"...popularity is neither advantage, nor disadvantage to get in/be banned from the pages of “Forgotten Path”." - Iinterview with the founder of "Forgotten Path" magazine (Lithuania)

  • 23/01/2018 - 21:16 Read: 1949  Rate this item
    (2 votes)
  • comment 

When have you read Belarusian print metal magazine for the last time, smelling the printing ink and swallowing information about any band? Alas, local print metal media died out like dinosaurs. Bittersweet nostalgic feeling occurs when one thinks of our closest neighbours passing on the lamp of the noble print magazines. Today we talk to the editor in chief of the Lithuanian magazine "Forgotten Path"!

MH: Can you recollect the year you’ve made your first step on ‘Forgotten Path’?

Odium: Hello there, and thanks for the opportunity to share some news about “Forgotten Path”. I hope someone finds that interesting and attractive.

The first steps of “Forgotten Path” magazine came into being somewhere around 2005/2007, when after long hours of discussions and contemplations, I decided to light the fire of printed magazines once again, as at that time there were no publications circulating in Lithuanian Metal scene, and the overall situation was rather going into negative direction (I’m referring to the global scene of printed zines/magazines). Of course, the decision was supported by my friends and colleagues, especially by Tomhet (Svartthron, Autism), without whose help the magazine probably had never been started at all. The first issue was released in spring of 2007, and right now, after more than ten years of existence, step after small step, we are here with nine issues already under our belts.

MH: Forgotten Path is the absolutely right way, unfortunately lost by everyone, which is sad. Or do you rather see it as a carefully hidden path, available just for the chosen ones, which isn’t sad but honourable? To cut it short – when it comes to the title, should one read between the lines?

Odium: We can dislike some things/trends/directions or the entire situation in this global world of today, but it is what it is - I believe that everything what/where we live and are going through is not without the reason. Thus one can ask oneself before complaining - have I done anything to change it?

The title of the magazine could be interpreted both ways - directly, and between the lines, as you say. Those who haven’t ever heard about “Forgotten Path” should know, that we are professionally printed underground magazine, dedicated and oriented towards Black Metal scene mostly. Why so? Because it’s the genre that we are most interested in. But calling it as the “genre” is not the most accurate word either. Black Metal is much more than that: philosophy, mysticism, occult and death, dedication, sacrifice and enlightenment at the same; and that is reflected through the audial expression. However, today everything is pretty easily transformed into the process of consumption, and BM is not an exception. Our aim is to bring our attitude into the consideration - to bring the concept of what BM should be, and what it was in the beginning (at least the way we interpret it); to bring back the forgotten concept; and that’s why the magazine is entitled as “Forgotten Path”.It must also be said that everyone is free of interpreting Black Metal on his own - we are not here for haranguing or judging. But we also feel some kind of responsibility to bring comprehensive interviews and content, which should force the reader to think, digest, find, analyze, look for the answers, or bring the new questions into the surface. We believe that’s what Black Metal should serve for.

cover


MH: How much time did it take to move from the initial idea of setting up a magazine to its practical realization? Are there any circumstances (positive and negative) to mention along the way?

Odium: I must confess that I truly don’t remember that much about the preparation of our debut issue… It should have taken around 12-18 months to make everything happen, I believe. As far as I remember, we had usual problems of “newcomers” with the debut issue: mistakes in the layout, text grammar troubles, finally - no ideas about distribution, etc. But this is the process everyone experiences, I guess. It requires a lot of time to balance the preparation process. Probably only with issues #6-#7 I already had the needed planning and working schedule and scheme, which finally suited my requirements.

Right now the magazine is released once per year, and it always comes out in the month of November. Having such deadline allows controlling the preparation process, as well as puts some responsibility on our shoulders. If I didn’t set this deadline, probably the magazine was as irregular as other printed publications from the underground are.

MH: Why do you stick to the print magazine in the era of webzines?

Odium: Because of the smell, haha. No, truly - I still believe in physical form. It’s not only giving the sense, but dedication as well. I agree that interesting content is equally interesting in the monitor of your PC, and in printed pages, but if so - I choose printed media to read!

Besides, let’s take more earthly aspects as well. Please, tell me - how often and where do you read? Books, newspapers, magazines? I personally lack time for that (I wish I could give more priority for books, actually), therefore can give time for reading only on my way to daily work, and in place where kings walk alone. And I don’t want to spend all day long watching into PC or mobile phone. And returning to the first sentence - yes, I adore the smell of the freshly printed paper!

Not sure if these arguments make sense, but truly - physically printed format is a dedication and nostalgia for me at the same time. And yes, if we consider interviews - my priority is for printed paper, for sure (and I’m not only saying it (most of my interviewees tell the same, actually) - I’m really doing it).

MH: How active was the development of the magazine? How quick did it gain weight (concerning both the number of pages and readers’ respect)?

Odium: As I have already said, the magazine is released once per year, and right now we are working on issue #10. Each time there are some kind of dithers, if it isn’t the last issue, as this activity does really require energy, passion and dedication (no matter if someone thinks otherwise), but so far I do not have serious plans for stopping it.

I don’t try limiting ourselves with the quantity of pages or interviews - we let everything flow naturally. The last issue #9 has been the thickest one we have ever made (136 pages), though it includes less interviews than the previous issue #8. I hope that speaks about the length and quality of the interviews themselves. For example, issues #2 and #6 had the biggest amount of interviews - 25 and 23 respectively - but the number of pages was less (132 in particular). So as I’ve said, I don’t pay too much attention to the quantities, but try concentrating on the quality instead.  On the other hand, I’d like to decrease the number of pages for the upcoming issues for the simple reason - the shipping costs for such publication (one copy weights more than 400 gr) are rather high for the buyer, and for the publisher as well. But I also have a minimal amount of the interviews each issue should have - I’m looking to present not less than fifteen in-depth and lengthy interviews each year.

Regarding the number of readers… The first issue was met with arms wide-open here in Lithuania, and I sold probably 80% of the edition to the local customers. However, the situation later-on changed drastically, and right now probably not less 98% of the copies are sent outside the borders of my country.

MH: What is the number of printed copies of FP? Is it fixed or depends on the number of pre-ordered copies? Where can it be bought?

Odium: I make an order for 500 copies for each issue, though usually the printing-house makes a little bit more of them. But basically I consider limiting the edition to half-thousand copies. The number is not affected by pre-orders (as I don’t offer such service) or any other reason.

The easiest way to find-out about the purchase and distribution of our publication is to visit our official site. We have a small mail-order there as well, so you can choose any title from the list, and then drop me an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and I’ll arrange the best shipping price for you. Those that don’t like direct contacting, can buy a copy through our BandCamp profile. We also have official distributors worldwide, and their list is enclosed in our official site. Unfortunately, we don’t have partners in Belarus, though I’m not sure there’s the demand for it, at least not for now. Maybe that changes after this interview, ha. And of course - the easiest way to follow us is by pushing the needed buttons on FB profile.

MH: Is there a web version of the magazine available on the network?

Odium: If you’re referring to the digital version of the magazine, or the content of the magazine online, then the answer is no. And as long as I’m the editor of this publication, I do not have plans to transfer it to fully online version.
However, while promoting the new issues, I post some quotes and parts from the interviews on our FB profile. There was also one entire interview with the Danish band Rex Satanachia posted on our official page for some “personal” reasons. Finally, as our first issue has been sold-out for quite some years, I scanned it and it can be easily downloaded (look for it in our official site). If other issues will be sold-out as well, I probably will upload the scanned versions sooner or later too. But that’s just the question for the future.

IMG2219


MH: The magazine is exclusively black and white (including cover). Is it about the concept or just printing cost saving?

Odium: You can think about it with the deeper idea in mind (like opposition between black and white, life and death, etc.), but the reality is that for me personally it just looks more attractive. I’m not against colorful magazines, but for me personally, publications dedicated to Black Metal, aesthetically look better in b/w. Or maybe some kind of unknown forces are doing their thing here…

MH: Let's repeat - How often is Forgotten Path published?

Odium: As I have already mentioned, the magazine comes out once per year, and it is always in the month of November. Of course, usually, that means the last days of the month, sometimes maybe even the first days of December, but after all - this is the most beautiful and mysterious time of the year (when autumn dwells into winter), so it might have its magic as well.

MH: Some severe critics say that reports from the festivals in print make no sense, since the edition is released with a significant delay, while the ones online are published the next day. According to three reports (Howls of Winter, Kilkum Zaibu, Armageddon Descends) in the latest issue of FP, you wouldn’t have agreed with this statement. Can you comment it?

Odium: I know what they mean with that statement, and I could partly agree on that. However, such case would definitely not work for the “News” section. As for the reports - that’s another story, I think. Besides, the problem is not when and where the report is printed, but the quality of those reports. If it is published next day after the festival/event takes place, 90% of such reports will be a waste of time - usually you can write similar report without even not taking part in the event. So, the quality of the report is also very important for me.

Besides, the festivals that we cover, are held near our region, and comparing them with the Western festivals, they still could be considered as small ones. They don’t gather 10000-50000 of audience, therefore the number of reports is also much smaller than of the big ones. So if they are posted/printed after quite some time, I really don’t have any problem with that, as usually they not only complement a really small amount of reports, but gives a pretty detailed information about the festival/event for those that have no idea what they’re like.

MH: One of the above mentioned reports concerns Howls of Winter, held in Tallinn. Is there any kind of more solid black metal community between Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, than between other countries in your opinion? I’m asking since I didn’t find any reports from the other European festivals. Why there are none, by the way?

Odium: It’s probably not that much about the relation between metalhead communities, but because of the general history and unity of our countries. Actually, I believe that this question was partly answered in our latest issue in the article on “The Golden Age of 90’s Lithuanian Pagan Black Metal scene”.

There are several reasons why we had covered these particular three festivals in our new issue. First of all, they are more or less Black Metal oriented. Next, and probably the most important part - they have always supported “Forgotten Path” and are always willing to help and collaborate, so probably that’s the advantage for both sides. Why we don’t cover more festivals/events? Probably because it is not possible to attend all of them. Besides, I personally prefer to concentrate on those events that offer something special and more than a simple live show. Rituals? Maybe. If any band manages to present some majestic experience, we will definitely have time and space to talk about that to our readers.

On the other hand, I believe that interviews is the essential part of printed media, therefore I don’t want to overcrowd the space with the reports. Especially if they’re not that much important and interesting.

MH: Who’s standing behind the FP pages? What is the crew?

Odium: I, Odium, am the one that organizes, controls and edits the direction, “strategy” and entire activity of the magazine. Probably 80% of the content is also prepared by me directly. However, without the help from my crew, this magazine wasn’t of that quality as it is now. We have up to five people, who make “nazi-grammar” and texts editing. Up to three people help with reviews and some other content (interviews, reports). The layout is done by Kingas (Angis, ex-Xess, ex-Luctus, and many others). I usually ask several friends for some help with translations, photos, and some other stuff too. Somebody help with their advices, support, etc. For all of that I’m grateful to all, who contribute to the publication. But in the end - I’m the Führer of “Forgotten Path”, and my word and decision is the final!

MH: Where do you find so much time to get all the stuff done? Do you have any other activity apart from the magazine?

Odium: Without “Forgotten Path”, I also help “Devilstone Open Air” with some writings, contribute to biggest Lithuanian Metal webzine www.ferrum.lt with reviews, reports, interviews as well; some other contribution for separate events happen on a rather regular basis too. Besides that, I’m an ordinary citizen with daily routine and an enormous passion for ice-hockey.

I believe that 9 out of 10 people will tell you that they lack time every day. I’m among those as well. But everyone is responsible for his own decisions and fate, so the only advice I can give - plan and set your priorities. Actually, prioritizing is the only problem that matters here. Prioritizing and passion. Everything else is only advocating for laziness, inactivity and bad prioritizing (what is the mirror of your true values and priorities, actually).

MH: The preface to one of your interviews says that one has to put some real effort to get to FP pages. But were there times with the opposite situation, when the magazine had to put an effort in order to attract attention of some musician or band?

Odium: To some extent - yes. From my perspective, if one considers himself a fan of Black Metal, or digs in to the genre, he should already know, or at least have heard of “Forgotten Path”. However, each time I’m contacting the band for the interview, I give some brief introduction on who we are, what we do, etc. I’m not saying that bands should be proud of the opportunity we give, no. But it is a two-sided respect: we are thankful to the bands for their contribution; at the same time bands should use this as the opportunity to get noticed, or spread some deeper info on their activity/art.

However, we live in the age of information. There’s enormous amount of it, that means there are those who prepare the information, and those, who are sources for it, in this case - the bands. And I’m not sure if that’s the main reason, but the further I go, the more bands are not interested in giving/answering interviews. I respect their choice/opinion, though it seems strange for me.

Each issue has at least one band that I had to ask twice or more about the interview. There were one or two cases, when I probably had to officiously persuade for it. Some bands a lazy enough; others truly don’t have much time to answer long/in-depth interviews. But I hope (and know) that those, who opted to conduct their inties, haven’t been disappointed with the final result.

MH: The magazine’s stand is exclusively black metal and underground. Do you have plans of interviewing some more popular black metal bands?

Odium: It’s not really about the popularity of the band; it’s naturally about their creativity, ideas and activity. Through the years, we have prepared/printed interviews with Rotting Christ, Shining, Keep of Kalessin, Enslaved, whom are rather popular, aren’t they? But yeah, probably we are more focused on underground scene, but naturally because there’s much more interesting bands in the circle than in those more “main-stream” oriented. On the other hand, such bands like Lunar Aurora, Celestia, Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult, Embrace of Thorns, Graveland, and many others could already be considered as “popular” or at least well known among the underground scene, don’t they? But as I’ve said, it’s not the case; for example, I’m a huge fan of “Pestapokalypse VI” era Belphegor, and if they managed to repeat similar success with any new album, I would be glad to interview them; Watain is another example, though I’ve read at least several very interesting interviews with them recently, so I don’t see a reason to dig the same fields at the moment. So to answer your question - no, popularity is neither advantage nor disadvantage to get in/be banned from the pages of “Forgotten Path”.

MH: Do the strict criteria of your format affect the demand? Or does black metal beat other genres in popularity in Lithuania?

Odium: Hm, never thought about that actually, but it might affect. Some of my friends had asked me at least several times, why I don’t include bands from other genres in the magazine. But why should I, if Black Metal is what interests me most? Others are welcome to make their own magazines. Besides, the frames of BM are rather wide: we interview Black/Death Metal bands, Atmospheric BM bands, even what could be considered as Post-Black Metal, as well as those, who have Pagan/Folk influences too. We have printed interviews with Grave Miasma, Qrixkuor, Harvest Gulgaltha, which are pure Death Metal acts. But again, that was done not on the purpose of “widening” the stylistic frames, or to gather more audience. Simply - these are fabulous bands with the correct attitude and ideas.

I have already stated that we sell just a few copies here in Lithuania, so the, so called, “popularity” of Black Metal here in Lithuania (if there is such at all) doesn’t matter. I personally believe that the situation with this genre right now is rather good here, considering the size of our scene and country in general. But I’m sure you could find opposite opinion as well: how everybody likes just Death or Thrash Metal, how nobody visits concert, etc. Same would be said from the camps of other genres (blaming that only BM is popular, and so on). But it’s the never-ending story of whiners, I guess…

MH: What pros and cons of zines with a strict format can you define?

Odium: It depends on what goals you have set for your publication. If you’re looking for more audience and better selling, limiting to some kind of stylistic frames can be as much positive, as negative as well. In our case - the only important thing is the vision of the magazine. We do what we like and the magazine itself looks the way we want it to be. If we can afford that - we are active. If it changes - probably we stop. The demand from the readers or the lack of it shouldn’t influence the content/activity of the publication. So if you’re going to start publishing one - set your goals, decide what you want, and seek for your aims. Believe, feed the flame and strike for it - everything else should come naturally.

MH: Are there any other zines in Lithuania (regardless the format)? Are they numerous?

Odium: There’s “Diovim” zine that is active, though its releasing is not that constant. It is Metal in general oriented, rather old-school looking zine, printed in Lithuanian language.

There’s also “Terror” zine that is dedicated to Industrial/Power-Electronics/Noise scene, though it has been on a rather long hiatus… The editor, Levas, is the ex-member of bands like Andaja, Svartthron, Poccolus. But he promised that the new issue should be brought back one day.

And I don’t think there are any more publication in our scene, be it printed or digital. At least I’m not aware of any.

IMG1957
MH: I don’t know to what extent it’s true, but there’s information that some metal events are supported (and financed) by the government in Lithuania, which is a wishful thinking for Belarus. Is there any support of that kind for magazines?

Odium: That is partly true. There’s an institution in Lithuania, called “The Lithuanian Council for Culture”. It is a budgetary institution, established “with the view to reform country cultural governance and develop culture self - realization”. So as you understand, it is budgeted from the State. And they arrange different cultural funds each year, in different art segments (literature, arts, films, music, etc.). There are a lot of different programs and directions and you can apply for the financial support. Of course, there’s no guarantee you will get one, but if your application is well prepared (i.e. you know what to write, what info to give, etc.), there’s definitely a chance to be successful. The biggest Lithuanian fests (for example, “Kilkim Žaibu”, “Mėnuo Juodaragis”, “Devilstone”, “Armageddon Descends”) usually give it a try, and yes - their applications were approved at least several times. But it is not like you come and say “we arrange Metal festival, please support us”, and you’re financed. No, it’s bureaucracy, so you have to know, what direction to choose, what words to use, how to present yourself, etc.

It is possible to use the same funding option for printed material, but some friends, who had worked with “The Lithuanian Council for Culture” informed me, that there’s small chance of success, so I decided to not waste my time and nerves on that.

MH: Do print zines bring any profit? (Frankly speaking, in Belarus it has been labelled as a non-profitable thing long ago, thus abandoned.)

Odium: I can speak for myself only. With 3-4 latest issues, the way “Forgotten Path” is operated and distributed, the magazine itself is able to cover printing, postal services, and all other required costs. But it took me no less than 5-7 years of hard work and searches to succeed. And I’m really not asking for more from this activity. Maybe I even managed to buy 1-2 CDs from the sales of the magazine, so if it’s profit or not - it’s for everyone to judge on his own.

MH: And the last question – how do you think where will Forgotten Path lead to? To meeting expectations future or to the swamp of failures?

Odium: If you have no intentions to make anything better, to improve, to seek for new heights and goals - why do it at all? “Forgotten Path” is not only done because I like the activity, but I believe we have some kind of educational mission as well. Preparing the interviews, as well as reading the answers from the bands, gives you new insights, new information, new facts, etc. This allows becoming wiser, as well as to look for new challenges. So as long as the enthusiasm and passion are present, there’s no place or time for swamps and failures. Only the enlightenment ahead!

 

Interviewed: Nat Nazgul

Photos are provided by Odium





Поиск

Ближайшие концерты


31
Aug
2019

31 August 2019

Re:Public
ул. Притыцкого, 62


06
Sep
2019

06 September 2019

Брюгге
Партизанский пр-т, 6А


15
Sep
2019

15 September 2019

Брюгге
Партизанский пр-т, 6А


16
Sep
2019

16 September 2019

Брюгге
Партизанский пр-т, 6А


25
Sep
2019

25 September 2019

Брюгге
Партизанский пр-т, 6А


29
Sep
2019

29 September 2019

Re:Public
ул. Притыцкого, 62


04
Oct
2019

04 October 2019

Re:Public
ул. Притыцкого, 62


10
Oct
2019

10 October 2019

Брюгге
Партизанский пр-т, 6А


12
Oct
2019

12 - 13 October 2019

клуб "Атлас"
Сечевых Стрельцов ул. (бывш. Артема ул.), Киев


13
Oct
2019

13 October 2019

Брюгге
Партизанский пр-т, 6А

METALHEADS.BY © 2014-2019 All Rights Reserved.