Interview with Stephen Skriver of Metalized and Hot Rockin' Magazine
Stephen Skriver writes for Scandinavia's oldest and heaviest metal magazine Metalized which has been running since 1987 and is active until this day. He was also the editor of the very first Danish metal fanzine Hot Rockin, which was published between 1982 and 1987. Stephen has kindly agreed to answer our questions. Please read the interview with one of the early participants of the metal scene! Please tell us how Metalized magazine was started?
It was Mika, Tommy and Jacob who started Metalized magazine back in 1987.
They took the name Metalized from the album title of a Sword album from 1986. All guys were subscribers and buyers of my heavy metal magazine Hot Rockin’. Hot Rockin’ ended up in 1987, so Metalized took over and saved the Danish heavy metal flame. Mika must tell the real story :-)
Can you tell us about your personal involvement in Metalized? Did your contribution and activity levels were different during different time periods?
I am one of the writers at the magazine since 2011. I do interviews, reviews of
album and concerts. Mika has been the chief editor since the very beginning in 1987
It is phenomenal that the magazine has existed since 1987. How did you manage to keep it going through all these years?
Yes, that is fantastic for a classic old-school paper magazine in these www-
internet times. We still believe in old-school magazine. Like the same way it is to hold a
vinyl-LP or CD in your hands. We keep the magazine alive because of us writers are true
fans of metal and we write for our true metal readers :-) and there are something special to have it as a magazine – you will keep the magazine for a long time and look back and read it again. I think Mika can explain more about up and downs for the magazine since 1987 until 2022. Metalized can celebrate 35 years now!
You have founded the first Danish metal fanzine Hot Rockin‘ in 1982. Can you tell a
bit more why you started it and how did it go? How many issues were published and why did you stop publishing it in 1987? I started the first Danish heavy metal fanzine Hot Rockin’ in 1982 for two reasons.
1: I am a true heavy metal fan and like to write stories about rock music and want to
spread the word – Metal.
2: There was absolutely no Danish rock or pop magazine, who wrote about heavy metal
bands or hard rock in Denmark. I was reading Metal Hammer, Kerrang! and later in 1983
Rock Hard magazines and got a lot of information and news from these magazines. I also want to give the growing scene of Danish metal bands in the 80’ies a chance to be known in Denmark. Pretty Maids, Mercyful Fate and a lot more. I took the Hot Rockin’ name from a Judas Priest song (from the album Point of Entry 1981).
Later in the middle 80s, I had a personal interview with Rob Halford singer of Judas
Priest after a concert in Copenhagen and asked Rob, if it was okay, that I have borrowed
the song title from Priest. Rob answered “Of course. It is me, who say thank you. I am very proud that you took the name for your magazine”.
The first couple of years 1982-83 it was a very simple fanzine, sold in record stores. Later in 1983-85 it became bigger with more pages, more writers and we had many subscribers. At that time 200-300. In 1985-1987 Hot Rockin’ became more professional with color pages, advertisements from record stores, record labels, concert places, beers and music shops and so on. We got all the big rock and metal bands in interviews but we always remembering to write about upcoming and new metal bands from both Denmark, Sweden and other places. At that time, the magazine is sold at record shops and in magazine kiosk with 3000 issues. Often the magazine was read by more than one reader, so maybe +3000 readers.
It all ended in 1987 because it was too expensive to publish. We did it for our own money and it never gave surplus in money. However, it gave surplus in our metal spirit and many good friendships all over the world. I still have many of these friendships.
Can you share your brightest and most difficult moments from publishing Hot Rockin'?
Remember it was before Internet and facebook was invented. So everything
was written on typewriters. No computers, no digital iPhone photos. Old-school setup.
Brightest moments in Hot Rockin’ days was, when the record labels automatic begin to
send us their album for review and the band managers gave us access to concerts and
great interviews with lot of metal bands from the 80s. I have made personal face-to-face
interviews with Metallica, Saxon, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dio, Queensrÿche and a lot
more. Plus a huge tape trading with more than 350 demo cassette tapes from many
different metal bands sent by bands and metal fans all over the world.
Difficult moments in Hot Rockin’ days was, when we at the Hot Rockin’ staff of
writers/photographs had to say stop for the magazine in 1987. It was too expensive to keep on going with. We put our own money into it and did not get any salary. However, I never lost my spirit for writing and interviewing metal bands to help them be known.
What is it like to run a printed magazine these days, when people are used to searching for information on the internet?
Mika can explain more, but I still think a printed magazine can do something
special. You keep the magazine like an album because of the cool layout with a lot of
personal interviews and album reviews you like to read again. It is cool to have the
magazine laying on your table, so people can see what you are interested in. I enjoy the
way it smells a true full color paper magazine, instead of a homepage or an e-mail
newsletter. Click and gone. Words on paper are strong, just like books.
Was the metal fanzine scene big in Denmark? Which fanzines are the most known and can you tell a few words about them?
Hot Rockin’ was the biggest fanzine/magazine in the 80s and after we have
been rockin’ for some years in the mid-80s, there came more focus on hard rock and
heavy metal in the press. Then some other people and metal fans in Denmark tried to start heavy metal fanzines. They never became that big, but the metal spirit was glowing. I remember some of the mags: SCUM (Some Call Us Maniacs), Blackthorn, Metallic Beast, Metal Power, The NRG mag, Unchained Energy and some more. Then in 1987 Metalized was born and became rather big and cool from the start.
What are your other activities besides Metalized magazine?
Ha ha, I wish heavy metal was my work, but in my normal official job, I am IT
support in the Danish Parliament. In my spare time, I listen to heavy metal, goin to
concerts and playing disc golf sport. Back in the early 80s, I also had my own metal band
called Sin Priest. We were 5 musicians. I was lead singer and we wrote our own metal
songs and played some live gigs.
You have done many interviews with metal bands. Can you share some of the tips for what is needed to have a good interview?
The best thing is, if you like the band and have heard their music of course.
Anyway, you shall always do a good research of the band story, band members and album discography before you write your Q’s for the interview. Ask about inspiration, how they write a song and go behind some of the song lyrics. Is it the guitar player I have for the interview, I ask about how he/she get the special guitar sound and how the process of writing a new song works.
Do you like live metal events and do you attend them often? Do you prefer festivals or small concerts?
I really like live metal concerts and that special feeling close together with the
band and dedicated fans. I mostly prefer smaller concerts, where you can be close to the band. The band has 100% focus for their personal show, when they are headliner for the concert. We do many concert reviews for the magazine including great photoshoots from our staff. At the concerts, we are two persons from Metalized. One to do the review of the show and one to take photos in front of the stage. We release the concert review on Metalized homepage few days after the show.
Do you listen to a lot of music? What are your preferred ways of listening: do you listen at home, when commuting, or in other places? Do you like to listen via headphones or speakers? Do you listen to CDs, vinyl or do you stream music?
Yes, I listen to a lot of music. Often on the way to work by streaming on iPhone
with headphones. However, mostly when I make review of album, I listen to music on hi-fi speakers or professional headphones with good sound and heavy bass. Both CD, vinyl and streaming works. Streaming because a lot of the music we make review of two month before its official released, is not printed yet on cd. However, it’s cool to have the real CD in your hands.
How do you share your listening time between old albums and new albums?
I think it’s about 60% news albums and 40% old albums. I have listen to rock and
metal since I was 6,66 years old in the mid 60s. Especially from the 70s - 80s I have
bought thousands of vinyl album – and still have ’em all. Also started to see many rock
concerts at that time… and it will never stop. I am also editor of the Flashback section in
Metalized magazine, where we look back and re-review old classic albums from different
rock and metals bands back then.
Do you feel that you can appreciate new albums, or do you catch yourself thinking that new albums don't impact you the same way as the albums from the 80s/90s?
Ooooh, I am an old-school heavy metal fan from the legendary classic 70-80s
metal sound, but I think there are coming many new bands, who are true to the classic way of playing metal. There are great milestones of metal albums from the heavy 80’ies, I still listen to, but some new bands are also doing a great job and keep up the true metal.
Do you have any favorite obscure bands from the 80s/90s that you feel deserved more recognition than they received?
Cool bands from back then in Denmark was Hero, Maltese Falcon and Witch
Cross that did not get that fame they deserved. Also bands as Witchfynder General,
Universe, Crimson Glory, Malice, Kingdom Come, Sword, Y&T were super cool.
There are many new metal bands in Denmark and Danish bands made quite a significant part of the Copenhell 2022 festival lineup. Why do you think there are so many Danish metal bands? Can you mention names of any upcoming Danish bands that you like in particular?
We are glad that there are coming more Danish hard rock and metal bands in
Denmark. First at all I think the focus on heavy metal at the Copenhell festival gives
inspiration and accept for, that metal is still alive. New bands coming up with young
musicians and older band reunite. Some of the Danish metal bands have Danish band
name and singing in Danish language. Cool and different. That is new compared to the old traditional way. Some of the new bands are ORM, Livløs, Baest, Meridian, Cold Drop,
Defecto and a lot more. Think Mika and Thomas can put a lot more bands on the list.
Different decades have different associations with music styles. For example, the 80s are known for NWOBHM and thrash metal, the 90s brought grunge and black metal. How do you think people will remember the decade we are in now?
We are in a decade with lot of black/death metal, industrial metal, power metal
and metal bands with female vocalist. They often have a little twist of the classic 80s
with modern sound. So maybe we can call it modern metal or nu-metal, but it’s hard to
define only one style that fits all.
People notice that big bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Kiss headline festivals and there is a lack of newer bands that would be universally known, with perhaps exceptions of Ghost and Volbeat. Do you agree with this point of view?
Yes, I think it is a big problem for the festivals, when they are booking headliner bands in the next years. Who will be the next big headliner band - when legend bands as
Metallica, Priest, Maiden, Kiss, AC/DC, Deep Purple, Accept, Manowar, Megadeth, Saxon
don’t play anymore? Is there any big “new” bands from the 90s – 00s, who can be the
new ones? I think we also has to be open and let newer/not that old bands come to be the new headliners Ghost, Helloween, HammerFall, Nightwish, Powerwolf, Sabaton,
What do your close friends and family think about your interest in metal?
Ha, ha oooh my friends think I am cool, that I still hear rock and metal. That
keeps me going on and still give me energy and lot of good friends. My family sometimes think I am growing too old to hear metal music, but since my young days “I sold my soul for rock and roll”, so it will never stop. As I say: “I was born with the blues, raised on rock and I will die for metal!”
Do you think Metalized will outlive all its writers and will be continued by other people in future, or do you see that it may stop when some of the core members will stop?
Good question. Nobody knows and I think it is very important that the core
members keep the flame high for magazine and keep on looking for new persons to help with the magazine. It is important that they got the true metal spirit. Sometimes it is hard to get writers and it all depends of the metal people who give a lot of their spare time to write interviews, listen to album for reviews and take photos at concerts etc. We hope the classic magazine will continue for 666 years :-) Thank you!
Our site includes a few example issues of Metalized (Issue 17 and Issue 35), as well as the very early issues of Hot Rockin.