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|Genre||Gothic rock, deathrock, Hardcore punk, hard rock, industrial music, heavy metal, Country music, metalcore, Noise music, Post-Punk, Psychedelic, Reggae, Electronic Dance Music, Alternative, Synthpop, Punk rock|
|Country of origin||United States|
Cleopatra Records is an American, Los Angeles-based independent record label, founded in 1992 by entrepreneur and music fan Brian Perera. It has since grown into a family of labels, including Hypnotic Records, Purple Pyramid, Deadline and X-Ray Records, encompassing a variety of genres with emphasis on unique and experimental artists.
Cleopatra Records has been primarily known for ushering in the second wave of Gothic and Industrial music with an eclectic roster of artists including Christian Death, Switchblade Symphony, Leæther Strip, The Electric Hellfire Club, Razed In Black, X Marks the Pedwalk, Spahn Ranch, Genitorturers, Download (featuring members of Skinny Puppy) and others as well as New Wave artists Gary Numan, Missing Persons, Information Society and others.
Cleopatra has also been a vital force in promoting underground and British Punk Rock bands such as The Vibrators, UK Subs, The Damned, as well as dozens of smaller bands that had never before been released in the U.S. market.
When the revival of 1980s Hollywood Metal exploded around the turn of the century, the company started a subsidiary label Deadline Music to handle releases by Quiet Riot, White Lion, Warrant, Cinderella, Poison’s Bret Michaels and the proto-Guns N’ Roses band Hollywood Rose.
Partnering with European labels such as Lifted Music and minHard Records, Cleopatra established the Hypnotic imprint for a series of electronic music compilations as well as full-length albums by Future Sound Of London, Paul Oakenfold, Superstar DJ Keoki, and Talla 2XLC as well as the feature-length documentary on rave culture Better Living Through Circuitry. Most recently, Hypnotic has been the home of high-profile, and highly prolific, metal-turned-electronic music act Blackburner.
Hip hop acts have also found a home at Cleopatra Records on the X-Ray imprint, which has released albums by SX-10 (featuring Sen Dog of Cypress Hill), KRS-One, Westside Connection, and DMX. X-Ray Records achieved a first for Perera and the Cleopatra family in 2005 when its release It’s Not A Game by Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony member Layzie Bone landed on the Billboard Top 100 chart.
The Purple Pyramid imprint, focusing on Progressive Rock as well as Psychedelic music has been long-time home to releases by Yes, Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe, Santana, Amon Düül II, Nektar, Brainticket, Tangerine Dream, and Quicksilver Messenger Service.
In recent years, the Cleopatra label group has expanded in a variety of directions, working with iconic artists such as Sly Stone and William Shatner. Producer/musician Billy Sherwood spearheaded 2 new projects for the label dubbed The Prog Collective, featuring members of Asia, King Crimson, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Gong and others, and The Fusion Syndicate, featuring Rick Wakeman, Steve Stevens, Billy Cobham, Steve Morse, and others. The label continues to work closely with Prog Rock band Nektar, releasing a 2-CD box set called Retrospektive in 2011, the covers album Spoonful Of Time in 2012 and the new album, Time Machine, in 2013 alongside reissues of the band’s older albums.
Cleopatra remains a strong champion of avant garde, underground music such as psychedelic groove band Brainticket who re-released their catalog through Cleopatra, and was even brought over for their first US tour in 2011 as part of Cleopatra’s Space Rock Invasion Tour (a new Brainticket album is expected in early 2015). San Francisco noise-art band Chrome also saw Cleopatra release numerous reissues of the band’s late ‘70s and early ‘80s output on both vinyl and CD over the last few years, culminating with 7 LP vinyl box set, a reissue and expanded version of the historic Chrome Box, due at the end of 2014. And Amon Düül II, one of the most influential German experimental bands of all-time, partnered with Cleopatra in 2014 for a series of deluxe, limited edition vinyl reissues of such albums as Yeti, Phallus Dei, Wolf City, and others, along with the group’s newest masterpiece Düülirium, released in June of 2014.
Blackburner, Hypnotic’s break out electronic act, has been releasing new music at a fast clip, most recently earning the top spot on Beatport’s Dubstep chart for the song “Drop Bass Not Bombs” from the album of the same name. The duo has also garnered rave reviews for their live performance, which includes their trademark robot bunny masks, steam guns and lasers. The group’s newest album From Dusk To Dub showed a heavy trap influence and included guest collaborations with Lil Wayne, Royce da 5’9”, Kurupt and others.
Cleopatra, expanding its interest in punk, acquired the entire catalog of releases by esteemed San Francisco Bay Area punk label, New Red Archives, formerly owned by Nicky Garratt of UK Subs. The label was home to hardcore punk band Hogan's Heroes, the debut album of politically charged punk band Anti-Flag, early ‘80s New York hardcore group Kraut, as well as an early project from Sunny Day Real Estate / Foo Fighters bassist Nate Mendel called Christ On A Crutch. UK Punk legends The Vibrators released their newest album Punk Mania - Back To The Roots on Cleopatra in late 2014. Cleopatra also released rare and previously unreleased recordings in 2014 by legendary punk bands GBH, The Dickies, & The Gun Club among others.
In a nod to their gothic-industrial roots, the label acquired the complete Wax Trax! recordings of Ministry mastermind Al Jourgensen, including several unreleased Ministry songs as well as albums by Revolting Cocks, 1000 Homo DJs, PTP, Pailhead (with Ian MacKaye), and Acid Horse. A massive 6CD box set of these recordings is due to be released in April 2015. Meanwhile, Cleopatra has continued to work with established artists such as Missing Persons’ Dale Bozzio, theatrical metal hero Thor, The Oak Ridge Boys, R&B icon Shuggie Otis, and blues guitarists Popa Chubby and Eric Gales.
And the label maintains it’s commitment to promoting new talent releasing albums from Bonfire Beach, Fantome (featuring Hanin Elias of Atari Teenage Riot), Siena Root, and Requiem (featuring Steven Juliano of I Am Ghost) as well as working with psych-space bands like The Black Angels, Allah-Las, The Raveonettes, Psychic Ills, The Vacant Lots and others! Slated for 2015 are releases by the newest additions to the Cleopatra catalog, electronic duo VOWS and furiously primal minimalists Bestial Mouths.
Cleopatra owner Brian Perera has also been well known as a longtime champion of British Space Rock legends, Hawkwind. Cleopatra released the final album by original Hawkwind guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton, a 2CD collection of rare tracks and new recordings, before his passing in late 2012. And reviving a relationship that first began in the mid ‘90s with the release of several of his solo albums, the label is once again working with another Hawkwind alum Nik Turner. Turner’s newest and most critically acclaimed album Space Gypsy was released in September 2013 and was followed by an enormously successful U.S. tour. A book telling the story of Turner’s days with Hawkwind 1969-1976 is currently in the works and expected sometime in 2015.
Finally, Cleopatra has another film project currently in development, a sequel to the 2012 horror musical The Devil’s Carnival, directed by writer/director of Saw II-IV. The sequel, entitled The Devil's Carnival: Alleluia, will star Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas) and David Hasselhoff (Baywatch/Knight Rider).
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