The SUBMIT TO SATAN PLAYLIST. Listen to this shit whilst reading this interview.
As you may have heard through the grapevine, my friend Thom Smith, (artist, former drummer of Haunted Castle, metal race organizer, possible felon) recently moved from NYC to Tokyo. He just put out an awesome fucking zine and mixtape called "Submit to Satan" featuring a ton of metal inspired art from a bunch of great artists. I took a few minutes to ask him some questions yesterday. All work has been posted with Thom's permission. This interview, as many of mine are, was conducted over instant message.
No Gods, No Vegetables: So how's Japan?
Thom Smith: Good. I've been trying to do more artwork and less sleeping.
NGNV: Sounds sick. What kinda shit?
TS: Things have gotten waaay easier since i got a bike.
NGNV: Some zany keirin number I presume?
TS: A new block print. the rest are up on fb [facebook]. This one's probably the darkest theme-wise so far.
NGNV: Sounds brutal. Are they up anywhere else where people can see them without having to join some FBI backed international spy site?
TS: A few are on my website. www.thomsmithart.com
NGNV: So you're mostly doing block prints now? is that what you've always done?
TS: i'm working on updating that shit. The more recent ones aren't there yet. Actually the newest is in the zine! duh!
NGNV: And I thought drummers were good for nothing layabouts... Tell me more about this "zine"
TS: I guess i got into the current series a couple of years ago.
NGNV: You sent me some pictures a few days ago, they're pretty stark, gnarly shit. Just lots of black and white.
TS: Well some of the work was color but it all translated pretty well to b/w. I wanted to basically take everyone i could think of who I knew was into metal and did art and put it together. That turned out to be a little harder than i thought. As you said, metalheads are lousy layabouts. wait no that was drummers...
NGNV: Ha, I think it applies to both... I mean, have you seen my website? Anyways, how long did it take you to put this issue together?
TS: I asked some friends if they knew other people so a couple people are friends of friends.
NGNV: And how long have you been doing this zine period?
TS: Waaaay too long. this is the first time i ever have attempted a zine and getting a bunch of artists together is like wrangling kittens. Especially if you try to take a lax approach like I did. But live and learn.
NGNV: Sounds like my day job... bummer. But this project didn't come out of thin air though right? It wasn't like one day, "Fuck the world, I'ma make a zine?"
TS: No. i'd been doing Metal Race for 2 years and then the time for Metal Race 3 came around and I was like, why don't i do something a little more productive?
NGNV: Ha, bullshit. As a former [Metal Race} champ, I can officially say that nothing is more productive than Metal Race.
TS: I mean alleycats are fun n all, but I thought about combining metal with art instead. I'm not dismissing the race at all. In fact I still want to continue doing it.
NGNV: Alright fair nuff... As long as there's more mayhem planned for the future.
TS: But I wanted to help my artist friends out a little and maybe form a few alliances. Dont worry, the novelty of getting people to pay to cut themselves hasn't worn out
NGNV: Hahahaha! Tell me about it. Dick... [editors note: ask me about the scar on my left arm... If you buy me a beer I might tell ya about it.] So tell me about the artists then? How'd you find them?
TS: Well I knew over half of them, but i needed more. I asked those people if they knew anybody. The most helpful person was Natalie from stairwell gallery in providence. Wait im finding a link... http://www.glaciersofnice.com/gallery/
NGNV: How so? just in getting other people to contribute?
TS: I had done a show at the gallery a couple years ago that was metal themed called "Dark Age." I don't know Natalie too well, but judging by her picks for the [playlist] she is a hesher thru and thru and knows the Providence metal scene.
NGNV: Badass. So what are some of your favorite entries and why?
TS: I'd have to say Pippi Zornoza's drawing is my favorite [Page 14]
NGNV: Which one is that?
TS: It's called hex, and it really looks like she means it. it's very geometric and meticulous looking. Like i can imagine her listening to some dark shit while she did it thinking about someone she hates.
NGNV: Hahaha, evil man.
TS: Then opposite her is Matt Jones's and I think they really work together. I also really like tetsunori's drawing [Page 3). I've been hanging out with him a bunch here in Japan. He showed me his new zine where it had this weird twisted story. It was about these prisoners who were getting the ultimate punishment, which was getting a pod put on your head. After a while the pod opens and the head is mutated into some weird shit.
NGNV: Oh... I thought you were going to say being forced to listen to Hall and Oates records or something.
TS: He explained the whole story to me but it gets really complicated and the drawings are all of weird mutant shit. but i'd have to say having one of those pods on your head is worse than any punishment I can think of.
NGNV: You've obviously never been forced to spend a winter in Maine with prep school grads.
TS: That's a close second, but at least you get your head back... sort of...
NGNV: Yeah... I'm still waiting for mine...
TS: Time to pour me another whiskey! it's the drinking hour in my time.
NGNV: Ha, what time is it over there anyways? like 2?
TS: It's Past 1 here.
NGNV: Ha shit. Evil never sleeps. Suntory Time motherfuckers!
TS: You guessed it! liquor is cheaper than beer here if you can believe it!
NGNV: So how'd you make this playlist?
TS: I told each artist to pick their favorite metal jams or stuff that they'd been listening to recently.
NGNV: How many tracks for each?
TS: 5 tracks each. So I just put them in the order that each person gave them to me and then sequenced them with the best transitions I could get. The [zine] artists run the full range of metal, from dabbling to probably cutting themselves so the tracklist is all over the place. I wanted whoever picked up the zine to get turned onto new (visual) artists and some new music.
there's a bunch of shit in there that I had never heard of. Each track has the name of the person who chose it if you click on the info page.
NGNV: Yeah there's mad weird japanese 70's psyche and like disturbing bleak ass norse black metal and just about everything in between. Who put on sweating bullets? That shit is the best!
TS: That was Matt Jones. Mark Gibson who is his friend coincidentally tried to pick the same song! Probably the best thing i got turned onto is Master's Hammer. That shit is weird, but euro weird so it's okay.
NGNV: Yeah that song was pretty fucking funny. And the fucking Tight Bros... Man, throwback right there
TS: But the best has to be the troll metal song
NGNV: Troll metal? What the fuck are you talking about. Now you're just making shit up!
TS: Urskog! Dude listen to it! You hear the genre name and then it all makes sense. It's the most sub of sub genres. Kalle Runeson picked that one
NGNV: So it is true that black metalers are the biggest dorks of all metallers. Even italian power metal bows to the loserdom of the troll metal.
TS: The guy who did the Disclose "Fuck the Police" drawing...
NGNV: Best damn thing in the whole mag...
TS: He told me his picks were "young swedes."
NGNV: Sounds... perverse...
TS: I think maybe more specifically "folk black metallers" are the dorkiest. I think he meant up-and-coming swedish shit.
NGNV: Who would win in a larp fight? Rhapsody fans or Urskog fans?
TS: Urskog for sure!
NGNV: Well, Rhapsody fans would totally win in like bocce ball or some shit then. Alright this shit is too fucking long already, say something mean about someone.
TS: Rhapsody fans just wear animal pelt skirts, urskog fans probably all own maces!
NGNV: If their mom's will let them...
TS: They don't tell thier moms and they make their weapons themselves. Lemme see, I just want everyone to know that I hate the fuck out of The Sword and all those bands that use Mucha-inspired cover art [ed. note: John Baizley's stuff], but I put it on the comp cause Mark is a stand up guy.
NGNV: Alright fair enough, so any last thoughts?
TS: I'd like to thank everyone who helped me out on this magazine. Hit me up if you want a copy. also hit me up if you're reading this and you want to submit art for the next one. Whenever that is...
NGNV: What's the best way to get a copy or get in touch with you?
TS: Email- email@example.com $6 a copy. Sorry dudes, I'm in Tokyo and have to cover shipping.
NGNV: And on that profit motivated corporate whoring note, much love from the states. Keep killing it in Tokyo hombre.
TS: Non profit by the way. i'd be lucky if i broke even.
NGNV: I'll break you
TS: Thanks dude. I'm holding it down here with Godzilla
NGNV: Adios man.