Perhaps you have chanced to visit the e-zine ‘Autoeroticasphyxium’, perhaps not. Perhaps you have had opportunity to browse the eclectic range of subjects that are on show there, perhaps not. Perhaps you have been lucky enough to have been selected as a guest or contributor to this important periodical, perhaps not but please know this, whatever you have, do, or do not, know or have known about the Fanzine truth is, very often, stranger than fiction.
The zine covers topics as diverse as underground community, artists, actors, performance artists and celebs, vamps, pagans, metal music and more making for fascinating and satisfying reading.
As Liam Guy of The Fallout Magazine wrote, “Plenty of diverse material in the zine that makes it an interesting read from beginning to end.”
So, in the spirit of adventure and bonhomie, we thought we’d sidle on over, check it out and get into a little one-on-one with the man behind it, Dave Wolff.
RVL: Good evening Dave and thank you very much for taking time to speak with us. It’s an honour to welcome you to RVL.
DW: It’s entirely my honor to be featured in Real Vampire Life. I appreciate the unprecedented support of interviewing me for your publication, and I hope members of the vampire community with similar interests in music, poetry, fiction and occult/supernatural topics get to read it. I’ve only been interviewed a handful of times since I started writing, and I welcome any chance to talk about the zine and reach more readers.
RVL: There’s so much ground to cover here that, quite frankly, it was hard to know where to start. How does a lone interviewer get to grips with the entirety of what Autoeroticasphyxium is?
DW: When Autoeroticasphyxium started it was a typical underground fanzine covering metal, punk and hardcore. The format expanded to artwork and movie reviews when I reviewed independent films and contacted local artists interested in contributing cover art. One artist, Winston Blakely, was one of the cover artists for the zine from around 2000 to when the final print issue was released in December 2014. The format continued to expand as I started featuring fiction and poetry, art and performance art, articles on the occult, the music industry and historical events and so on. It was a gradual progression that saw some more added each issue. I make a point of helping give exposure to cutting edge bands, artists, writers and performers in and outside the U.S. I was attracted to underground scenes in New York City and the more I sought it out, the more interested I got and my searching eventually broadened across the country and abroad.
There is a lot of local and unsigned talent out there waiting to be discovered. People today might think huge corporations dominate entertainment and free expression is dwindling, especially in the U.S., but free expression is still alive and you just have to know where to look. As for coming to grips with the zine’s format, the progression to what it was when it began and what it is now was gradual and took several years to develop. I basically took things as they came and today I’m comfortable with the wide range of subject matter it features.
RVL: Okay, let’s try this one: when was Autoeroticasphyxium established and why? What was the driving force behind its inception?
DW: In 1996 a friend was talking to me about starting a zine; which gave me the idea to start one. I have always been the sole editor and publisher.
I was heavily inspired by the NYC zine Endemoniada which covered extreme metal and the left hand path. I started “AEA” (short for Autoeroticasphyxium) soon after I began my career as a music journalist, and was one of the first Long Island writers to openly support black metal.
Autoeroticasphyxium was in print from January 1997 to December 2014. The earliest issues had little distribution but it got around by word of mouth and coverage from local zines and distros. I was in contact with the Endemoniada staff for some time, our relationship was one of camaraderie and they reviewed the debut issue. John, the friend I mentioned earlier, had CD reviews in the second and third issues and was the first contributing writer. He interviewed the Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone, the U.S. death metal band Incantation and an ambient project I was involved in called Agamemnon (which is on hold at the time of this writing). The zine has been online since January of 2015 and I briefly published an art/fiction/poetry zine called Cerebral Agony. This zine is no longer active but I still have a handful of copies left for purchase or trade.
RVL: What’s one, no doubt of the many things, that stand out for you from those earliest days of Autoeroticasphyxium?
DW: As I mentioned, I was one of Long Island’s first writers to actively support black metal when it was not popular. I remember in Long Island in the mid-90s, if you were a death metal fan you were almost expected to hate black metal. I remember there was a lot of bias against it and few people if any would give it a fair chance. People in Queens and New York City were more open to it however, and black metal bands from other states and outside the US often played there. Endemoniada also supported black metal and I heard of quite a few bands through that zine. After The Forgotten became the first Long Island based black metal band (they changed their name to Dimentianon) things began to change for the better. Having been a fan of cutting edge music since I discovered thrash metal in the 80s, I basically saw it as a logical progression to support black metal.
RVL: May we ask, when did you first become aware of the existence of a ‘modern living Vampyre culture’ and what were your earliest impressions of it?
DW: My earliest exposure to the culture was through vampire fiction. I made acquaintances with author G.L. Giles, the author of the Vampire Vignettes series. I interviewed her for the zine when it was in print. I don’t remember everything we discussed, but I remember she had an active writing imagination. We supported and promoted each other’s work for some time. There is where my interest in the culture first began to take shape. Beforehand, I freely admit I knew almost nothing about vampires outside of the occasional cable TV feature. I have learned much historical, cultural and fictional information interviewing many other authors and performers.
RVL: If we can turn our attention to some of your own writing work, can you give us a rundown on how your own writing career began and the writing you have done to date?
DW: My first writing gig was for a local music paper called The Angle in 1993. I wrote a handful of CD and demo reviews before the paper folded in 1994. Shortly after that I started writing for a local paper called Good Times. I was on their staff from 1994 to 2009 and had a regular column The Dungeon covering metal, punk and hardcore. I interviewed several bands for Good Times including Warzone and Roger Miret & The Disasters (New York Hardcore bands), Cradle Of Filth and My Dying Bride (from the United Kingdom), and reviewed releases from Mortal Coil Records and Razorback Records whose staff were always supportive of my writing.
RVL: In particular I’d like to ask about the name of ‘Autoeroticasphyxium’, where did the name originate?
DW: It was based on a song title I thought up in 1991 or ’92 when I was playing drums for local metal and hardcore bands. I figured it would be a unique name for a fanzine, and something instantly recognizable while not relying on clichés. There were too many bands using the word ”death” in their name or ending their name in “-tion” and I wanted to get as far from that as I could. Extreme metal has always been about originality so I wanted the name to stand out from those of other zines.
RVL: …and what drew you into the circles that gave rise to Autoeroticasphyxium?
DW: The punk, hardcore and metal scenes in New York City, Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island have been a part of my life since I started going to shows in mid-1986. I gradually gravitated toward the music because it was cutting edge and took chances at a time when most other artists were playing it safe. The first shows I attended were Celtic Frost at L’Amour Brooklyn and Crumbsuckers at CBGB.
The underground was a new world for me and I felt at home there more than I did anywhere else. I made many friends as I was constantly going to shows, and made many fond memories that remain with me to this day. One of the things that attracted me to the New York thrash scene (as well as the punk and hardcore scenes) was its down to earth nature.
The bands were on equal footing and respectful with the fans; they would come out from backstage to meet the kids who went to see them and there were no “rock star” attitudes. Becoming part of this shattered my notions of being a musician and the realization of a new way of looking at the relationship between performer and audience is what made me dedicate my life to the underground. If you look down on the people who support you and think you’re better than them, you don’t belong. This attitude has lasted in one form or another to this day and I look back with fond memories. Of late I have interviewed Goth and alt-models to call it to reader attention that a model doesn’t have to look like Britney Spears or Miley Cyrus to be appealing. While pursuing this I’m careful to see if they’re reflecting underground culture, not the mainstream’s distortion of it.
RVL: I’d like to delve, then, a little into your current perceptions and collaborations… what are you currently involved in with regard to the modern Vampire culture, if anything, or what do you perceive to be the next major thrust for the zine?
DW: I currently have no involvement with local vampire culture outside of corresponding with the authors and performers I have interviewed for the zine, and I admittedly still have much to learn about it. I have been invited to several events but finances are tight at present and I haven’t been able to go out as much as I used to.
However, I invented a fictional vampire character, Faustina Karpathia, who appears in an issue of Winston Blakely’s “Little Miss Strange” graphic novel series. Blakely designed cover art featuring Faustina for several print issues of the zine; before that one cover piece featuring Faustina was designed by Mercy Van Vlack .
RVL: Have you widely collaborated, or been involved with, the Vampyre culture outside of NYC at all? And, if so, what differences have you noticed between locations?
DW: I can basically say the same for events outside of NYC as for local events. The last time I travelled out of state was to see a Corpsewax Dollies performance in Chattanooga, Tennessee a few years ago. This was not a vampire based event but rather a gothic cabaret show. Corpsewax Dollies is a unique act and you can find out about them at their Facebook community page. Back to the subject, any collaborations with members of vampire communities are yet to happen, but I would welcome the chance.
RVL: This is, perhaps, going to be a little controversial but I want to ask, what are your impressions of our “information age” Vampire culture?
DW: Like it does for any lifestyle, the information age has its benefits and detriments. The internet and social media has enabled people from different countries to correspond with one another and promote their work much more readily. People involved in the culture can correspond on the internet and support one another through interviews. On the other hand, I am one of those people who see how the internet can replace physical interaction. A part of me still prefers reading physical zines to online zines.
RVL: …and as a closely followed ‘mover and shaker’, have you got any words of wisdom for us readers?
DW: My advice to people is basically to think for themselves. Don’t listen to something only because everyone else is listening to it. When pressured to conform to mainstream standards consider the vested interests that may exist behind the scenes. Because mainstream artists are more financially successful does not mean they’re right. I’ve occasionally been accused of “not maturing” due to my dedication to underground culture, but falling in line with the majority and swallowing anything the mainstream tells you is not my idea of growing up.
If you’re true to yourself, you don’t have to change what you are to prove you’re maturing. A wise man said it takes more guts to be a rebel, and it pays in the long haul. I listen to several different genres of music (even if they’re not “popular”) but I don’t preach or whitewash my opinions. I listen to what I like. Many death, black and symphonic metal bands (Nile, Morbid Angel, Cradle Of Filth and Rhapsody) push the envelope of originality and creativity, which to me is far more open minded than incessantly rehashing the same formulaic pop rock. It takes more talent to play extreme music than people realize.
There is an increasing number of review sites on the net and review channels on social media where fans have opportunities to state their opinions about music and movies. Finally, because I’m not running a zine for money and only for money doesn’t mean I prefer being broke. I’m not against making a living but at the end of the day the work and its impact is just as important.
RVL: Now, here’s one for you… we, both, have been guiding our respective e-zines through the often choppy waters of modern alternative culture for a while now… what, in your opinion, are the biggest challenges facing alternative lifestyle, and alternative culture, members today?
DW: As there always has been, a major obstacle is aboveground preconceptions about alternative/underground lifestyles, and how those preconceptions are presented to the general public through the media. Media influence is more prominent than ever today and people are more likely to believe what they’re told. It’s unfortunate that people who are basically different and don’t swallow everything they are told are still referred to as freaks and weirdos, especially by those who claim to be open minded and tolerant. I won’t get into the irony that I am an “idiot” for disagreeing with them while metal fans are all airheaded losers without the ability to communicate in an intelligent manner. There is a lot of this, but on the other hand, you could argue that the lack of mainstream recognition may benefit alternative lifestyles in the long haul so who knows? I have been told once or twice that my interviews break the stereotype that metal fans are all airheaded losers without the ability to communicate in an intelligent manner. So if I am making any kind of a difference in that regard I’d consider it a good thing.
RVL: Who are some of the people, along the way, that have helped shape and influence Autoeroticasphyxium to become what it is today?
DW: Many writers of fiction and poetry, interviewers and reviewers have had input into the zine’s development. Some I am still in contact with, others not. I previously mentioned G.L. Giles, through whom I had a short story published in the Infernal Dreams fiction anthology Blood From The Underground in 2010 or 2011. I don’t know if print copies of this anthology are still available today, but you can order a Kindle edition at Amazon if you do a search there.
Goddess Rosemary of Temple House Sahjaza has introduced me to quite a few interviewees who have given me a broader perception of vampires. I interviewed New Orleans native Kurt Amacker twice about his written work and experience in the local Goth scene. A great deal of ground is covered in those two interviews which can be read at http://aeafanzine.blogspot.com/2015/10/publisher-interview-kurt-amacker.html and http://aeafanzine.blogspot.com/2015/10/author-interview-kurt-amacker-second.html.
Other interviews related to vampire culture include Illyriah Sahjaza , author Andreas Axikerzus Sahjaza , author Tony Sokol and David Uhrlaub of Kalderasha Vampire Courts, your interview is also posted at the zine’s blog and can be read at this link: http://aeafanzine.blogspot.com/2017/12/ezine-publisher-interview-tim-bey-real.html.
Yet another band I wanted to mention in this interview is BLKVampires a gothic soul band from NYC who I interviewed for the zine when it was in print. The Long Losts is another unique Goth project I recently interviewed for the blog.
RVL: So, what’s happening right now with you and Autoeroticasphyxium, and where are you headed from here?
DW: I’ve been promoting the zine on social media more actively and plan to further expand the range of alternative lifestyles of all kinds. I get the idea there are many more prominent writers and artists out there that people need to read about.
RVL: Okay, in closing, where can people find Autoeroticasphyxium Zine? What sites do you maintain?
DW: Autoeroticasphyxium’s official web address is http://aeafanzine.blogspot.com. The zine is also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/aea.zine, https://www.facebook.com/groups/230377537030238/ and https://www.facebook.com/Autoeroticasphyxium-zine-1722719474606675/.
RVL: It has been an inestimable pleasure chewin’ the fat with you, and a great honour for us to be crossing paths with you, thank you again… we’d like to stay in contact and maybe we can touch base and chat again some time to see what’s what?
DW: Again I greatly appreciate being able to reach your readers through this interview. I definitely want to remain in touch and hope people take the time to check out the extensive work both by me and those who have contributed to the zine. Can’t leave without crediting both writers and interviewers who have contributed to the blog since January 2015.
Articles: Haniel Adhar, Liam Anthony, Roberta Downing, Elena Karis, Alan Lisanti, Devin Joseph Meaney, Rosemary Sahjaza, Tony Sokol, Alison Stone, Karin Webb, Joseph Zuchowski
Music, Live, Band & Video Reviews: Loki Astaroth, Simon Brown, Teresa Clayton, Heather Dawson, Roberta Jean Downing, Eric Evers, Alecia Fincher, Chase Fincher, Skitz J. Fitch, Abyss Forgottentomb, Frank Garcia, Tony “Reborn” Juarez, Alan Lisanti, Erik Martin, Sarah McKellar, Devin Joseph Meaney, Angel Michaels-Abaddon, Gene Olivarri, Jaime Regadas, Reggae, Deanna Revis, Drew Rizzo, Rrockhopper, Danny Ryan, Rosemary Sahjaza, Robert Uller, Victor Varas, Dave Wolff, Amethyst Wynter, Xan
Film Reviews: Haniel Adhar, Christina Bergling, Sophia Cynthia Cabral, Baron Craze, Roberta Jean Downing, Gene Olivarri, Lady Liath Sahjaza, Walter Sahjaza, Kristin Theckston
Book Reviews: Ivy Dahl Sahjaza, Chrissy McManis, David Smith, Kristin Theckston, Dave Wolff
Convention Reviews: Gene Olivarri
Poems & Fiction: Jillanna Babb, James Kenneth Blaylock, Andy Bove, Big Jim, Chris Chaos, Kaya Chaos, M Teresa Clayton, Omesh Darkchild Crasher, Heather Dawson, Lioness De Winter, Debbie Dixon, Roberta Jean Downing, Skitz J. Fitch, Abyss Forgottentomb, Eric Forsberg, Linzie Grotesque, Jonathan Hawk, Johnny Hellion, Kay Irvin, Elena Karis, Alexander Kautz, James Ward Kirk, Joshua Laing, Jerry Langdon, Daina Lewis, Alan Lisanti, Devin J. Meaney, Sarah McKellar, Craig Michael, Natasa Nikolic, Rich Orth, Steven Michael Pape, Laura Petellat-Entwisle, Corvo Obsidian Sahjaza, David Smith, Tony Sokol, Sky Claudette Soto, Susan Stiltner, Alison Stone, Jeremy Void, John White, Teilla Whittington.
Hey, if I asked you to define “alternative” you wouldn’t have any problem right? I mean, you would pick up a dictionary and say to me, something like, “Alternative, adjective… employing or following nontraditional or unconventional ideas, methods, etc.; existing outside the establishment.” – Easy enough right?
If I asked you to define the AEA Fanzine I doubt that you could easily come up with a definition that would adequately cover the amazing work by these talented people under the stewardship of a dedicated and hardworking man by the name of Dave Wolff.
If you are into ‘alternative‘ you NEED to check out this link –
and put it in your bookmarks.
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