Updated: Mar 17, 2019
I met Matt Cohen through a mutual friend and he just launched a new underground metal zine called Misanthrope Zine. Read more below to find out what him and this zine are all about!
First of all Iron Maiden or Judas Priest?
As a really young kid, Iron Maiden was the very first metal band that I really latched on to back when The Number of the Beast was first released here in the states. They definitely were my favorite of the two for many years, although being from that era, Judas Priest were certainly neck and neck with Maiden as far as popularity and musicianship, and being contemporaries of one another they totally shaped the evolution of heavy metal as a genre. Both bands have tremendous singers and amazing guitar work in their writing and their work essentially became the blueprints from which many other bands emerged after the NWoBHM. The opinions of yesteryear also fall to the wayside often when considering that the snapshots in time when these bands were at their peak and in their primes are what influences our opinions today. Looking at both bands as they exist at the present time, I still have tremendous respect for them but I would be lying if I said that I think that they're still on that same level, especially since neither band has written or released music anytime in recent memory that has the same massive impact or comes anywhere close to anything that they did back in the 80s. So to answer your question- I can't really say one over the other as they are both equally as important to me and one really can't exist without the other in terms of my own life, memories and personal musical history. They both rule!
2. So you recently started up a zine called Misanthrope Zine, the title seems to explain itself, but what prompted you to start this zine?
Misanthrope Zine was born out of a personal desire to re-enter the metal scene after a long hiatus, and attempt to do something of worth that would reflect my personal dedication and enthusiasm for extreme metal and supporting the artists. Most of the heavy metal media is a joke these days and always has been. The underground is where the real heart and soul of any music movement and even if certain bands make it into the limelight black metal and death metal are definitely genres that will never be represented properly when most of the people making these publications are only interested in their profits and popularity ratings. I give a fuck about neither. I don't care about the opinions of others. I followed my instincts, just as I have done for the past 40+years, had a strong inner desire to do something, and somehow managed to do it.
3. You use to play in Six Feet Under, and your zine seems to focus on black and death metal, why these two sub-genres specifically for you? Are these your favorites within metal?
I was only on the band for a few months and performed part of a European tour in 1998 with them. In any event being a musician means you're always going to be influenced by the bands that you admire and listen to, but my interest goes way beyond just wanting to play in one myself. Again, I'm an old fucker now and I have been listening to music since I was a child with great enthusiasm. It started with KISS and then everything since that, and has never stopped. New music that impresses and inspires me still comes out every day, and it doesn't even matter on the genre to influence whether I might like it or not. Metal is very much in my blood, and usually the more artistic, musical, darker, and extreme it is the better it suits me. I'm very sensitive and in tune with that part of our existence, so it's natural for me to like these sort of themes and atmospheres in the music I enjoy.
However, when it comes to the Zine specifically, I view it more as something that transcends the labels of the genres, even if the majority of the bands I wish to feature are within that musical classification. As more artists are featured in Misanthrope it will become more clear of what I am getting at here.
4. The first issue is limited to 100 copies, is that correct? Why a limited number and also where and when can we get a copy??
The first issue of the magazine in the first print run was limited to 100. The first run was sold out within 24 hours of being open and I have ordered a second batch to be printed at the end of this week. I want them to be limited and not widely circulated. I want anybody that owns a copy of it to know what it is that they're holding their hands and appreciate the contents and the work of the artists. I think of this more as a private endeavor than a public one in many ways, but above everything it needed to be something that only exists in physical print. As far as ordering, social media or in person, but my website should also be up and running by the end of this week which will give people more opportunities to order issues as they become available.
5. Who has been your favorite interview so far for the zine and why?
My overall favorite interview so far was probably the one I did with Justin Curtsinger for ZUD and Grime Studios. They were all phenomenal to do and I thoroughly enjoy all of them, but it is a really fun and personal interview with lots of different facets to it. Plus it is something I personally believe in when it comes to a place like Grime and what it can offer in terms of possibilities for people at all levels of the music scene in a local area of the world and gives tremendous opportunities for people in a way that many people overlook and don't have appreciation for. At its essence I feel like that one is a good representative of what Misanthrope is really all about. The world is fucked and yet it takes strong people to try and make something worth while out of it, and those are the people I respect most of all.
6. What are some of your future goals with the zine, or in your life in metal?
My ultimate goal with regards to the Zine and my overall involvement in the metal scene life is to be able to keep doing the interviews, going out to the shows to give my direct support to the bands and the venues, meeting and talking with new people and old friends alike who share the same passion for the music and the culture associated with it. I'm just another individual who makes up a small part of the whole, but I recognize my role as well as my abilities and I feel in part obligated to do whatever I can to support something that is more important to me than myself.
7. What do you think is the biggest problem facing metal right now?
The biggest problems facing metal right now are the same things that affect the rest of the world at large. The first thing right off the bat is the economic disparity that musicians face in that they cannot make a living off of their music and yet it is very costly to be in a band. Everything comes with a price tag, and here I'm talking about instruments, equipment, transportation, merchandise, recording equipment and/or studio time, pressing the releases, etc..., and on and on. Most people in the world don't understand how economics really works and at its base essence is all about dollars changing hands. What better way to make a thriving economy going to put your hard earned money directly into the hands of the people who provide you the things that give you the most enjoyment in life? And yet I see people who claim to be such big fans of these musicians, and yet they're the ones sitting at the bar talking shit and consuming alcoholic beverages all night, but they won't ever buy merchandise from the tables and are always trying to connive their way onto the guest list. Most of the shows I go to I could be a guest list all the time, and unless it was already sold out I still usually manage to buy myself a ticket just out of principal and always buy merch, even though I've run out of closet space a long time ago and have no practical need for more shirts and such. Buy a fucking CD, tshirts, poster, flag, patch, pin, digital download.... Anything! Nothing is ever for free in this life, and I feel quite strongly that talented people should be compensated and rewarded for their hard work.
8. Where is the most interesting place you have traveled? Why? And where are you dying to go next?
The most interesting place I have ever been would have to be right after I graduated college and went to a small island in Greece that is in the Aegean Sea, where I got to excavate human remains from stone graves that were over 3000 years old. That was a pretty magical place and I got to spend close to two months there and was probably one of the best experiences of ever had in my life. I would love to get back to Europe someday soon and spend a significant amount of time traveling in the Scandinavian countries, Sweden especially.
9. What does metal “do” for you? Has it changed your life in any way?
Metal "does" everything for me. It is been such a huge part of my life from such an early age that is something that is ingrained into my entire lifestyle and being. I think that when you identify with something as strongly as I have with regards this type of music, I don't know how it could be any other way for me honestly. At one point you can almost start questioning whether the music has shaped me or perhaps there is a part of myself that just sort of fits naturally with what heavy-metal represents. I think this is something that many metal fans have pondered themselves, and it may even hint at something bigger than ourselves that lay hidden amongst the lyrics and the notes that speaks directly to us.
10. Any final closing words?
My closing words to you would be that you always pursue the things that interest you the most in this life. Don't hold back and don't compromise. The only true way to live is to embrace your own death, so live fast, die hard and don't ever let anyone (most of all yourself) stand in your way and keep you from accomplishing your goals.