INTELLEKTUAL SPEW `ZINE
Intellektual Spew hasn't really been around for a long time, but in that short time it's become one of my favourites. The obvious conviction Bart has for the underground, his pure love of the music shines through in every issue. Do youself a favour and contact Bart today, you will not be disappointed.
Interview with Bart
Corrosion<C>: When and why did you feel the need to start doing a fanzine when it can be argued that the underground is inundated with them? What do you feel that you add to the scene through your `zine?
Bart<B>: I decided that I wanted to do a `zine when I was still in the navy. I knew doing one while being in the navy was impossible because you can't do a real `zine when you're gone for months at a time. I did all the interviews while still in the navy though, and released it once I had moved back to Tennessee. I had for a few years wanted to do a `zine because it seemed like it would be a lot of fun. And this was how I wanted to get more involved in the underground. I had been listening to metal about ten years by then so I didn't just start listening to metal yesterday. I saw a lot of `zines I thought I could personally do better than, and that was another reason. I do agree that the underground is flooded with `zines, but then you make a list of serious and dedicated `zines and that number just doesn't look large. I feel that someone reading my `zine can see that I am truly into the underground. I love this music with every fibre of my being and I think that it shows in the `zine. I'm personally trying to add some new ideas to my `zine to keep it interesting as well. The inclusion of an informal biography of a classical composer is a start. Allowing the readers of my `zine to add their own essays to my pages is another. Issue #5 is guaranteed to have an essay that will piss some people off and others will find it refreshing.
C: Speaking of the biography section, I have to say that it's one of my favourite features. What made you decide to start doing a biography of classical composers in a metal mag? Who have you done articles on so far? Who can we expect in the future?
B: I've always had some interest in classical music, but it wasn't until I took a class of music appreciation in college that I really became interested in the lives of the composers. The professor I had would spend a lot of time giving us the background of the composer to give you a better idea of where the composer was coming from when they wrote a particular piece. I found their lives to be very fascinating, and I wanted to write something on it. Many metal fans are interested in classical some, and I think that reading the essay may give them more incentive to check out a particular piece or composer. I covered Beethoven in #3, and in #4 I covered Mozart. It's not set in stone on who I'm going to write on for #5. I was thinking about changing that issue a bit and writing on The Phantom Of The Opera instead. I saw it a few months ago, and I was totally blown away by it. If I decide against that then I'm going to do it on Joseph Haydn. He wrote over one hundred symphonies and was very close to Mozart. As for other composers, I'm not really sure. I take a particular composer that I like the music for and get some books about them for research, and then I write the piece for the `zine. Who knows who I'll write about for future issues.
C: I've noticed that I.S. has a new addition to it's staff. How did you meet Jeff? When and why did you ask him to help with the `zine? Has he helped to lessen the work load for you?
B: I met Jeff when #2 was out and I was working on #3. He was wearing a Bethlehem shirt at a local concert so I knew he had good taste, and he and I just hit it off. He made reference that he was interested in helping out with the `zine, but I told him I wasn't looking for any help at that time. As time went on, I got to know Jeff quite well and he knew his shit. Our listening tastes were quite similar as well. He was already quite involved in the underground. After #3 came out I approached him with getting involved with the `zine, and he's jumped in since. He's been doing a great job, and he has been professional so far and that's what I expected/wanted from him. He's a full partner now that we're working on #5. He's getting half the promos I receive for the `zine and getting other nice things that come along with doing the `zine. I'm very happy with the work he's done for me so far. His presence alone has pushed me to become a better writer and interviewer as well. He has definitely lightened the review load for me. I don't know how I would review all the material I get now without him. Of course it would get done if he wasn;t involved, but it would just mean that many more sleepless nights before the printing deadline. I am currently thinking about asking another guy to join the `zine as a writer. I need to get to know the guy better though before that would happen. He doesn't even know I'm considering him for the `zine, but if I do ask him to join he won't be involved until after issue #5 at the earliest.
C: What's your favourite/least favourite part of working on a `zine?
B: The favourite part of doing the `zine is getting a demo or an album that I've never heard of, and it just totally blows me away. Having to go through all the shitty albums and demos is worth those few seconds of brilliance. Least favourite is when I'm running out of time before I have to send it to the printers. I have yet to be able to fully achieve what I want with each issue, but I'm a perfectionist. I don't think I'll ever get a `zine to what I consider completely done. Some things just have to wait for the next issue.
C: Why the change to newsprint from plain paper? I've noticed a lot of `zines making the switch lately. Is it mainly a monetary decision or do you prefer how it looks? Does anyone ever complain about the black in getting on their fingers?
B: The main reason I switched to newsprint was because of the much cheaper price when I started getting to the point where I wanted 500 or more printed. The place I use, Small Publisher Co-oP, is a great printer to work with. They are used to working with smaller `zines, and they do great work for a good price. Many `zines are learning about the Co-oP, and I think that's why many `zines are taking the newsprint route. It's also much lighter than normal paper stock so that helps a lot with the postage bills. I like how it looks, because I think it made my `zine look more professional. That's especially true with the glossy cover I had for #4. I get the occasional complaint about not liking the newsprint and getting black ink on their fingers, but for the most part people like it.
C: Which bands do you have lined up for interviews in issue #5?
B: So far we have completed interviews with: INCANTATION, PESSIMIST, SATAN'S GOD, DAMAGED, …AND OCEANS, MORTICITE, BRUTALIZED `ZINE, and SCULPTURED. I just found out today that I had taped over the ZEKE interview, so I'm trying to set up another interview with them so they can still be featured in #5. We have quite a few more interviews set up or already sent out. It just depends on who will get back to us in time to make it in #5. I don't like to announce who we want to appear in our next issue until the interview is completed so not to hexx ourselves. All of those interviews were done by myself, but Jeff has some killer interviews set up or sent out and hopefully the bands will respond in kind.
C: How many interviews do you commonly get into each issue? Do you have a limit or is it just how ever many bands actually respond in time?
B: I'd like to have at least 15 bands interviewed for #5, and that was the number I aimed for when #3 and #4 came out. #2 of I.S. had 31 bands interviewed, but that was because I had a six month time delay between #1 and #2 coming out. We should have no problem getting 15 for #5 and I have no problems if it went in the 20's, so there's no real limit. We just write up a list of bands we'd like to interview and go from there. We had 50 bands total on our list and of course some get cut or just don't happen for one reason or another, and we end up with the number we do. Jeff had some problems with bands not answering his interviews for #4, but I've never had that many not respond. I always have a couple that don't respond but it's their loss with not getting the free publicity.
C: Another thing that I liked about your `zine was "Spew For Thought…". Will you accept anything that someone sends you for that section or will you only print what you feel is appropriate?
B: Yeah, I think one thing the metal scene lacks when compared to the punk scene is the desire to change the world. I haven't written on it yet, but I will soon, I think it's very important to get involved with politics. Our government here in the US is so fucked, but if we got a large group of people getting involved and pushing for some serious change, then some cool shit could happen. I'm very supportive of the Liberatarian Party. They believe in less government control on all fronts. They shouldn't be able to tell you how to run your business nor should they tell you how to run your personal life. I will never not print an essay I receive just because I disagree with it. If I receive too many to be printed then I'll take the most well spoken and argued essays and print them regardless of my personal opinion on it. I know that I have one essay in #5 that will piss off some readers, but that's the idea of the essays. If it can make you think just for a few seconds then it's done it's job.
C: I think you brought up a good point about how long time metal listeners tend to treat new fans like trash because maybe they don't listen to the "right" music or don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of the music. You say that we need to be more tolerant with these new fans…that sounds nice but how will we go about doing it? How do we get close-minded people to understand that a little compassion, maybe helping to expose the new fan to the music you like, will go a lot farther to helping the scene than shutting them out?
B: Yeah, I know there is that fine line that is tough to ride. I still find myself slamming someone because they listen to certain bands. The best way to go about it I feel is to show them that there is this whole new genre of music that is much more sincere and extreme than most. They may like the music, but then again they may not. I have no problem with that, but it's the ones that declare their band is the best in the world but refuses to try some new bands. We'd be better off if those kind of individuals were done away with in my opinion. How to get close-minded people to open up some is even tougher. I don't think that it will happen for many. They want to protect this music for some reason, to prevent it from getting popular, yet they complain they can never easily buy the new CD's. Some people are never happy. I do agree with you that maybe showing some new people this extreme music does help the scene grow. They don't always see it that way though.
C: After you say all that about tolerance of new listeners, you run a contest where in order to win you must give the name of the first Slayer album, saying that it's "more of a poser filter than anything else". Some new fans may not know the name of the Slayer albums as they're just discovering the music that you and I have loved for years. I wouldn't consider them to be posers for that reason.
B: Haha. You're the first to point that out. I noticed that after I had it printed up. No, it's not fair, but I think I got the point across though. Anybody with any real desire can find out the title if they didn't know it anyway. I do agree with just because they don't know, it doesn't make them a poser, but they can look it up quite easily.
C: What's the state of the underground these days? Has it improved over the last few years or deteriorated? Will it get better?
B: I think it's doing pretty good actually considering how little attention metal gets these days in the major press. The metal community is taking care of its own, and that's how it should be for the most part, I believe. The bands are setting up shows and tours by themselves. Magazine and distros are helping get the merchandise the promotion and making it available for sale. It'd be nice to be able to go to your local music store to buy the new Lividity or Limbonic Art, but that simply is not an option for 99% of metal fans and probably never will be. It might get better in that MTV will assuredly start up Headbanger's Ball once again when metal is once again a viable product in their eyes. That way we might get to see the occasional brutal video, but I'm not holding out much hope for a decent metal video show on a major station. That's the number one reason tape trading of VHS tapes of bands playing live is so popular now. Who needs MTV when we can see the bands uncensored and uncut?
C: Here's your chance to promote a few bands, labels, and `zines that make the underground worthwhile to you.
B: Damn, where to start. As for signed bands I particularly like: Bethlehem, Limbonic Art, Pyrexia, Angelcorpse, Sculptured, Therion, Guttermouth, and many more. Unsigned bands such as: Ton, Scepter, Aurora Borealis, Morticite, and Somnus are particularly worth anyone's attention. Labels that stand out right now for me are The End Records because they are doing a very professional job for a new label here in the States. Mortal Coil Records shows the true dedication a new label needs to stick around in the underground. Finally, Red Stream Records will always get my approval for signing the greatest band in the land, Bethlehem. Particular `zines that really stand out for me are Headfucker, Metal-Core, Brutalized, Pernicious, Worm Gear, and Metal Nightmare. All have that dedication to the underground. They all cover what they like and make no apologies for it.
C: Future plans? Plan on starting a label/distro, putting out comp. tapes, starting a band?
B: Future plans I have for Intellektual Spew `Zine is that I'd honestly like for it to be on the stands like you see Ill Literature or Pit at every Tower Records store across the nation, but it would be on my terms. I would not sway from what I cover right now. If I had to change the direction of my `zine just to get bigger then I'll be content staying true to myself and my readers. I have no current plans to start a distro. Only thing I help spread at the shows besides my own `zine is other people's `zines. I do quite a few mass `zine trades with people. I sell my `zine at shows and when people buy my `zine, I throw in a copy of someone else's `zine for free. It really helps bring in people buying the `zine, and it helps out the other `zines as well. I'd love to be able to afford to help a band or two release a professional CD on my own label, but right now I don't have the time or money so that is just not feasible. I'd love to form a kind of noise/grind band just for fun, but no one else around here would be into that so it's not going to happen as far as I see it.
C: Any final words?
B: Jim, I thank you for allowing me the space in your magazine. I hope I didn't ramble on too much here. If anyone is interested in checking out my `zine the please do get in touch. #4 is out right now and it's selling quite well. It features interviews with: Borknagar, Tulus, Deceased, Gothic, Desaster, Old Grandad, Ebony Tears, Viral Load, Mortal Coil Records, Agathocles, Dark Tranquility, Impetuous Doom, Infamy, Red Stream Records, Epoch of Unlight, and Goddess Of Desire. It has tons of reviews, some essays, and an informal biography of Mozart. It costs $3(US)/$5(elsewhere), and that's in U.S. cash only. I work at a local college radio station doing the metal show. I am compiling a list of radio stations that play extreme metal on a regular basis. If you're wanting that address list the feel free to contact me over that as well. Thanks again Jim for the interview. Cya.