EXTREME METAL FANZINE.
Hail Gab ! I hope you guy are doing fine ! Well FOEDUS AETERNUS ZINE was created in June 2001 and I was the sole member of the project. The idea came suddenly : “What if I would create a fanzine” ? Then I decided it would be based on Extreme Metal as it is simply my favourite style. During the year 2003, a guy you surely know joined the fanzine : please applause Mister Olivier “Asphyx” ! Then at the end of the same year, Thibaut “NMI” also joined our project, and now the team is complete. Olivier has become an indispensable member insofar as he entirely takes care of the page-setting and layout, I can tell you he spent a thousand hours on our latest issue ah ah ! Thibaut also integrated the crew to write some excellent reviews and interviews. I think this is the best “line-up” I could have dreamt of ! These guys rule! Back to the second part of your question, I would say the reason why I decided to create FAZ deals with my attachment to paper zines : I guess webzines are too numerous, even if there are some good ones. And second reason, I wanted to support the bands I like through interviews, reviews, etc. Simple, huh ? And I forgot to mention it was written in French!
2. Did the highlines of your zine evolve through the years, and if so, which were the reasons?
Yeap, if you have a look on FAZ#1 and FAZ#8, I bet you will say : “Man, you’re laughing at me, this is not the same fanzine”. Issues 1 to 4 were naïve, with a modest page-setting, you know, a kind of clumsy cut & paste… When Olivier arrived, FAZ#5 had another aspect and was realised in a more mature way. This issue was a kind of transition in the evolution of the fanzine. When FAZ#6 was released, I was amazed by the quality of the work : this is definitely the real turning point of FAZ story. We released issues 7 & 8 in the same state of mind and we hope we improved even more. Roughly speaking, I would say the turning point of FAZ’s evolution deals with the arriving of Olivier. This guy is gifted for page-setting and layout, but also for writing original interviews and personal reviews. Here are the reasons of our highline evolution.
3. How would you convince a metalhead to order a copy of your zine? How would you convince a distro to order 5-10 copies of it?
Each FAZ issue
is released in a limited and hand-numbered edition, so for those
who appreciate limited and rare stuff, I guess it’s a good deal.
We already have a strong supporters base and we always need more
readers of course ! So if you are into Black Metal, Death Metal
or Thrash Metal, it’s time for you to get a copy!
4. What's a good review in your opinion? Does it need to be totally objective, subjective, or a mix of both? Do you think the reviewer has to bring some personal opinions or deliriums?
It’s an excellent
but thorny question. Not easy to give a “perfect” answer. To my
mind, a review needs to show a mix of objective and subjective aspects.
It must be objective in the way you describe the music style of
the album (the reader should have an idea of how it sounds according
to your description) and it must be subjective insofar as you have
to give your own opinion. The difficulty is to balance both parts
in an attractive manner of writing without being annoying. Sometimes
you have some additional difficulties, such as lack of inspiration
(this is terrible, believe me), it may be due to your current mood,
but also to the way the album sounds (sometimes I’m not inspired
to write a review about an album because it is too commonplace and
uninspiring – this is the most difficult moments).
5. How many times do you need to listen to a release to be able to decently review it? How do you know when you've really overviewed the realistic qualities and bad points of a release: is there a special feeling or something?
but hard to answer again. It depends on the album, on the mood you
are in for writing the review, on the weather outside, on the quality
of the bestial fuck you had the day before or on the results of
your favourite football team ah ah !! Seriously, I generally have
a precise opinion after 3 careful listenings, but sometimes I need
more, but also less. A very mediocre album doesn’t demand me to
spend hours and hours on it, you know…
6. Do you think a zine maker can be really objective when he has to deal with a lot of music? He hasn't the same point of view than the fans who have access to really few music and who have to pay to own the real release... What's your opinion about it?
I don’t really see what you mean. The fact to get a lot of music or just a few records doesn’t influence the way you analyse albums. I guess you make a parallel between the huge number of releases a zine maker can get and his writing process, thus implying that he has so many stuff to review that he cannot be objective, but this is a false problem. If you have devotion for your passion, you don’t define your objectivity level from the number of releases you are sent.
7. How would you define objectivity? In my opinion it needs a decent knowledge of the kind of music (The reviewer has to know quite well the kind of music he deals with and to be into it for several years), as well as taking distance from several years of experience and personal feelings, so this objectivity isn't really objective ;-) So do you think objectivity really exists concerning the reviews of music?
Your definition of objectivity is one of the best I’ve ever heard. You’re right to emphasize that a reviewer must know the musical genre he deals with. I guess he has to be into it for a certain number of years. But as you mention, absolute objectivity cannot exist as you inevitably speak your mind in your writings, but do we have to reach perfect objectivity ? I don’t think so, it would be boring to read same reviews everywhere… It’s important to have the opinion of the reviewer even if you don’t share it.
8. Do you think there's an objectivity being conditioned by the pressures of labels and good-thinking fans?
Eh eh ! This
is true for mainstream magazines but not for honest fanzines like
FAZ ! When I read reviews in the French official Metal magazines
(no use quoting names, you know what I’m talking about), I’m always
surprised that everything is well rated, all reviewed albums are
excellent, etc. This is not the reality as these magazines have
a kind of pressure from labels. The more you write good stuff about
an album, the more you get money from labels for advertising, right?
9. Do you or did you play in a band? Do you think it's helpful when you have to review some music? In a way it could help you to see easily when a band uses void-filling riffs or didn't finish its songs well...
! Yeap, I perform in 2 bands called DEVILISH ERA (sick & depressive
Black Metal) and WOLOK (This is your favourite Gab ! Keep on supporting
us and all Luc’s projects ! Ah ah !). And it exactly deals with
what you say : being in a band enables you to analyse an album from
a musician’s point of view ! Sometimes you notice some riffs are
not very good, and you can deduce it deals with what you accurately
call “void-filling riffs”.
10. What's your opinion about the guys who say "If you can't do better, more technical, or anything... Shut the fuck up!" It's a quite too easy argument! A guy shouldn't bother being a skilled musician to have an opinion on music, since it's mostly a fan and listener's point of view! Do you think those who say so are rather frustrated musicians who spent years working on the technicality of their guitar playing, or rather fans of technial music who like it very cerebral?
I agree with you insofar as you cannot claim “this band is not technical, so it sucks”, this is a very narrow-minded point of view. Some styles are technical, but others are not. The “technicality” depends on the musical genre. Black Metal is principally not technical and aims at creating atmospheres, whereas Death Metal has a more “demonstrative” aspect. I personally worship technical Death Metal such as NECROPHAGIST, SUFFOCATION, MISERY INDEX, DECREPIT BIRTH, etc., but I also venerate old fucking Black Metal without any technique, you have to be open-minded if you want to write for a fanzine. Guys who base a review on the technical level of a band are just totally wrong. You can use this argument for one or two albums if it is justified, but you cannot use it systematically as some reviewers do !
11. How many promos do you receive each week? Each month?
It depends on periods. Some months I can get up to 20 promos, and sometimes I get nothing… But the more you get promos, the worst musical results are ! Actually, when I get only a few releases, they are all ok, but sometimes when I get tons of promos, most of them are bad. Strange phenomenon huh huh !
12. Did you voluntarily contact many labels so that they send you their promotional stuffs, or did the promotional stuffs came little by little in your mailbox, without any request, as you kept doing your zine, mostly reviewing stuffs from your collection?
I did never beg for some promos. I started (and still keep on) reviewing the stuff I buy. I’m a big consumer : I can buy up to 20 albums a month. No fucking downloading !! But just after the release of FAZ#3, bands and labels sent me many releases, it enabled me to discover interesting bands, really… But all in all, I get too many average releases, so I would prefer receiving far less promos that would all be qualitative ! Ah ah !
13. Are you in contact with some societies who work for the promotion of several labels and usually send the zines many albums? Needless to say some of these "companies" aren't well targeted and happen to send the zines some stuffs that has nothing to do with its highlines! (It's sometimes quite hard to stop them in their promotional mailbombings! They've got many enjeweled arguments to keep the zines working for them...And they don't easily understand if someone do not want it! lol). Did you meet this kind of troubles? If you receive some albums that has nothing to do with your zine, do you review it anyway?
Well it never happened to me. There is no “company” sending me this kind of stuff. Anyway, I sometimes get releases that have nothing to deal with FAZ musical orientation, but I do review them anyway if it is useful ! I mean if I get something that has nothing to do with the zine AND that is totally worthless, I won’t write a word about it and will explain to the sender that it’s no use reviewing it. Logical I guess. But generally, I get releases fitting our musical tastes, so there’s no problem.
14. Do you think it remains useful to receive promos? After all it's easy to download many Mp3s and one could run his zine reviewing mostly stuffs he enjoy... and not bother listening 15 times stuffs he would have never paid interest to... In my opinion a zine being run almost without any promo would really turn into a FANzine! Only the best stuffs would gain promotion, while the less interesting ones would remain unnoticed: It would be a NATURAL selection! Do you think it's utopian and I should stop drinking strawberry-milk or what...?
Ah ah !! Well
your reflections are very fascinating man ! I had never thought
that way before ! This concept of natural selection is not utopian,
you are free to review only releases that you regard as the best
ones, but wouldn’t it be a little bit annoying to read excellent
reviews only ? I totally agree with you when you make the parallel
with the “FANzine” definition, in your reflection, you associate
the word “fan” to “bands”, whereas most people – including me in
a certain way – relate the word “fan” to “musical genre”, thus implying
that you have to support the genre as a whole.
15. What's the best way to run a zine in your opinion: To remain quite distant from the whole underground and say what you have to say (anonymously or not) without taking care of other peoples reactions, or to be in touch with many bands, activists and to offer something less personal but much more informative?
You can be in touch with many people and yet be personal ! The fact to have many contacts does not mean your zine is not original. What’s the point of staying alone and distant ? Writing a fanzine for 10 people only ? Weird process, isn’t it? To my mind, you have to be in touch with people who are worth it and then avoid all these bastards, rip-offs, “trendies” and other fake supporters who pollute the UG. Fuck you all stupid assholes.
16. Do you think a zine has to be very specific to a given kind of music to be efficient (example: Old school death, Technical death or Raw black metal), or are any kind of more or less metallic musics welcome?
Here is a specific
question about FAZ. There is a kind of “trend” showing a sort of
“specialisation” in musical genres : I have the impression that
more and more fanzines get focused on precise genres – some are
dedicated to True Black Metal, some to Old School Thrash Metal,
and others to Technical Death Metal. It’s a good thing but it must
not become a tendency. I have the impression that it’s a systematic
way of acting.
17. Many paper fanzines died and most of the zines are now on the Internet under the form of webzines. It's cool because it's free and the gain of information is faster... But on the other hand, most of the webzines don't have the personality many paper zines had ! The Internet metal press becomes really homogenous and selfless while a bunch of paper zines were very personal in their way of writing/ reviewing the stuffs, in the artworks, and highlines (some were very much specialised).
I don’t really appreciate webzines for several reasons : they all look the same (there are some exceptions of course), they don’t have the specificities a paper fanzine can have, and it’s not very practical to read (you get some horrible headaches as your eyes are stuck to the screen). And there’s another data that most people tend to forget : there are still some individuals who don’t have access to the Internet ! Yes, it still exists ! What’s better than having a good old paper zine in your sweaty hands ? Ah ah ! Now it depends on people personal tastes. Anyway, I quite agree with you when you say webzines provide free and fast access to information, that’s a good point indeed. But as you mention, they don’t have the same particularities that a paper zine has.
Do you think this situation will improve in a few years (even though Internet has been more or less commonly used for 4-5 years) or would an improvement be really difficult when taking in account how things work on the web?
I don’t really know if it will improve. There are more and more webzines created on the web, and most of them are worthless. What I know is that I will always prefer a paper zine in my hands. And I’m particularly pleased to state that many GOOD fanzines have appeared in France for a few years. It’s a good thing I guess.
18. Do you happen to read other zines? Do you take inspiration from some or do you simply read their writings as a metaller?
again. Man, I will get inspiration from your questions next time
ah ah !! You have the answer here!
19. How do you detect in a few minutes if a zine would please or not your needs for alcoholic metal, objectivity and opinions? Do you rather have a look at the bands they interviewed, the notes given to the albums? ....Or the guestbook? Lol
Eh eh !! I don’t care about guestbooks man ! Generally, I have a look on the interviewed bands and on the layout. I particularly enjoy the good old “cut & paste” method, if it’s correctly done, of course. I try to find some fanzines that propose some original interviews, with bands that you don’t see everywhere. You know, there are too many zines with always the same bands interviewed and reviewed, it pisses me off. As far as the given notes are concerned, I don’t really give a damn about it, but it is fucking boring to read reviews with homogenous rates, I mean if every band gets a 8/10 and you read the same review about 50 times, you rapidly get pissed off and then throw the zine into the bin. I also like humour in reviews and this is what we tend to do with FAZ. Actually, the perfect review or interview should deal with a ideal mix of seriousness and humour ! It has to be original in a way. If you read 10 interviews with the same questions for each and no originality at all, what’s the fucking use ?
20. Are you more or less demanding concerning the quality of demos? In my opinion demos aren't totally finished stuffs, it's something like a "try" and we shouldn't be as demanding towards demos! But the problems appear when some bands release their demos as professional MCDs or full-lengths... some labels even release and promote some demo-recordings (both for the production and the musical side) as real killer full-lengths! It's a bit confusing, don't you think so?
Right ! A demo
is a “try” as you say, and we have to be clement and lenient towards
bands. Anyway, you have to get a certain quality, the fact to release
a demo does not mean you have the right to release shit. But when
you talk about the re-release of demos on MCD’s or full-lengths,
that’s another issue. You think it’s confusing, but it’s a good
way to spread sold-out demos. Moreover, when you talk about the
production of a demo that is released on pro cd, it depends on the
musical style. In Death Metal, the production is ok (or excellent)
in most cases, but it’s obviously different in Black Metal. That’s
why there are more ridiculous demos in this background, but sometimes
a bad sound can have a positive aspect for the atmosphere, if it
is not too bad of course.
21. In the history of your zine were there some staff changes? Did you fire some contributors because they didn't fit anymore to the zine? If so would you tell us why they were fired?
No, I never
fired anyone. As I told you before, I was the sole member at the
beginning, and then my two mates joined the project, and I guess
they are both indispensable to the good run of FAZ. We also have
a serious contribution from Diane, a friend of Olivier, who lives
in Norway. She often writes about gigs and festivals in Norway,
and she also writes some reviews.
22. Do you think some kind of competition between zines is something good? To which extant do you think that should remain? Did you already have problems with other zines? (If so what were the stronger menaces?lol).
Competition between zines ? Huh, strange stuff ! I never heard about any kind of competition, or I should precise that we never had such troubles. It’s just worthless, puerile and immature details. We have excellent relations with other fanzines and webzines, so no worries here.
23. Do you read my webzine? If so tell us honestly what's your opinion about it as well as what I should change or not!
I seldom visit
your webzine, as I prefer paper fanzines. As I told you, I get horrible
headaches when I read reviews and interviews on a fucking computer
screen, sorry Gab ! Ah ah !!
24. The final countdown has reached the last numbers! Tell us about your future plans with the zine, and feel free to conclude! Thanx for the answer!
for FAZ ? Well we are soon starting the next issue, which should
be available in October / November or so. We have some precise ideas
for the bands we will interview, and there will be some original
news in the way we write reviews, await to be surprised.
So, thank you very much for your interview Gab, it was very enriching and your questions were excellent ! Nice job man ! See you soon for FAZ #9 ! Morbid hails! MRIK / FOEDUS AETERNUS ZINE