Interview with Yosuke Konishi of Helios Press

The news filtered down through the grapevine the other day that Yosuke Konishi of Nuclear War Now! Productions had entered into a new venture named Helios Press which will manufacture vinyl records in Brady, Texas. This hopes to serve the rising vinyl market which has not only not fizzled but continues to gain strength:

Following a 51.4% year-over-year increase in vinyl album sales in 2021 and a 46.2% year-over-year increase in 2020, sales in 2022 rose just 4.2% over the year. Whether that’s due to slowing demand or supply issues that more pressing plants could help alleviate — it marks a significant deceleration following a pandemic-fueled period of rapid expansion.

43.46 million vinyl albums were sold in 2022 (up 4.2% from 41.72 million in 2021). 2022 was the 17th consecutive year vinyl album sales grew in the U.S., and the largest year for vinyl album sales since Luminate began tracking data in 1991.

This seems to be a growth market that is just going to get better, especially as more people flee digital after having parts of their collection disappear for licensing or business reasons. We were lucky to grab a few minutes with Mr Konishi for some questions about the business and his expanding empire.

How well is the vinyl market in music doing against the popularity of streaming services, and is metal different from other forms of music in this area?

I’ve been discussing this vinyl bubble with my friends for many years now and it just hasn’t popped. I think the vinyl format is here to stay at least for the underground genres like metal, Punk, noise and experimental music.

The trend of pressing Taylor Swift on vinyl will probably go away at some point as normie people move away entirely from any physical media. In fact this phenomenon of normal people buying records at Target for $40 each doesn’t seem very sustainable to me. I don’t think that many of the people buying these records even listen to them but rather use them like props on their shelves or pose with them for social media. It’s more of a performative prop rather than something they actively listen to as intended. I don’t know too many people like this so I might be 100% off the mark and normal people are actually listening to the records.

Who the hell knows, but I know that at least in the metal and punk scenes, there are enough people interested in supporting the physical media right now. Who knows what will happen in the future but I will do my best to keep physical media in circulation and Helios Press. I have nothing against digital streaming, in fact I do it daily, but there is something more rewarding to me about listening to physical media, especially 12-in vinyl because it’s more of an immersive experience and requires active/linear listening. What I mean by that is it’s much harder to skip over songs when listening to a record, and a good musician will be mindful of the complete packaging from the audio quality, visual art and texts.

What made you decide to launch Helios Press instead of keeping this venture as part of Nuclear War Now?

A few reasons; firstly, I am not the sole proprietor of Helios Press, and with NWN! essentially being an extension of myself and my philosophical outlook, I don’t feel that it would be appropriate for another to come on as a co-owner of that operation. Moreover, with the intention of operating as a separate entity of NWN! (although intertwined to a degree), a difference in name and branding was needed. While we intend to service the underground heavily, we will make strides to do business with different genres and scenes.

Did you pick Texas for any reason other than our stunning climate?

There were many reasons for picking Texas and specifically Austin Texas. Weather was definitely not one of them! The main reasons were lack of income tax, better schools, less emphasis on politics (left or right), and better quality of life in general. The Bay Area was falling apart at the seams during the pandemic and it continues to get worse. I honestly don’t know why some of my friends are still living there.

How much time and money will you save by printing your own releases?

I am not sure about the monetary aspect of it yet, but I’ll definitely shave off a month or two from each release schedule by having Helios Press. Right now it can take anywhere from two to four months to press a record at a factory in Europe. Shipping adds about two to four weeks depending on the method of shipping.

Are you concerned about the alleged collapse of the American record store, with many of them going out of business?

The ones that are not doing so well are usually mismanaged or not focusing on records that actually sell. Perhaps physical record stores will go away as Amazon and other online retailers chip away at their market. The good thing about vinyl records is that most collectors and even regular passive consumers like the experience of flipping through records in person and inspecting used records before purchasing. Hopefully physical record stores will stay for the long run but I can’t predict what the future holds because the stores rely heavily on normal people.

With this Kickstarter campaign, do you think you can raise enough money to keep the business in operation long enough to be profitable?

Absolutely. Our goal is to use this fundraising campaign to skirt around taking a commercial loan from a bank, avoiding the fucked interest rates. We see it as mutually beneficial to us and our supporters, the records offered will be killer special editions featuring never before heard material from BLASPHEMY, SABBAT, and GOATLORD. A huge majority of this project is self funded, so with the success of this campaign, we will go into operation without any sharks looming overhead to collect debts. By the way the fundraiser campaign is no longer going to be done on Kickstarter, but rather we will run the entire fundraiser through the nwn online shop to avoid paying Kickstarter their 10% fee. Kickstarter and similar companies are better suited for people without a pre-existing customer base. Nwn has a customer base that’s been built over the past 24 years so I opted to not use them. Of course Kickstarter has a built-in community of its own that may not discover nwn’s fundraiser campaign otherwise, however the chances of that group contributing more than 10% is very unlikely considering the fact that almost all fundraiser items will be nwn pre-orders.

If all goes well, will we see more releases from Nuclear War Now, and if so, what?

I am not sure if there will be more coming out or just speed up the process of producing records. I definitely want to focus on more DIY types of releases where covers are handmade, perhaps silk screen printed and records are pressed with my own two hands. I like the idea of being more involved on the manufacturing side and touching every record that gets sent out. This used to be the case in the early days of NWN when I would make handcrafted covers or obi strips that were glued on by hand.

What metal albums that are out of print would you most like to see back on record store shelves?

That’s a good question because pretty much everything gets repressed at some point these days. It would be nice if bands like Sarcofago, Sextrash, Vulcano, Mystifier, Impurity and many other Brazilian bands from the 80s and early 90’s would have their back catalog kept in print and available in physical stores. Most of these releases are in fact kept in print but are notoriously neglected by most physical stores including those around here, with the exception of Eastern Front (NWN’s own store)!

Do you have plans to reprint demos, like Relapse and Xtreem music did, or other metal rarities?

I do a lot of that already and will continue to do so in the future. Demo recordings are some of my favorite recordings by some bands like Carpathian Forest, Blasphemy, Samael, Master’s Hammer, Root, etc. There is something special about those primordial raw recordings made by bands in their very early stages of life. Maybe because they weren’t jaded yet and only fueled by passion for their craft?

How do people keep track of what you are doing with Helios Press and where they can find your future releases?

Thanks a lot for the questions. Progress of Helios Press and NWN! news can be found here:

nwnprod.com
heliospressing.com

https://www.instagram.com/nwnproductions/
https://www.instagram.com/heliospress/

NWN Productions LLC
3607 San Antonio Street
Austin, Texas 78734
United States of America

Thanks Yosuke and good luck with your latest venture!

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32 thoughts on “Interview with Yosuke Konishi of Helios Press”

  1. here for the shemales says:

    …so this is a war metal site now right

    1. War metal is a part of metal now. How much it will endure remains uncertain. After all, Blasphemy was a known quantity back in the 1990s, as was Impaled Nazarene, but the Norse+Beherit model won out.

      1. shemale pride says:

        war metal has grown on me like a juicy girl-cock

  2. Warkvlt is High IQ Music says:

    The man kept war metal relevant despite it never even being relevant. Ever. He is something else and will be remembered as a visionary while other trendy posers were masturbating in their bedrooms to Slaughter of the Soul #712913 released by Nuclear Blast with that blue haired vagynal lady doing vocals (amongst other tasks). He is a certified High IQ Man.

    But… Will he release an exclusive bootleg edition of “Bestial War Metal”? Or “Devoured by Pigs” in Vinyl during Ramadan? That’s what the people want to know.

    1. He has kept a number of classics in circular as well as the “late hardcore” style black metal. Having a metal-friendly vinyl pressing plant may help new bands and will keep classics in circulation.

  3. Tranny grenade says:

    New track from some more relevant war metal

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3Km7q9Ff1A

  4. Brett, you had the perfect opportunity in this interview to ask Yosuke if maybe it would’ve been more appropriate to return to his ethnic homeland of Japan instead of moving to Texas.

    I’m just looking for some congruence here.

    1. No one can answer political questions honestly in the context of an interview associated with a business. This is the nature of late stage democracy.

    2. Robert says:

      I feel you, but shouldn’t people of Sami descendant in America return to Scandinavia since that’s their native land?

        1. Robert says:

          There too!

      1. shit & cum says:

        What is this crybaby bullshit all of a sudden? This is a war metal site now… so grab a beer, a ladyboy and a machine gun or get out.

    3. Probable future Texican says:

      It seems like everyone except texans are moving to texas.

      1. Mostly from outside the JCSA.

        1. Warkvlt is High IQ Music says:

          Was not familiar with the acronym. Googul tells me it’s for the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia. I’m sure you meant something else but this interpretation is more funny.

          1. It’s an unconscious acronym I use: Judeo-Christian States of America.

  5. Cronics says:

    Still buy music, Brett? CDs or vinyl?

    1. Yes, I reject streaming. Technologically-speaking, it’s a retarded idea because it cedes control to (a) the service, (b) their licensors, and (c) all intermedia stops on the intertard. I buy CDs and spend too much money on it, also buy physical books despite loving the screen (but not the software) on my Kindle.

      1. Not a sucker says:

        Anyone that pays for streaming, or buys digital media doesn’t deserve to have any purchasing power.

        1. It seems like a terrible moronic decision to me.

        2. Cumraderie says:

          Lol what u can’t afford 15 bucks a month for YouTube without ads? When you have a full and busy life and love music, it’s the best. I guess you don’t deserve it.

          1. Rational hate says:

            Just use adblock like any other semi-functional person.

            1. Shoplifter says:

              I’m pretty dysfunctional but I can still pay the bills

                1. gargoyle says:

                  you wish

      2. Cher says:

        Do you listen to audiobooks?

        1. No, but not from any ideological position. They just have never appealed and for me, would be dangerous when driving or mowing a lawn or something. I like to read and prefer Kindle or printed books. I also read an assload of stuff on computer monitors.

          1. Multitasking says:

            Listening to audiobooks and the like are fine when doing basic chores and drowns out the cries of sodomized trannies.

      3. Patrick Pearse says:

        I highly prefer physical copies, but use streaming services to save money. Shipping prices are outrageous right now and physical copies of relevant albums are not easy to come by locally. However, any album that stays in my rotation for a long period of time usually ends up in my physical collection. I streamed the new Sammath for about a month, saved up some money, and bought a physical copy. Books on the other hand need to be physical.

  6. Abominable Goatpenis says:

    The Spirit of War Metal: “What is best in life?”
    Abominanle Goatpenis: “To crush your enemies, to collect limited edition pink splatter vinyl and to rape all the trannies!”
    The Spirit of War Metal: “Very good!”

  7. mlotek says:

    brett, you are now officially ghey
    why interview this goof? him and his admins of his forum censored posts, so fuck him and his label

    1. I think what he is doing is newsworthy and potentially a game-changer. Much of what NWN productions has done has been beneficial to metal. You have a point on the forums, but in my experience, jannies work for free because everyone else gets selected out, which means the only people you can find as janitors are the unstable living on disability payments.

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