Kate Richardson is a singularly interesting individual. Someone with a distinct role in the metal community as the fiancée of extreme metal godfather Phil Anselmo and the vice president of Housecore Records – one of the most exciting indie labels out there right now. She’s had an interesting life in the industry and if the recent Forbes article on her label is any indication things are only going onwards and upwards for this metal devotee.
Always friendly and always professional she has a distinct approach to the world of metal and a clear understanding of what it takes to grow in the metal world. The festival that she helps to run, Housecore Horror Film Fest, is regularly billed as one of the best metal festivals in the nation and her dedication to the genre is impressive. Considering that she also handles essentially a heavy metal compound and has to watch out for one of the biggest names in the business she can’t help but to be interesting! Getting to pick apart what makes her tick was an honor and made me excited as to what would come next for this fledgling label!
So how are you Kate?
I’m fine. How are you? Enjoying the festival?
Very much so! And that’s what I wanted to talk about… what even is your role with Housecore and the festival in general?
Well, I wear many hats. With Housecore Records I guess I’m the vice president. Phillip is the president and CEO. We are very much a DIY operation. We record at the house. Phillip produces most of the records. We keep our overhead low that way and that gives us a more intimate relationship with the writing and recording. It creates a bond with the band too because we spend quality time with them. It’s kind of a different approach, a more intimate one. We have a small roster but you know that every band on the label we are very much involved with an believe in.
What do you do for the festival as a whole?
Phillip has always had this idea of starting a horror movie theater when he retires, like a “Brew and View” where you can get beer and food and see old films. Then he got involved with Corey and we had always wanted to do a Housecore Festival and celebrate our bands as well as bands that we like. When Phillip got involved with Corey and Corey realized the extent of Phillip’s horror fandom he just said “Let’s do it! Let’s make it a film fest as well!” Corey just made it happen. And we had been talking about it for a long time but he was the driving force behind it.
I like to describe the festival as what would happen if you hung out with Phillip at the house for the weekend. These are the movies you’d be watching and the music you’d be listening too. It’s kind of like that – but on a larger scale.
What’s your background like?
I was in a couple bands in high school. Then I went to school in Grand Rapids, Michigan at Grand Valley State and it’s a very conservative area. I didn’t have any friends for the first semester at least because nobody knew what to do with this chick walking around in a leather jacket with skulls painted on it. But they had a student run radio station where I made a lot of strong friendships.
I started at that station as a DJ and with my knowledge in metal, punk and hardcore I quickly was able to become the metal director. The following year I became the president. We had a really great program even though it was a small station. We were the only one on that side of the state. We were promoting a lot of music and moving it and getting it out there. Even if people couldn’t tune in it was carrying on. We would go to the CMJ convention every year and I established a lot of business contacts who I am still working with.
With my contacts there I was encouraged to become a promoter and start booking my own shows. I was booking and promoting for two or three years. I made money, lost money, I pretty much broke even but I got a lot of experience. Now as tour manager of a lot of these bands I can do it well because I know the other side of it as well.
What is it like tour managing a quasi celebrity? How did you develop the protocols for that?
Well Phillip has a great attitude and established his protocols before I came aboard. The guys can be a handful that’s for sure. But we are very professional. We want to walk into the building knowing that next time we come to that venue they look forward to seeing us. Things can go wrong but you don’t have to freak out and be an asshole. You can handle any problem.
If you are going to be a crew member under Phillip you need to have that level of professionalism and be courteous to the other bands, the house people and to each other.
I’ve been doing it so long though that I’m used to the celebrity part!
How did you meet Phil anyway?
I became friends with Jimmy Bower and Kirk Windstein through Eyehategod and Crowbar respectively. When Down went on tour they had a day off in Grand Rapids and Kirk called me up to come have some beers and that’s kind of how we meet. Through mutual friends!
When you’re running a label with your fiancé how do you separate your relationship as a couple and as professionals?
It’s interesting. We run the label out of the house and then when we’re touring we’re our own thing. The engineer of course lives with us and the studio is in the barn and Mike from Eyehategod lives in the apartment of the barn and bands stay with us all the time. It’s like a heavy metal bed and breakfast.
Do you want to grow that into like… a compound?
Yes. We were running the store and stuff out of the barn and we grew out of that. The studio and the barn started overlapping so then we built a warehouse to store everything.
How much is that self funded? Is it self sufficient?
We’re pretty much self funded but we do have some support from the distribution company. We’re certainly not a major label. We pretty much live paycheck by paycheck but while the paycheck is bigger we have so much more stuff to pay out. We keep the machine rolling. We’re not making big profits, hopefully one day we will, but we are helping peoples dreams come true and doing what we love and what we’re passionate about.
I heard a rumor that people on the Housecore team wanted to bring the fest to new cities… is that still a plan?
Yes. We did Austin for two years and that was cool. Now San Antonio I think is going pretty well. I think it’s really great to do the screenings in the Holiday Inn. It’s way more convenient than doing things outdoors in those tents and everything. It’s not even a block away from the Aztec. The Korova is a little further than we like but it’s still doable. We might want to perfect it here and be here for a few years because every time you move to a new venue it’s hard. I think we’ll do it again here next year. We’ll have a meeting with our team afterward but I think it’s going well. I think we’ll work out the bugs, perfect it, and then maybe we’ll grow too big to be here. We’ll find another beautiful venue in another city and try it out there. Of course we have a lot of Texas people and that’s important to us. The locals can help with creative problem solving. We’d love to try NOLA but they just have so many festivals. That’s why we moved out of Austin too. San Antonio is great though. It’s a real heavy metal town. The Riverwalk is beautiful and the venue is beautiful… it’s cool!
What do you love so much about music?
It’s art, it’s a universal language. Music gets people through so much. It’s a foreign language in a way too. I don’t know. I love music. It can do so much for people on many different levels!