Before you started Mean E Publishing you were writing reviews and fiction for Lightbringer Zine. Why did you make the transition to publishing fiction by you and other authors?
I still contribute to other zines and publications but I wanted to start my own website and publish fiction on my own. I figured it would be good to have a place to showcase my own work... and hopefully in the future I can release the work of other people. I have two short stories by my friend CF Green posted, but so far the website is mostly my own writings.
What publications have you reviewed for in the last several months? Are they based in Canada where you’re from or other countries?
As far as reviews go I have reviewed for Asphyxium, Lights Go Out Zine and Morgue Rot Magazine... though I have been focusing more on fiction.
Were you burned out on reviewing bands or did you just gravitate to writing fiction? And who were some of the most memorable bands you reviewed?
Honestly yes, I did get burnt out from reviewing bands for a while but I'm slowly getting back into it. Out of my recent reviews, the most memorable would need to be “Tales of Othertime” by Stormkeep and “Fortress of Primal Grace” by Vallendusk. There were others but those are the first two that stick out as awesome.
Is your old blog still active or was it taken down at some point? When did you open your new website and start posting your writing?
Lightbringer Zine was taken down due to a lack of support. My new website is more successful! I started Mean E Publishing earlier in the year and as for the blog I started posting on Halloween day 2022!
Do you remain in touch with the fanzines you were reviewing for? Are you discovering new zines to submit reviews to?
I still keep in touch with Morgue Rot and Light's Go Out, and I have a story coming out in a new issue of Siren's Call E-Zine. So yes, I do keep in touch with other zines. From time to time I find new ones but I have been slower on the draw than I have been in the past.
You’ve also written a few articles for Asphyxium, namely “Merry Christmas Pete Berwick”, “Questions and Conclusions on the Topic of Antisocial Personality Disorder” and “I Fucking Love Goregrind”. Is there anything you would like to write articles about?
I have a few article ideas but I haven't gotten around to anything yet.
Did you keep in touch with the bands and artists you interviewed for Asphyxium, such as The Clever References, Lookin Up, Jimi Hughes, Trash Brain, Strummingbird and Get Real? Any one new you’ve thought of interviewing for other zines?
The musicians from Trash Brain are from Cape Breton. So I run into them from time to time. The same can be said for Get Real. As for interviews... I haven't really been doing any. Since I left social media it is harder to connect with musicians. It is a small downside amidst many upsides... but I might do a few interviews with some friends soon!
How long has Death By Digital been active in Canada, and do they distribute abroad as well as their home continent? In what part of Canada is it based? Who are the bands you heard of and how do they take grindcore and goregrind in different directions?
I don't know how long Death By Digital has been active but it is run by a guy named Doug from Ontario. Once again, I do not know if they ship abroad. As for bands I have heard of through the label there are too many to count. Notable ones would be Lurid Panacea, Ear Maggot, Sjeta, Uprising (black metal) and Toxicology. I also received a lot of bands that were already known to me. When it comes to taking goregrind and grindcore in different directions the bands vary. Some are experimental and some are your straight forward grind. One band (Sjeta) released an entire B side of dark ambience on one of their tapes. I thought that was pretty neat!
Does Death By Digital have a Youtube channel? How many labels for grindcore, goregrind and black metal are you coming across on that network?
I don't know if Death By Digital has a Youtube channel as I have only been listening to physical media from the label. I do come across bands on Youtube but I have mostly been listening to tape cassettes and CDs recently... except for when I listen to black metal as I find it harder to find tapes from the genre within Canada for a fair price. Label wise I have never once hooked up with a label from Youtube.
What black metal bands have you recently heard that stand out from other bands of the genre? From the bands you’ve been exposed to, how has the genre grown and how many opportunities for growth remain?
When it comes to black metal some great ones would be Vallendusk, Stormkeep, By the Waters of Awakening, Uprising, I Of The Trees and Wind And Vaino. Black metal was good way back when and it is still good today. I think black metal will continue to progress and push forward for a very long time and the opportunities for the genre are unending and unwavering... at least within the confines of the underground.
What about Stormkeep and Vallendusk held your interest? Where on social media can people listen to their material?
Stormkeep is some of the most epic melodic black metal I have ever heard. As for Vallendusk, I found their music to be uplifting as opposed to depressive... so I think that is what snagged me. I will also say that Stormkeep is “journey music”... and by that I mean listening to them makes me want to go on an adventure. You can find a fair bit from both bands on Youtube!
So do you think there are still original and inventive metal bands to discover? How about grindcore and goregrind bands?
Of course! There are still plenty of inventive bands left out there and I find new stuff each week. A lot of the black metal I have been finding is of top quality. As for grindcore and goregrind I've been getting cassettes from Death By Digital (a Canadian grind label) and a lot of the cassettes are pretty decent!
Have you listened to anything new from bands you’ve reviewed such as Vaino, Organ Failure, Sawbelly, Manegarm, Violent Christians etc? There was a rap artist you wrote about a few times known as 6HOST WITHASIX. Do you still correspond with him?
As far as I know Vaino only has the one full-length. But as soon as I hear tell of something new I will be hopping on that quick. It is funny you mention Manegarm because I am actually listening to Manegarm on cassette as I write this! It is one of their older albums... but I have been keeping up with their newer stuff. As for 6HOST he is from my area... but I have not run into him recently. He is quite the talented musician though and I do hope that he is keeping up with his music career.
Discuss the stories you have posted by CF Green and recent tales you penned. Has your writing improved with practice? Can you describe the storylines of your recent stories?
CF Green has written a few short things for me when I was trying to start my own zine. The zine got minimal support but when I started my new site I re-uploaded some of CF's work. There are only two stories currently on the “Free Stuff” page but I'm sure he will send more in the future. I have a lot of work posted but my most recent would be “Frumpy Franny Fringle and the Fabulous Farting Fox” a short book for children, “Michael Noseman and the Wizard of Schnozz” which is mostly a joke between friends with lots of hidden humour and a children's series called “Phester the Skrugg”. I would like to think that my writing has improved. It is a very slow process but I am inching towards bettering myself all the time. In fact, you are to thank for some of that as you were one of the first to let me post on your zine! That was great practice and a lot of fun and as I slowly get back to reviewing I will send some more stuff your way! As for explaining my stories that is too big of an outing. You'd just need to read them and find out! I got lots of free stuff posted on the site on the "Free Stuff" page for anyone that is interested!
Are there any guidelines for submitting fiction, or are you accepting a variety of themes?
For the most part (recently) I have been posting YA and children's fiction. But I have everything from horror to comedy posted. There is no real theme, but I do stress that anything racist, sexist, homophobic or openly negative will not be posted.
Back to your publishing fiction, how much fiction have you accumulated? Do you plan to post all your fiction? How much of CF Green’s work do you plan to post?
I have accumulated 5 novelettes and about 15 short stories... plus a small handful of kids' books! There are actually more short stories but I have lost a lot of my older work. I have also written a lot of flash fiction...the number of writings I am very unsure of. I will post what I am content with... and as for CF he made two guest posts at my blog since we began this interview!
What blogging platform do you use to promote? Do you know of its potential to reach a wider readership? How often do you promote?
For blogging I use the same site as the initial website. Webnode! I am a big fan of this service. It is simple to use and everything comes out looking pretty good! I think it has potential to reach a fair few readers. I am not promoting online (aside from this interview so far) but I do have an ad in a small local paper called “Northside Weekly”. So I do have a bit of promotion going on with physical media. I also plan to run an ad campaign on Amazon in the new year!
What novels or short stories have you read lately that you found inspirational? I remember there were a few other authors you read often.
As always my favourite author of all time is R. L. Stine. He has a new book of short stories called “Stinetinglers” that I plan to buy in the near future. My reading has been very slow but the most recent book I read was “Carnosaur” by Harry Adam Knight. It was written in the 80s and wasn't re-released until this year. The movie of the same title from the 90s is one of my favorite movies of all time. The book differs greatly from the movie but it was highly enjoyable none the less. Oh! And I read the “Turok” series by Michael Teitelbaum from the late 90s. They were written for younger readers but they were highly enjoyable and they filled me to the brim with nostalgia!
What sort of nostalgia did you receive from Teitelbaum’s “Turok” series?
I was a huge Turok fan since I was a kid. I always played the video games on my Nintendo 64. The first one in the series "Way of the Warrior" I wrote two book reports on when I was in high school but I never read the others. I got a chance to order the first three in the series earlier in the year and I'm glad I bought them. They were expensive for such short books but it was worth it! I still have yet to order the fourth and final book due to it being over 100 dollars CAD because of it being a first print/out of print... but maybe sometime when I can snag it for cheaper I will!
How hard to find is material from the series? How intensively did you have to look before finding a copy of the fourth novel?
I have actually been pricing the Turok books for a few years now. They were expensive but when I found them again I managed to get one from Amazon for 14 dollars plus shipping and the next two were about 28 dollars on Thriftbooks. The fourth one is still about 100 CAD (the only one I did not order). The books are really rare as they are from 1998-1999 and were only printed once. But you CAN grab a copy of the fourth book from Amazon or Thriftbooks if you are willing to pay the price they are asking.
Would you consider publishing your stories in book form at some point? How many online companies do you know of that could publish a collection of your work?
I plan to publish two books at some point. I am unsure of any companies that would release my work but if there are any reading this get in touch! Until then I will be releasing through Amazon KDP and my own website.
How long will it be and how much material will you have to collect before you begin publishing? Will you release your books independently at first or go right into looking for a company?
For the books I am compiling I already reached out to a handful of publishers but no go so far. It is looking like they are going to be independent releases. I have everything I need for right now I just need to finish doing some edits.
What movies have you seen lately, old or new, that you’d like to review for Mean E Publishing should you decide to?
The only movie I plan to review that I did not review yet is a teen flick called “Teenage Ghost Punk”. I actually plan to send that review to Asphyxium when I get around to it!
Are you seeking more writers to contribute to the blog? You also mentioned you may be interviewing a few people you know. Who do you have in mind?
I don't really have anyone in mind for an interview. Maybe I could get updated on Cernunnous? But yeah... I am always looking for contributors for the blog!