Nicole (Swahili Blond)
SPB: (Hypothetically) If your children were to start a band what would you tell them?
Nicole: "Let your mind go, and your body will follow"
(a quote from LA Story)
Elias (Afraid of the Basement)
SPB: Your label and zine seems to take pride in nice-looking product. Talk about the difficulties funding such consistently aesthetically pleasing product at the DIY level.
Elias: It's funny that you bring that up man. I don't like complaining about it, but funding a zine is a fuckin’ money pit. But I still do it and don't regret the thousands I've lost in that pit! I refuse to let print media die. I say it's a money pit because:
One) because it's expensive, even if you have your own printer that can print 11x17 pages, it still would use SO MUCH black ink it’s just insane. And if you get it done professionally like I do, at such a low run (about 150 each issue, I've printed three issues, and re-issued the first issue three times and the second issue twice, so I’ve released about 900 zines altogether, and I've sent them to about 10 different countries--pretty cool, but I'm getting off track sorry). It hurts you. I use a local place that had the best prices around and really it's not TOO bad but I don't even use the best paper haha.
Two) because no one wants to buy zines anymore. It's sad but true. If anyone DOES happen to have a couple extra bucks at a show or event it’s so much more likely to go to a record or a shirt or, most likely, beer. And who can blame people? It's fuckin rough out there. Gotta get your kicks first. I get it. But I think I ended up giving away about 85% of the zines I printed merely because I wanted people to read it more than I wanted to make back the money that I already put up anyway so who cares if I don't get it back. I knew from the beginning this wasn't exactly a wise investment. I suggest taking it on only if you have some money to play with. I usually end up getting a few runs around tax return time every year.
Three) I'm a goth so unlike many zines AOTB has mostly black backgrounds, I use a LOT of black ink. I appreciate the compliment on my layouts. I'm proud of my 'messy but organized' aesthetic and it's definitely the aspect I put the most effort into. Except for contributed articles, I do every aspect of the zine, and the rest of my company. Outside of some outsourced art (very rarely), I have no partners and do everything single-handed. I've actually been a designer for about 15 years, since I was about 13 years old, I taught myself how to use photoshop so I could make a Dragonball z website haha. Good thing because now I make a living off it. I bring this up because although I use a specific look/style for AOTB Fanzine I am capable of much more professional AS WELL as much more messy/punk aesthetics. I'm for hire ;) I do band logos, websites (basic ones, I’m old), banners, album covers, flyers, ads, etc etc!! (email below)
One last thing, luckily now I'm able to "capitalize" (judge if you want, but we all gotta eat) on another venture now: I've turned Afraid of the Basement into a video label as well now, in addition to releasing various unauthorized "gray market" releases of older bands that never got the proper video/live/music video/documentary treatment, I've since moved on to doing OFFICIAL authorized releases including the punk documentary DESTROY CLEVELAND, the upcoming documentary THE DICKS FROM TEXAS, and tons of live sets , EXCLUSIVE to AOTB including PART 1 Live in Philly, CAPITALIST CASUALTIES LIVE (In Japan and a bonus set + Music Video), as well as T.O.M.B. / Dreadlords and Cape of Bats. Sorry for the shameless plug!! Check out what I have available for now at AFRAIDOFTHEBASMENT.COM or email me directly for better and more specific deals/inventory at DAIFORME@GMAIL.COM!
Brandon (Cloud Rat)
SPB: Do any of your musician friends have tinnitus?
Brandon: Absolutely! Actually, Rorik himself apparently has a mild on and off case of it. I've mostly heard of folks getting it that way where it's not necessarily permanent but sort of a reoccurring spell that gets really obnoxious. Definitely 'heard' (pun intended!) some gnarly stories about getting woke up at night with a whistling howl of death in ones ears. I myself enjoy dangerously large doses of obscenely loud and violent harsh noise (Incapacitants, LHD, Taylor Swift, Paranoid Time, Skin Graft etc.!) and have also played drums mostly without ear protection for the better part of 12+ years, not to mention the countless all too loud basement shows, DJ sets, Swans gigs and so on...So I'm AMAZED that I can at all hear the wind blow, insect sounds at night, a whispering child, or even the sound of my own voice for that matter. Though, I always figure the sooner my ear drums pop, the sooner I can retire aye?! Hails!
David Combs (The Max Levine Ensemble – guitar, vocals)
SPB: What’s the worst tour experience you’ve had? Have you ever been stranded?
Combs: On our first cross-country tour back in 2004 our friend's van, Black Betty, died in the mountains of Nevada. We got towed to Reno, but the tow truck driver couldn't take us all so some of us hid underneath the equipment loft in the van while it was being towed. Somehow when we got to Reno, someone there had a van and some free time offered to take us on the rest of the tour. So we were only stranded for one day. That wasn't the worst tour experience I've had though. I don't want to talk about that.
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