Chat With Laurent Ram of Snakepit Magazine

Laurent Ram is someone I have known for years and I personally think he is one of the best writers out there and I did a long interview with him for my Metal Core website way back when and I thought it was time to catch up with what he he is doing and also with the release of 2 Snakepit books and all info from that is below

So what have you and the Snakepit camp been up to today over the last few years since our interview was done?

LR: Well it’s been like a while since when I did the original interview for your website, issue 16 wasn’t out yet… it was like maybe 2008 or so and we’re in late 2021 and issue 23 was released like 2 years ago now ?! Gone is the time when I could deliver one issue per year. But times were different, old band members were more receptive than they are now… now it’s just a pain in the ass getting them involved that’s why issue 24 is not done yet… they just don’t care….never seen something like this in my career.. and even a younger German act which I had planned to do a MASSIVE feature just didn’t care even if they had a whole lot of time due to covid… so that’s what I’m up to. I take things as they happen… if there’s a new issue that will come one day… I certainly won’t kill my mind over this because of musicians who don’t care. Of course, I’ve been known to always complain about things but I’d like to see people in the same situation…

I know Sonic Age Records has released 2 books of your issues so far, each one containing 5 issues for a total of 10. How did this happen, did they contact you or did you contact them? How many more books can we expect to happen?

LR: Well as you know I’ve got Sonic Age as a new printer for Snakepit considering people were complaining about postal prices when it came from the U.S. plus the delay experienced in getting issue 22 out didn’t help things so I decided to work with my long time friend Manos Koufakis at Sonic Age, after all, he’s an old underground Metal fan as well and truly know his shit –which is not the case in a lot of cases with the multitude of the indie label around- so when we were working on issue 23, I came up with the idea to reissue as books the older issues and Manos immediately got into the idea, in fact, the had the same idea so it wasn’t hard agreeing on doing this (laughs). We plan to go at least until issue 20 but recently original editor, Frank Stover told me it would be cool to go until the final issue so people could have all the issues as books. We’ll see… one thing is certain we’ll go til issue 19 or 20 for sure.

Now, I have the 1st book, both books are a must-have if you don’t have the issues,. How long does one of those books take to put together and release? How have been the sales so far?

LR: Well the first one was the hardest (but still not that hard either) to put together cos we had to work from printed pages as Frank didn’t have anything digital for the four issues he did so we had to scan everything the best we could, some parts were missing (adverts) so we had to do some fixes here and there but as a whole, it worked out rather well –thankfully- considering I didn’t want to break my brain on this. Even getting the first two singles of JAG PANZER and WITCHKILLER done was an easy process, I had to deal with GREAT individuals in such cases, Mark Briody and Kurt Philips so that really helped. I want to release very special singles for those books, singles where people can go like ‘Whoa’ !

Now your latest issue came out a bit ago. Will that be the last issue or do you plan on anymore or possible the last issue so to speak?

LR: Yeah if it was only dependent on me issue 24 would have been out like mid-2021 but all the stars were aligned against me for this one… people wouldn’t believe it. Out of all the interviews I had ready only like 3 happened… so I’ve damaged enough my mind with the crazy delay issue 22 had to be issued without doing it again especially when I don’t see any ‘what’s going on ?!’ type reaction from people on the Facebook page of the mag… it’s like, an issue is out ‘cool’, nothing comes out ‘I don’t care so why should I bother continuing working my asses off but people who simply don’t realize the work I put behind my work. (some bands treat me the same way with interviews as well-Chris)

I know from talking to you, that it gets very frustrating at times, as it does me, but not to the degree of what you do, but when you contact a band, they agree to do the interview and then back out or don’t send your answers back, etc. Which bands have been the worst recently?

LR: Well yeah they agree to do interviews at first and when they get the work to be done, it’s another story… I mean it’s not because you were cool enough to distance yourselves from a type of music you are supposed to have liked more than anything else back when you were 20 that you have to be dicks when you’re 60! I just don’t get it. People can send me stuff when I’ll 70, I’ll be the same as I was in 1985. That’s how I consider what things should be like. It’s not because you have some sort of job, that you have grandchildren or whatever bullshit that you have to act like dicks. I won’t give out names because it wouldn’t change things but one thing is sure I’m tired to have to deal with those people.

What are your thoughts on the underground since out the last interview a few years back?

LR: The same as it was back then. It’s just a plain joke. There’s one good band that comes out from time to time in the Heavy Metal realm like NIGHT DEMON, TENTATION, MARTYR (well their first effort), SIN STARLETT… but besides this, it‘s just total garbage. I see all those people raving shit from the 80s, what was considered as garbage back then by connoisseurs is now idolized etc…. in a way I’m glad GOD aka Bob Muldowney (Kick Ass Monthly mag-Chris) doesn’t see this.

Are there any decent or good bands out there that you think people should seek out?

LR: There are some good bands that people should check out, but no real killer ones. Well, people should check out the last two GOJIRA albums, I know that sounds totally weird coming from me considering that band belongs to a scene traditional Metallers hate –me the first- but hell I was taken by surprise by the last GOJJIRA album… I checked out one song Locicero had posted expected as usual crap and once I heard it, something caught my ears and from that point, I was addicted, that ‘’Fortitude’ album is a monsters album when it comes to the riffs, the melodies and the arrangement not forgetting the HEAVINESS, everything CELTIC FROST couldn’t deliver on that last shit album they did. And I checked « Magma » after hearing « Silvera » and I love it too… but that’s where it ends with them, their previous stuff is just generic death metal. So yeah this is what I call killer these days compared to the other stuff around.. That’s also the only band I’d like to see live at this point.

Have you been to any live shows recently and if so, who did you see, and how were they?

LM: Nothing…. It’s been a long time since I haven’t been to a gig.. can’t recall what was the last one..maybe Uli Roth in 2015 or so…maybe. I just don’t care about going to shows anymore. I’ve lost ALL interest in all this. No big circus for me. Except for GOJIRA one day I hope..

I have been going through lately and re-reading some of your older issues and in the past, you have gotten some retired bands back together and whether it has been to have their unreleased stuff re-issued or got them to play the “Keep it True” festival. What are your thoughts on reissues these days and also the fest I just spoke of?

LR: There are way way too many reissues these days, I mean there is two sorts of re-releases, there’s the shit High Roller, for example, does like all Combat catalogue or whatever with different coloured vinyl, and I just don’t see the deal. Finding those original albums are so easy in this day and age so I don’t see the point in polluting the scene with tons of different coloured re-release things and there are the releases with unreleased stuff….. and that’s the same, there’s the truly interesting stuff (and yes I consider Cult Metal Classics as ONE OF THE BEST as doing this) and some labels who do nothing but release generic 80s crap that is so plain boring and just shit (but of course labelled as great by the experts)…. So all that flooding kind of kills the interest on the stuff that deserves to be checked out… like when Rockadrome released SLAUTER XSTROYES or when Manos did Chicago’s GENOCIDE, that’s stuff that deserves to be heard! But it doesn’t go far because people are lost in that sea or released. As for Keep it True… well it was a festival I supported back then. I won’t go further in the subject.

If anyone would like to purchase the 2 Snakepit books out there, they should go where?

LR: Well they should check first the Sonic Age store, I think book 1 is sold out this said. But they can find copies still on Discogs… the hardest is for North/ South American readers because postage is insane these days but hell they will have a run for their money if they order it no matter how much it will cost! (I got both books from Sonic Age, well worth it-Chris)

Sonic Age Records:

In your eyes and ears what makes a good/ and/or a great song?

LR: A good song has to have hooks, not necessarily in your face hooks, take WATCHTOWER 2nd album, CYNIC 1st album, it has hooks even if they are hard to find… any good song must have hooks and that’s the problem nowadays in Metal… especially in extreme metal, those boys will never know that bands as extreme back in the day as DECAPITATION, CRYPTIC SLAUGHTER, NYC MAYHEM, INCUBUS, TERRORIZER had hooks in their songs… now all those boys for the late 30 years just put together a bunch of riffs together without any substance.

Plug your Snakepit Facebook page, please.

LR: I post everyday relics from the past and news about the mag… when there’s news.

Laurent thanks for the brief, but updating interview and good luck with the 2 future books and any last words for me and the readers of Extreminal webzine?

LM: Thanks Chris for checking from time to time what’s going on in the Snakepit cave. We both come from the old school of Metal and that means a lot.

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