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1. What genre of music does your magazine focus on?
I would have a hard time coming up with a specific answer for that. I guess some of our stuff is pretty obscure, but some of it isn't. We review 7-inch singles by punk/emo bands (Braid) and major-label albums by schtick-up artists (Andrew WK) alike. We review hip-hop (Outkast) and electronic/experimental (Avalanches) and rock bands (Rye Coalition) and alt-country (Hayden). I guess if we had a criteria boundary, we would probably say we try not to review crappy 3-cord punk or rap-rock albums, but more on the merit rather than on the genre.
2. What demographic are you trying to appease?
No one specific. I guess we just try and write things that we'd like to read, and we're all in our early 20s or 30s, some in our late teens. So I'd say the "Gen X" demographic, or whatever it is they call that age group, would probably comprise the bulk of our readership. As to their level of appeasement, I have no clue.
3. What do you value more- journalistic integrity or providing what the reader (whoever he or she may be) wants?
I think we definitely go for integrity. I mean, we could do a Jimmy Eat World or Saves the Day feature like everyone else, but we'd rather hear about less white-bread stuff; GWAR, Atmosphere, Poster Children, Engine Down, the Catheters, Oxes and indie rock porn. I mean, we do Death Cab For Cutie, Fugazi, Guided by Voices and Ted Leo articles too, because we're into that stuff, but I guess if given a choice we'd rather be different than popular if we couldn't be both. I think our attitude reflects that.
4. What are you trying to achieve when publishing articles on punk bands?
The only things we feature are things we feel are important. Sometimes we'll do something for fun, like the porn or the punk makeover articles, but we try to promote or make more visible artists we feel the public should really know about. That's why we don't do features on bands like The Get Up Kids or Alkaline Trio or Creed, because we're not really interested by those bands and they have a lot of exposure as it is.
5. What is your definition of success within the music industry?
I think simply making something happen is a success. Writing an article, publishing a story, releasing an album that you think was worth making. Putting forth a quality product should be what it is about. Contributing to culture, creating something. Of course being able to make a living at it is also a success, although on different terms.
6. What is your definition of 'sell outs'?
Most of the time I think people are buying-in rather than selling-out. I guess there are bands like Better than Ezra who flake out and make shitty albums just because that's what is expected of them. But there are bands like ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead who buy-in; bands who really invest in something great, which happens to be themselves. If your productivity suffers as a result of your motives, you are a sell out. It doesn't necessarily have to deal with money.
7. Where do you see the punk sub-culture developing in the future?
Contrary to what most people might say, I'd say where it always has - in the basements. As the internet becomes more fashionable and more corporate, those who wish to truly want to do something that is new, fresh and counter-culture will have to return to the literal underground, the basements and subway tunnels and the galleries and studios that are just under the radar. Underground isn't a sound or a style. Your shit isn't underground if it's easy to find and it isn't underground if it is easily accepted. Underground is off the beaten path.
8. How has being involved with the punk sub-culture affected your view of society?
Well, I don't consider myself a punk so I don't know if I can answer that. I guess I've learned that there are the exact same kinds of people in punk rock as there are anywhere else on the planet. Personalities are recyclable, and it doesn't depend on the skin that houses it, if you know what I mean. Good people are good people and flakey people are flakey people, regardless of their personal image.
Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.
See other articles by Eric J Herboth.
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