Thursday, December 10, 2015

Local Spotlight - Omaha Zine Fest

A few weeks ago, it was brought to my attention that a local zine fest was going to happen right here in Omaha. Being zinester myself, I felt it was only right that I interview the people involved in setting up the fest is happening on March 12th, at 1316 Jones.  Here is the interview:

Alright, introduce yourselves...

Hi! We’re Andrea, Daphne and Kaitlan! We’re the coordinators of Omaha Zine Fest.  Kaitlan is a soon-to-be lawyer, currently waitressing and generally, kicking ass. She’s also a super talented visual artist and organizer.  Daphne works in the mental health field and is a student at UNO. She’s also a dope poet and artist.  Andrea is a writer and reporter. She’s hoping to make some changes in the journalism world.  We’re three dope women with a passion for zines and zine culture, essentially!

How did the idea of a local zine fest come about?  Any inspirations?  

Well, OK, so we were sitting around one day and was thinking about how much we really love buying, reading and exploring zines BUT where the heck do we go and do that in Omaha. The answer is, sadly, not really anywhere. Omaha doesn’t have a centralized zine community like a lot of other cities do. So, we want to create that community for people. We want to take zine making out of the privacy of homes and empower the masses to print, cut and create and share their ideas. That was the initiative for starting the fest. We’ve visited fests in KC, Chicago and Minneapolis which have really helped inspire us. 

What are the short term goals for having Omaha Zine Fest?  Long term?  What are your expectations going in?

Short term goals: make this fest absolutely amazing and get people excited about zines. 
Long term: cultivate a community for zinesters and other creative types across the state. Our expectations are high! We really hope people love this event and are excited to be a part of it, because we are too.

Is Omaha Zine Fest geared towards a specific creative audience?  Feminist, gender issues, sex/relationships, social injustices, politics, eco awareness?

The fest is geared to be inclusive of everyone. It’s not a politically motivated venture at all, though zines do often have political content. We just want to gather Nebraskan thinkers and creators in one room and see what cool projects come from it. If anything, we’re radical about inclusion. 

Are there any zine projects currently in the works with the Omaha Zine Fest crew?  If so, can you briefly elaborate on them?

Some goofy stuff. Andrea is making a self-care guide for people with obsessive compulsive disorder as well as a Q&A about the menstrual cycle. Kaitlan is finally going to finish a zine of doodles and nonsense that she has been putting off for two years. Daphne’s making an art flip book and a zine about food.

What are your 3 favorite things culture wise about Omaha?  Where do we have room for growth? Are there any solutions?  

Omaha has a really vibrant music scene and a thriving arts community. Lots of creative and talented people live here. However, people here are modest. They create to share with their friends, their immediate circle, and then often, assume no one beyond that cares. We want to encourage people to share with each other outside of that.

Will children/students have an opportunity to exhibit their talents at the zine fest?

Yes! We plan to have a zine workshop geared specifically toward children at the beginning of the fest. Kids will be able to make their own zine pages and then the zines will be printed and available by the end of the day. 

How can someone become a sponsor for Omaha Zine Fest?

Send us an email! You don’t have to give money. We will take anything. We are NOT profiting off this event. Any money or donations we receive will go directly back to the fest. We also have an indiegogo page with some pretty ridiculous perks.  

Does Omaha Zine Zest have any intentions to sponsor events to build a larger public awareness?

Yes! We’ve already done a benefit show at West Wing, which went really, really well. We’re planning another benefit show at Milk Run, a bingo night at Brother’s, and a mini-fest at Petshop. Stay tuned to our Facebook page or website for more updates.

Will there be workshops, public speakers, celebrity zinsters at Omaha Zine Fest?

Yes, we have a few zine workshops planned and are in contact with some experienced zinesters to present at the fest. We plan to bring in Adam Gnade, the author of “The Do It Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckkin' Sad,” to give a talk about zines and zine making and his general history. We’ll also be having a talk on zine history. We’re adding workshops and talks all the time so if you have suggestions, shoot us an email!

Does the Omaha Zine Fest crew offer any printing/zine building opportunities leading up to the 
fest for those without access to do so?

Yes! We are offering an application for free zine printing for those who need it. This can be accessed on our application.

If you can be trapped on a desert island with any writer past or present, who would it be?  Why?

Daphne: I would pick Isaac Asimov for sure.
Kaitlan: Dunno I hate the beach.

OK that's it!  Any parting words or shoutouts?

Shout out to KC Zine Con and especially Jess Hogan for all of their help getting our feet on the ground. Thanks to everyone who encouraged us to start this in the first place. The community support has been amazing.  Special thanks to all the bands, venues and community members are that generously donating their time and resources to helping us raise funds to put on the fest.  We’re so grateful to be putting on the fest in a community that is supportive of the arts and DIY. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Local Spotlight - Purgatory

Purgatory live at Health Club

Hailing from Omaha, Purgatory have been the forefront metallic harcore band in the scene for a few years now.  After putting in years of hard work and touring, Purgatory has earned a release with Escapist Records titled Gospel Of War, slated to be released on December 18th.  Interview conducted with Purgatory's vocalist Matt Anderson

You guys have been around for a while now.  How did Purgatory form?

When I first moved to Lincoln there was a band called Vandal Eyes our friend John sang for. He was moving to Baltimore and they asked me to sing after he left. I agreed but I told him I didn't wanna sing his lyrics so we rewrote some stuff and started writing new stuff and added Andy from bent life on second guitar. We wanted to change the name because the sound and songs were changing and were temporarily called The Hardpack but it didn't really fit what we were going for and I came up with Purgatory after jamming Slayer and it stuck. We played a good handful of shows and wrote our first demo Hell On Earth and broke up a while after that and stayed on hiatus. I wanted to keep playing music so me and Andy found a few new people and started writing new stuff and it's been consistent since then.

Before we talk about the new record, can you give the readers a refresh of the releases Purgatory have done in the past?

We've done the Hell On Earth demo, the Rabid Visions EP both released by ourselves, the single No Faith for the Dog Years Records comp. and are getting ready to release Gospel Of War via Escapist Records and tape release through Life To Live Records

Was the writing process for Gospel Of War different from previous releases?  If so, how?

The writing process for this record was a hell of a time. We scrapped probably another EP worth of songs cause we just weren't content and set the bar very high for ourselves. A lot of arguing and sometimes straight up walking out of practices. But it just fueled us to write harder. With me, Aaron and the addition of Garrett on guitar we were all 3 writing different things that could all correspond with each other. It was everyone pushing each other to play harder and play better. And it continues to progress and develop, were already writing new stuff with new elements and seeing what we can bring to the table.

The Gospel Of War 7” is being released via Escapist Records.  What can you tell the readers about the label, and how it came about for them to make the release happen?

Michael over at Escapist has been single handedly running that label by himself for a few years and is one of the nicest and most down to earth people I've ever met. We talk regularly and he looks out for his bands and is 100% involved in them and pushes them to make the next step and wants to help us move on to the next level. It's actually pretty mind blowing how fast and organized he works and the turnaround time was sick. It's nice working with someone one on one. We reached out to him cause he's out out some releases and re-released some bands we all like. Territory, Wasted Blood, Turmoil, etc etc... And his involvement and work ethic is really bar none. It's been great.

Purgatory always seems to be on the road.  How was touring in 2015?  Any funny or interesting stories?  What is lined up for the band in 2016?  More tours?  More recordings?

We try and push hard and get out often. We do a lot of short tours and as many longer 2+ week ones we are able too. It's given us the opportunity to hit a large part of the US in the last year or so and everything has been sick. All the bands we've been out with have all been great and we've all become homies. Played a lot of sick shows, were eternally grateful for any opportunity we've had. As far as stories hahaha oh man idk we've been kicked out of a few places for having a little too much fun, a lot of fireworks, idk man there's things we can even talk about lol. We have a tour in January with detriment out of Long Island and then Midwest Blood Fest in February to start off the year, were writing already and are planning a split with someone and hopefully a couple of releases next year. We have no intention of stopping.

Can you give the readers a rundown of what Midwest Blood is?

Midwest Blood started a few years ago kind of fore fronted by Zach from expire with a small handful of us from here in the Midwest who back each other and push each other and support each other. It demonstrates our work ethic. We get looked over a lot being from the Midwest and have to work hard and grind it out until the opportunities start coming our way. I'm not saying bands on the coasts don't have to work hard but when you live in a place flooded with bands and thriving scenes it's a lot easier to make things work. "A bond that is everything, built from being handed nothing."

How do you feel about the current Midwest hardcore scene?  Is it great the way it is?  Is there room for growth?  In what direction do you seen the Midwest hardcore scene moving in a year?  Five years?  Ten years and beyond?

There are a lot of great bands and some of my favorite places to play are in the Midwest. Iowa and Milwaukee are home to some of the best people, bands and shows I've been too. There's always room for growth but that's what sick, there's younger kids coming out to shows more and more and hopefully they'll get stoked and start a band and keep everything going. I really think a lot of the region is going to continue to grow, a lot of that will matter on if kids feel invited and accepted and how everyone manages the things happening in their scene (keeping bullshit out, racism, homophobia, crew beef etc etc)

Being an Omaha, NE based hardcore band, what is your opinion on the current state of hardcore within the local scene?  Can the local hardcore scene rise to the popularity of the indie scene?

I've always been honest and open and I'm an asshole so I'm just gonna lay this out there. Nebraska currently has one of the most disappointing hardcore scenes with so much room for growth, there's what? Us and Bent Life? We're both signed and both national touring bands, Bent Life tours the whole damn world man. There are so many young kids who take everything for granted and don't understand the concept of supporting a "scene" and being proud of where they are from. It sucks that it's so hit or miss here, but there's only so much a person can do. Nothing should be spoon fed or handed to anyone and if you skip out on a $5 local show with bands out there busting their ass to show everyone Nebraska can hold their own to drive 3+ hours to some huge package tour and pay 3x as much when it's all said and done you're a fucking idiot, simple as that. A lot of people here try and act hard or brag about hitting girls or whatever but they don't show out half the time and wouldn't think twice about acting like their hard at a show out of state. There's a lot of whack ass stuff here and a lot of the kids here piss me off to be honest. There are people who support every show and have started coming around a lot more and opened their eyes up to how ridiculous some of the bands and kids are in the "hardcore/metalcore" scene here and that's sick. If you don't attend a show unless 100 people are there, if you're gonna sell $15 t shirts but have never toured a day in your life, if you're gonna talk trash on other bands you're playing a show with, if you "have more important things to do" etc etc I don't give a fuck if you never play a show or go to a show ever again. Stop picking and choosing if you want to be involved or not, do it or don't. You can only be open and accepting to these people for so long. I could give a shit less about the indie scene here, some of my friends play in indie bands and I'll always support their bands.

Purgatory is on the bill for the See Nebraska Give Toy Drive.  What can you tell the readers about this special event?  And how did the idea come about?  How can someone participate in giving?

Brock and I are putting together a Toy Drive show for kids who might not get an opportunity to celebrate Christmas or whose families aren't able to provide for them. It's going to be at the Lookout Lounge on December 17 and it's a pretty sick mixed bill. It's a $5 show if you don't bring a newly wrapped toy. Get involved by showing up, bring a toy, donate, whatever you can. All proceeds will go to the open door mission.

Let's have some fun:  2015 is over.  Each band member choose their number one best of release for the year, any genre.

Since I did this interview solo: best release of the year was Ride The Lightning by Metallica, Vulgar Display Of Power by Pantera and South Of Heaven by Slayer. In no particular order

Alright, that’s it.  Thanks for taking the time to do the interview.  Any final words or shoutouts?

S/O to monster energy, moshing, and everyone who's a homie.