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, Purple Pyramid Records, Deadline Music Records; 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, Nosferatu, Rosetta Stone, 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, U.K. Subs, and The Damned, as well as dozens of lesser known 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 L.A. Guns.
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 The Future Sound of London, Paul Oakenfold, Superstar DJ Keoki, and Talla 2XLC as well as the first ever 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 the Cleopatra family in 2005 when the album 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 and Psychedelic music has produced releases by Yes, Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe, Santana, Amon Düül II, Nektar, Brainticket, Tangerine Dream, and Quicksilver Messenger Service as well as projects by producer/musician Billy Sherwood dubbed The Prog Collective, (featuring members of Asia, King Crimson, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Gong), and The Fusion Syndicate (featuring Rick Wakeman, Steve Stevens, Billy Cobham, and Steve Morse). In 2011, the label partnered with Prog Rock band Nektar for a 2CD collection called Retrospektive, followed by the covers album Spoonful Of Time in 2012 and the new album, Time Machine, in 2013 alongside reissues of the band’s older albums.
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, who has seen two of his Cleopatra albums land on the Billboard charts, including 2018’s holiday album, Shatner Claus. R&B singer-songwriter and guitar hero Shuggie Otis came out of exile in late 2014 to release a live concert DVD, CD & LP Live In Williamsburg through Cleopatra as well as the 2018 instrumental studio album Inter-Fusion featuring drummer Carmine Appice and bassist Tony Franklin.
Folk legend Judy Collins has also found a home at Cleopatra, releasing a powerful duets album in 2015 called Strangers Again featuring Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Jeff Bridges, Glen Hansard (of The Swell Season), Jimmy Buffett, Michael McDonald, and Don McLean as well as 2016’s Silver Skies Blue album, which earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album, plus 2017’s critically acclaimed Everybody Knows album with Stephen Stills.
The label has also become home to producer/songwriter Todd Rundgren, starting in 2016 with a 3-CD box set of unreleased vintage live material called Box O’ Todd and a new concert CD/DVD called An Evening With – Live At The Ridgefield. That was followed by Todd’s newest studio album White Knight, released in 2017 and featuring a host of guest appearances by artists including Trent Reznor, Robyn, Dâm-Funk, Daryl Hall, Donald Fagen, Joe Walsh, Joe Satriani and more.
Demonstrating its commitment to working with a wide variety of acts, Cleopatra has released high-profile live and studio albums by some of the biggest country artists in music including The Oak Ridge Boys, T. G. Sheppard, Collin Raye, Sammy Kershaw, Little Texas, Doug Kershaw, and a quickly ascending newcomer Mary Sarah. The company also established a blues imprint, Cleopatra Blues, that produced releases by Junior Wells, Kenny Neal (whose Cleopatra Blues album Bloodline was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album), Arthur Adams, Big Jay McNeely, Popa Chubby, Eric Gales, Leo Bud Welch and lots more.
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. A new Brainticket album Past, Present and Future was released in 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 in the massive 7 LP vinyl box set, a reissue and expanded version of the historic Chrome Box. 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 effort Düülirium, released in June 2014.
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 Hawkwind alum Nik Turner. Turner’s newest solo efforts, the most critically acclaimed of his career, were released through Cleopatra including 2013’s Space Gypsy and 2015’s Space Fusion Odyssey. Both albums were supported with U.S. tours alongside neo-Krautrock band Hedersleben (featuring Nicky Garratt of UK Subs) whose catalog was also recently picked up by Cleopatra. 2015 also saw publication of The Spirit Of Hawkwind 1969-1976, Turner’s definitive account of his years in Hawkwind told through the words of music journalist Dave Thompson as well as numerous rare and unpublished photos.
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. The label was home to the debut album of politically charged punk band Anti-Flag, early ‘80s NY-based hardcore groups Kraut, and Reagan Youth, as well as an early project from Sunny Day Real Estate / Foo Fighters bassist Nate Mendel called Christ On A Crutch. Recent signings include UK legends Slaughter & the Dogs and Anti-Nowhere League plus hardcore icons The Casualties and Down By Law. That same year, an exclusive licensing deal for the hugely popular Kung Fu Records label brought bands such as The Vandals, The Ataris, Tsunami Bomb, and more into the Cleopatra family.
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. This culminated in the release of Trax! Box, a hefty 7CD plus bonus LP compendium of 101 tracks from the 1980-1985 period including 29 previously unreleased recordings all packaged in a patent leather, foil-stamped box with a 64-page book. The label also published a massive tome of unreleased photos and ephemera of gothic rock legends Bauhaus, Bahaus Undead, curated by founding member Kevin Haskins. That led to a record deal for Haskins’ project with Daniel Ash, Poptone, featuring newly recorded versions of songs by Bauhaus, Tones on Tail, and Love & Rockets.
2017 & 2018 saw the label partner with a number of underground and indie artists such as The Warlocks, Bestial Mouths, Magic Wands, Fantome (featuring Hanin Elias of Atari Teenage Riot), Gary Wilson, Egrets On Ergot, Descartes A Kant, Pastel Ghost, United Ghosts, Holygram, Whispering Sons as well as more familiar acts such as The Guess Who, Tom Keifer (of Cinderella), and Gin Blossoms plus live albums from Jane’s Addiction, Culture Club and Sheryl Crow.
Also in 2018, the label staged another major foray into the world of hip hop through the imprint X-Ray Records with releases by Gunplay, Riff Raff, Onyx, Luniz, Black Sheep, Petey Pablo, and R&B icon Case. The year culminated in one of the imprint’s highest profile releases ever, the new studio album from Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah, The Lost Tapes, and two remix albums released simultaneously as The Ghost Files.