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Interview with Sylvia of A-Blaze Magazine(GE)

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(Interview with A~BLAZE magazine.)

Well,most of the ones truly involved since the very beginning in the early nineties know this name already as a legend in the scene of metalzines,namely ABLAZE from Germany.Famous for its true dedication for the underground scene,and always supporting the band even when still in the demo era.

I am doing this interview with Sylvia from the A~BLAZE team.

Hi Sylvia.

So..first of all i must admit it will be a very special interview for me.Due as a very young kid i always bought the zines in the local bookstore,and was always to be thrilled what the zine would bring forth that month.Most importantly there was a free cd includet (and even 2 with special occasions). Eventhrough the zine is pressed in the German language,(and my German sucks..hehehe)it always was understandable and good to read.Please Sylvia...tell the readers bit bout yourself and your function in the A~BLAZE team.

First of all I should explain that our A~BLAZE magazine is'nt a direct replacement for the ABLAZE You use to know from the 1990s. Better said we're not a assignee of it. The former owner is'nt involved anymore. We're a almost completely new team. Well,Vic Vicious and me, we know the Black Metal scene from the start of the 90s-rising, we already wrote for several fanzines in the beginning and middle of the nineties.

A couple of years later You were slowly recognising a kind of webzine boom. Specially in the underground You found lesser and lesser printed stuff. A few years forward again it seemed to have changed once more a bit. People began to miss the comfortable reading of a good old magazine. It was simply the right time for A-BLAZE to arise. With the first issue Vic and me were starting alone. The plan and aim has been to give something more open minded and tolerant to the scene. We did'nt intend to present the same groups like the colour-magazines. We do not care about the mainstream way, fashion and other things through wich we can push up our sales figures. But specially we wanted to keep ourselves the freedom of words and opinions.

Here're pressures working on the music press (on organisers of concerts ect.too) concerning the political correctness we want to fight! What I'm speaking about, is a kind of „mind police", which dares to decree what a magazine should refer and whats strictly forbidden! (Or who's allowed to play on a festival and who is'nt, whose stuff people have to buy and whose not!)

From the beginning we're refusing to be pushed into a "correct" form by such people! Those "left" and "right" schemata, whichs degenerating to a kind of law here, we use to fight! Most irritating fact concerning it all is, that it's even not enough for a group to declare they're not political at all! Those ones aren't pleased with any kind of neutralism. In their mind only left and right/black and white exists,nothing between! Who's not declaring to be "left" has to be "right"!

The truth is, it's going really fast, musicians landing in the "negative category". Sometimes just because of rumours or wrong interpretations of something. But how can such bands straighten out what it is about at all and how their art shall be understood?!

With boycott and agitation it should'nt be done! We give the chance to such ones (and everyone) to explain themselves and we show the truth to the readers, for which everybody should have the right. That's the only way to form own opinions and then it happens according facts! We're anti such pre-selections and if the price is, we're able to sell lesser magazines, then it shall be payed. That's what underground's for! Meanwhile there are a couple of people working for us/with us. Our team is fix and complete how it is in the moment. Even writers from the former ABLAZE joined. It's just a side-job for everyone of us. We have other daily responsibilities like jobs and school beside.

My work is the writing of reviews, concert reports, interviews ect.and organisationally things around. I'm sending the issues to our subscribers and readers also, which were ordering a single magazine. Furthermore I'm there for everyone who has questions etc.. That's all in all my function.

What were/are you favorite bands?and how did you get involved in the metalscene in the first place?

Well, when I`ve been a teenager in the 1980s, I was already familiar with the Metal- and somehow also Black Metal scene. I used to listen to groups like VENOM,CELTIC FROST,POSSESSED. In the early 1990s BATHORY too and of course some of the new BM bands, which were rising to that time, like BURZUM,DARK THRONE or IMPALED NAZARENE (which I always liked although there were times when they were hated by the scene). But I don't deny that I've been always also into other music beside. From the earliest nineties on I was listening to such artists like DIAMANDA GALAS or DEAD CAN DANCE,as well as to british Neo Folk. Groups like SOL INVICTUS are my favourites til today. Actually I've been one of the first persons who had such a marked preference here. Later it was'nt something special anymore and plenty of musicians found their influences there. Today I'm interested in unique BM-projects (IMPERIUM DEKADENZ,ANGST SKVADRON) and classic ones like mentioned above, when I may call it like that. Sometimes it's even hard to pick some favourites.

When was it started and who came with the idea after all to put this kind of zine together.

It was simply the time in summer 2007 to poduce a proper magazine for the scene once again! Such one seemed to be missed among the "Metal Bravos" for years already! Many music fans found it quite sad of course and the internet fanzines were'nt a real substitute in the long term. The ABLAZE was a kind of number one here during the 1990s, but it went out of business. We did'nt want to start with the debts of the owner, but continue his work for the scene. That's why ABLAZE turned to A-BLAZE. The layout,the style ect. - it's all the same nowadays. The BM underground has it's true voice again! Which's not afraid to publish the truth!

At what time did you get involved?Since the zine itself lasted a long time already?

Of course I knew the ABLAZE magazine in the 1990s, but that's been a time still when I was writing for the pagan zine SIGILL (focus Neo Folk), an own fanzine and a BM zine of a friend among other things. I knew some of the ABLAZE writers, but was'nt involved by myself. I began with our new project - the A-BLAZE magazine.

What capabilities does a person has to own,to applie working in the team.

To work for the Black Metal underground You do not have to have special abilities, just a talent to write and passion.

You should use the german language properly of course and know what the kind of music's about and whats going on in the scene. Recently we had to suggest someone to leave us cause his contingents were simply lowbrow and full of orthography- and grammar mistakes. We were correcting it all over months, were talking to him about it several times, but when nothing changed, we have'nt had another choice.

Underground does'nt mean a lack of intellect or way of behaving. That's not the way we want to be seen simply. But in general everyone can offer to write something for our A-BLAZE when they have a bit experience, talent and passion. Just a kind of "inner circle" we have formed already :).

As you where there (almost) from the whole beginning i must conclude your a very dedicated soul yourself.Am i right?

Your conclusion's correct.Most real dedicated ones in my age began with a simple bias for music,affection turned to addiction and today they have labels,bands or they just write for a music magazine to work in the scene for the scene.

What are the differences between first ABLAZE issue ever released,comparing to the scene nowadays.Is it easier or more difficult to pick the right bands out to be in months editions.

Well, that's a good question. When the first ABLAZE ever has been released, it was'nt common yet to have internet. People were depending more on print-medias. As well as bands for their advertising and sale. There was'nt such a flood of informations like we have it now. Of course the exorbitance of groups and projects is even more huge like it already was 10-15 years ago. For us music editors it makes the work harder and easier coevally. Like any other magazine we try to be update with our interviews,reviews ect, just in ours also the controversial music finds its place. With intention we're often picking such groups or projects, which are boycotted by many other magazines.By the way, we do not release the A-BLAZE regulary each month. A new issue comes each 2nd/3rd month.

And is it easier to get it pressed than in the past?Cause i can figure it is`nt an avarage zine which comes across a pressing factory.And is A-BLAZE still working with the same one as in the beginning?

We have a layouter and a printing office in our team. From there the magazines going out to several distributions and home to me. Like I mentioned already,I use to supply and deal with the small mail-orders by myself too. Actually I have no idea where the ABLAZE has been printed in the 1990s.

Are there any other activities in your life refering to the metalscene besides working for the zine?Are you involved with organizing gigs/fest.maybe?

Some festivals are supported by us these days, but we're not organising our own events. At the moment visiting concerts to report about it, is enough activity for me, beside my other functions in the A-BLAZE team:)

There has been a time ABLAZE died a silent death (if its the way to put it),and true dedicated fans remained with questions what happened to it.

Can you tell me how the situation came that far,the plug was pulled out in that period?

About the ABLAZE magazine how it was in the 1990s and its end then I can only tell what I heard here and there.

As You know it was everywhere to find to that time-in many supermarkets, in shops,newspaper-shops in each bigger train station and kiosks. The owner made for sure good money. Just as spending it Consequenz has been his failure. Still he owes money to labels (for print-advertising never released cause there was no magazine anymore all of a sudden) and to people which ordered and payed already as well as to all subscribers. Until today it was'nt refunded. Quite many people write to us now to ask for that. But we're not able to help, as I told above, we're not the assignee of the former ABLAZE magazine. We had to fix it up that way. Well,recently I heard the former owner's glad we gave his work a new life and that's another good reason for us to go on.

Who does what in the team.And with how many persons is A~BLAZE at the moment.

At the present time we have 4 people in the editorial team including Vic Vicious and myself plus 16 collaborators. Some are only reviewing promo stuff, the others use to write reports and interview bands.

The columns are Vic's speciality. He's also responsible for the distribution particulary, like me. We are the chiefs of the magazine looked at it that light.

What demands has a band to follow to be reviewed,interviewed in the zine.Or their demo or album to be reviewed?Or even better,their song being upon the A-BLAZE compilation.

An essential reason here's simply the approach, the contacting.

We're supported by and supporting several labels. From there we're receiving the promo stuff and often the interviews are managed via such ones.

The same applies the selection for the magazine-cd. At least on one hand. On the other each band/project and if it's something very unknown yet, new or whatever has the possiblity to write or e-mail us.

We're able to handle it still on such a "open for everyone"-way. Promomaterial can just be send and we'll review it. (Unknown musicians get even a link for free, where their stuff can be ordered.) If it concerns a band-introduction or an interview,when they're a bit known already, those people can simply contact us and ask. Others we're contacting, as I said, often via the labels. For each new issue a kind of selection's planned to be somehow up to date for the scene, but beside it we've enough space yet for those which need a little support or attention:)

What are your thoughts behind the bands who were in the zine in the past,as true underground band,and later sold out!Becoming the mainstream band as they are.

Will they ever to be seen again in the zine in the near future,or did they have become to famous to be in it once more.

I'm afraid they feel outgrown above the underground today and they've no ambitions anymore to support a magazine like ours, which's not multicoloured and full of mainstream stuff. For some of such ones it was a proper way to become more known and famous even. Now we're forgotten. They think they play in another league nowadays and underground's not worth anymore to receive attention. Their category changed obviously and they use to ignore where they came from. As long as they're making good money with selling their music, merchandise, appearances and maybe themselves they don't care for A-BLAZE. But it comforts me somehow to know our readers does'nt want to see such bands in our magazine anymore too!

How does the process go of putting the zine together?Are there bands for the picking to be in the next months issue?

we use to write reports about the concerts/festivals we were visiting, we spread the news which are up in the scene and Vic releases his columne about subjects in the current focus. It often concerns the "political correctness" and it's effects/strange twists, the scene's usually forced to cope with.

What can we expect for the near years to come.Can we see A~BLAZE grow up once again as the zine it was used to be?

We're constantly improving ourselves with everything what belongs to the whole A-BLAZE work. Recently the layout has been changed a bit, soon we will release insertions too. In any case it stays a black/white print and You won't find it anymore in bigger shops. The number of pieces we would have to increase also for such a kind of sale and they use to take the items just on commission. So we prefer to handle it the underground-way. We send our mag to the readers by ourselves or they can buy it from several related distributions so far.

I think the die-hard fans can find their way back blindly to it,cause they know always what to expect!Honesty..dedication,and hard work for the underground.

Where do buyers can get a copy of the A~BLAZE zine,since its no longer being sold in the bookstores?

Who wants to order directly over here, finds all infos on

Thank you very much for your time Sylvia.Take care,and total support for your work years to come!Final words are for you Sylvia...

Thanks for the attention, interest and support. It's been great to be once on the side of the one who's answering the interview-questions. Normally it's me who's asking:)

I'm wishing You all the best for Your zine too. May the future belong to the BM-underground further on!



Sylvia of the A-Blaze team
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