Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Whether in your bed or on a public beach,
under a blanket on a winter night
or in broad daylight of summer heat
Whether it's wine, beer, coffee or tea...
there are still people that enjoy a good read...

We kick off today with a few nice tracks from our 2015. top model Pop Dee...


and swiftly move on to chat with Sean Wallace, one of the key men behind...

THE DARK MAGAZINE

A quarterly online magazine with regular issues from October 2013
delivers original short fiction stories... New issue #8 is hot of the press...
What's it all about and what does a regular working day look like @ THE DARK, let's see...



 What is Dark Magazine? How did it start?
Well, Jack had always wanted to launch a new magazine ever since he’d had to shut down Flesh & Blood, which had lasted through 1998 through 2003. I’d helped with the last four issues, in various capacities, and we had kept in touch ever since then. However, within the last two years the itch to edit / publish something had gotten under Jack’s skin, so he’d been dabbling with the idea of doing something. At that point it had bounced between being a print or online magazine, and I was finally brought in as a consultant and then later as co-editor. Once that happened things happened rather quickly. We then decided that going digital was the way forward, and that we would keep it as simple as possible, pretty much emulating Clarkesworld in its early days.

Tell as a bit about your personal background that led to making a magazine?
Well, as noted above Jack published and edited Flesh & Blood for six years, along with publishing anthologies, whereas I’ve edited or co-edited about eight magazines, now, though I’m probably best known for working with Clarkesworld Magazine these days, and for Prime Books. So we’ve done it all, over the years, from picking out fiction and art for the covers, and a lot more besides.


How dark is Dark?
Well, we like it to be subtle, to sneak up on you in the dark, as it were, whether it’s set historically, or in modern times, or even in the near future. We’re certainly not in it for graphic or violent horror, within reason, for its own sake, and there are plenty of markets to service that kind of approach. But for connoisseurs of the weird and unique and unsettling, that’s the dark we’re aiming for, that we feel that only we can provide. Some excellent examples, for example, include “The Ghost of You Lingers” by Kevin McNeil, in our new issue, or in previous issues, “Bearskin” by Angela Slatter, or “Mr. Hill’s Death” by S.L. Gilbow.

Do you plan to make printed editions?
So far we’ve only done one sampler for last year’s World Fantasy Convention, and that included just four of the best stories drawn from all the previous issues. I think we did several hundred copies and they went pretty quick, which was a nice surprise. We may do that, again, this year, in Saratoga Springs, certainly. And at some point we may do a best of compilation, but that’s really far down the line, perhaps tying in with a ten year anniversary celebration.  

 
Plans and ambitions for the future?

 Right now? Honestly the goal is to grow the readership by whatever means possible, even giving away subscriptions to anyone interested in reading and enjoying unsettling dark fantasy. In this we really see The Dark Magazine as continuing the ancient tradition that Weird Tales essentially established, to publish unique material that doesn’t really fit anywhere else, 
that could only be published in our magazine. 
Beyond that, I don’t know. This started off as pretty much a hobby, at least for me, and I’m sure it’s the same for Jack, but so long as we’re happy publishing the kind of fiction we both like, and that readers are enjoying them that’s where we want to be, now, and in the future. I’m sure that once Jack finishes up with his Master’s degree and once my twin girls are in kindergarten next year, however, that we’ll re-evaluate what we’re doing, what we’ve accomplished, and perhaps move to do more. What that exactly is we simply don’t know, now.

How does a regular workday look like for you and Jack, 

in terms of working with submissions and publishing an issue?
 Well, both of us tackle the slush with no other help, morning and night, and we don’t spend much time with most. We’re speedreaders and it doesn’t take much beyond the first paragraph, maybe two paragraphs, to make a quick determination, and with form rejections in the gmail system ready to go, it’s just a quick reply. In this way we process probably three hundred stories a month, with many rejections within hours. However, any stories that warrant further appraisal gets transferred to a different folder, and then Jack and I discuss them at some length, sit on them for some time to let them soak a bit, and then make a final decision. All in all, even though we’re not using full-fledged submission software, this particular system works really well for us, since gmail’s preview function gives you immediate access to the first submission page. It makes everything speed along nicely.
Then there’s the issue preparation, closer to a day or two before it actually goes live on the website, and in sales channels. This can take a few hours, at most, and it usually starts with the pdf issue, and then once that’s done it’s sent off to the contributors to do a final proof, along with making sure that reviewers have a copy. After that the contents from the pdf are exported into wordpress posts, where they are further massaged in order to work properly with the ebook creation tools built into the website. An epub is then automatically generated, and with Calibre I convert it to mobi, and spend another hour uploading each to their respective markets. 
The last step generally involves sending the issue to all the subscribers drawn from a mailchimp database, and this can take a few minutes, at most, again, using gmail. I’m sure in the future as the numbers grow, though, we’ll have to look at something a bit more robust, however.
And while I know this is all sounds like a lot of work, it really isn’t, it runs like a well-oiled machine. As well it should, with all our experience! :p


Message for our viewers?

To be completely mercenary, please sign up for a free subscription. It’s as easy as going to our website, at thedarkmagazine.com, and filling out the newsletter app at the top of the page. You get sixteen stories a year, from some of the best authors in our field, with some of the best stunning art for our covers, for free. And then, after reading our issues, if you truly and well love it, if you can signal-boost that sentiment further, our many thanks to you!

***

Always nice to see dedicated, hard working people...
Keep it up coming guys!

Thank you for visiting...

Sunday, 22 March 2015

 We had a really short, haiku chat with
this modest, low-profile photographer...
He's been on the job for decades now and
that's probably the reason why he chooses
to communicate through photography...
Anyway... Picture is worth a thousand words
and we managed to get a few pictures (and words)
for our blog exclusively from:


JOŽE SUHADOLNIK

What advice have you got for a 13 year old "wannabe" photographer today?
Try to buy cheap second hand camera, because you'll never get paid for the next 50 years.
 Meanwhile try to finish any education and stay amateur for the rest of your life.


You have been living with the punk scene... Can you differentiate now and then?
It is more or less the same. Young musicians and artists have the best ideas but no backup
 for anything. I am surprised that Punk rock is no stronger than anytime before.  
 

Any good active punk bands in Slovenia?
There are, Joko Ono, Can of Bees...


What makes a good picture when it comes to taking photos of musician's self-expresing moments?
It is very subjective, I prefer Anton Corbijn aproach...


Message for our viewers?
Never give up!


***

Although Jože is a man of few words his biography is quite impressive so we suggest you browse through his website HERE, there is an interesting gallery of motives from all around the globe...
An interesting conversation with Jože HERE regarding his rewarded and sold out
photobook "Balkan Punk"... But before you leave get a taste of Jože's music pick:



To quote the man:
"Never give up!"
Thank you for visiting!

Friday, 20 March 2015

BLUES CRUISE

Not only does it rhyme but blues really has that
moderate fly-drive-sail feeling inherent...
Well, we're cruising with an Aussie flag today...


THE JACQUI WALKER BAND

If your head is swelling because of numerous problems
it's time for a taste of Jacqui's unpretentious, laid-back music...
Here's a little easy listening to soothe your aches:



Tell us about yourself and the music projects you are involved in...
I've been singing forever, and at the moment I'm working with my own band "The Jacqui Walker Band" as well as some solo shows and producing Blues Cruises around Australia. Keeps me busy. Up until 5 weeks ago, I had always lived in the outer east of Melbourne, but I've recently moved to the Gold Coast. This meant that I needed to find a local guitarist and drummer to join myself and my husband (Glen), my Bass player.

 How did you get bound to music?
 I've loved music since before I could walk or talk. There was often music in my house on the radio and records. I learnt to turn on the stereo when I was 12 months old and at 2 I was putting on records. My parents were not too impressed when I scratched some of their faves though. My father worked in TV and got tickets to Young Talent Time filming. This was a very popular TV show, filmed in Nunawading, and featured young performers in song and dance routines. This is the show that gave many their start in the entertainment industry (Danni Minogue, Jamie Redfern, Tina Arena) So my parents and I used to go and watch them tape the shows. I adored the show and dreamt of becoming a YTT member. In primary school I was in both the choir and the band and later played the lead role in my school production. This continued through secondary school, when I started classical singing lessons. I was awarded Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB) Grade 6 Classical Voice when I was 17. I went on to play leads in amateur musicals and got my first professional performing job in a theatre restaurant when I was 18.
 
What kind of music inspires you and what kind of music do you play
  I love any music that you can feel. When I was younger, all I wanted to be able to do was to sing Pop. And I was really bad at it. I forced myself to learn how to sing it, which is funny now, because it's the last thing I want to sing these days. I love performers whose stories you can hear and feel. A soulful voice will get me every time. It should sound real, authentic and effortless. My favourite album of all time is Carole King's Tapestry, my favourite singers are Barbra Streisand, Silvie Palladino and Vika Bull. With my band, we play mostly Blues, Soul and RnB but we also throw in others that are outside of these genres. It's really hard to define exactly what we do, but I can say that all of the music we play is music that we love and are moved by. We don't play what other people want to hear. If it moves and excites us, we play it well and in turn the audience really enjoys our performances.

What's the situation with music scene in Australia? 
(you look like one big happy family)
 My experience has mostly been in and around Melbourne, so I can speak mostly about my experience there. I have found the Melbourne music scene to be incredibly supportive and co-operative. I can call a large number of fellow musicians, my friends. If I need advice, there are many I can turn to and they will willingly help me where they can. It's quite common in the Melbourne scene to have other musos attend other musos' gigs. Sometimes being called up onto stage to share a song or two. We promote each other's gigs and share contact information. Of course there are always a few who don't share these same values, and each to their own. I love the Melbourne music scene very much. It's been challenging moving to the Gold Coast where I am now connecting with the Brisbane and GC scenes and knowing no-one to begin with, it's been interesting.
 I need to work hard to prove myself all over again and network. 
Employing local musicians in Queensland I feel will help people here to understand that I am a supporter of other musicians and not someone 
who is a threat or out to take their gigs :)

 Tell us about your Blues Cruises...
 I own a business called Blues Cruise Australia, which I started last year in Melbourne. I'm now running regular Blues Cruises in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. I have the great pleasure of giving work to our talented Blues musicians, but also to bring Blues music to new audiences. 
The cruises are an absolutely fantastic time! They are 3-4 hours, 
and guests are served yummy food and a welcome drink on arrival.

 What makes you, you?
  Wow, that's a difficult question to answer because there's so much. Obviously my family - the one I grew up with and the one I live with now. I have a beautiful, amazing husband, Glen and 3 children aged 11, 17 and 19 and a step son 21. I've always been motivated and someone who gets things done and there have been times where I've faced challenges which could have destroyed me. If I let them. My eldest daughter lost her father to suicide, I have suffered severe depression and severe panic disorder. I suffered a mental breakdown in my mid 20s at the same time I was studying for a double degree full time with 2 young children as a single parent. I also survived a violent relationship. Crazy! But here I am, doing what I love and always seeking happiness and fulfilment. I need to surround myself at all times with people who are healthy for me to ensure that I can be the best person I can be. My husband brings out the absolute best in me. 
I am very lucky.

How should people live their lives?
 They should always do what makes them happy. If they are happy and fulfilled, then this affects those around them. Negative thinking will lead to nothing good. I have always believed that you can do absolutely anything you want in your life. When I was 5 I used to say I was going to be a teacher and a singer when I was older. And guess what; I am a singer and a teacher. 
If I can do it, anyone can!

 Any releases coming our way in 2015?
 No releases this year, as we find our feet with our new working situation. We have a band in Queensland and a band in Victoria now and performing with both. We have some great gigs booked in both states and I look forward to doing some writing and recording later this year or early next year.

 Do aliens exist?
  Hahahahaha, I've been to Wycliffe Well in the Northern Territory and seen something crazy. So who knows really? Maybe I am one!

  Message for our viewers...
 Stay happy, go see live shows, buy music. Don't follow the crowd. 
Always be yourself and no-one else.

***

I wouldn't have said it better myself... Now hop over to their fb page HERE and give 'em a like!



 Bless you and... 
 Thank you for visiting!

Thursday, 19 March 2015


POP'N'ROLL THE FUSION IF YOU DARE

Sometimes it takes an orchestra,
sometimes a band,
sometimes a duo,
every time it's the love for music
and this time it's just one man...

JOOST VAN DINTHER



The disappearing and reappearing
Vanished Dutchman is back with a full length album
and he made a really enjoyable music fusion
that can be tasted HERE
but you should take five to read what the man himself
had to say in his defence:



A short story about who you are and what you do...
I’m now an old(er)looking guy with a kid’s attitude.
Growing up in the seventies (listening to Roxy Music, Can and David Bowie e.a.), I followed in the footsteps of my father, whose collection of history, art books and music inspired me to make music. Now I‘m living the dream of creating songs, recording and spreading them.
I’m collecting myself too of course.

A new album every spring... What's the trick?
I love the album concept. Regular life. Breathing in and out.
Being a family man, trying to enjoy the little things. Boring maybe, not the obvious too much sex/drugs/rock’n'roll lifestyle I guess. I like the working pattern I have developed. It’s like a cycle: ideas pop up, I bring them to life and then hopefully this very intense process starts over. I’m already busy with new songs now this new album is out. Guess you have to be (and I am) kinda disciplined. Work to make it work!

Doing all this work by yourself... You must be a little crazy :) 
Why are you crazy about music?
Yes you have to be crazy! I’m addicted to sound and the “what will happen if I push this button or play that chord the whole time” method. I’m also a fervent listener and a fan of lots of great artists, like Todd Rundgren and Frank Zappa, whose individuality have educated and inspired me to do this
DIY thing.

You can take only one instrument with you. Which one? Why?
To an island? Drums (that’s maybe too heavy to carry with me, but still).
I started out as a drummer. That was the first  reall kick and my direct connection with playing an instrument. Around 1979 Stewart Copeland (Police) provided the stimulation. O my god, I can’t write songs on a cowbell! Maybe an acoustic guitar will do then.

 Admit something that makes (made) you blush?
A lot of people watching at the same time…. at the introverted me.

It's a sunny day, you feel good but real hungry, walk into a restaurant... 
What's your order?
First I’ll take a cold Belgian beer (Palm) to cool off.
If I’m really hungry I’ll order pizza… Hawaii.

How do you perform a live show?
I don’t anymore. I did with a few bands in the Netherlands from 1980 till 1995. First as a drummer, later as a frontman performing my own songs. Acting like a clown on stage. I do like performing, though I don’t see myself as a “good” performer. Not by technical standards I’d like it to be.

 Message for our viewers?
I’m always grateful to new and loyal listeners and as a musician it’s even more rewarding to get feedback on your stuff. It all helps to get better and to keep this “cycle” going. It’s an acting- reaction thing I guess. Just like this interview. Thanks for asking me!

***
Promo video of the new album
starts with a small provocation
but hey... if life gets too complicated...
and you feel screwed up... well... unscrew yourself!


Remember that!
Thank you for visiting!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015



Today we take you to Western Europe,
 to the very headquarters of EU and NATO
and as always, we serve you with a music treat..
This time we have a table full of various sweets...

LAURENT LEEMANS


Laurent Leemans is a music enthusiast from Belgium
and though the projects he has launched himself into 
have remained under the radar, this man is a 
well-weathered musician who has been part of arty-post-punk band
 LA VIERGE DU CHANCELIER ROLIN in the 90s 
folk-rock band CEILÍ MOSS  since 1996. and who also plays solo
since 2012. under the name THE IMAGINARY SUITCASE.
Having been in charge of booking in all these bands, 
Laurent has gathered a pretty thick excel file of venues, festivals, 
clubs and pubs in Belgium, Southern Netherlands and Northern France. 
And so one day the idea of using this endless list of names to
help some other bands find more gigs became obvious. 
He's not the kind of musician who shies away 
from more "administrative" stuff, so that was really not a burden, 
and that is how a new musicians collective and 
Belgium booking agency came to life:

"HOOTIN' LIKE MAD"

First served were of course CEILÍ MOSS' members side projects: THE IMAGINARY SUITCASE, but also the flute/pipes player's French Chanson ensemble BARTABA, the bass player's folkball outfit AU PIED LEVÉ, and the same bassman's third arm, the pagan folk fivesome NOOK KARAVAN.

Encounters and friendships born round a glass or by the side of a festival stage
joined in the fun: Flemish singer-songwriters MARIEKE LIGHTBAND,
THE MONOTROL KID and FLOATSTONE met at an open mic in Antwerp, 
big poppy folk band FOLGAZÁN met at a CEILÍ MOSS gig in Harelbeke,
indie-dirty rock duo DOOSRA from Brussels,
arty-pop/singer-songwriter SEESAYLE,  met years ago when she was 
one half of SOYSOY and spiritual sister ever since...

The idea behind this collective is also to bring a modest contribution to bridging the mental gap between Flanders and Wallonia, the two main regions of Belgium... Laurent had the chance to be regularly invited on both side of the linguistic border, and so his aim is to help Flemish musicians find gigs in Wallonia and to get Walloon artists to play in Flanders.

All these bands are not necessarily akin in music style,
but what they do share is the idea that for a musician,
a good song is more important than a good haircut.
(not so obvious these days...:)
We prepared a video mosaic for you to explore...
So... Explore... and enjoy...


BARTABA  //  CAPTIVES ON THE CAROUSEL  //  CEILI MOSS


CIE TIGUIDAP  //  THUNDER in 't HAY  //  FOLGAZAN


SILBURY HILL  //  THE IMAGINARY SUITCASE  //  JESSICA KILROY


MARIEKE LIGHT BAND  //  NATALIE MONARQUE  //  THE MONOTROL KID


NOOK  //  PAGAN NOZ  //  RED HERRING



SEESAYLE  //  FLOATSTONE

***
Crossing cultural borders
and bringing the people back together
with music... Sounds good to me...
Stay positive!
Thank you for visiting!