1. Introduce your zine! When and why did you create it?
Hello, Iím Chris from the Ad Noctum webzine (www.adnoctum.de). I work for this webzine since 2000, thatís the year of itís foundation. But I am also writing for the STREETCLEANER Fanzine since 1998. I came to this fanzine when my partner in crime, Wolle, asked me at work if I would be interested to write for this fanzine. I agreed and it really was fun first. So in 2000 I decided to promote this fanzine in a better way. Thatís why I started the Ad Noctum webzine and it really helps to spread the name. So right now we are running the Ad Noctum Webzine, but concentrate more in our Streetcleaner fanzine, which new issue # 16 is out now! Streetcleaner was foundet in 1987/88 by Wolfgang, that is a really long time!
2. Did the highlines of your zine evolve thought the years, and if so which were the reasons?
Do you mean ďheadlinesĒ? In case you do, yes they did. Our fanzine gets much more respect nowadays as we really increased our work and you can see it when you compare older issues with the new one. So itís naturally that we have some bigger bands now interviewed for it, but we still concentrate in Underground.
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?
Well, we donít convince metalheads to buy our zine, it is up to them. But we think we really deliver some quality stuff for them, because we have some really in depth interviews with cool bands, a great layout and there are 2 CDs for free in our new issue and thatís all for just 2 lousy Ä! So we sell many copies without convincing anybody. Everybody should decide for himself if he is interested in your stuff or not. I donít like it when somebody tries to convince me about something. If you offer some quality, all comes naturally.
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?
I think everybody has his own opinion here. For me itís important that you can feel what the reviewer really thinks about this kind of CD or whatever. There should be some facts in it (f.e. where was the album recorded and so on), but more important is, if the reviewer can deliver you why this CD is good or a band and if you can buy it or should listen to it first. Reviews are personal, so itís not more than just an opinion. When I am interested in a new record, I try to read some different reviews and then decide who I can believe. All in all itís better when a review is objective, when you ask 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?
It depends. There are bands you really have to listen quiete often, but I know most of the bands before, so I take these records and listen to them over and over again. But most of the time itís enough when you review them by first-listening. It depends how many promos you get: when there are many, you really donít have the time to spend so much time in one cd. It has to be one of your favourite bands so that you can do this. Otherwise I am sorry, but there is really no time. But we are doing this for several years now and with the time you know where you should listen to it carefully and where not, believe me.
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?
As I said, everybody has his own favourite musicstyle and thatís totally ok so. I think I am a very open minded person and listen to a lot of different styles. I prefer quality Death Metal, Black Metal, but also classical Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Doom Metal,Ö I am also very in good Hardrock, especially old Alice Cooper stuff. Furthermore I listen a lot to classical music, even jazz and normal Rock Music. Although I prefer Heavy Metal, I am open for other music styles as well. But I am absolutely not into Grindcore or other sick stuff and I think you can recognize this by reading those reviews. I get a lot of those CDs, but 99% of them get very bad/negative reviews from me. I think readers of our webzine who know my reviews, they know what I am into and what I donít like, so if they have a similar taste of music, I think itís good for them to compare. But againÖreviews are just personal views of one person!
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?
I think objectivity is, when you know a lot of bands in each musicstyle and can compare them altogether easily. For me it is natural that I have in mind how similar bands sound like. Itís best to compare them with the best there is, because this is what most of your readers know easily and so they can decide if a record is interesting for them or not. Another point is, that you treat every band similar and donít prefer a band just because you know them personally. I think it is impossible to be 100% objective. It starts when I get records from countries like Singapore or Columbia; I know that they have more difficulties to record their music so they are most of the time more into what they are doing and so I recommend these bands often just to help them. They have a bonus, it comes naturally.
8. Do you think there's an objectivity being conditioned by the pressures of labels and good-thinking fans?
It depends. We all know that there are labels (especially the bigger ones) who try to bring you to write positive reviews. Otherwise they delete you from their mailing list, because they have so many people writing positive things about their records, that they donít care about you personally. But I really give a shit about it. To be honest, I really write what I think about it, be it from a bigger label or not. Just read my reviews concerning Gothic Metal and stuff like that, they are almost negative, because I am not into this music. So some labels dropped me from their list, but it is fine with me. I donít have so much time these days for our webzine and fanzine, so itís ok when I get not so many cds these days. We donít know where to put our reviews at all. For our new Streetcleaner issue we had place for 26 pages of reviews, but we wrote about 140 pages, because we got so many CDs. And that although we write what we think. Believe me, it is no problem for us when some labels delete us from their list, because we know enough people who get cds from this label as wellÖ
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... I didnít, although it would be dream for me to have some bands. I would be interested in an epic band like Bathory, an aggressive Death/Black Metal band and even a Cover band. I think it is not so important to play in a band in order to write better reviews. Music is the key and you can enjoy it as a fan and as a musician. By the way I played instruments as well: 9 years piano and 2 years guitar, but unfortunately I donít have the money to continue these days. But I know when a musician is skilled or not.
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 think it is good for motivation to get better. There are so many bands out there who deliver all the same through the years without any surprises, most of the time they get worse than before. In this case I think it is good to quit the band when you are not able to reach your old quality. Better to finish than to make it worse with each time. I would stop working for our zine immediately when I had the feeling, that our work gets worseÖbut luckily it is the opposite way, we get better with each issue and this you can easily notice when your read our new issue # 16.
11. How many promos do you receive each week? each month?
It dependsÖit can be up to 20 cds a week, sometimes it is just 3-4 cds. But all in all it is still too much for me to handle. Most of the time I have enough stuff for next 2-3 updates on our website when I make an update. Thatís why we are searching for another guy who is interested in writing for us. He/she should write in german language and know the musicstyle and scene. Just contact us if you are interested.
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?
I contacted only a few labels at the beginning, but 90 % of the promos I get it is just because of our webzine. I usually donít ask to send me promo stuff, only if a band interests me. I get the stuff in my mailbox, really too much, thatís why I posted that I donít have the time for further promo CDs. But they send me there stuff anyway, grrr.
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?
I donít work for promotion companies, but my partner in crime, Wolle, does. The reason is, that these promotional companies have some of the most important Cds ever and thatís why you should review their stuff. Of course you get a lot CDs which you are really not into, but heyÖthatís live! I review everything, when I donít like it, it will turn out quite a few words. But thatís better than nothing, right?
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...?
Absolutely it is useful. There is no other way, I donít have the time to review the cds I get easily, so there would be less time to download all the music. It is really IMPOSSIBLE! When you concentrate in a few bands only, you can do this, but not if you receive a bigger amount of cds. You also get more open-minded if you receive more cds than just downloading some. I get emails every week asking me, if I would be interested in downloading their music, but they all get the same answer: I really donít have the time to download their music, although it is cheaper for them. I understand this, but heyÖI have to spend so much time in listening to music and reviewing stuffÖand that is not all. You have to layout a complete zine or to program a website to spread your word. Who thinks about this? You know, when I spend so many hours in reviewing peoples stuff, it is just fair if they send me their stuff, right?
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?
I am in contact with almost all bands I really love. For me it is important to give those bands a feedback, and not just only a review. When I really like bands, I write to them in order to get more infos about them. We also visit as many gigs in our area as possible, in order to see if a band have the balls to bring their music in a great way on stage or not. I think it is better to be in touch with your favourite bands, not with all, but with the most important ones.
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?
It depends. Whe I created Ad Noctum in 2000, I only wanted to feature my favourite bands first. First it was a totally Death/Black Metal zine, but this changed over the years as my personal views and musicstyle got more open-minded. Our webzine still prefers Death and Black Metal (as you can see in our ďClassicĒ-section), but you find different types of metal styles there as well. I think it is up to everybody if he wants to concentrate just in one kind of music or not. For me, music is more than just Death and Black Metal.
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). 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?
Thatís why we have a webzine (Ad Noctum) AND a fanzine (Streetcleaner). For me it is important to have a webzine in order to write reviews, which are up to date and in order to spread the word about our fanzine, but you also reach a lot more people with it. But a webzine can NEVER replace a fanzine. It is something totally different when you hold a fanzine in your hands, because it sums up a lot of work you have invested through the last months. Furthermore it shows me what bands I were really into in that period, so you have much more remembrance from a fanzine than from a webzine. And how you can see nowadays, it seems that everybody wants to have a webzine in order to get free cdsÖthere are really to much out there, but it is up to them. I think this trend will improve during the next years, as it gets more difficult to sell a fanzine when you can read most of the things for free in webzines. But there are still some really maniacs, who prefer fanzines and I hope there will still be a small scene for fanzines around in a few years.
18. Do you happen to read other zines? Do you take inspiration from some or do you simply read their writings as a metaller?
I only read the Rock Hard zine, because they get very cool news from everywhere. I also read a few other fanzines from friends, because we know for some time now and it is cool to see what they have released. But unfortunately I donít have the time to read every zine. I concentrate in zines from friends or people who I know personally and in zines, which feature bands I am really into.
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
First I look what bands are interviewed in their issues. Then I read their reviews in order to like them or not. But sometimes I take care about their layout as well, as I am interested in things like that. Guestbook??? I never take a look in their guestbook, why should I? Most of the time some anonymous people just poste their news. It is not interesting.
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?
I think it is naturally to increase your demands. Most of the demos spread nowadays are nothing than shit. This sounds hard, but it is the way it is. Bands should rest in their rehearsal rooms and practice more than releasing one demo after another. And yes, when a band is really serious, they take care about a professional CD-recording with a top sound and a great booklet, combined with a cool website to spread their names. There is nothing more stressing me when bands donít take care about their websites and you donít find their album covers. I meanÖhey, itís their work and when I am really serious and want to spread my name, I take care about things like that as well. There are so many bands that do this and it is an advantage when you want to reach perfection in each possible way!
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?
No, because there is only Wolle and me who run these zines. But as I said earlier, we are searching for interested people now, who are willing to write reviews, doing interviews and so onÖjust contact us.
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).
No. I donít care about things like that, because we do this for our own pleasure and nothing more. We have those zines in order to pay credit to our favourite bands and help talented bands to spread their work and nothing more. If there is a competition, than in an absolutely positive way. Everything else is childish in my eyes.
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 am really sorry, I donít read your zine, but thatís only because I donít have the time to. As I said, I havenít got the time to work properly for our zines, we could increase much more if we would create a new and more professional website by ourselves, but we donít have the time for it. I am really sorry.
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!
First thank you very much for the possibility to tell you something about our zines. We donít know what the future brings to us yet. For now we have released our new Streetcleaner issue # 16 with a lot of great interviews in it. It was really hard work to get it ready as I had 3 (!!!) computer crashes and it seemed that we would finish the zine without releasing our new issue. But we put it to an end and now it is released. It is by far the best issue now, so our next aim is to sell it in the best way as possible. If you are interested in it, just check out our website (www.adnoctum.de <http://www.adnoctum.de>), there you can find everything about the new Streetcleaner issue. When there will be a new issue, we donít know yet. Just check back to our website concerning this. Maybe there will be a totally new website-layout in the future. I am checking out new possibilities right now, as our website-place is full for some months and I have to delete old reviews in order to put new ones online. Thatís shit and we are searching for a better solution. I finished my studies a few weeks ago and now I am searching for a job. In case it takes a little bit longer, there will be a new layout for our website this year, otherwise not. We will see. Metal prevails!