Interview: Randy Kastner (RK Metal Promotions)
NYDM 2016 Milwaukee Spring Bash
Conducted by: Lady Kat Chaos
February 6, 2016
Hail Randy, thank you for giving us this opportunity to conduct this interview with you. How are you feeling these days? Would you like to give us a brief introduction to yourself and how your idea came about for your NYDM Milwaukee Spring Bash?
Randy Kastner : HELLO TO YOU AND THANKS FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY, I AM FEELING FINE AS USUAL, I'M A 7 YEAR MEMBER AND MIDWEST REGIONAL PRESIDENT FOR THE NYDM MUSIC CLUB AND A 30+ YEAR FAN OF HEAVY METAL MUSIC ... THE IDEA FOR SPRING BASH STARTED ON A SUNDAY WHILE I WAS WORKING A 12 HOUR DAY ... I WANTED THE 1 MAN BAND SIKFUK TO PLAY MILWAUKEE BUT I AD NO IDEA HOW I WAS GOING TO GET $150 TO PAY HIM TO COME FROM MINNEAPOLIS SO I DECIDED TO PUT A BUNCH OF BANDS ON THE BILL AND HOPE FOR THE BEST.
Second, tell us a little about how you first got interested in promoting, booking shows, and creating fest?
Randy Kastner : EASY ANSWER, I WAS ALWAYS SEEING THE SAME BANDS EACH WEEK AT SHOWS SO I DECIDED TO CHANGE IT UP AND TRY TO GET SOME DIFFERENT BANDS IN THE MIX.
You did take a break for a while for personal reasons. Was it hard to get back into it?
Randy Kastner: I NEVER REALLY TOOK A HUGE BREAK DURING MY BATTLE WITH KIDNEY DISEASE (DIALYSIS AND TRANSPLANT IN 2013) IT WAS EASY TO KEEP MOVING FORWARD.
I’ve heard you grew up listening to Kiss, what is your favorite album? Who are some of your favorite bands you enjoy from the old school metal scene and new breeder bands that have grab your attention lately?
Randy Kastner: KISS - LOVE GUN, DYNASTY
OLD BANDS IN MY SCENE INCLUDE: BLACKLIST, DR SHRINKER, REALM, ACROPHET
NEW BANDS IN MY SCENE INCLUDE: KHAZADUM, GRAVE REMAINS, PIGS BLOOD
Do you feel there is unity between the bands local Milwaukee Death Metal scene?
Randy Kastner: FOR THE MOST PART YES
What are the biggest mistakes you see some bands making when it comes to booking shows? How often are you booking shows these days?
Randy Kastner: MISTAKES THAT LOCALS MAKE ARE PLAYING WAY TOO MUCH AND NOT PROMOTING THEMSELVES
IN 2016 I AM TRYING TO BOOK MAYBE 1 SHOW PER MONTH IN THE PAST I'VE HAD TOO MUCH GOING ON ...
Many old shoolers tend to get irate about ‘pay to play’, what are your thoughts on this matter?
Randy Kastner: IT'S BULLSHIT
What were some of your majestic goals at being and what are some of your goals you have set for this year’s NYDM Milwaukee Spring Bash 2016?
Randy Kastner: 2016 I HOPE TO BREAK EVEN IF THAT IS MAJESTIC LOL
Since the establishment of NYDM Milwaukee Spring Bash, the festival has been growing over the years. Has it ever occurred to you back then that it would become one of the leading metal festivals in the USA?
Randy Kastner: I DIDNT EXPECT IT TO GROW TO ANYTHING BUT I AM HAPPY IT HAS GROWN TO WHAT IT IS ... PEOPLE WHO HAVE ATTENDED HAVE LOVED IT BUT IT STILL DOESN'T GET MUCH RESPECT IT HAS EARNED IN MY OPINION SINCE IT IS IN A SMALLER CITY AND NOT IN A HUGE PLACE LIKE NY, CHICAGO OR LA ...
You have been booking many shows throughout the years which show(S) would you consider surreal that you have brought some of these bands to the masses?
Randy Kastner: METAL CHURCH IN 2014 AND VOIVOD IN 3 WEEKS (FEBRUARY 25TH)
Do you ever get frustrated when there is last minute cancellations by bands, and what was the worst excuse you were ever given?
Randy Kastner: IT HASN'T HAPPENED TO ME VERY OFTEN
Though the history of the NYDM 2016 Milwaukee Spring Bash, you book well in advanced, do you feel that other local promoters very competitive and try to stomp on your boots to bring a bigger tour during the same time you are having your NYDM 2016 Milwaukee Spring Bash?
Randy Kastner: THE LOCAL PROMOTERS GIVE ME RESPECT AND GENERALLY AVOID BOOKING OTHER THINGS THAT WEEKEND UNFORTUNATELY THE BIG VENUE IN TOWN HAS BOOKED OVER ME THE LAST 3 YEARS WITH A HUGE TOURS .
What other major difficulties have you faced? Has the communication improved between all the promoters or has it become worse?
Randy Kastner: MY BIGGEST DIFFICULTY IS GETTING BANDS BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY FESTIVALS IN THE REGION ALL YEAR AND I TRY LIKE HELL NOT TO COPY ANYONE'S LINEUP WITH THE SAME BANDS AS I FEEL IT CAN HURT EVERYONE'S DRAWS AND DOESNT MAKE FINANCIAL SENSE WITH BIGGER BANDS, ONLY DIFFICULTIES I REALLY HAVE IS MONEY LIKE ANYONE ELSE WOULD.
According to you, what are the most important yet bitter lessons that metalheads who are a part of the scene need to learn?
Randy Kastner: METALHEADS IN GENERAL NEED TO LEARN RESPECT AND HOW MUCH EFFORT IT TAKES FOR PROMOTER, BANDS AND VENUE OWNERS TO PULL GOOD STUFF OFF.
What connections do you have to extreme music other than booking the NYDM Milwaukee Spring Bash and what should we expect from you in the future?
Randy Kastner: I'M NOT SURE YET AS TO WHAT TO EXPECT FROM ME PAST JUNE OF THIS YEAR SINCE I HAVEN'T BOOKED ANYTHING ELSE PAST THAT POINT YET.
As a fan of metal yourself, do you like to travel a lot to see shows?
Randy Kastner: I ATTEND A FEW FEST AND MULTIPLE SHOWS EVERY YEAR IT JUST ALL DEPENDS ON TIME AND IF I HAVE MONEY.
The level of detail of planning that goes into NYDM Milwaukee Spring Bash implies to me that you are passionate about extreme music. How many months do you spend on putting NYDM Milwaukee Spring Bash together?
Randy Kastner: PLANNING OF SPRING BASH IS EXACTLY 1 YEAR IN ADVANCE.
Sometimes you can feel a lot of pressure on headliner expenses… Has any band tried to get greedy to perform for NYDM Milwaukee Spring Bash?
Randy Kastner: IF A BAND IS SUPER GREEDY OR EXPENSIVE I JUST DONT BOOK THEM WHICH CAN HELP OR HURT THE EVENT BUT LUCKILY FOR ME 99% OF THE BANDS HAVE BEEN COOL TO WORK WITH SO FOR THAT IVE BEEN LUCKY.
Are you ever under pressure to keep the package at a certain price for the fans?
Randy Kastner: YES I CANNOT LET THE EVENT COST TOO MUCH FOR TICKETS OR ELSE THEY LIKELY WILL NOT COME SO THERE IS PRESSURE THERE AND THERE IS ALSO PRESSURE IN THE FACT THAT I PUT ALOT OF MY OWN MONEY UPFRONT IN ADVANCE AND HOPE I GET IT BACK WHEN IT'S ALL DONE.
NYDM Milwaukee Spring Bash 2016, will be featuring Acheron, Seax, The Cold Beyond, Bloodgeon, Acanthostega , Heretic, Hexx, Ruthless, Savage Master, Cognitive, Resistance, Wehrmacht, Black Death Resurrected, Destructor. October 31, Bones, Coven 13, and Withering Soul, how has the response been for this year’s line up?
Randy Kastner: THE RESPONSE FOR THE 2016 EVENT HAS BEEN LUKEWARM AT BEST AND AS USUAL SELLING PRESALE TICKETS IS SLOW ... THE EVENT USUALLY HAS A GOOD WALKUP SO THINGS USUALLY WORK THEMSELVES OUT ...
Can you tell us how these amazing line-ups came to be and your process for determining which bands will make in on each year? Can you explain how the process has developed over the years?
Randy Kastner: I MAKE A WISH LIST AND GO FROM THERE SOMETIMES I GET THE BANDS AND UNFORTUNATELY SOMETIMES I DONT SO I GO DOWN MY WISHLIST OF POSSIBILITIES AND BUDGET.
How do you determine set orders? Do you ever have any complications making all the bands content with their set times, stage assignment, and performance day?
Randy Kastner: SOMETIMES A BAND OR TWO MIGHT NOT LIKE THEIR SLOT SO THEY EITHER HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT OR DONT PLAY AS I HAVE NO PATIENCE FOR DIVAS ... I FEEL IVE DONE OK WITH THE ORDER OF THE LINEUPS IN MOST CASES ...
Being a fan of extreme metal, have you managed to get any of your forefathers to performing NYDM Milwaukee Spring Bash?
Randy Kastner: YES, POSSESSED, WHIPLASH, ARTILLERY, IMPALER, BLOODFEAST, DECEASED, VIKING AND TON MORE ...
When it comes to band selection for the festival, what are the main requirements? We are curious especially for the unsigned band, besides being unsigned, what are the other requirements to be apart?
Randy Kastner: I DONT WORRY IF A BAND IS SIGNED OR NOT IF I LIKE THEIR MUSIC, CAN AFFORD THEM OR THE FIT HOW THE LINEUP IS BUILT THEY CAN PLAY IF OFFERED A SLOT.
The amount of effort put over the interaction and maintenance of transparency between the average fan and the core team workers. How difficult is it to find the right people for the job and be assured of their commitment to the NYDM Milwaukee Spring Bash?
I AM LUCKY TO HAVE A GOOD CREW OF PEOPLE WHO GIVE OF THEIR TIME TO HELP OUT WHERE NEEDED ...
What are the three toughest tasks that you have to deal with before, during and after the festival?
Randy Kastner: ORGANIZATION, PROMOTION AND MONEY
What would you say have been some of the most rewarding aspects of putting on this festival each year?
Randy Kastner: SEEING THE FANS HAPPY
Even during your busy schedule during the NYDM Milwaukee Spring Bash, do you take time off from your work to talk to fans and even enjoy some performances as a part of the crowd? What drives you to do that?
Randy Kastner: I WORK THE WHOLE EVENT MINUS MAYBE 1 BANDS SET EACH TIME SO I NEVER GET TO REALLY ENJOY THE YEAR LONG EFFORT OR EXPERIENCE ... AS FAR AS THE FANS WHO ATTEND I TRY TO TALK TO EVERYONE AND THANK THEM FOR THEIR SUPPORT BUT IT'S OFTEN VERY DIFFICULT TO TALK FOR MORE THAN A FEW SECONDS ...
You have seen generations of metal fans attend the festival. What do you find are the key organizational elements of the NYDM Milwaukee Spring Bash that keep fans coming back year after year?
Randy Kastner: GREAT VENUE AND VIBE.
When will you start working your 6th Annual Toys for Tots this year?
Randy Kastner: STARTED THAT AT THE LAST ONE THIS PAST NOVEMBERS EVENT ...WE ARE LOOKING AT NOVEMBER 26TH THIS YEAR AND 1/2 THE BANDS HAVE VERBALLY AGREED TO PLAY.
Thank you for taking out time to talk to us. We wish you guys all the best with your future endeavors with NYDM Milwaukee Spring Bash. Any parting words to all dedication and devotion headbangers out there before I kick you out of our metal throne?
Randy Kastner: WE THANK EVERYONE WHO HAS EVER ATTENDED ANY OF THE PAST SPRING BASH EVENTS AND WE HOPE TO SEE SOME NEW FACES THIS YEAR AND BEYOND ... I APPRECIATE YOU GIVING ME THIS OPPORTUNITY TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS.
For More Information:
NYDM 2016 Milwaukee Spring Bash
RK Metal Promotions