Behind the scenes of Miss The Stars Records

Alex Grigutsch talks to us about his Do It Together label,
and the upcoming Miss The Stars Fest III.

Behind the scenes of Miss The Stars Records

By Glen Bushell

May 4, 2016 13:10

There was a time when small, grass-roots labels were destined to be a thing of the past. With the advent of the internet at the turn of the century, everyone saw a digital future. File-sharing websites became the norm and illegal downloads were the key access point for new music. But something was lost along the way; the passion. Music fans were more than happy to have thousands of songs at the click of a button, and the physical product became a dying format.

Yet time has shown that other than just the music itself, most things in our scene are cyclical. Vinyl is at its peak since its heyday, bands are increasingly looking to the past for new ideas, and setting up a label from your bedroom isn’t as daunting as it once was. Of course, this is largely down to power of the internet once again because without that, nearly all of those points would be impossible. It was this and a distaste for the MP3 format, that led Alexander Grigutsch to start Miss The Stars Records in 2012. “I love to support new artists, and help them as much as I can,” he says, expressing his passion for new music. “Yeah, it’s a lot of work, but once you hold that physical release in your hands, it’s a truly amazing moment.”

Hailing from Berlin, Germany, Grigsutsch initially founded the label after wanting to release a cassette sampler that he had put together from a blog he ran at the time. From there Miss The Stars Records has gone on to be one of the finest underground labels for emo, screamo, punk, and melodic hardcore in Europe. “I was really influenced by labels like Dog Knights, React With Protest, and Throatruiner,” he explains, looking back on the labels inception. “All these labels were – and still are – killing it with their releases. They release such stunning, passionate music.”

Over the course of the last four years, Miss The Stars Records have released a number of records from bands across the globe, including Punktastic favourites, The Caulfield Cult. However the label is still ran from its owner’s living room. “I see it as more of a “Do It Together” label rather than D.I.Y,” he says, expressing that the label wouldn’t be where it is now if it wasn’t for the help of people he is close with. “I work very closely with my friends, the bands, and with other labels, and we have a strict anti-fascist, and anti-sexist stance.”

One thing you notice in a lot of the descriptions of the releases on Miss The Stars, is the use of the dreaded e-word. However for some the records Grigutsch puts out, emo is not a dirty word, and very appropriate to the raw emotion you find in their music. “Emo means the same thing to me that it always has,” he explains, stating to be a fan of all waves emo, from Rites of Spring to Saosin. “Whether you want to call it that, or screamo post-hardcore, or whatever, that’s where I feel at ease. The lyrics, the vocals, the music, it’s almost always intense, and I dig that a lot.”

As with any label owner, trying to pick his favourite release thus far is, for Grigutsch, much like asking him to pick his favourite child. “That’s a pretty hard question and I’m proud of them all,” he says. “I think I would have to go with the Kishote album, ‘Bis Deine Hulle Bricht’. It’s really heavy, emo-violence, with a real blasting sound. It also has outstanding artwork.”

In the relatively short time that Miss The Stars has been operational, Grigutsch has also been able to put on a festival under the label’s name, which will now be in its third year. “The whole thing kind of came out of nowhere,” he says, explaining the origins of Miss The Stars Fest. “I really just thought it would be cool to have a few bands I was posting about on blog play festival together. I put together a one day festival initially, but after teaming up with Melinda from Keep It Evil Fest, it has grown to a two-day event. We are now a small organisation/team, and I’m really grateful for everyone’s help. I couldn’t have done this without them.”

The line-up for Miss The Stars Fest III is certainly well stacked. With appearances from Italian scream legends, Raein, French emo band, Sport, and The Caulfield Cult heading over from Singapore, it is shaping up to be one of the best bills for an underground festival this year. “The line-up is always very personal, but this year it is a little more special,” says Grigutsch, highlighting a couple of bands he is particularly looking forward to seeing this year. “We have the final shows from Careless, and (UK band) What Price, Wonderland? We also have a long awaited reunion from The Hope and The Failure.” Despite the hectic schedule of running a two-day festival, he still hopes to catch as much as possible across the weekend. “I’m always running around and doing other stuff, so it’s quite stressful. But I can’t complain, it’s a total blast and I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

The most endearing thing about Grigutsch is his undeniable passion for underground music. He confesses that he would be more than happy if Miss The Stars Fest remained at its current level. “To be completely honest, I really like it just the way it is,” he says. “The location, the size, and the atmosphere are perfect. It’s more than I could have ever asked for.”

Given that Miss The Stars Records is still a relatively new name on the scene, Grigutsch hopes that it will continue well into the future. It looks promising, as he has releases in the works from Vi Som Alskade Aarandra Så Mycket, Somerset, and Marjory Stewart Baxter, as well as a new screamo compilation. However, he admits there are still a few dreams and ambitions left on his bucket list. “I’m still dreaming of a Miss The Stars record store, that would be sick,” he laughs. “Or maybe one day I’ll get to release a split between La Dispute and Old Gray. I doubt it will ever happen, but who knows.”

Miss The Stars III takes place at Tiefgrund in Berlin, on May 6th and 7th. Tickets and travel information, as well as all other things relating to the label, can be found at Miss The Stars website.