Do you live in or frequently visit a major Canadian city? Ever go into shops featuring latex- and PVC-clad mannequins in the windows? The ones that also sell fake fangs and fishnet stockings with a spiderweb pattern? If so, you might see a stack of the latest copy of Comatose Rose sitting in a rack by the door. Comatose Rose, as it says on the front cover, is “Canada’s Only Dark Culture Magazine”. Mortiis graces the cover of issue #5, daring you to read the interview of him inside. A visit to the comatoserose.com website gives you details of coming events, a message board, and a section of photos of Canadian industrogoth personalities.This interview was conducted via email in early March, 2003.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s the origin of the name, Comatose Rose? Does everyone ask you that?
Comatose Rose: Not too many people do actually. Comatose Rose is the internet handle of an old friend whom I lost contact with. I “borrowed” the name and used it for the magazine. The meaning to me is subdued beauty, or resting beauty. Music that is just waiting to be awoken to the eyes of the public but may never happen.
Chain D.L.K.: How do you define “dark culture”?
Comatose Rose: It’s a pretty broad term isn’t it? That is sort of the reason why labeled the magazine Canada’s Only Dark Culture Magazine, so we do not limit ourselves. As opposed to if we called ourselves a gothic magazine, or industrial magazine (which we used to). I’d rather not give any specifics; if I do I open myself up to onslaught of e-mail from pretentious kindergoths who are convinced it’s all what’s on the inside.
Chain D.L.K.: Your recent issue has interviews with Covenant, Sam Rosenthal of Projekt/Black Tape For a Blue Girl, a review of the 90’s movie “Dark City”, and an article on selecting the right corset. The ad on the inside back cover shows a person wearing a long black trench coat walking through a cemetery. How do you avoid stereotypes of industrial-goth culture? Or is it a question of knowing your target market and catering to it?
Comatose Rose: Well, I think the main way I have avoided some of the stereotypes is I have made sure not to publish stereotypical things, like poetry. It has not really been a focus of mine though; people are going to judge the magazine themselves.
Chain D.L.K.: Canada is huge, yet you are the only dark culture magazine in the country. How do you penetrate markets of distance cities?
Comatose Rose: The most important tool I have used in making sure that Comatose Rose prospers is persistence. I’m like a really nice telemarketer knocking at your big black door. Except I actually have something people want. I was an online zine for a couple years before I went print, and this allowed me to build connections and network with people.
Chain D.L.K.: Even within the bounds of dark culture, there must be differences between Vancouver and Montreal apart from the obvious language difference. How would you contrast the goth/industrial crowds of those two cities? How do you find content that satisfies both? Is it more Industrial to the West, Goth to the East?
Comatose Rose: Well, there’s no way of me knowing because I have not been too deeply involved in person with each city. But you know, you’re right; it does vary from city to city. Calgary is very casual, you don’t see too many decked to the nines. Which is a nice thing because the anal people are at a minimum. Toronto obviously has more diversity and more glam, it’s the goth capitol of Canada by default, simply because there’s more people there than anywhere else.
Chain D.L.K.: Will you offer some articles in French to meet the needs of the Québecois?
Comatose Rose: No: )
Chain D.L.K.: Are there any local events that you’re excited about? Anything coming in Canada that you’ll travel long distances to see?
Comatose Rose: On May 30th in Edmonton, Mimetic and Mlada Fronta are coming a looooong way to play a show. Both bands are off Parametric, a record label that is one of our more favored ad buyers.
Chain D.L.K.: Comatose Rose is a free magazine, supported by advertising. How hard is it to find advertisers? Is it easier because of your huge distribution range?
Comatose Rose: It’s getting easier every issue. I’m looking at my figures for issue #6 now and giggling like a school girl. It was not easy at first, especially the first three issues when it still looked like an amateur job. I relied on the friends and close business connections, and I thank them for that.
Chain D.L.K.: Trends like rhythmic noise, power electronics, and breakcore have redefined the play field of “industrial”, while EBM continues to rule the dance floor. How do these often disparate elements fit into the category of “dark culture”?
Comatose Rose: It seems every 5 years a new branch of a genre pops up somewhere. It’s hard to keep track of them all. This may not be a popular opinion, and I am sure to get a few e-mails for what I am about to say, but genres like noise and experimental can be easily translated to: I can’t play my fucking instrument. I hope I can swear in this interview or it won’t have the same effect. *laughs*
Chain D.L.K.: So all music can only be created by those trained in the subject? Like accountants are trained?
Comatose Rose: Not really, I just think people need to learn how use the equipment, rather than making bleeps and bloops and calling it music.
Chain D.L.K.: Do you see competition from on-line e-zines, or do you think there will always be a need for paper?
Comatose Rose: E-zines are rarely taken seriously. Paper magazines are more popular for the same reason people would still rather have a CD, than the mp3’s. Some argue that there’s more interactivity on e-zines, but any print magazine can have a web site. Plus, you can read us while you’re on the can.
Chain D.L.K.: How has Comatose Rose changed since the first issue?
Comatose Rose: In just about every way possible. Cover, format, content, layout, distribution, slogan, etc.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s on tap for issue #6?
Comatose Rose: None of these are written in stone but so far you’ll see interviews with Snog, Decoded Feedback and Diva Destruction.
Chain D.L.K.: What are your plans for 2003?
Comatose Rose: I just plan on expanding, I cannot comment further than that. Too many people being interviewed don’t realize they should not always divulge their plans, remember the interview with Theatre of Tragedy where they said “We will always be a metal band”. Fuck, I want to frame that next to their Assembly album and mail it to them.
Visit Comatose Rose on the web at:
[interviewed by Eric Ewing PTSMC.org] [proofreading by TG Mondalf]