Heavy Music Artwork Website Ventures Into Print TerritoryFriday, 2nd September 2016
One of the few legitimate metal websites to buck the standard approach of reviews ad naseum, Heavy Music Artwork has become a hotspot for the many cover artists to show their wares, not to mention a regular stream of insightful interviews. Apparently, the online version is not enough for owner/founder Alex Milazzo, who oversaw the site’s entrance into print world this May, which is being dubbed as “The World’s First and Only Metal Art Magazine.” While in the process of rounding up the last bits for the magazine’s initial run, Milazzo took a few minutes to expand upon why he is taking Heavy Music Artwork into the dangerous world of physical copy…
Dead Rhetoric: Print, as a medium, isn’t quite what it used to be. Obviously, that’s not stopping you from launching a print magazine. What ultimately made you want to start the print version of Heavy Music Artwork?
Milazzo: [It] was really a combinations of events, circumstances and a desire to have something tangible that can only be compared to a record or a book. Writers and musicians delight in having a printed copy of their work as a manifestation of their creativity. I like to think that there is a similarity. In metal and rock culture, to collect and cherish emotions in a traditional format, that we can enjoy with all our senses. I am designer as a professional, so it was no-brainer that the magazine or book was going to happen. We do about one hundred interviews a year, plus you have your articles, profiles, etc., so we have plenty of content with really good bands and artists.
Dead Rhetoric: What kind of team/staff have you assembled for the print version? Is it largely the same as the online version?
Milazzo: Our team of contributors is not that big. We are all professionals working in advertising, media, design, photography and editorial, and we all share the same passion for music and art. And yes, it’s pretty much the same team for the site with some additional help here and there. How the team will be structured is too early to say, so there are opportunities for anyone that would like to be involved.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve already secured distribution through Pineapple Media. How did that come about?
Milazzo: After completing the first draft, the question was: How are we going to sell this? One thing is to do what I have been doing for the last 15 years, which to design, and the other, to magically turn myself into a salesman. In my 20s, I worked for years in large record retailers like HMV, Virgin and also for the legendary Tower Records as a metal buyer. So I know very well how the business works. So I made a few calls, sent emails, prepared a press release and media kit. We had a few [inquiries] from other people but, the guys at Pinnacle knew exactly what to do with us and didn’t take any convincing. But I don’t want to take any credit; the bands and the artists we enjoy promoting speak for themselves. What we take pride in doing is that we are as dedicated as they are. We, of course, have different skills and talents, but for us, the bands and artists come first, we just present their work and their voices to the public as they are.
Dead Rhetoric: Speaking of which, you’ve targeted a select group of cities for the magazine’s launch. Is the goal to make headway into those markets, then move into additional ones?
Milazzo: We will be working in targeting key cities and [will] grow from there. Also, this will allow to study and know the market. We are taking a massive risk with the publication, but at the same time, our steps are well calculated.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s going to be the measure of success for the first issue? (i.e. sales, reception, etc.)
Milazzo: Just being able to do it and to speak with people with talent, for me, is already a success. As a designer, the shared passion and knowledge with other creative people is truly priceless. Of course, we want to keep doing this with feet on the ground and little of a business mind and help artists along the way.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve stayed away from album reviews (probably a good idea given how many are released in a given month), and largely focused on artists, the metal culture, and how art + metal intersect. Will the print edition expand upon that?
Milazzo: I don’t have anything against reviews, trouble is I never read them myself. We have so many media outlets available to us that if I am curious about a record, all I have to do is listen to it and see if I like it. And like you said, there is already a lot of that out there. We get asked constantly to write reviews, it seems that the industry needs it for marketing purposes, which I can understand. Heavy Metal Artwork is for the artists and musicians to share their story, creativity and the joy for the arts. Our name is taken directly to that experience. The work that goes into it, the endless hours working, the obsessions and the emotions involved that every creative person goes through… call it for music, visual arts, lyrics and so on. So we want our content to be focused on creativity. For the print edition, is difficult to say. We will make decisions as opportunities became available as well as pursuing our own direction. Believe it or not, not every artist likes to be interviewed or likes to discuss about their work. But having said all this, yes, the print edition will have to be a little special and different to what goes online.
Dead Rhetoric: As you are aware, there are quite a few websites dedicated to metal. It’s a very crowded scene in that respect. What do you feel Heavy Music Artwork does to separate itself from the pack?
Milazzo: Our focus is aimed at creativity, that’s it. Process, inspirations, techniques, the relationship between visual artists and musicians. The emotions that goes into it. Collaborative creativity. Anything that relates to create, directly and indirectly. We like to dig into the emotions, we want to know the why and how!
Dead Rhetoric: Have you sought advice and/or assistance from any existing print metal magazines?
Milazzo: With all the respect from the metal press community, no, we haven’t. We really know what we want and there is also a certain charm to go solo and do things our own way. Who knows…maybe in the future.
Dead Rhetoric: Finally, where do you hope to see the print version of Heavy Music Artwork in a year?
Milazzo: I would love to see it at the Modern Tate up for grabs, or any other respectable art galleries and museums around the world.