MetalCast – the ultimate metal show

The Forbidden Underground (ep.179)

7. November, 2010

Forbidden Magazine has everything you would expect from a publication designed to promote underground metal, from gritty black-and-white graphics to honest CD reviews to interviews with the dark and mysterious alchemists of black metal. Beginning as a webzine and now having produced its first printed copy (with free covermount CD of underground material), the publication is the brainchild of Sleepwalker, also owner of Forbidden Records and creator of A TRANSYLVANIAN FUNERAL. I tracked him down in his underground lair:

Sleepwalker, you started off in 2008 making music as A TRANSYLVANIAN FUNERAL, and now this has evolved into Forbidden Magazine where you support other underground metal bands. How do you split your time between the two projects?

S: I spend all my free time doing it, really. I make sure to work at it everyday otherwise work piles up and things don’t get done properly. With A Transylvanian Funeral, I work like a lot of bands do; I spend however much time is necessary writing and recording and then spend however much time is necessary promoting what I just created. I don’t get to spend as much time being creative, as far as songwriting is concerned, but it allows me to also step away from the process and look for ways to stay fresh and innovative. Forbidden Magazine is a non stop labor of love…there are plenty of great artists who are looking for more fans; Forbidden Magazine strives to be the bridge between the band and the fan.

How did you get other people involved in the webzine in the first place?

S: I just asked a few people who I thought would do a good job if they would be interested. I put out some flyers and sorted through all the people who were full of shit. So many people will tell you that they want to do something and in the same breathe tell you why they can’t. I make sure that people earn their keep at Forbidden. Right now, I am proud to have a great staff of dedicated and talented writers who are first and foremost fans of the extreme genre.

Forbidden Magazine has since evolved from being just a webzine; how difficult was it to produce that first printed issue?

S: The first issue was technically Issue Zero,which was and still is a FREE download at the website, like a 48 page .pdf full of cool shit. I think Hells Headbangers was the only company to distribute physical copies, which were a few, like ten. It was more difficult to get writers at that point but not really bands, which surprised me. A lot of bands didn’t hesitate to do press with an unknown like Forbidden at the time, so I was very grateful to get good responses from everyone. The official Issue One, was more work, just because I pressed pro CDs and the zine was a massive 72 pages. It is a pain sometimes timing everything; you don’t want an interview to be three months old, etc. Plus it is hard selling ad space being a new zine but everyone, most everyone, again, was more than willing to support the new supporters of extreme music, Forbidden Magazine! Overall, though, the end result was worth all the effort, many times over.

The Metalcast listeners like to find out about new bands and new metal sounds, how do you go about finding appropriate artists to promote?

S: All kinds of ways, really. There is a contact form on the website a lot of bands and labels use to get in touch. Often, someone we have worked with previously, either through interview or review, will put someone in touch with use. I like to form relationships with labels, a lasting relationship so we can continue to support each other, in whatever form best suits the occasion. Once in a while, but not often, because of my workload, I go hunting online for new artists that have a sound I like. The extreme music world is really pretty small, everyone seems to know everyone so it isn’t too awfully difficult to stay busy.

What would you say is the most important lesson you have learned for any aspiring metal bands out there who want to make it in the underground scene?

S: Overall, the single most important thing is to take responsibility for your own career. If you are waiting on someone else to put your music where you want it to be then it will probably never happen. No one is going to give a fuck about your music as much as you, so why aren’t you working your ass off for it? I am a very proactive and reclusive person who likes to do way too much on my own but at the end of the day, if my work is doing what I need it to, then I can fix it. A band has to have a lot of control of their work and they have to work really hard controlling it so it doesn’t crash and burn.

In what ways can interested listeners get involved and contribute to the metal underground scene?

S: There are a lot of ways, really. You could start a band but that isn’t what the ‘scene’ needs. The ‘scene’ needs more fans. Every asshole I know plays guitar and is in four bands…great. I used to go to local shows and the only people in the audience were the bands and their drunk girlfriends. So I quit going to shows and don’t miss it for a second. Music used to be a listening ritual; fresh, new, pounding music that had lyrics you could open up and read,etc. Now it is like water, all around you, free, portable, commonplace and extremely disposable. If you gave me a filesharing account and an afternoon, how much music could I really download that would be worth hearing? For instance, if we just downloaded black metal , how much of it would all run together and show no signs of variance between the artists? The whole quantity over quality thing has driven out the fan who gets into a band and collects all the releases, buys the patch, goes to the show, interviews the band for his favorite zine and helps them spread the disease!!!

A TRANSYLVANIAN FUNERAL is still very much alive, will we be seeing more material soon? In what ways do you envision your sound developing?

S: A Transylvanian Funeral just released a full length titled ‘the Outsider’. The album is a progression from the S/T debut but not so much people can’t get the same ATF feel from it. The production is bigger and more elaborate, which was my intention and I am very pleased with how it turned out. The album is actually streaming @ the Forbidden Magazine website…As far as my sound developing in the future, all I can say is that it most certainly will develop further and continue to do so for quite some time. I am inspired to write a lot of different styles of music, from doom and drone to low-fi, raw black metal and I have no desire to continue writing the same style of music over and over again. Click this link for more details. As long as each album is as good as it possibly can be, there is, to me, no point in repeating oneself.

Where do you get your inspiration from as an artist? How do you prepare yourself to write or record?

S: I draw inspiration from a lot of sources. I read a lot when I am not working on the zine and what not, so reading is probably one of my bigger influences. I read a lot of occult literature but I also spend a lot of time contemplating my own views, existence, purpose, etc. My music is an extension of my personality in one form or another and I have never really had a sense of vulnerability in my life. I, like all people, possess a power. The power, similar to what Crowley called Thelema, is used to attain goals, overcome obstacles and maintain a self aware existence. The realization and utilization of that power is really the life blood of what I do. It is also simple enough to say that I am inspired by a mountain or the moon.

Finally, what do you think black metal has to say to the world in this modern age of science and technology?

S: The message of black metal, I think, has remained unchanged. As it is much easier to spread the message of black metal today with technology, it is also easier for the opponents and enemies of black metal to do the same with their own message. As the number of adherents to the cause grow, the message is diluted through trivial fashion victims and ‘scene’ morons who would rather look cool in front of their friends as opposed to actually have any depth of character. Black metal, to me, is something that can only be defined by the actual listener or artist but there is something to it that goes undefinable that makes it what it is. Technology poses the same ‘threat’ that LaVey did. It is laughable how anti-LaVey so many 2nd wave black metal musicians were. To rebel against rebellion? Come on!!!! LaVey made it accessible, made it easy and commonplace to be a Satanist where as most ‘trve’ black metal hipsters would want you to believe that they live in caves and were raised by wolves. Fuck off! I use technology every day to spread the word about extreme music so if someone thinks I am not ‘trve’ because I have a webzine, they should also, in turn, shut down their computer.

In closing, thanks for the interview! I hope that I hear from all who took the time to read my rant!!!

Forbidden magazine can be reached at

Extreme Support for Extreme Music!

Si Smith
November 2010