Why Holy Roar Records still fight for the underground
￼As independent label Holy Roar celebrates 10 years of bringing the noise, founder Alex Fitzpatrick tells us why he’ll continue to fight for underground music
"When you strip everything away, it comes down to me being an obsessive, daft twat about music!” laughs Alex Fitzpatrick, sitting in the Hammer offices sipping his black coffee.
His words could describe many of us, but Alex is reflecting on why he started his own label, Holy Roar. Named after a Torche song, it’s home to some of the most exciting hardcore and metal bands in the UK, including melodic hardcore stalwarts More Than Life, sci-fi doomlords Slabdragger and emotive post-hardcore merchants We Never Learned To Live, and is about to celebrate its 10th birthday with a show headlined by success story Rolo Tomassi – which is no mean feat for an independent label.
The seeds of Holy Roar were planted in the unlikely setting of the Gloucestershire countryside – not somewhere you associate with shapeshifting noise – where Alex grew up. As a teenager, he’d sit in his room, playing PlayStation and buying and consuming as much music as he could from the likes of Korn and Chimaira. When he moved to Birmingham for university in 2001, he started a webzine, put on shows for bands such as Throwdown and Darkest Hour, and released EPs from local bands Sika Redem and Numinor.
Alex also became known for hosting shows at his house, with bands like UKHC mob November Coming Fire and hardcore experimentalists Trencher kicking his front room to pieces. (A young Bring Me The Horizon were also once booked to play, but had to cancel after, er, breaking down on the motorway.)
In 2004, he and his then-girlfriend Ellen moved to London. Her dad loaned them around £8,000 to continue putting on gigs, and the money was eventually invested in launching Holy Roar.