INTERVIEWS                     GUESTBOOK

1. Introduce your zine! When and why did you create it?

Our zines is a web based extreme / alternative music magazine called Tartarean Desire (http://www.tartareandesire.com/). I formed it in May 2000 as more of a personal website not only limited to music. Eventually it evolved into what it is today, a webzine with many of the characteristics of a professional magazine.


2. Did the highlines of your zine evolve thought the years, and if so which were the reasons?

Well, the internet is already over-populated with personal websites that has little meaning to anyone so I decided to go for something more creative and serious. It also seemed like a good idea to focus on the music aspect only to target a specific reader base.


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?

We don't have a printed version of our zine. A few good reasons to visit our website are the following though:
* an extensive database, currently featuring 5,200+ bands
* frequent updates
* the latest news
* interviews and reviews of not only well-known bands but also underground and demo releases
* hundreds of mp3s to listen to
* a festival guide


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?

This is a question that has no true or simple answer. First of all it is almost impossible to be completely objective when writing a review. If you try hard to produce a review as objective as possible it will probably not hold much interest to the reader and then you might as well just write a simple tag line like "melodic black metal band from Germany". The potential buyer of the album will most likely not only want to know where a band is from and what kind of music they're playing but also if it is well done, what the production is like etc. The other extreme is also quite worthless and naturally a mix of subjective and objective writing is to be preferred. As with everything else though every writer has his or her personal style of writing. In short, a good review is as informative as possible and stays focused, not digressing in a hundred different directions. After all, there is no perfect review, it is all in the eye of the beholder just like the music.


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?

No, I wouldn't say that there is a special feeling. It is very seldom that I an entirely satisfied with a review that I have written, it can always be better, but it has more to do with the writing itself and not what has been said about the music in a direct sense. When you have written more than 1,500 reviews throughout the years I think it's a natural evolution that you become more interested in creative and innovating writing rather than saying something about a death or power metal album that has already been said a million times before. Of course the writing has to be balanced and all facts should be included as well. How many times you need to listen to an album depends on what kind of music it is. Some music you have to be in the right mood to truely appreciate for example. You also have to be realistic and it is not possible to listen to every single release many times before writing the review. The reason is simple - lack of time and human resources. The number of releases each year continues to grow and there are more important things in life that needs to be taken care of as well. After all, this is a mere hobby for everyone involved with the zine although it is done more or less on a professional level today.


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 think the first question is a little peculiar. I'd say that anyone becomes more objective with increased experience. If you have heard one single death metal album isn't it very difficult to say something objective about the second one you get to hear? Second, most fans today have access to all the music they want simply by using Direct Connect or some another file sharing program. The main goal for a reviewer or a magazine, who in general has a better overview of the large number of releases, should be to guide the music fans into finding the more qualitative albums and artists from each genre. As every sane human being understands it is not possible to write a review, in the true meaning of the word, that everyone agrees with, but it still serves a purpose and the more well versed the reviewer is in the particular genre and music in general, the better will it fill this purpose.


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?

Like I've said before pure objectivity is not the purpose of a review. Of course it is possible to write a review which has no opinions whatsoever but it would not only be boring to write but also to read and I don't think that is what anyone wants. Then again, distancing yourself from previous experiences is not necessary in order to be objective. Comparing artwork, production, song writing, tightness, technical skills etc. with earlier releases or bands is usually far more objective than subjective if the reviewer is not equipped with a one-track mind.


8. Do you think there's an objectivity being conditioned by the pressures of labels and good-thinking fans?

I don't quite understand the meaning of this question but I don't think labels nor fans have much possibility to influence the reviewer. Of course some may take smaller or larger amounts of inspiration from the promo sheets from the labels but I think experienced reviewers pay little attention to these texts and treat them as what they are. Reviews is more or less a way to get the word out of a new release for the labels and bands and sometimes a "bad" review can rise even greater interest than a "good" one.


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 play the guitar but not in a band. It might very well affect the way a reviewer experiences music but it doesn't necessarily need to be helpful. The thing about good music is that it should be enjoyable to listen to, in all honesty it is as simple as that. You don't have to follow rules or norms or play as fast or technical as possible to creat good music, sometimes the complete opposite can be more efficient.


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, first of all they should not ask for an opinion at all if they are unable to deal with criticism. Sometimes I can understand that kind of remark though, especially if "fans" give a band non-constructive negative criticism without having been asked for an opinion. That is not only pointless but also rude and ignorant. They have often worked hard on their art and at least deserve your respect even if you don't like the music.


11. How many promos do you receive each week? each month?

I have no idea really. The only thing I know for sure is that we have steadily reviewed 20-25 albums a week the last couple of weeks.


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?

A little of both I'd say. At first we contacted many labels and distributors on our own but today it only happens on occasion. We do still review older releases from our personal collections as well though.


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?

Societies? If you mean companies then yes. It has never caused us any problems though. Our main focus is metal but we do not limit ourselves to that genre and also review hard rock, darkwave, gothic, industrial, neo-folk etc. Every writer has more or less freedom to review anything he / she desires and we try our best to review anything that has been sent to us.


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...?

Yes, promos are most useful. It does not only take time and effort to download the music but everyone doesn't have the necessary internet connection speed. Further, as this is only a hobby, if you receive a promo then you will at least get something as compensation for the time and effort you invest in writing about the band and album. Also, promos are smoother as you normally receive all the information you need together with it.
If you only download and listen to the albums you are interested in then you immediately run into two problems. First of all, you will miss out on many new releases that you might enjoy just as much or even more. Second, the zine becomes too subjective to be of real interest to anyone but the reviewers themselves.


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 don't quite understand what you mean but I don't see why have to choose between distancing yourself from the underground and being in touch with many bands and why the latter would mean a lesser deal of personality and be more informative? We are in touch with numerous labels, promotion agencies, bands and distributors, both well-known and those with more of an underground status. I don't see how you could run a serious magazine without it.


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?

Definitely not, you don't even have to limit yourself to metal as it is still only a part of the entire spectrum of music. It is a choice you have to make when you create a magazine. Everyone who writes for Tartarean Desire listens to metal in one form or another but that is not all we enjoy. There are of course people who listen to nothing but black metal but we have no wish to reach such a narrow target. Then again, if you want to evolve as a human being, an artist or whatever, it is important to stay open to different influences.


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?

I don't agree completely with this. It is definitely true that many paper fanzines have died, not only because the world in general is more commercial today than it was 15 or 20 years ago, but also because wide use of the Internet is a rather new occurence. It is cheap and easy to run a webzine and the updates can be much more frequent and the news more recent.
The reason why some fanzines were very personal is of course that they were run more or less by one person. There are of course pros and cons to this as with everything else but I think most people prefer a more diverse magazine. When it comes to the concept, artwork etc. of webzines, the most popular and longest running ones have found a personal style and specific target reader base today.


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 read some other zines but very few on a regular basis. I wouldn't say that I am inspired by anything in particular but everything that I have read and heard to this day.


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

To be honest I don't really have the time to read many other zines. There are a few printed magazines and webzines that I read now and then. Guestbooks, forums etc. are, with some exceptions, pretty much the sewer system of the internet and I rarely give them a glance. If anything, I look at the way reviews have been written, if the interview questions are unusual or interesting and if there are any other personal features that makes the website or magazine interesting to me.


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?

As the distinction between demos and professional releases is sometimes hard to make I treat every release equally, no matter what it is. I try to take into consideration the limited budget a demo band can invest in the production process though. The quality of the music is more important than the production in my opinion but you need the balance the two in some 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?


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).

It depends on what you mean with competition. Competition can be seen as a way to weed out the weak so to speak and it's up to you to decide whether it's good or not. I don't really have an opinion on that, it's simply the way it is. We do not consciously compare ourselves to any other zines but we do of course try to write good and interesting articles that are of interest to our readers. I don't see how there could be any direct competition that could lead to problems for an individual non-profit zine? If there's money involved then it's a completely different issue of course.


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 must admit that I do not read it on a regular basis. I did check it out just now and you have some very interesting interviews. It is specialized, well done and the design looks good.


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!

Our general plan for the future is to continue to publish quality articles about albums, bands, festivals etc. and to further improve the effiency of the website. More specific, we will soon present interviews with Evoken, Falconer, Mourning Beloveth, Candlemass and Sentenced to mention a few.
Thanks a lot for this interview and keep up the good work with Nihilistic Holocaust!


Website: http://www.tartareandesire.com