Cleopatra Records is a 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, Goldenlane, Stardust, Purple Pyramid, Deadline and X-Ray Records, encompassing a variety of genres with emphasis on unique and experimental artists.
Cleopatra Records specializes in gothic rock, hard rock, heavy metal, electronic, dubstep and reissues of out-of-print music.
In the mid-1990s, Cleopatra released tribute albums of goth, techno, industrial bands covering artists such as The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Sisters of Mercy, and New Order. Other goth and industrial acts were compiled to cover songs by AC/DC, Pink Floyd, The Smashing Pumpkins (see: A Gothic-Industrial Tribute to The Smashing Pumpkins), Guns N’ Roses, and the arguably un-coverable Dead Can Dance and Skinny Puppy.
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, Kill Switch…Klick, 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, The Adicts, 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 ‘80s 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 Hard 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 Hot 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, 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 2CD box set called Retrospektive in 2011, the covers album Spoonful Of Time in 2012 and planning re-issues the band’s entire catalog plus the new album, Time Machine, in 2013. Working with new up and coming artists Geri X and Sons of Hippies
Cleopatra remains a champion of such avant garde, underground artists such as Chrome and Brainticket, the latter of which was brought over for their first US tour in 2011 as part of Cleopatra’s Space Rock Invasion Tour. Cleopatra also 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. 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 on a new tour, album, and possible documentary film.
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 (scheduled for release in March of 2013). The duo has also garnered rave reviews for their live performance, which includes robot bunny masks, steam guns and lasers.
Expanding its interest in punk, Cleopatra 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 the debut album of politically charged punk band Anti-Flag, early ‘80s NY-based hardcore group Kraut, the female fronted act Snap-Her as well as an early project from Sunny Day Real Estate / Foo Fighters bassist Nate Mendel called Christ On A Crutch. A new Vibrators album is also planned for 2013 and is rumored to have guest appearances by members of Supersuckers, The Dickies, MC5 and The Stranglers.