How long have you been publishing Bleeding Noise Fanzine, and how well known has it become in your country and across the world? From where does your most active correspondence come?
I have been doing this fanzine printed and digitally approximately since 2008, though the project was brewing in my head since 2005. The first interviews I did date from 2006 or so. More or less I have been involved in BNF for more than a decade now. I have always liked to write; even in my teens I wrote some “poetry” but I quit hahahaha (in fact I still have a notebook with a cool Superman cover where I used to write my poems and even draw some ideas). Later, in high school, mathematics did not go well for me, nor chemistry or trigonometry, but curiously, I did well with the letters (don't get me wrong, I was not Gabriel García Marques or anything remotely close; still pretty far). I wrote my essays and short stories without the teacher on duty ask me twice. It's just that writing is among my tools of the trade. As for whether BNF is popular in my country, I would say not exactly, but somehow it has managed to open the way to elevate the minds and fill the hands of our readers who still appreciate the smell of paper and ink in the morning (well, not exactly like that but, you know). BNF has always made the way to reach the right hands, managing to exhaust the stocks of the first issues and the need to reprint some of the later issues. Doing that in a country with one of the lowest reading rates in South America makes me reconsider the idea that some metal bangers might know us a little more than I expect. Finally, I have had epistolary communication with fellow editors from other zines, fanzine collectors, music traders, or malicious entities from different parts of the world. The most regular contacts have generally been people from the States but I have sent packages or correspondence with peers from countries as far away as Estonia, the Philippines, Japan, Australia, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Chile, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and many others.
How did you come to name the zine Bleeding Noise and how does the name let the readers know what to expect?
I wanted to merge two ideas that reflected the editorial word-craft: among topics like extreme music, gore, trash aesthetic of b-series movies, I add some stories about true crime or serial killers, as well as some nudies printed in some key pages, and things like that. That's how I believe the name B.N. Fanzine came out, Letter B and letter N stands for BLEEDING NOISE. I'm not sure if it is grammatically accurate but I think people get the point. Hahhahhah
How many issues of the zine have been released to date? How many copies do you normally print of an issue?
So far BNF is at issue #6. Runs are generally around 200 to 500 copies per issue. Naturally I have had the opportunity to learn from my mistakes while trying different print formats over the years. For example, issue 1 was professionally printed in A5 size; it looks not so much like a fanzine but more like a pro magazine format. It has some color pages and a poster of the movie Maniac (1980) as well. I think you have a copy of this. As for issues 2, 3 and 4, the format changed again to double letter (tabloid) and the printing was completely in XEROX (photocopy) like the old Fanzines. With issues 5 and 6 we moved to letter format and digital printing. I like all these formats but if I had to choose one to work with it would be the Xeroxed one since it gives you that indie and retro fanzine look. But since I'm the one who manages the resources for production, I am forced to stay in the current format, since for costs it is the most appropriate to take care of my pocket. Currently, issues 1, 2, 3 and 4 are out of print. Issue 5, a special about the Manson family, has already sold out the first print run. However, as I always get asked about this one, I have been working on Print on Demand orders for issue 5. It does not come the same way as the first printed, due to respect for those who acquired a copy of the first edition. Likewise, BNF is still an extremely limited underground fanzine. In addition to the printed version, we also have an internet presence through the zine’s blog, bnfanzine.blogspot.com, where I post reviews, articles and interviews more regularly. Since it is a virtue of virtuality when you work as an independent media, it makes it possible to update or produce content more often than the printed version. Taking up what I said about the exploration of formats, with issue 5 I printed a 350-page book/zine, which seems to become a popular format nowadays thanks to zines like Gallery Of The Grotesque or those superb reissues of legendary fanzines like Izten Fanzine or Metallion Diaries: The Slayer Magazine. I wanted to try something like that, but among the possibilities of my very limited budget. Furthermore, with issue 6 I decided to stay in this format of the book/zine and concentrate my efforts on producing thematic numbers from now on. This time, all the editorial energy was focused on the legendary band Incantation, to whom we dissected their discography, history and interviewing their founding members. In addition to this, there are interviews with bands, writers, and filmmakers and an unpublished interview with Quorthon from BATHORY was included. It is an issue I am very proud of and it’s still available... 120 pages to read at maximum volume.
Why was your interview with Quorthon unpublished at first, and what made you eventually run it?
Actually, that interview was published unexpectedly. One day a friend of mine from Ohio named Charlie Taylor who I interviewed in the past for BNF issue 3 (I believe) on the occasion of his DEATH tribute band INFERNAL DEATH (now dead), posted on an internet forum that he had an interview with Quorthon from the 90s that was never published due to a flood. Apparently, rain goddess Hyades had mercy on that piece of history so I asked Charlie to let me publish it for issue 6 and he accepted on the sole condition that I interview him again but this time with his new Celtic Frost tribute band: CULT OF FROST (people who had seen them live said they're quite good). It was a piece of cake and the rest is history. I transcribed and translated the interview with the mythical Quorthon in Spanish. Curiously, it will not yet be published in English, so the only way to read it is in Spanish.
Talk about the other bands you’ve interviewed for BNF and what made those interviews unique to the zine.
I’m so grateful to have interviewed each and every one of the bands that have appeared in the printed version or on the internet blog of BLEEDING NOISE through all these years. For BNF it’s always an honor to be able to support and spread the underground, even on a very underground portion, although I believe at the end of the day it worth it. I think the best interviews we've published have been with bands that on the one hand, I adore and on the other, they're bands that have a very solid and constant career. Colombian bands like MASACRE, WITCHTRAP, AMPUTATED GENITALS, TWILIGHT GLIMMER, NOCTURNAL FEELINGS, among many others. Perhaps if I had to do a TOP on the most detailed or memorable interviews I would choose in no particular order the interviews with Frank Hartroom from GOREFEST, Paul Speckman from MASTER, Bruce Corbit (rip) from RIGOR MORTIS, KILLJOY & ISCARIAH from NECROPHAGIA, Katherine Thomas from THE GREAT KAT, John Tardy from OBITUARY, David Vincent from MORBID ANGEL, Kam Lee from BONE GNAWER / MASSACRE, Mark from IMPETIGO, Jon Tardy from OBITUARY and TARDY BROTHERS, Sabina Classen from HOLY MOSES, AC Wild from BULLDOZER, Blaine Cook & Terry Butler from DENIAL FIEND / DEATH / MASSACRE / THE ACCUSED, SINISTER's Aad Kloosterwaard, DARKTHRONE's FENRIZ, INCANTATION's John and Kyle, MACABRE's Corporate Death, and many others to name. Like I said before, all those interviews were so special in one way or another, I always going to be honored to have so many legends and also some new fresh blood from the extreme music spectrum. Thanks to all the fellows who made it possible. Skol!
Why does there remain a need for print zines, especially in countries with low reading rates like Colombia and countries where you have the most readers?
I'm not sure, but maybe it's because humans need to touch and feel. The sensation of tact is primitive and natural; once you hold it in your hands it becomes real. Besides that, holding, manipulating and exploring with your own hands is a habit that seems to have stayed with reading culture as much as we’ve lived as human species. Although digital has taken away certain points in recent decades, I think printed fanzines (regardless of subject or content) will continue to exist in one form or another thanks to the tireless work of independent editors, artists, and writers who keep the cauldron boiling for the sake of this culture. Now, about why zines are still made in countries with low reading rates like Colombia? I think there should only be two reasonable explanations. The first is that you have to be really screwed in the head (sometimes I lean towards this one). And number two, you have to be a person with heart, spirit, creativity and altruism, or a mix of all that. You might need some balls too and never lose your sense of humor. Finally, where people read us the most? I can tell you there are people from all South America and even some bilingual readers or dedicated readers with the intention of transcribing BNF on Google translator, because I have sent zines to countries where Spanish is not spoken. It is curious how I shipped more than twenty orders to the States (something very unusual) of issue on The Manson Family, a 350-pound mammoth beast. It seems they love to collect all the Manson stuff or something.
What efforts do you make to help validate extreme metal in general with BNF? Has this been appreciated by zine editors, collectors and traders?
I think the editorial work of BNF does not intend to vindicate anything. Our point of view tries to be as impartial as possible without losing objectivity. Even if I am the main man pulling the strings in 80% of the fanzine. BNF just wants to provide selfless support to bands, artists and labels and other independents who do honest and dedicated work. Our editorial line incorporates bands of all extreme metal styles, good people out there that need to be heard and discovered. If you can help with any of that, you're doing it perfectly fine. On the other hand, I don't think I am the best person to say why BNF is appreciated by editors, readers and traders. The truth is I always try to give the best I have, and every time I try to take things a little further. At the same time I try to make the hard work of researching, writing, editing auto-publishing fun, something that is always done from the inside out. I believe people notice that. Add that in everything you do, regardless of whether it is successful or not even more when you know there are moments in life that are shit and do not turn out as you expected.
Do you ever consider publishing your old poems in the zine, or if not, releasing them in a separate anthology? How do you think readers of BNF would receive them?
I'd be lying if I told you I haven't thought of that idea. But to be honest, I don't see more value beyond the personal or anecdotic one. Perhaps it would be good to scan the original notebook, and release it as an "art" fanzine. It’s handwritten and includes some drawings I awkwardly scrawled. It’s more like a childish thing than a serious effort I’m afraid. I even should include a warning that reads: "Beware, several misspellings and typos." What do you expect? Those were the days when electric typewriters were more fashionable than computerized word processors. I even dared to write sonnets about the readings I did, some walks in the woods, things I love like films, occultism, magick, nothing far removed from what a teenage heavy metal fan would do at the age of thirteen or fourteen. Finally, I have no idea how BNF fans would receive a book published with my pubescent sonnets, they'll probably think I'm a fag or at worst, a poser. Hahahahah
It seems in the last two decades poetry, at least dark poetry, is more accepted by listeners of extreme music. Do you see any examples of this in other zines?
Metal owns a wide source of dark, occult, evil lyrics, seems natural dark poetry also attract extreme music listeners or even some independent editor willing to put out sick and evil witchy spells. Regarding if I see any example of this in other zines, I think I don’t. It seems it’s not something that is done very often, at least in extreme metal zines. Nowadays it seems poetry is more accepted in other type of fanzines like art fanzines or literature and the likes.
Considering that most people feel drawn to pursuing a career in their early teens, would you consider resuming painting and writing poems as an adult?
Oh not at all. As I said, that was something more personal and not something with artistic values that are worth being exhibited beyond the anecdotal. Otherwise, I was tempted to write fiction long ago. At the university I wrote two chronicles my journalism teacher liked very much, so much so that they were printed in a local newspaper. I also enjoy the genre of the biography, musical or film profiles, though I would like to try a series of short fiction stories to see what happens. I want to explore fantastic themes, horror, and true crime, I would like to base myself on local stories true or fiction from my hometown. Let's see if I manage to torch this impulse-idea. I'll hope this to take up sooner or later.
In addition to metal and writing you have an interest in movies. Do any of your published issues include film reviews? If so what movies do you write about? Do you or would you interview people involved in local indie films?
Oh yes! On our back issues and same as the blog, there are lots of b movies, horror, music biopics and DVD concert reviews, to many to list here. However, we’ve had run interviews with horror filmmakers like Chuck Parello director of some cool serial killers flicks like Ed Gein (2000), The Hillside Strangler (2004) or the not so well know sequel of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer 2 (1996). Also, on issue #4 we published a cool interview with the Father of Gore Himself, Mr. Herschel Gordon Lewis (RIP) as well as a detailed article on his gory filmography. Besides all that, I did one special interview with a Colombian indie horror and fantastic film director name Jairo Pinilla. It’s so funny how often people get to compare him with Ed Wood, calling him the worst director of Colombia. But please allow me to speak on his behalf, let me get this straight for once, I invite your readers to check his films on YouTube (yes you can watch some of them for free, I think a few include English subtitles) like Area Maldita (1980) whose plot gets a snake possessed that leads the reptile on a killing spree, biting anyone that smoke pot (yep, that was enough to fill a movie for our dear Jairito), then we got: 27 Horas con la Muerte (1981) whose story get to mix a tale of supernatural horror, with people falling almost dead on a suspended animation and returning back to life after 27 hours, his films weren’t all just bad, he still a craftsman, he made his films out of nothing, with none existing budget and end up making a genuine underground and trashy gem like Funeral Siniestro (1973) a truly suspense lost forgotten masterpiece (a la Hithcock) on the top notch of the almost none existing south American horror on the likes of great Coffin Joe (rip) or the Argentinian Emilio Vieyra. You can also find this movie on YouTube, it’s filmed on 33 mm. and it captures a truly horror aesthetic that is long forgotten, you just don’t get to see films simple and effective like this anymore.
For people who haven’t read the issue you dedicated to the Manson family, can you describe all the information that was included in this issue and how you compiled it?
The Manson issue was something that changed my life as a writer, editor and journalist. I spent three years researching the subject until someday I was overwhelmed by the numerous characters and references that were part of this kind of never-ending criminal dark saga. Before continuing, I want to add that though I have always been fascinated by stories of true crime and serial killers, Charlie Manson had never really caught my attention, since I saw nothing special in a hippie, ex con man and wannabe rock star who caused young girls to murder a pregnant movie star and her friends at the Hollywood Hills. It should be noted that the purpose of the issue was not to talk morbidly about the Tate/LaBianca crimes, but rather to point out all the connections that surrounded the United States' favorite boogeyman and how he became an icon of evil, a scapegoat or even a consumerism product, etc. Anyway, during that quest (so to speak) I tried not to leave any stone unturned and interviewed many people as I could that were related with the case. The best interviews were published in the same issue with True Crime writers such as Adam Gorightly, John Gilmore, indie filmmaker John Aes-Nihil who is well acquainted on the case and he’s a collector of murderabilia related to the Manson family case. Also a dude call Stoner Van Houten, who made tours to locations related to the case. Somehow I keep skipping the Charlie issue because I felt he was a chicken. After all, he didn't dare get his hands dirty. However, as I stated earlier, every time I was reading or taking notes for other projects, Manson's story kept coming and going, when I least thought, I saw how this case involved a wide range of connections and shades inevitably seductive for me: from countercultural movements, beatniks, hippies, rock n roll, cinema stars, psychedelic drugs, the Vietnam War, shamanism, even satanism, occultism, sex, conspiracy, religious cults, politics and a very long etcetera. Somehow, I ended up having about four notebooks and dozens of pieces of paper with notes on this case, connections that seemed revealing to me in one way or another. I just feel a need to tell people some of the clues that I thought weren't much known at the time. I started to think about structuring a story. Thought about the characters, situations, how many chapters do I needed, plots and so on. That was how my research ends up in Charles Manson: Anti-Hero Of 1000 Faces. In that process, from investigative journalism I made many contacts and new friends, I even wrote Charles Manson a letter but never got a response. To this day I do not know if he received it or not, since Manson is (or was because he passed away like three years ago) one of the inmates who received a lot of correspondence a year. Curiously enough, regarding this same topic, one of the sources interviewed for BNF#5 related a story about Manson, in which he allegedly had inmates who were in charge of checking his correspondence and filtering the most relevant letters. Charlie called them his X-Men, but not because he had any reference to the popular comic or film franchise, but rather because of that anecdote during the trial in L.A.'s palace of justice in the early 70s when Manson walked the stand with his head shaved and with an X on his forehead, which he carved with a razor blade to symbolically exclude himself from society (The Establishment) that intended to lead him to the electric chair. To conclude this answer, I had the opportunity to interview Herlaka Rose from Laredo, Texas, a fellow journalist and fetish model whom Charlie regularly called from Corcoran prison. Rose told me that she had spoken to Charlie about my editorial project, as well as a chance for interviewing her for my fanzine as well. According to what Rose told me, Charlie asked her to call me to make sure that my name was not David López and that I did not work for Vanity Fair Spain; it seems this guy (David López) interviewed Charlie and misquoted him so badly. I remember Rose called me and made me swear I was not that dude from Vanity Fair Spain. That was intense, strange but fun, fun, fun. I do it again.
Are there other serial killers you would consider dedicating a future issue to?
If I ever try something like that again, I would like to attempt something with Colombian serial killers like Luis Alfredo Garavito aka El Monstruo de Génova, or Pedro Alonso López aka La Bestia de los Andes, Daniel Camargo Barbosa aka El Sádico de Charquito. In Colombia there is so much violence of all kinds but curiously these cases are not as well-known as they should be. Among Garavito and La Bestia de los Andes, they hold the infamous record of the biggest infanticides in the history of humanity, only one of them killed more than 300 girls; I invite you to do the math and you will be shocked at the result. Curiously enough, Lopez ran away from prison and he was never caught or seen again.
Are you planning to release another print issue of BNF or do you intend to keep it strictly an online zine?
Of course, as I pointed out earlier, the idea is to keep putting out thematic numbers, so the next BN will be a special featuring the legend of NECROPHAGIA's KILLJOY and his many other musical projects and film connections to gore cinema. Unfortunately Frank Pucci, real name of the mythical Westville Ohio musician, passed away prematurely at the age of 46, BNF considers that his legacy is enormous and many times he is not given the credit that he may have earned by right, KILLJOY and NECROPHAGIA are co-creators of Death Metal together with DEATH, POSSESSED, DEATHSTRIKE, SAVAGE DEATH and many others, NECROPHAGIA is one of the first bands to incorporate elements of horror into music, for which the specialized press has hung them the poster of: creators of horror metal. Anyway it's a long story that I hope will be told in the next BNF printed assault, we hope to keep you posted.
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