THE FANZINE THAT FEATURES SMALL AND UNSIGNED BANDS
Sunday, January 31, 2010
AN INTERVIEW WITH MYSELF...YES, WITH MYSELF!!!!
Have you ever interviewed yourself? You should do it as all it takes is a lousy mirror, a pretty fucked up mind and some smart questions. It’s much cheaper than visiting a psychiatrist, believe me! But as I don’t wanna bore you with my psychological problems, I decided to concentrate on that subject that gets you here : The Original Sin…. HELLO, PLEASE TAKE A SEAT AND PERHAPS YOU CAN INTRODUCE YOURSELF? Sure, I’m 41, born in Belgium and since I was a kid I fell in love with music…. SO IN LOVE, YOU STARTED A FANZINE. WHY IS IT CALLED THE ORIGINAL SIN? There is a beautiful version and a rather stupid one. The stupid one is the truth as it was just taken from one of my favesongs by Theatre Of Hate, lots of people thought it was the INXS-song…now, why would I wanna do that? The beautiful version came later as the original sin was biblewise when Eva ate the apple, for me it was the original sin when I first heard music…like some poison that came in my veins and never came out. BUT YOU WANTED THE ORIGINAL SIN SOMETHING SPECIAL, NOT? Sure. I read everything I got in my hands about music. As soon as I got my first fanzine in my hands (that was a German one, Refuse Collection, done by Angela) a new world came open to me. I started writing people how I could obtain fanzines. Soon I discovered some gems among them but honestly said there were many around who were just some blind copies from the NME. I was actually wondering why someone should write about Oasis as they already got so many attention and one day I thought : hey, I wanna do a fanzine that is specialized in small and unsigned bands, all styles. YOU’RE A SNOB THEN? At the contrary. I listen to lots of things, even things that aren’t hip. For example I have a huge collection of so called 80’s crapmusic like Bronski Beat, Spandau Ballet, Kim Wilde…and I’m a huge Peter Gabrielfan so….a snob me??? Thing is the undergroundscene is like some unopened magic box in where there is of course lots of crap, but precious little diamonds that can only be discovered through fanzines as the record companies never cared. What was so damn good about all those fanzines was that they were written by people who stayed themselves and created a whole unique style. I was always looking forward to see the next issue of Abuse, Quirk, REPEAT, Cream Of The Crop, Organ…. WHEN DID YOU DECIDE YOU WANTED TO WRITE? Honestly, it was all inspired by a Melody Maker-journalist named Everett True. He was my hero and still is, and his reviews were so thrilling. Some say it was nothing but self glorification ET did and in a way it was but I really am bored by journalists who see music as maths. Who wants to read a review from 500 words in where every song is explained to the bone? That’s bullshit only people wanna read who takes music not seriously…. So I decided that I wanted to write like Everett, from the heart. SOME SAY THAT THE ORIGINAL SIN WAS FAR TOO KIND, NEVER A BAND THAT WAS BAD, EVERYTHING WAS GENIUS… Yeah, but that was my policy too. I only reviewed a band when I thought it was good, when it sucked I decided not to write about it. And let’s be honest, it’s actually great to slash down a band and if that’s a band who has the audience from Oasis then that’s only fair, even funny. Why would I write a bad review about some band who made a demotape that’s been printed on 100 copies? That’s stupid. It’s already hard enough for these people to get heard so if you knock ‘em down, then you might be a “true journalist” but in my opinion a bastard as well…. THERE WERE 41 ISSUES, RIGHT? Exactly. There were 3 phases. The first ones were handwritten, I kid you not. Then there was the improvement of an old typewriter and around the 28th issue the computer made its entrance. It was also then that The Original Sin reached 500 copies per issue. Which was honestly said too less as I always had to disappoint people by telling them the issue was “out of print” but as they were made with a xeroxmachine I kept on reprinting them, so I think some issues must have got 700 copies or so. A BIG SUCCESS THEN? I suppose so but that was also the bad side from it. Not only was it financial wise a complete impossible thing as you must know that the fanzine was free but printing it costed around 2 Euro per copy and with that money there were even no stamps included to send them out. YOU SHOULD HAVE ASKED MONEY THEN….. We both know, dear, that from the moment you ask a penny not only the thrill has gone but the interest as well…. Plus from the moment it got 500 issues, the fun was over too as I really faced the bad things about being a zinewriter. In the beginning I reviewed only stuff that I liked but once your name was known in the scene I got tons of CDS I never asked for. There were days I got 10 CDS per day in the mail. You might think it’s cool, and for some months it is, but believe me if you have hundreds of cds around from band who are sounding like a bad copy from REM, you know you’re in trouble. Or you get 3 cds by someone who’s pretending to be the next Dolly Parton and a month later you’ll receive an angry letter in where she states it’s a shame her masterpieces weren’t reviewed yet… YOU ALWAYS PUT AN UNSIGNED BAND ON THE COVER, NOT? That was also a funthing, who will be on the cover of this month’s issue? It depended on different factors, who were the best or who sent decent pics with their demo. I mean if you think that band X is the best band of the year but you have no picture, you can’t put them on the cover, not? You have no idea how many letters I got from bands begging me to put them on the cover. Quite stupid. But then again, being on the cover also meant that your band was seen by 500 eyes, at least. From the moment I got letters from labels who told me I could get all their records for free as long as it were good reviews, I understood it was lost. YOU SAY UNSIGNED BANDS, BUT ARE THERE BANDS WHO GOT BIG? Cranberries, without any doubt. Then there was also Camera Obscura and little bands like Electric Sound Of Joy who never got big, but ended up on legendary labels like Earworm or Wurlitzer Jukebox. But in general it’s rather frustrating, I think I have reviewed around 4 till 5000 bands and to see that only one really got big is in fact a sad fact, not? Maybe it was the curse of The Original Sin, who knows, but realizing that Cranberries became a millionselling band made thatcurse rather nonsense, not? THE ORIGINAL SIN WENT ON-LINE AFTER 41 ISSUES, HOW DO YOU SEE THAT? The beginning of the end. I was married then and in no way I couldn’t afford the money to keep on doing The Original Sin. Plus as said, the real love was gone and I felt like a slave to the zine…I was listening to a stupid REM-copy while I wanted to hear the latest Yummy Fur and that was no good. Out of the blue came one of my best mates, Dennis, with an idea : let’s do it on-line! Sounds brilliant but Dennis lived in Germany and knew all about computers and I was in Belgium and I knew nothing about it. I was completely depended on Dennis and even if he did a great job, I never liked the e-zine cos The Original Sin was like all e-zines : if you visit them 2 weeks later, it were the same bloody pages…. AND THEN YOU DISSAPEARED… “Disappeared from view” as The Teardrop Explodes sang but in my heart, I was still there…mind you. AND NOW THE ORIGINAL SIN IS BACK, WHY? Oh there are different reasons. The main reason is the most stupid. I asked one of my best mates if she could give me some readingtips for books and as soon as the question was asked, I realised that I was a writer instead of a reader. Secondly through the Facebook I got in touch again with some old pals and I think I kind of missed it… IT’S A BLOGSPOT, ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THIS FORMAT? Difficult to say. I guess it’s a no because first of all a fanzine is the best on paper. But I know from myself that in no way I could afford the old days and secondly I am not a computerhead, so don’t expect me coming up with a genius website, so let’s be thankful there are blogspots for people like us. DO YOU EXPECT IT TO HAVE THE SUCCESS AS IT USED TO? Everyone who is making a come back hopes for that otherwise you don’t. I have no idea if today in 2010 there is an interest in the fanzinescene cause after all I was active in the peak of its success. Bands got contracts because fanzines liked them, just think of Bis. I suppose the old traditional fanzines are still around but I can’t think they have such an impact as they used to have back then. The difficult thing for me is also that I have to start it all over, it’ll be a long way to have what once was, but having said that : with a little bit of luck there are some hundreds of readers as well…. What’s most important for me is that I do the things now on my terms, even if I know from myself that there is just one standard : a very high one. IT’S GETTING LATE NOW SO WE HAVE TO FINISH THIS GREAT TALK. Thank you…. NO THANKS, BUT YOU STILL MUST ANSWER THE TWO QUESTIONS YOU ASKED IN EVERY INTERVIEW. WHAT’S YOUR FAVE RECORD OF ALL TIME AND WHY… That must be “Low” by David Bowie because after all that’s the record that started it all for me. When I was a teenage kid my whole world got open once I heard that sound and as history knows this sound wasn’t just influential for me… WITH WHO DO YOU WANNA BE STUCK IN AN ELEVATOR FOR 8 HOURS AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO THEN? You sick bastard! What a question, with my wife of course! WHAT A DUMB ANSWER, MATE, COME UP WITH SOMETHING ELSE… I guess it must be Charlotte Gainsbourg, what I’ll do is none of your business… DO YOU WANT TO SAY SOMETHING SPECIAL TO OUR READERS? Once you’re immortal you can die.