beat_shop

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15 comments

  • liezahariman

    i didnt know that u were lonely when you were a kid. : ). Anyway, i honestly believe..Dead Beat plays a major role in Malaysia to keep the underground scene alive. I truly believe that.

  • Major Wooody

    ThiS calls for a BittermAn or Prozak review of death metal band INSATANITY ! Why haven’t we read anything from this band in Heidenlärm, ANUS or Deathmetal.org is beyond me!! And while you’re at it, why not add something from Texas deathmetallers SEVERANCE ?
    i THOUGht Prozak was from Texas, surprises me he doesn´t give a d about these band.

    1. Jill Girardi

      I think Insatanity is still active but without any of the original members in the band, though I think some of their older material has been re-issued recently..

  • Major Wooody

    Jill I wonder if it’s possible to make a living of a business like yours?
    Another question I’d like to ask you is if you have noticed there a “different kinds” of metalheads?
    Meaning, this site supports the notion that within the metalhead population, there are intelligent and serious fans that claim death metal is/was an artform, while there is a larger population of fans that would like metal to be “just music” that shouldn’t be taken seriously and scorn those who attempt to do it.
    Is open-mindedness good for business?

    1. Jill Girardi

      I’ve never had a “normal” job since 1998, this has always been the way I made my living although I have to say it is getting tough to survive now that such a large population of people don’t buy actual CDs anymore. I used to say that selling t-shirts and band merch was the way to go, because you can’t download a shirt.. and now they’ve figured out how to bootleg shirts! Haha. I would say anyone who marginalizes Death Metal and says it’s not serious or not an artform needs to be shown some examples of how complicated and technical the music actually can be. You need to be open minded when running a shop because you have to sell all kinds of music to get people into the shop. If you sold only the bands you like, a whole handful of people will come. So sometimes you have to bite the bullet and sell an Asking Alexandria shirt or two. Wow this got long! haha

    1. Jill Girardi

      Thanks for the nice words EDS! Do we know each other? If you’ve ordered from Razorback a lot I would probably remember your name! Please do stop by our shop if you happen to be in Penang!

  • EDS

    Other SE asian nations need this sort of dedication and commitment in their scene. I have yet to find it in the P.I. and Thailand although there are some rabid metalheads from those countries. I bought many a Razorback releases from Jill and co. over the years and if I’m ever in Penang (50/50 chance I’ll venture to Malaysia in the next few years ) I’ll be sure to stop by the shop!