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    • CommentAuthorJJVV
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010
     (7593.41)
    Zoetica - for starters the magazine looks fantastic - great job!

    Your discussion on monoculture fascinates me - especially in regards to ethnic culture (I am of Greek origin - Meredith are you Greek?).

    I remember going to Greece as a kid in the 80s and it was truly a foreign place in comparison to North America, but now you can go to Greece and eat at Mcdonalds, watch MTV, and surf the internet via satellite uplink on a ferry boat going to Santorini. Not a bad thing per se..just different. It has a reverse effect too as now Greek youth are exposed to more and there are subcultures emerging there where none existed in the past....interest in literature, fashion, pop culture, etc that no one had access to not too long ago.. .it is definitely an interesting time. In the midst of all these changes, how do you see the content of your magazine evolving? Who do you think your future audience (or even your present audience) is?
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      CommentAuthorTheremina
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010 edited
     (7593.42)
    So, genesis of Issue Four.

    It really was uncanny. We didn't consciously set out to make it some kind of conceptually elaborate object. We were hoping to put the issue out by Halloween (ha!) so the first pieces we planned for the issue were, admittedly, quite spookylicious: Mark Powell's feature on "The Science of Ghosts" lecture and the Dia de los Muertos fashion editorial by Gayle Partridge. But that was as far as we were planning to go with an autumnal theme.

    Then we decided to include my own photo essay on the early 20th century, mouldering prairie children of Blackwell. I also asked our staffer Angeliska if she'd be up for writing an expanded version of a blog interview she'd done with a witchy mountain folkie named Larkin Grimm. Zoetica doggedly pursued the shade of Kristamas Klousch for months until a bunch of tifs magically appeared on the FTP site. Warren hooked her and Ales up with Grant Morrison. From the moment we read Joshua Ellis's brilliant, drunken twitter rants about the death of alt culture (written while he was stumbling home from some hipster-infested bar) we knew Coilhouse needed a full-on essay from him about the living death of Western counterculture. Out of the blue, Mark told us he'd landed an interview with Alejandro freakin' Jodorowsky. Z grabbed Kris Kuksi... my friend Dame Darcy gave us some of her paper dolls, etc....

    I swear, we weren't consciously steering the content in any particular direction! But once we sat down and looked at the material we'd gathered, we saw the same themes kept cropping up: ghosts, nostalgia, mysticism, magic, premonitions. Granted, there are usually coincidental themes that run through each issue. But nothing like this. Everything we had --with the exception of one piece that ultimately was cut-- seemed to tie directly together.

    For instance: Jodorowsky, Grimm, Morrison, and Brosius could all be considered mystics or conjurers of sorts. Each of those interviews contains direct references to how they forged their own personal paths to creating something enchanting. They're all iconoclastic "seers" with unusual perspectives. Forward thinkers. Jodorowsky spoke extensively about tarot and mysticism and how his movies are full of spells. Grimm runs magick festivals. Morrison used to talk to voodoo scorpion gods. Brosius is an alchemist with perfume.

    Joshua's essay, the Blackwell piece and the Hauntings article are all, in their own ways, deeply nostalgic and rooted in a past that can never come back. They're about ghosts.

    To top it all off, we had a bunch of images of witches and skeletons and ghosts staring us right in the face! At that point, an acute case of apophenia set in. We started making jokes about it: "I SEE DEAD PEOPLE."

    It was Nadya who first remarked that, considering how thematically connected all of the content seemed to be, it would make sense to tie the whole issue together with over-arcing design elements. Our incredible creative director, Courtney Riot, had assembled Issue #03 into a very riotous, eclectic mix. Nadya asked, "well, why not see if Courtney can try something more unified this time?" Unifying things visually wouldn't necessarily mean making all of the articles feel samey. Some layouts could be Victorian and old-fashioned, incorporating different kinds of faded paper stocks, textures and colors. Others could go for a more vibrant "mystical" look to them, maybe with illuminated manuscript colors or fonts. Lace patterns on some pages, water stains on others, rich watercolor washes...we could balance it all out beautifully with different textures, typesets, color palettes. Courtney listened, looked, said "hell yes" and off we went.

    Then, around 3am on October 13th, after the layout process had already begun, a light bulb went on above my head. I sent this long, rambling email off to everyone. Some excerpts:

    Okay, bear with me, here. I thought of another unifying visual design element that could be incredible to play with, given the content and theme of this issue.

    This issue of Coilhouse is haunted. (Or maybe it's enchanted. Or maybe it's possessed.) Maybe we turn it into a grimoire.

    Look at all of the connections. ...it's taken on a life of its own at this point. It's all a bit magick-with-a-k, isn't it? I'm being playful and tongue-in-cheek here, but I'm half-serious, too. This issue is full of ghosts, spirits, references to gods and cults, and recipes for tulpas.

    Lets play with that in the design. Lets reference it visually, symbolically, semiotically. If we're subtle enough about it, most people won't even consciously notice the visual symbols, or only vaguely wonder what they are... but people out there who are into chaos magic, occult symbolism and the like... they're going to be SO delighted.

    Also, we could have elements of some articles "haunting" other pieces! Do you see what I'm saying? Apophenia is a beautiful thing: we can intertwine all of these piece not only visually, but by making unexpected elements "visit" one another. See where I'm going with this?

    By now, you all either think I'm crazy, or there are tiny hairs standing up on the backs of your arms. Let me know what you think...



    I went to bed relatively sure that it was one of those crackpot ideas that would seem really dumb in the morning. I woke up dreading reading everyone's responses. But surprisingly, everyone was game!

    Courtney especially loved the idea. She made countless incredible suggestions in that vein: she could add burn marks, smoke, reflective writing. We started talking about House of Leaves, subliminal messages, coding, EVP... Nadya came up with the hilarious idea to have a bunch of ghosts (culled from a big pile of old spiritualist photographs we'd gathered) "take out ad space" alongside our small biz advertisers. Zo drew up some last minute illustrations to subliminally pepper certain articles with.

    And that, in a nutshell (a really big, sloppy, hastily written nutshell, sorry), was the genesis of Issue 4 as a stand-alone object, rather than a standard periodical.

    Nadya, Z and I gotta go hop on a conference call but we'll be back again soon. Stay caffeinated! (I know I am.)
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      CommentAuthorMike Black
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010
     (7593.43)
    Is there any particular sub culture circling the periphery that you folks really would like to take a look at and just haven't had the chance? (He asks, thumbing through TRVE NORWEGIAN BLACK METAL, by Peter Beste.) There's been a ton of cultural churning going on since the inception of the internet, and it feels like something else new and beautiful is lost every year.
  1.  (7593.44)
    Long time nerdy lurker to the blog, and huge fan of the mag. I own the first three issues, and four was ordered in a panic today when I saw that it was nearly sold out. Considering how monumentally broke I am right now, this is worth noting. I will not able to buy fresh produce this week, but I weighed the pros and cons and knew I could not let this slip by. Fantastic work, ladies. You raise the bar and jump it every issue. Even if I get scurvy by February, it will all be worth it.

    If the correct strings are pulled and the properly worded death threats are made, I'd love to see interviews with David Cronenberg, Don Hertzfeldt and Cory McAbee. An old coilhouse blog post long, long ago about The Billy Nayer Show and The American Astronaut is what got me on the coilhouse bandwagon to begin with, and to see that all come full circle would be amazing. Maybe something snappy about Forbidden Zone and The Residents would be neat, too. Frankly, what I like about the magazine and the blog is that it always digs up people and things I was almost completely unaware of before and shines a light on them. To request write ups on things I already know about seems masturbatory. Keep digging deep and surprising me. You've been doing pretty well at it so far.

    I've got two questions I've always been sort of curious about, mainly regarding the blog. You all have a genuine reverence for the material you cover, and I love how it is always usually approached with equal parts objectivity and giddy, overly caffeinated glee. However, has there ever been a topic or subject for an article that you have yet to cover or had to pull, because you feared it would come off too subjective? Are there any blackballed public figures written on a white board in Coilhouse HQ with a big circle/slash around them? How do you keep that fandom in check? Coilhouse is one of the internet's best creepy love letters, but has the letter ever gotten a little TOO creepy, to a degree that maybe those of us out of the editorial loop may not know about? (The amazing Top 10 Most Preternaturally Beautiful Men article comes to mind)

    Second question, were you pissed to discover that the domain for coilhouse.com was already taken and run by a company that actually sells industrial strength coils, or did you find it as darkly amusing as I did?
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      CommentAuthorTheremina
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010 edited
     (7593.45)
    @JJVV Yasou! Yes, my father's people are from the Pelopónnisos. Interesting comments on how monoculture has changed Greece, I'd love to hear you talk more about the various ways that pop MTV fare has blended with more traditional Greek modes of expression. Do you tend to see "cookie cutter" subculture goth, punk or hip hop trends over there? Is it "hip" to love rembetika? (My friends and I all grew up obsessing over Greek, Balkan and Eastern folk traditions and appropriating those styles to use in our own music.)

    As far as content goes, I want to see our issues go deeper, stranger. I don't want us to become more tame as time goes by. I feel like we need to keep taking risks and trust that our core audience won't abandon us just because we tend to favor more obscure topics over more trendy or popular subjects. That being said, with each successive issue, we keep landing higher profile creators. (You guys are gonna flip when you find out who's slated for Issues 05 and 06.)

    Our readership is a really eclectic mix, and it changes as we go. If I had to get more specific, I'd say our core audience is an internet-savvy group of people with fairly diverse backgrounds and interests who are looking to be exposed to unusual media, or connect and bond about unusual media that they already love. We've got the loyal readership that's been with us since the early days of the blog --the folks that have really helped us to survive-- but then we've also got people who don't know the first thing about the blog or community that surrounds it, and come to the magazine by way of an interview with someone they're a fan of. Many of them keep buying issues because they like the overall tone of the magazine. I'm hoping that once our print runs increase, we'll have more random people picking it up off the rack in stores and going "holy shit, what the fuck is this?"

    @InfamousAmos Hello, dearie! Nice to see you pipe up again. And thanks for risking bleeding gums to buy number 4. if we're ever in the same city, I'd love to buy you a fruit salad or something.

    ...An old coilhouse blog post long, long ago about The Billy Nayer Show and The American Astronaut is what got me on the coilhouse bandwagon to begin with, and to see that all come full circle would be amazing. Maybe something snappy about Forbidden Zone and The Residents would be neat, too.


    Ooooo, I am lovin' yooooooo. I absolutely, positively want to contact Cory McAbee. Top of my list. Also, strange but true story: when I was maybe 20 years old, I was part of a gypsy dance band that performed at Danny Elfman's 45th birthday party. I met his brother Richard that night as well, and was able to shake his hand and tell him that The Forbidden Zone "totally irrevocably fucked my head up forever". He's an intense guy. Didn't even crack a smile. He just said very earnestly "my gosh, that's wonderful. Thank you. I'm so glad." I'd love to join forces with a surrealist portrait photographer and put together a shoot with the Residents.


    Are there any blackballed public figures written on a white board in Coilhouse HQ with a big circle/slash around them?


    Wow, I have no idea how to answer that. Z? Nadya? I mean, I'm sure you've noticed we're not afraid to post occasional rants about various public figures or groups whose actions we absolutely despise. But more often than not we'd rather give accolades and celebrate good things instead of rail against stuff and people that suck (seeing as there's no shortage of people talking about how much everything sucks on the internet).

    Frankly, what I like about the magazine and the blog is that it always digs up people and things I was almost completely unaware of before and shines a light on them... Keep digging deep and surprising me. You've been doing pretty well at it so far.


    Thank you. Statements like this make us feel like it's all worth it.
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      CommentAuthorBexx B.S.
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010
     (7593.46)
    well all I have to say is BRAVA on the whole bits and bobs. And am trying to figger out how to get the mag live, into my major chain bookstore. I know it would sell goddamn it. I know it would! I keep putting mags out on the shelf.. and think.. god this is crap. IT'S CRAP!!!!
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      CommentAuthorZoetica
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010 edited
     (7593.47)
    Mer, Amos - I'll give my brain a good pokin' regarding that. Generally speaking, we're not big poop-slingers. However, occasionally I've found it hard to resist.
    Frankly, what I like about the magazine and the blog is that it always digs up people and things I was almost completely unaware of before and shines a light on them... Keep digging deep and surprising me. You've been doing pretty well at it so far.

    Thank you. Statements like this make us feel like it's all worth it
    .
    Double-ditto. [Why does "double-ditto" sound so filthy?]

    Is there any particular sub culture circling the periphery that you folks really would like to take a look at and just haven't had the chance? (He asks, thumbing through TRVE NORWEGIAN BLACK METAL, by Peter Beste.)

    Mike, let me start by saying that if you haven't already, you must check out the KVLT category on the blog. We keep it most grim and epic.

    As far as subcultures I would love to explore further, transhumanism is high on the list, alongside alternative architecture. I'm not entirely sure alternative architecture [think everything from Buckminster Fuller to these guys, for instance.] is a subculture per se, but it's a field that interests me immensely.

    Example: walking house.


    Or, a walking village:


    And I believe I can speak for the three of us when I say we'd love to get more cyborg technology in the mix.
    •  
      CommentAuthorTheremina
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010 edited
     (7593.48)
    Is there any particular sub culture circling the periphery that you folks really would like to take a look at and just haven't had the chance

    Generally, we're hungry to get a little more international in scope. Specifically? Sissy Bounce. The intense (often illegal) Israeli/Palestinian underground music/dance scene. The Jack Mormon art and culture that's currently thriving in S.L.C. Grass roots puppetry arts.

    (He asks, thumbing through TRVE NORWEGIAN BLACK METAL, by Peter Beste.)

    Hey, now. I do my part to keep things BRVTAL on Coilhouse.

    There's been a ton of cultural churning going on since the inception of the internet, and it feels like something else new and beautiful is lost every year.

    By lost, do you mean absorbed/overexposed/commodified, or....? I agree there's been a lot of churning, and it tends to make the waters murkier, more diluted. Is that what you mean?
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      CommentAuthorTheremina
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010 edited
     (7593.49)
    Heh, Zo and I overlapped. [Why does THAT sound filthy?] Z, I double-dittoed your mom last night with Carrot Top. Just fyi.

    In complete agreement on more exposure of alt architecture and transhumanism and cccsssschyber scchtuff. Intentional and nomadic communities in general are always intriguing. We had that great piece from David Forbes on Kowloon in #03. Right now I'm trying to wrangle together a big, unwieldy group feature on the brave souls behind The Swimming Cities of Serenissima. I've always wanted to see some sort of international treehouse or woonwagen lifestyle piece. Cozytown.
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      CommentAuthorZoetica
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010
     (7593.50)
    In complete agreement on more exposure of alt architecture and transhumanism. Intentional and nomadic communities in general are always intriguing.

    Our graduate project should be a camp of nomadic coilhouses, and they should hop.
    Also, never mention dittoing and Carrot Top in the same sentence again, or suffer my vomit of sorrow. Yes, it can reach New Zealand.
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      CommentAuthorTheremina
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010
     (7593.51)
    Zoetica's Magical Intercontinental Barf Arc... like the rainbow bridge, only chunkier.
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      CommentAuthorcity creed
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010
     (7593.52)
    @Theremina - an apophenic could get a retrospective kick out of the particular aptness of that FT article you linked to on page 1, from back in June, given the shape that Issue 4 went on to take.

    The spreads look deeelicious. It'll still be available for a while in some US Barnes&Noble stores after it has sold out online? hmmm...

    You were wearing amulets or something for the whole Grant Morrison ritual exchange of sigils interview, right?
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      CommentAuthorTheremina
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010
     (7593.53)
    PS: ARIANA. TORPEDOWLS. 'NUFF SAID.
    •  
      CommentAuthorTheremina
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010
     (7593.54)
    The spreads look deeelicious. It'll still be available for a while in some US Barnes&Noble stores after it has sold out online? hmmm...

    Yes. We should have a list of them to post imminently.
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      CommentAuthorZoetica
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010 edited
     (7593.55)
    You were wearing amulets or something for the whole Grant Morrison ritual exchange of sigils interview, right?

    No, but a few fire-drinks were involved. For protection, see. And if/when you do get your hands on issue 04, you'll find a number of sigils, codes, and conjurations inside.
    The Issue 04 Jodorowsky and Morrison interviews were fantastic and, frankly, a little surprising.

    Happy you like the Jodorowsky and Morrison interviews! What about them surprised you, Encephalo?
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      CommentAuthorTheremina
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010 edited
     (7593.56)
    Dunno about Encephalo Ray, but I'm still reeling that Mark even landed that Jodorowsky interview. It really doesn't get much more epic, uber, or legendary oddballish than the man behind The Holy Mountain, let alone the man who Almost Made Dune With Moebius and Salvador Dali.
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      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2010
     (7593.57)
    Through all the windows I only see infinity.

    Your sanguinary message eludes me, no matter how often I insist it answer and tell, even though I've spoken to it a little, it hasn't yet explained itself.

    My eyes are breaking trying to figure that one out. What do you three have against my EYES!?!

    (This isn't just mad speech on my part. It makes sense. Someone(s) will know what I mean...)
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      CommentAuthorZoetica
    • CommentTimeJan 19th 2010
     (7593.58)
    What do you three have against my EYES!?!



    And with that, I retire for the day. See you tomorrow, everyone!
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      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeJan 19th 2010 edited
     (7593.59)
    AAAA! I got it! It's not all one! Hou----, Ka---, Di-----! That was some trouble...

    Once I recognized a piece, the internet helped with the rest.

    Your magazine is very mind bendy this time around. I'm afraid to dig much deeper, I'm guessing there's more I haven't found.

    I realize it fits this issues theme, and might not become a regular feature, but I'm hoping you'll embed secrets in future issues as well. It was really fun just looking at pages and realizing something else was going on under there.

    Thanks for the neural rewiring!
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      CommentAuthorNightshade
    • CommentTimeJan 19th 2010 edited
     (7593.60)
    Good evening, citizens --

    Our darling Mer asked me to introduce myself here, as a longtime Coilhouse supporter and occasional contributor. I'm a photographer of the underground (largely centered on circus and carnival) in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mer did a piece on California Carnival way back when Coilhouse was wee, featuring my work, and I did a small piece for the Handcar Regatta; coming up in a few days will be an addition most fabulous, the one I'm looking forward to the most -- covering the Edwardian Ball (where I got this photo of Mer last year).

    Coilhouse is a natural extension of the culture I already capture with my lens: my work is just a visual extension of their goal. So it's a great pleasure and honor to contribute to their love letter, and I hope to continue to assist in their future endeavors.

    - Neil aka nightshade, the blight