Anyone involved in Guelph’s heavy music scene will no doubt already know or has heard of “Unkle Rick.” That familiar face we see running shows and banging his head in the pit along with the other fans is Rick Hall, owner of KronikNoise Promotions. Rick’s intense passion for metal and enthusiasm for live music is channelled into bringing us many of the great metal events we’ve come to enjoy in Guelph. Rick never seems to have a shortage of energy and is always more than happy to chat about Southern Ontario’s music scene, so we sat down with our “Unkle Rick” to get to know him a little better.
Music Lives: How did the nickname “Unkle Rick” come to be?
Rick Hall: Unkle Rick was affectionately given to me by members of Guelph’s The Karma Cure (early inception of Mandroid Echostar). I guess it’s because I am like the “cooler, older uncle” who is down to support and doesn’t judge.
ML: Can you tell us a bit about KronikNoise Promotions‘ history?
RH: I started over six years ago. Having teens myself, I saw the need for something constructive but cool for kids to do, and live music shows for under-agers was born – eventually I spread out to include all ages and 19+.
ML: What was your favourite band 20 years ago? What is your favourite band now?
RH: My tastes have ebbed & flowed over the years of course as I have seen many genre changes, but if the music is passionate and evokes emotion, I’m always a fan. I started loving Rush, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, then 20 years ago Metallica and Slayer. And today, I love Mandroid Echostar, The Contortionist, and Intervals to names but a few.
ML: What would be the most surprising artist we’d find playing on your stereo/iPod?
RH: I definitely love more than just metal, so you might find anything from Portishead, Sneaker Pimps (low-fi), to Deep Forest (new age), to DMX and Wu Tang (rap) – depends on my mood.
ML: What excites you about the metal scene in Southern Ontario right now?
RH: Probably that because “the bar has been risen” in the talent department, bands know they must go hard and try to be a bit more unique if they wish to stand out.
ML: What’s the most challenging part of putting a show together?
RH: Parlaying the value of each band I book to the average show-goer is the hardest. I can post song and video links to people, and hype a band until I’m blue in the face, but if people don’t know the band, it’s tough. All else is easy enough, once you’ve done it hundreds of times, LOL.
ML: How do you judge a show’s success? What is a “good show” to you?
RH: When I look out across a packed venue of partying people, and see a pit in a frenzy, and the band feeding off the energy of the crowd, I always get a huge smile on my face, and that’s the best!
ML: What do you wish bands you work with would do more (or less) of?
RH: If anything, I wish all members of each band worked on promoting the band equally – their up-coming shows, their videos and songs, and reaching out to friends and potential fans – but it’s usually just one or two members doing promotions/hype.
RH: That’s easy – two heads are better than one. We can coordinate our dates and bands easier, and it’s nicer to work in a friendly environment, as opposed to working against each other.
ML: What’s in store for the future of KronikNoise?
RH: Bigger shows, bigger name bands, and continuing to bring the best of both to the Guelph music scene.
ML: If money/time/commitments were not an issue, what would be Unkle Rick’s dream job?
RH: I had always thought radio DJ, but honestly, I would love to own a record label – to scout new talent, and set up wicked tours, while recording and supporting rising stars … yep that would rule!