1. Introduce your zine! When and why did you create it?
"Well Snakepit covers the traditional Metal angles, no matter if it's Heavy/ Speed/Thrash or Power Metal (well Power Metal means bands like JAG PANZER, early OVERKILL, SAVAGE GRACE etc, not the bands around nowadays labelled as Power Metal, those guys should have wake up 20 years ago to really understand the meaning of this term) as long as it's played the old way, Metal with vibes, feeling and soul. Snakepit was originally created back in 1997 by ex- DESTRUCTION manager, Frank Stöver, an old German die hard Metal fan who used to write for Horror Infernal and stuff. After having issued four totally impressive four issues -as a result after I read the first issue, I came back into the Metal scene- he decided to quit the thing because there was too much work involved but as I had started writing for it a short while before, I and two other writers decided to go on with it because we couldn't see this beautiful adventure going to waste. I think -even if I can't talk for him- that Frank decided to start Snakepit because he couldn't find around the type of magazine that he would have loved to read. At least that's why I loved Snakepit in the first place, because it was the type of mag that reminded me of Metal Forces, Kick ass Monthly, magazines where to could always really learn things even after having read an issue 10 times!"
2. Did the highlines of your zine evolve thought the years, and if so which were the reasons?
"I'm not sure what you mean by "highlines"...anyway the mag haven't changed much.... The direction is still the same, maybe there's a bit more Thrash material inside simply because Thrash Metal(real Thrash not speedy Heavy Metal which is often labelled as Thrash ala EXUMER, FLAMES, HOLY MOSES and stuff like this) has been in the first place my fave Metal style for a long time. Other than this, I got rid of happy bands who were gracing our pages from time to time, no pseudo Metal inside Snakepit, just REAL STUFF!"
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?
"A good one.... I would tell him to take a look at the boards where Snakepit is mentioned, read the comments about it and I think it would be enough to convince any REAL Metalhead to buy it. As for convincing a distro....that's harder because I know how hard it can be to sell stuff so I don't know, maybe promoting it like some does as the best magazine on the market when it comes to traditional Metal..."
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?
"Well that's hard to say.... but personally I'm influenced by different writers..people like J.F. Kimenez, Gil Tadic, Bernard Doe, Borivoj Kgrin and Bob Muldowney... but I know that when I was young, I used to take as reference the writers that had very similar tastes to what I was looking for and everytime what they called great albums, I loved them as well so... being objective... how can you be objective when you see the Metal scene? I mean except if you're deaf and blind, you see that the Metal market in all the styles is overcrowded, oversaturated (thanks to those youngsters that p(refer to be in bands than buying albums, thanks to record labels that decide to start a label because it's cool!) and I think it's my job to help the readers doing a selection between what really need to be heard and what needs to go in the garbage otherwise the entire scene is destined for extinction. We thought in the mid '80s that the market was already oversaturated (Mausoleum...) but it was nothing comparing to now. So even if people doesn't like when I bring my personal opinion inside the review (all the time), I don't care, those who are old readers know how I define Metal and can refer to this. It's too easy to let the scene being rotten by the inside because it's cool to be objective, no way I can't agree with this. If the writer knows his subject then it's his job to help the readers deciding what's good and what's not. I've seen too many KILLER albums being ignored because of that oversaturation of the market and that kills me."
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?
"In all honesty with the first listening I know what deserves more listens and what doesn't. It can sound crude but that's the way it is with me. If I detect something special right from the start then sometimes I give it like 10 listens to really understand the album. But as a whole it comes from a special feeling that an album has or doesn't have. But even if something doesn't please me, if the stuff is well written then I'll always mention it, just like CORONER, I find their stuff average in terms of not having that little thing that makes good albums GREAT albums but I'll never say they suck or whatever.... There's a difference."
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?
"Well first of all I pay for the majority of the stuff that I review so nobody can say that I'm not objective because I don't pay my shit! I know it's often the problem with the reviewers from those big mags but not in the case of Snakepit. If a company don't send a promo and if I like the album, I buy it and I'll review it no matter what."
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?
"Yeah you need to know your shit before reviewing something. I'll never review a Black Metal album for example because I never took interest in that 2bnd wave of Black Metal so it would be senseless for me to review something -although I have my opinion on it. Objectivity doesn't exist in the reviewers world, if somebody claims he is then he's full of shit. You always either let speak your heart or your bank account (big mags). You know? Reviews is what I hate doing the most.. I'm terrible in doping reviews...I can talk for hours about an album but doing a description is hard."
8. Do you think there's an objectivity being conditioned by the pressures of labels and good-thinking fans?
"In the cases of the big mags, YES!!!!! At least the pressure of the labels simply because they buy ads.... But even with political magazines or newspaper they have the same problem, they won't talk about certain things because it's has a relation with a multinational who either owns the mag or who take adverts... that's the same. As long as magazines will have to live from the adverts then it'll be the case."
9. Do you or did you play in a band? Do you think it's helpfull 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...
"No I don't play in a band but having been close to many bands over the years and having spent 26 years listening (I mean listening, not eating music like you eat a pizza) to Metal I think I have the capacities to know what I'm talking about. Playing in a band doesn't help because if you write bollocks and you think it's great then your judgement is full of shit."
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?
"Well if you push a band to progress then that bullshit. I would rather hear ten times "pleasure to kill" than hearing the bullshit KREATOR did after this album simply because this ass named Petrozza said he wanted to progress. Same for DESTRUCTION... they lost it when they got Harry. How many bands became crap when they either choose to become more technical or wanted to change their songwriting? The list was endless in the '80s especially in Thrash because that's where this syndrome has developed.... ONSLAUGHT, SEPULTURA, DESTRUCTION, KREATOR, SODOM, METALLICA (well it was a Speed Metal act but...)... fortunately the bands that came after learnt from the mistakes of their predecessors.... SACRIFICE and MORBID ANGEL in particular.... They made sure to always deliver the stuff we expected from them. Even SLAYER caught that virus when they delivered the awful slab of shit known as "Diabolus..."... they always remained the truest out of all the extreme acts until '98 when they issued that bullshit..thanks PANTESHIT! I love tech,nical shit but when it's natural, when the musicians are naturally gifted to deliver stuff that doesn't sound forced or boring.... Hail to ATHEIST, CYNIC ("focus" era), ANACRUSIS... that's the difference."
11. How many promos do you receive each week? each month?
"Good question... like 5 promos every month I believe.... Mostly crap that I won't review because it doesn't fit the concept of the mag.... But they know it before they send it so if those labels choose to do it, it's their problem."
12. Did you voluntary 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?
"Well sometimes I made some request but mostly it comes little by little.... As they see that the name s around..."
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 too 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?
"No, nothing of that genre and I can live without this."
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...?
"Well if you have a high speed connection, then cool...but a slow connection like I have, I can't download shit. And anyway I come from the old days, I prefer to have a fuckin' disc in my hand (and better be a vinyl)than download stuff...this is RIDICULOUS what's going on nowadays.... People are consuming music like they consume cigarettes, what's the fuckin' deal?! No I hope promos, Cds in general will go on for some years to come. That technology stuff is killing every form of culture, that's all it does. We have reached a point of no return even if people might consider this as progress... bullshit."
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?
"The best way? Hum...to w<rite whatever you want to write, to be honest in what you're doing, that's all I can say."
16. Do you think a zine has to be very specific to a given kind of music to be efficient (exemple: Old school death, Technical death or Raw black metal), or are anykind of more or less metallic musics welcome?
"Well everybody choose what thzey want to do...it depends how you do it... I remember Metal Forces were doing it a great way back then, mixing a bit of every style of Metal , now it could be very hard still considering what Metal has became..."
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 informations is faster... But on the other hands 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 where very personal in their way of writing/ reviewing the stuffs, in the artworks, and highlines (some were very much specialised).
"Oh you think it's cool because it's free? Hell I prefer to pay even 15 Euros for a printed zine if it's what I'm looking for than spending time of a fuckin' computer, having my eyes ruined because of this. People tends to forget that it's zines that have created the METAL scene back then, and it's not what that new technology brings that will replace it, because except for the news section that you can get now in real time, the rest is crap. Nothing is as good as a good old mag. NOTHING! But yeah we're in a society where it's too hard for people to write and address on a letter, to enclose some $$$, to go to the post office and post it,, yeah damn too hard... amazing what humanity is becoming! We had the slaves to the crucifix (POISON), now we have the slaves to the computers."
Do you think this situation will improve in few years (eventhough Internet is more or less commonly used since 4-5 years) or would an improvement be really difficult when taking in account how things work on the web?
"No it's a lost cause.... You have to be realistic...there always will be a handful of supporters but most of the people will turn completely to the internet. I hope to be proven wrong but I doubt."
18. Do you happen to read other zines? Do you take inspiration from some or do you simply read their writings as a metaller?
"No, it happens sometimes but these days it's rare that I find a zine that interest me... that's the problem. Give me another Kick Ass Monthly, Violent Noize and yeah I'll jump on it!"
19. How do you detect in 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
"Well I see which bands are covered, I read one interview, look at the review and I see if that's gonna please me or not. It doesn't take me centuries."
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?
"You see I'm the type of people who have grew up with demos, rehearsal tapes and stuff so fuck I'm of the opinion that it's not the sound that makes a good band, it's what you put inside your music, that's as simple as that. The sound is secondary for me, what I want to hear is music that moves your mind, your soul and your blood, the rest is crap! Like ARCHENEMY, only a rehearsal tape exist of them (no I'm not talking about the overrated Swedish/ German act) and just basing on this I know how KILLER the material is! I don't a recording over produced!"
21. In the history of your zine where 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 where fired?
"Well there has been a lot of changes..first of all I and two other dudes took the editor position as original editor gave up on it, then I had to say to a Dutch asshole to go out because he was always complaining about this and that but wasn't doing shit for the mag at a time when it was crucial to expand our name and last year my two other co-editors left the mag, well one left because he couldn't continue anymore and the other one had to go because he ruined part of the mag due to his bullshit attitude, talk is cheap...yeah it was in his case but action wasn't a thing he knew! So I gave him the boot. Staty away from a dude called Matt Coe!!!! Yeah Matt Coe and that Dutch dude, Toine Van Poorten.
22. Do you think somekind 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).
"I never had any problems with other zines.... I don't think competitions can exist...if you do your shit in an honest way then people will like it."
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!
"No I've never read it because I believe you cover different stuff than the stuff I'm into personally so..."
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!
"My future plans...well I'd like to reach again the level that we had reached 2 years ago... I'd like to see Snakepit being printed professionally again..but it's dreams now unless I find somebody in Europe dedicated (and rich). Thanks G for having taken the time to come up with those questions... that's way cool man! Good luck with your webzine. As far as I'm concerned snakepit will remain a printed one. Check out www.truemetal.org/snakepit for more infos on Snakepit."