Sunday, January 28, 2018

Interview with Keith editor of Direnotes web-zine done by Patrick posted on 1-28-18

Interview  with  Keith  editor of  Direnotes  web-zine  done  by  Patrick

1.Hello Keith how are things in Canada these days? Please introduce
yourself to the readers?

Canada is cold, expectedly. There are a good deal of political things
going on as well, but I'm not one to get involved with that sort of
thing. To put it plainly, I'm the creator and founder of Direnotes, a
little metal blog I've been working on for the good part of 4 years.
It was the product of me writing for a multitude of good (probably
better, to be honest) online zine's and me wanting to do my own thing.

2.When did you first start listening to metal music?And who were the
first bands you listened to and who are some of your current favorite

My love of metal was more or less just a evolution of my love for
rock. I lived in the country and my Dad would spend days on end
driving around to peoples houses and talking to them because he
couldn't stand staying in the house too long. Some of the people were
probably not the kind that a kid should be around, once my Dad even
went to a bar with us, but after a few scoldings from my mother he
would leave me and my brother in the car while he went into places.
So, for a good few hours daily, we listened to rock stations. I
remember being a huge fan of AC/DC, Boston, and Flash and the Pan.
Eventually I'd meet a couple of like minded kids in grade school who
had a few CDs, back when CDs and CD players were not very common, and
they happened to big fans of Black Sabbath and Ozzy's solo work.From
there I picked up The Ozzman Cometh compelation and that's where I
even discovered 'metal' was a thing, I didn't even know the name of
the genre before that. When it comes to more extreme genres - I used
to go online a lot as a teenager, back when the net was still a more
social place rather then full of dramatics, and a friend of mine from
Germany saw what I liked, then started giving me links to music videos
from extreme metal bands.
When it comes to bands I listen to and will always listen to, you got
Celtic Frost (the first two albums, at least), this japanese band
called Dir En Grey (which is a highly experiemental band that went
from rock to metal to hardcore to doom to everything inbetween),
anything Devin Townsend has been part of, and definately Ihsahn's solo

3.When did you first get the idea to start a web-zine?And how did you
decide on the name Direnotes as the name of the web-zine?

I was writing for a few other magazines and I kept making some bad
decisions on my part, asking for physical copies instead of just
having digital, making plans to go to shows before I knew if I could
go, and generally taking on way more then I could handle. I remember
just spending time on my birthday and having one of the magazines
(it's not around anymore but I won't mention the name still) owners
message me and be like, whatever it's done. And I just wondered, how
much have I screwed up to make someone that pissed at me? But I did
catch on pretty soon that it was my own fault. I figured I'd start
Direnotes because at least if I screwed up there, I wouldn't damage
things for another magazine because I was being an idiot and not
I got the word 'Dire' from a model kit I saw at a comic store when I
was kid, I can't remember if it was something from D&D or what, but it
was called a 'Dire Dragon'. It was basically a undead dragon, made of
bones and that. Then I thought 'Notes' could cover both musical notes
and the fact that I was literally making notes about music on my blog.

4.If any bands or labels are reading this what styles of metal and
music do you cover and support?And where can bands and labels send you
material to be reviewed?

While my site definately shows that I support a whole lot of death and
black metal, I really am open to just about any genre on the side of
rock and metal, including punk. Though I guess if you were to send me
pop, it'd be pretty out of place. I have a e-mail that I use: - it's not the most proffesional, but I
started off using it and it's worked for me for a while.

5.What do you feel is the easiest and hardest part about doing the web-zine?

I'm not too sure there is a 'easiest' part, because I feel like if I
was to get so cocky as to think it was all easy - I'd probably end up
screwing something up somewhere, and I do that enough already. I
remember getting a e-mail for my Owl Maker review that I'd
accidentally mentioned Owl City, and I'd accidentally mistitled a
review a few times as well.
The hardest part, for me, is interviews. I like the results, but I'm
not too good at writing them. Mostly because I really hate asking
typical questions. So I end up spending hours coming up with them, or
just looking up odd ball questions in the past and doing my own thing
with them. I've tried cracking jokes, messed that up (see Necrosexual
interview),  but my most collosal mistake was asking, live in person,
Alex of Atrocity and Leaves Eyes, about his old band and mixing the
name up with Impeity. He was really humble about it though, but I tend
to be a bit hard on myself about these things. The interview was not
released however, as I was doing it with another magazine and there
were some issues that arose.

6.I believe you have some new writers for the site when did you meet
them?And what forms of music do they cover?

I've always had people helping me out, my wife, Sam, and her sister
Nikki are up there. People seem to think we're all married to each
other because we are so close and I'm always hanging around her
sister. Sam has helped me manage the site and get the old and new
domains up and going, she lives in NM so yeah, that's why the site is
'Canadian-American' and Nikki has always helped get me the things I
need to keep things going. That and she tolerates a whole lot of me
blabbing on about metal and guitars. Sam has wrote for the blog
before, but this year the pair of them are looking to do more so we
can get the site functioning more like a zine and less like a random
blog I made one day. They are more prone to covering the less extreme
stuff, they like what they like and I respect that. Plus it lends to
more variety.
My niece is coming on to help with some live coverage when I can't get
to a show and, awesomely, I've had a writer named Edward contact me
recently and that was just a really pleasant surprise in general. He's
into the atmospheric black metal stuff, which is great.

7.Keith you live in the great metal country of Canada what is your
opinion of Canada's metal scene over the years?

Well the Metal underground in Canada was always there, I just never
really knew it was until I looked for it. My ex-father-in-law was
massively into metal but he didn't want anyone to be so into it as
him, or like anything outside of his own thing. My Mom hated it.
Neither of them thought that the music could be live any other place
outside of a big concert, so I never knew there was little shows.
Finally, I started to look into it once I discovered underground music
labels existed, and I remember going to see The Agonist live back when
Alissa White-Gluz (Now the lead singer of Arch Enemy) was in the band
still. It was in a little bar no bigger then a apartment, I was pretty
much scared to death and alone. I remember the band Like Pacific
played and they called me out as 'a milhouse', not a whole lot of
people seemed to like them because they were real a-holes to the
audience. But, through that, I discovered the band My Hollow. And,
because of them I went on to find a load of other bands and that which
I've never heard of. I actually discovered a lot of stuff by going to
live shows. I didn't even hear about Cryptopsy until I saw them live,
and I found out about Crust, Grind, and everything through actual
As time went on, I discovered SCENE Fest in St. Catherines, Heavy MTL
in Quebec, Toronto Metal Fest, etc. The Canadian metal scene is
definately thriving and full of great bands, all who seem to always
have developed some sort've interconnectivity with each other over the
years. Chances are when you go to one show, you'll see a lot of the
same people in another somewhere across the province. So I'd say there
is a commited audience as well. Big issue is that a lot of these bands
try to branch out to the states, but the border rarely lets them
cross. I've seen a number of bands start to gain traction, only to try
and cross the border and have the entire band falter because they
missed a half-dozen shows due to the border patrol. It's a huge

8.Who are your all-time favorite bands coming out of Canada?And are
their any new bands you could recommend to the readers?

I'd say Olde, My Hollow, Skullfist, and, well, I've come across so
many I wouldn't know what to suggest. Some don't even have recorded
music or broke up after one or two shows. It's the 'razors edge' I
guess you could say, with underground music. If you really want to see
the spectrum of Canadian metal and what the country is capable of, I'd
suggest bands like Cryptopsy, The Agonist (old and new), Unleash the
Archers, Voivod, 3 Inches of Blood, Gorguts, and anything to do with
Devin Townsend (I'm sure anyone reading this has heard of him or one
of his projects).

9.Do you get to see a lot of concerts in your area if yes what have
been some of the most memorable shows you have seen?And who are some
of the best bands you have seen live?

A lot of shows play in the Hamilton, Kawartha Lakes, and Niagara areas
so I have been to quite a bit. Especailly since they tend to be
inexpensive and close to places where people can actually walk to.
Though I have been to a few shows in the states, all of those were
memorable in a way or two.
My first show, as I mentioned in a earlier question, was The Agonist,
My Hollow, Like Pacific, and We Were Sharks. All these bands played
good, but My Hollow left a massive impression on me. They never had that many songs, I have their EP, but they did know how to master what
they had and keep people engaged. Even I, a self-admitted
stand-with-arms-crossed kind've guy, got into it. Even when I saw them
years later during Toronto Metal Fest in 2013. The Agonist as well
left a lasting impression on me, its sad their third album wasn't so
great, and that Alissa White-Gluz left for better. Their new singer
holds up though, from what I've seen.

Cryptopsy was also a big one for me, the, no-doubt, loudest show I've
ever heard. I couldn't even comprehend the sounds these guys were
making live. Hilariously, at the time, I had no idea they were famous.
I thought they were just some local band, and I remember them telling
everyone to come have a drink with them. I asked Matt McGachy if I
bought a record if the band would sign it. So I have a copy of the
self-titled CD where the whole band signed it - including their
drummer, who is apparently one of the best in music today, from what
I'm told. The other bands playing at that time were weird at best. The
first Crust band I expereinced was there, they told everyone they
hated everyone, and there was way too many deathcore acts going on. I
actually still have the poster from this night after all these years.

10.When not working on new reviews or interviews what do you enjoy
doing in your free time?

I play guitar and I write music, while not listening to records.
Besides that I watch a whole lot of older scifi, and I'm big into Star
Trek and Godzilla movies. I'm getting up there in years so I'm
learning to take things easy and lot over-stress myself. Simple life
is the good life, I guess.

11.Besides metal music do you listen to any other genres of music? If
yes what styles do you listen to and who are some of your favorite

I am a huge fan of prog rock and classic rock. I love Pink Floyd, but
I actually really like Roger Waters and David Gilmours solo work.
Radio KAOS has got to be one of the best records I've ever experienced
and On an Island is a great piece for relaxation.

12.Thank you Keith for taking the time to fill this interview out do
you have any final comments for the readers?

Yeah, if you run a webzine or whatever. Remember to keep trying to
improve yourself, keep consistant, be patient, and keep out of  
dramatics. As someone who has made a lot of mistakes over the years, I
find that what matters is your commitment and passion. Don't expect
free stuff, but do expect to be part of a awesome community that
appreciates real effort and to communicate ideas.