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  • Writer's pictureNailhead Magazine


Photo: Barbara Kapusta | Interviewer: Constantin Jacobs

Siluh Records should be familiar to anyone involved in the Austrian music scene or who enjoys listening to music from local bands. The Record Label from Vienna, which has existed since 2005, founded by Bernhard Kern, is one of the best-known labels when it comes to local Austrian bands. Bernhard Kern took the time for us and answered a few of our questions.

Nailhead Magazine: Hello Bernhard! Thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions! For those who don't know you, who are you and what do you do?

Bernhard: Hi! Thanks for the invitation.

My name is Bernhard Kern. I've been running the Viennese label SILUH RECORDS since 2005. For a few years now, I've also been running a small record shop called SILUH LADEN ( on Wallensteinstrasse, right next to the Danube Canal. I used to play guitar in a few bands, did over 100 shows in Vienna, booked tours all over Europe and played in various clubs, and also did paid PR jobs for larger and smaller acts. But now I'm concentrating on the label and management, as well as the record store.

Nailhead Magazine: Tell us a little bit about the origin of Siluh. How did you start a record label?

Bernhard: I was already very active before Siluh Records. I've just played in various bands and played a lot. I also ran an online mail order service around 1999. The so-called Microbauchladen, where I offered LPs/CDs and fanzines from the German-speaking indie scene. It was all still very adventurous, so to speak, in the pioneering days of the Internet. I blocked the phone at my parents' house for hours because the Internet was still running over the phone line via the modem. Payment worked by putting a banknote in an envelope and sending it to me by post. That was all before the changeover to the euro.

Around 2003, while going out, I met Robert Stadlober, who had his indie band GARY alongside his acting. We then went on tour with our bands. Robert then moved from Hamburg to Vienna and one drunken night we decided to create a label to release music that was happening around us. It was all still very improvised, without a grand plan, just "just do it". Robert then moved to Berlin around 2008 and Siluh was also on hold for a while. But at some point, with the support of my circle of friends, I decided to officially register and run the label. So with tax number, trade license and all that jazz.

Nailhead Magazine: You once told me that you used to book bands and put on shows in Lower Austria. Was there already the idea or the further thought to create a record label back then?

Bernhard: As already mentioned, I ran this mail order "Microbauchladen", where I had already released compilation tapes and a 7" from my band Jugendstil. In a way, that was of course already “preliminary work”, but unconsciously. It was simply the "doing" in the foreground, without a big master plan. Even in the early years of Siluh Records, it was never intended that it would become a full-time job.

Nailhead Magazine: How did the name "Siluh Records" come about and what does it mean in general, or for you?

Bernhard: The name was made up by Robert and me and doesn't mean anything concrete.

Nailhead Magazine: Do you mainly work alone or are there people who work with you in a team?

Bernhard: In the early days I was part of the team with Robert. Around 2010 I had an employee who then also moved to Berlin. In principle, I work alone, but with the help of a large network of people who are and have been super supportive over the years. I don't think I could do it all by myself without help or feedback, inspiration, etc. In a way, I'm also interested in a creative exchange.

Nailhead Magazine: How do you choose bands/musicians to work with? What criteria does a band/musician have to meet for you to cooperate with them?

Bernhard: It's actually very case by case. I've known many artists/bands for a long time who are in my extended personal environment. With a few (few) acts, it was really quite classic in that I/we received a demo and it was just really exciting. What the criteria are, I can now only vaguely answer with the usual phrases: Music I like, with which I can relate, people who are inspiring, enthusiasm for music, etc.

Nailhead Magazine: You and a band have agreed to start a collaboration, what are the next steps for you as a label?

Bernhard: Clarify what the band actually wants. What are their ideas? Make plans together. Support. Exchange ideas. Network with other people. Find other people who can be just as enthusiastic about them.

Nailhead Magazine: Why would anyone work with you and not the competition?

Bernhard: I really, very rarely feel any competition. I think what's really important is that it fits the artists, feels good. And if that means that cooperation with other people is better, then that's not a problem, it's probably actually better that way. The main thing is that the ideas can be implemented well and the music is heard.

Photo: Barbara Kapusta

Nailhead Magazine: Siluh has been around since 2005, what were the biggest hurdles, setbacks or successes in the process from its inception to the present day?

Bernhard: That's really a big question. I couldn't pinpoint severe setbacks now. The successes stand out more.

Working with the distributors was always a bit tricky. I've worked with different partners over the years and I'm finally very happy with Cargo.

Booking was (and still is) backbreaking work. It was and is all the nicer when tours really come about.

Nailhead Magazine: What advice would you give your younger self today?

Bernhard: I think there are quite a few things that I was very embarrassed about afterwards or where other decisions would definitely have been better. That would probably make a long list!

On the other hand, not over thinking everything in the early years is an important driving force so that something happens at all.

Nailhead Magazine: Tell us a bit about your motivation, what has been your drive all these years?

Bernhard: I would now spontaneously say the collaboration with inspiring people. Be it artists, bookers, graphic designers, organizers etc.

Nailhead Magazine: What direction will you take with Siluh Records in the next few years? What successes do you want to achieve in the future?

Bernhard: I am now quite happy with the current status quo and it would be a success to keep releasing records continuously.

My new online shop was recently completed, which I am very happy with and which took a long time. The next construction site is the label page, which is now more than 10 years old :)

Nailhead Magazine: Thanks for your time and the Interview!




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