The Altered States Of The DMA   1 comment

Here is an interview I did for –  Russia’s Metal Library , I feel slightly embarrassed posting a interview with yours truly but in the interest of fair play here it is.

Ed Barnard knows by heart all the songs of Black Sabbath, even those that do not fit into any of their albums, the rhythm of his footsteps resonate with the drums of the second LP of Cathedral (and with few songs of Saint Vitus too), and when he thinks deeply, his mental images penetrate the consciousness of doom-musicians, and they start to create new songs in that moment. He never sleeps, just because sleep takes time, which can be used to write reviews of the new doom-releases or interviews with any good team. In addition, Ed Barnard – a leading journalist and mastermind of American site Doommantia.com, transformed from a promoting project of well-deserved popularity Doom Metal Alliance. By the way under the sign of DMA was released a dozen of free mp3-compilation “Doom Metal Alliance sampler”, the site is regularly laid out news from the world of Doom-music, professional reviews and other related information. And that’s not all, because in August of 2010, Ed and his partners organized a free festival in Seattle – Doom Kvlt, well, and – let it be our little secret – Doom Metal Alliance turns into a record label. I often brought to do interviews with musicians but interviews with people who help the musicians and drive the mighty underground mechanisms are very rare. Today, as our regular readers have already guessed, I invite you to read this interview with my elder doom-colleague – Ed Barnard, the man who runs the Doom-Machine.

Q: Good day, Ed! How are you? How many views did doommantia.com get today?
A: Hello, Aleks and thanks for this interview. I just had a look and we only got around 700 views for the last 24 hours which is low numbers for the site but it is the weekend.

Q: Everyone who wants to know why did you start to listen doom metal may check doommantia’s column “About Doommantia” – it’s a real article about very nature of doom indeed, so I would like to ask you about how did you put all things together? Because if I understand right that you had only Earth Dog Promotions page from the start, did you?
A: Yes it all started about 4 years ago with the Earthdog Promotions Myspace page. It was a free promotional site for underground metal. Mostly doom, sludge, drone and stoner metal bands. The site grew very quickly and was unique in as much as it’s a “free” and registered promotional company. Most promoters charge a fee for online promotions but I do it all for free, looking back on it now, it was a mistake ha ha. I could have made some money!

Q: Sir Derek Edward Kellington was leading Doom Metal Alliance during few years – correct me if I’m wrong. How did you take his place? Did you promise him money or did you threaten him?
A: Yes, Derek was the original mastermind behind the Doom Metal Alliance. The site became so popular it became too big for him to handle so he asked me to take over. Since then it has outgrown the limitations of Myspace and so that is why I started Doommantia.Com. Myspace has been dying for the last year or so and profile views really dropped where as Doommantia has got very popular. Last month the site got over 40,000 views which was amazing especially for a site reviewing and essentially promoting a type of music that is so underground but no threats or promises were made to Derek. To be honest, I nearly didn’t do it as I already knew how popular the Doom Metal Alliance was and the hard work that would be required to run the site.

Q: But there are not too many good doom-oriented web-sites in a world, so this popularity is normal, can you say about some friendly competition between them and doommantia? Do you feel some kind of jealousy when you see that guys from some doom-site already reviewed and album which you didn’t?
A: I am guessing there would be some competition out there but I have never noticed any jealousy among review websites. I think most sites are doing a good job and with Doom Metal and we need as many websites as possible to help spread the word of Doom. I always do try and review as many new releases as I can so if a site reviews a album before I do, it makes me want to review as quick as possible just to try and keep up with them. Its always good though to review a album before anyone else does.

Q: You do your work of spreading Doom Word over the world for free, but I see that there’s no too much responses and comments onto doommantia blog, but I see the same in doom-metal.com for example. Of course it’s bigger but situation differs not too much. How do you think why such feedback is still rare in underground music portals?
A: That is the way of the Internet, it’s hard to get comments on any site. I don’t think it has anything to do with the Doom Metal scene, it’s just the way people are these days. Just like on download sites, people download and run without even a thank you.

Q: Man, I’ve read blog of Kin of Ettins and there was an info (May of 2009) that Derek Edward Kellington, previous head of DMA, received “hatemails from morons telling him that doom is going nowhere and so forth”, are such “hatemails” do any sense for you? It seems that there’s nothing to disturb about, because there are some people that like that you do and others who like not, a simple situation!
A: Well I can’t answer for Derek but I have received hate-mail too and general negative comments, Doom Metal is music some people love but some people also hate also especially drone music. I don’t understand why people would bother to write such mail, if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it. The metal scene has always been full of elitist types who think their favorite genre of metal is the only form of metal that matters so support is limited. Doom Metal is much more popular than most people know though which is reflected in the views that Doommantia.com gets daily.

Q: Yes, and that’s why you had to start real site doommantia.com beside MySpace blogs of DMA and EDP, and I watched as it grew up at spring and summer, it becomes really successful project though I bet that you spent all of your free time on it. Is it worth of such efforts?
A: I think so, sometimes it gets a little too demanding though. Some weeks I spend up to 40 hours a week on the site as well as my normal day job. My main incentive is to get people to buy CD’s and support bands, if it does that then its worth it.

Q: Do you ever think to start free for download on-line magazine as Deutschland “Doom Metal Front” zine or English “Thee Big Black” do? And did you ever write for any magazine before you started EDP?
A: Yes, I have wanted to do that for a long time but just haven’t had the time to do it. If I could find someone to put the magazine together, I would gladly supply the reviews and interviews so if someone out wants to help out, I will do it. I first wrote reviews back in 1985, I was living in Australia at the time and me and some friends put out a very cheap magazine and we sold it at metal shows. We were the very first people in Australia to interview bands like Exodus and Metallica but sadly the printing costs ended the project within its first year. It did however start a writing bug for me and when the Internet became popular, it gave me a outlet so I went for it, the rest is history.

Q: Ed, do you keep any copies of that magazine still? Was it popular among metal-heads? I’m sure that in 1985 was not too much metal-zines, and people could know something about their favorite bands only by such issues. Oh, though MTV could help them too…
A: No that magazine is long gone and I have to move many times since then so stuff gets lost anyway. At the time, people loved it because it was the time when fanzines were very popular and mainstream publications like Metal Hammer, Kick Ass, Kerrang and Metal Forces were at their peak. Back then the metal scene was more like a family, people supported each other, you don’t see that as much now. The scene has became very fragmented with all the different sub-genres of metal that exist now, most bands don’t support other bands now and fans of metal are mostly very lazy when it comes to supporting local scenes. The economy has made it harder now too because people can’t afford to go see bands like they used to.

Q: When did you see your family for the last time? Do you remember the name of your wife? 🙂 I guess that she is jealous to your doom-addiction or does she support you?
A: Ha Ha, yes she does get very mad sometimes at the time I spend on doing this, its very time-consuming. Some nights I am up to 2am doing this stuff. She supports what I do but doesn’t understand my doom addiction at all.

Q: Ed, I see that your work is a part of wide collaboration between other sites and blogs, I know that you collaborate with on-line radio “Foundry of Doom” for example, and with whom else do you deal?
A: Well my work goes to other sites like the Wormwood Chronicles site and Brutalism.Com and have appeared in the Thee Big Black zine. My reviews also pop up on other sites also but usually without my permission.

Q: I guess it’s just a sign of popularity 🙂 You always emphasize that the goal of DMA is to promote underground (doom) music, to give a chance for bands and labels to sell few more CDs because it’s important part of their existence, rare ones do not understand it. So how do you communicate with all bands and labels for which CDs you do reviews?
A: They find me usually, bands email me and we take it from there. I started out requesting CD’s for reviews but now I don’t have to now, they just arrive at my doorstep mostly without me knowing they are coming. Labels contact me on a regular basis and I have worked with Solitude Productions, Psychedoomelic Records, Black Widow Records, Earsplit and others.

Q: DMA is well known by your adequate and interesting reviews which are one of most professional ones in metal web-zines indeed, how much time do you spend to do one review from a moment when you get CD and till moment of publication?
A: I review in a unusual way as I usually have 5 or 6 reviews being worked on at the same time, I listen to CD’s a lot before reviewing, usually albums get played at least 5 times before starting a review which is different from other sites who might listen to a album once and then review it. So it usually takes 2 to 3 weeks to get a review published, I like to really know an album before attempting to write about it. Reviews are mostly hand-written drafts at first and then I type them all out when they are ready. I am very picky sometimes though and some reviews get written 3 or 4 times before they are put online.

Q: Ed, let us turn to uneasy question of illegal downloads: when I did an interview with Victor Griffin I’ve got a message from him where he asked me about “how to find the link to the download torrent where the album has been leaked”. And I didn’t know that to answer – not only because I do not use torrents. Don’t you get an agreement with Exile On Mainstream to review their releases?
A: Yeah, it’s a subject I have spoke about for years as I am not a fan of illegal downloading at all. I do have a friend though who manages to download all sorts of albums before they ever get released and that is where the Place Of Skulls album came from. I know what site he uses but I don’t want to mention it here because I don’t want others doing the same thing. I accepted his gift of the Place Of Skulls download because I wanted to get the review up quickly but I will also buy the album as they are one of my favorite bands. I never download anything myself except for promo’s bands send to me. Don’t ask me about torrents either, I know what they are but I haven’t a clue how to use them ha ha.

Q: Place of Skulls is a Christian doom-band and you point that you’re a Christian yourself in that review so you don’t have problems with Christian rock music but do you have problems promoting anti-Christian music? Don’t you fear to stain your karma by spreading Word of Dark?
A: Yes I was born and raised with Christian beliefs and I still adhere to those values but I don’t go to church, I never pray and I never preach. I am also open-minded and have no problem with anti-Christian music although I think its getting a little boring these days. To me I view Satanic messages in music as pure horror/fantasy and to me its just entertainment you cant take too seriously but is also great fun to listen to. Its escapism through music so I have no problems at all with it.

Q: You have welcomed few more authors as doommantia’s audience became wider, but truly to say I see that you still do 90% percents of contribution in DMA, so can you say that they helped you to relieve some part of your responsibilities? I do not want to belittle their services but I know how it is when you hardly limited by time and you just gave a word to one band to do an interview today and review for another band tomorrow.
A: The new writers have helped a lot, I got new writers in for a different point of view so people didn’t have to listen to me all the time. Views to the site also went right up when they joined so it seems to be working. A lot of my work is self-inflicted, I don’t have to review everyday but its my passion so that is why I continue to do so.

Q: You listen heavy and doom music since… Hm… Just say it by yourself! I ask that questions for some bands time to time and here’s your turn. Did you watch development of world doom-metal scene with the time? Do you remember when and how death doom appears? From which swamps roots of sludge grow? And in which laboratories drone was invent?
A: Well I have been listening to heavy music since 1973 when I was 8 years old. Black Sabbath was really the first “real heavy” band I got into and I have been chasing heavy, slow metal ever since. Doom Metal though never really existed till Saint Vitus happened in 84 and even then it was rare to hear a doom band. The scene grew from there, doom is the underdog of metal which is why I was attracted to it. Every time a doom band would appear, I would rush out and buy it. Doom Metal never really caught on till the 90’s. Albums like the first Cathedral album set the ball rolling in my view and it’s develop into a scene all of its own since then. Different sub-genres emerged, Sludge Metal, Gothic Doom, Drone and so on. Drone music has been around in one form or another since the 70’s but the 90’s saw bands like Sunn O))) and Boris take it to a whole new level.

Q: Ed? Do you like My Dying Bride?
A: The first couple of albums were OK but they were never really my thing, I am amazed that they are such a influence on bands especially in Europe.

Q: Don’t you think that their problem is candor? I do not believe bands who play for twenty years same things bout red wine, red roses, death’s embrace and etc. Of course there are genre’s rules but all things have their limits.
A: Yes, I see your point but that is not really the problem for me. I personally think the gothic doom is a very watered down version of doom even though some of the bands are very heavy, that is why I am not too much into that genre, there are exceptions though.

Q: I see that you mostly like traditional and stoner doom or southern rock but it seems that you’re indifferent to death and funeral doom, maybe it’s just because of your origin?
A: I love death doom and funeral doom but traditional doom is what I like the most. It all stems from the Black Sabbath inspired riff and that is what I like but one look at my CD collection you can see I listen to anything as long as its doomy.

Q: I’m asking that because I think that there are certain doom-trends in certain countries and these sub-genres are wide-playing in USA. Don’t you notice which features are characteristic to some countries?
A: Not really, the Gothic Doom style is more popular in Europe than the USA but there is many My Dying Bride clones here to. The sludge so called stoner doom style is big here but so is trad-doom, that is what is exciting to me is the range of different sounds that you have now days. Funeral Doom seems more wide-spread in Europe than here but the difference is debatable.

Q: What is an ideal combination of elements in doom-band for you? May you mention such bands?
A: I like heavy, down-tuned doom played with melody. Electric Wizard I think nailed it with their early releases, it was real heavy but they have hypnotic melody lines that can put you in a trance-like state. I also like doom that you can still head-bang to, slow crushing riffs but with a infectious riff. A lot of doom metal bands play doom but forget about the metal side. Its all heavy, depressing and slow but with no memorable riffs. I really like bands like Dreaming, heavy but catchy as hell.

Q: As you know everything about doom metal scene may I ask you one more personal question? Ha, of course I may! Didn’t you ever play in some doom metal band, Ed? I have suspicions sometimes that you do have at least one doom-project besides DMA!
A: No, I played in metal bands in the early 80’s and jammed with people right into the 90’s but could never find anyone who wanted to play doom. It’s funny but in the 80’s I was in a grindcore band and then I would go home and listen to doom. I still play bass but I don’t have the time to get a band together.

Q: But you can join some band at least though doom-bands mostly need drummers… Yes, I know that you have no time! I just suppose such circumstances… You will play bass, I will howl and beat iron trash cans – 5 beat per minute, it would be something “experimental” and who doesn’t understand experimental music is just narrow-minded snob, ha-ha!
A: Ha Ha, sounds great. One day it will happen and it will have to be very experimental indeed as I can’t play too good but I can make heavy noise!!

Q: One of DMA’s good features is free for download “DMA samplers”, how this tradition was born? And when will you release “DMA sampler vol.13”?
A: The DMA samplers are on hold right now so I don’t know when 13 will be released, hopefully soon. Finding bands for such compilations is hard work indeed. Derek the DMA founder started the samplers and I kept the tradition going, the last one was the most successful with over 15,000 downloads which is more than most bands will get in a lifetime.

Q: My congratulations! Is it hard to collect all of these tracks for a single compilation? As I know you work at it communicating not only with bands but even with labels as it was with “DMA sampler vol.12” where were represented bands of Metal On Metal Records.
A: Yes Metal On Metal Records were real good to me with the last sampler but not many labels want to give their music out for free. It’s very hard to collect songs without getting the same bands each time you do it. On the plus side is some bands have been signed because of a song on the sampler, that is the most satisfying element of all.

Q: Why did you so hurry up so much with “DMA compilations”? I have to admit that their art-works are not so good, maybe there’s a sense to communicate with Doom Metal Front? They released their compilations not too often but they have great art-works.
A: It’s because I am not a artist, again people can submit art for the samplers but again it’s very hard to find people who want to do all that for no money. Personally, I think the art is meaningless for a free sampler as no-one I know has ever used the artwork anyway. The next sampler won’t have any artwork, maybe just a black cover with song-titles, it’s about the music and nothing else.

Q: There was first Seattle Doom Festival – Doom Kvlt, and you was it’s producer, I’ve read your review of this gig but I have few questions about it. First of all how do you consider your experience of organization of such event?
A: I booked most of the band’s, that is all really. The money came from Nickle Piece and sponsorship deals. I did spend over 6 months promoting and getting bands for the event, it was hard work. It was a great experience and I can’t wait to do it again. This part of the USA is starved for Doom Metal festivals, they all happen in other parts of the country so the Seattle doom-fest was a first for Washington state.

Q: Were there any problems with bands who took a part in Festival? As you said there was not Yidhra though they promised to play in Doom Kvlt, was it difficult to find replacement for them?
A: No at the end of it, I had to turn down about 7 bands. The problem was bands left it to the last minute to join the event so they missed out. Next year we hope to be better organized with such matters.

Q: Gigs grant to bands a chance to sell their merch and CDs, it’s a great opportunity as all of us know, what can you say about Doom Kvlt from this position?
A: Well most of the bands sold merch at the event and that was there only source of income as it was a free show so no bands got payed for playing. Next year we hope to have even more merch so hopefully bands can make more money. The main thing about the festival was for bands to play and get heard from people who might not usually go to shows like the under 18 crowd for example. From that point of view, it worked.

Q: So you can say that festival was successful enough for the first time? How many people did visit Doom Kvlt?
A: People came and went all day during the festival so its very hard to judge the crowd size and it was in a really large field so even with a 1000 people, it still looked empty.

Q: And a week ago there was an interesting news about DMA: you start the label on it’s base, how and why did you came to that decision?
A: It’s something I have always wanted to do and it’s the logical next step for the DMA. I hope to officially launch the label in the next couple of weeks with a new website and web-store. A couple of bands are already signed but I will announced all that in the coming weeks.

Q: Ok, but can you share a little bit more information: what do you plan to release in nearby future via DMA?
A: I might have Doomsower signed but we will wait and see, they played at the Seattle doom-fest and are a killer band. They will release their debut full-length album on DMA records. I also have two exclusive free compilations coming but that is a secret right now.

Q: I have to ask you about you opinion about Russian underground doom scene. I know that you see the tendency of Russian bands to play death doom mostly in MDB vein, but as you know there is another sort of bands beside that. Can you name few ones who are worth to listen from your point of view?
A: Lord Of Doubts are the band I am really hooked on right now from Russia.

Q: Ed, please name best bands of last few months in each Doom sub-genre: traditional doom; stoner; death doom; sludge; funeral doom; drone; southern rock (’cause we can place it amongst others, right?).
A; Ha Ha, this is too tough of a question as I could name 100’s of bands and even then I will leave some out which wouldn’t be fair. To be honest most of the bands I am really enjoying lately are older bands but Yidhra, Orchid, Project Armageddon, Hesper Payne, Witchsorrow, Noctum, Procession, Dopefight and Iron Void, are really high in my play-list right now.

Q: What is your ultimate aim with DMA? Is it total popularization of the genre? Is it a support for drug-dealers or book-sellers who despair to deliver themselves from another edition of Lovecraft’s stories?
A: It’s always been about pushing Doom Metal to a more mainstream audience. If this music is ever going to get any bigger, a new audience has to be reached. Here is the US, the mainstream metal media is still trapped in the 80’s for the most part. Most metal fans are still obsessed with Metallica and Slayer and other has-beens. Doom Metal will always be underground but I am just trying to help bands get a little more known to the masses. Like I have already pointed out, the Doommantia site got over 40,000 views last month so there is a market and a interest for the music despite what people think.

Q: Ed, that’s all, comrade! It was pleasure for me to do this interview – I’m serious as a coffin man, you know that! By the way I’ve satisfied my curiosity enough; so take my best wishes to you and your family, Ed, I know that you do a hard work doing the best you can to promote your favorite music genre, so God speed on you (for He likes Doom very much considering Old Testament :-), good luck!
A: Thank you and Doom On.
Ed
Interview By Aleks Evdokimov
Metallibrary.Ru
Earthdog Promotions Myspace
Doom Metal Alliance Myspace
Thee Big Black
Thee Big Black Forum
Wormwood Chronicles
Brutalism.Com
Within The Doomed Drones

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Posted September 29, 2010 by doommantia in Doom Metal Alliance, Doommantia

One response to “The Altered States Of The DMA

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  1. Great interview!

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