Voices From Underground – Liquid Of Life Zine Chat

Oliver Meschine and myself used to write each other back in the good ole days of the underground and he also did a great fanzine called Liquid of Life. I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory road with him and here is what he said to my questions

CF: Where were you born and where did you grow up?

OM: I was born in Saumur which is a small city in the Midwest of France, very renown for having good wine here, a medieval castle surrounding La Loire River and also the renown military equitation school which is called Le Cadre Noir.

I grew up in a small village a few km’s away in the middle of nowhere with my parents, my brother and sisters, and also my cousins lived not so far away, we could meet occasionally as we wanted with our bicycles, had a lot of fun with them!

CF: What sort of kid where you growing up?

OM: I was kinda isolated due to where we lived, no neighbours of my age and I couldn’t go out that often, I had cats, dogs, chicken, rabbits…, I enjoyed spending a lot of time with my pets. I was good at school, always had great appreciations and also a bit undisciplined and dreaming which is kinda the norm as a kid. I remember that I was drawing a lot of things on my pages so the teacher wanted me to have a drawing book instead of ruining my lessons copies!

CF: Did you have a lot of friends in your early teenage years or were you more of a loner?


OM: I had a good circle of very close friends that we guested at each birthday party first when we all get a moped, we were frequently going to the pub playing video games, billiard, baby-foot, ping-pong, tennis, drinking and smoking, going to the nightclub, having girlfriends… I’m still in touch with 3 of them now that I moved back for 2 years and a half now, great friends for life that’s for sure! None of them was listening to the same kind of music; we were all truly different from our own identity! I was the one who didn’t talk that much and always stayed cool and also the more reserved or loner as you said, yes.

CF: What were some of the early styles of music you heard this would be before metal.


OM: The music I discovered was first from my sisters when I was 6 years old, they were older than me and already teenagers, I still have kept some 7″ from the year 1979, my favourite was Plastic Bertrand “Ca Plane Pour Moi”, Village People “Y.M.C.A.” and KISS “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” also very much into Celtic music a band called Tri Yann with the album “A Heol A Zo Glaz” I was tripping on the guitar instrumental on this one, it was creating an eerie and dark atmosphere, later I listened to mainly what the radio had to offer; I liked Dire Straits, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Eurythmics, INXS, Midnight Oil, Téléphone etc. and always reacted to many kinds of music and played air guitar! I was a fan of Renaud, a French poet/singer, Serge Gainsbourg (R.I.P.), Hubert-Félix Thiéfaine also extremely talented dark rock, kinda hippie if I can say and Indochine a french pop band they’re all more or less still going today!

CF: Now how did you end up discovering the world of metal and what were some of the early bands that you heard? Do you still like those bands today?


OM: I had by chance discovered a radio show, it was called Nytroglycérine (RPS FM on 95.8 the radio still exists but not the show!), I could camp at my parent’s house, the guy was alone and played all the heavy/hard-rock/thrash Metal of the mid-eighties such as AC-DC, Iron Maiden, Helloween, Slayer, Venom, Judas Priest, King Diamond, Metallica, Overkill, Van Halen, Dio, Def Leppard…, twice a week, on all Wednesdays and Sundays night, every two weeks he dedicated the radio show to listen to a whole full-length album on air and I recorded them on a cassette, well I copied many many many songs of so many bands, and made some great compilations tapes for my own, it was truly my first gateway to the world of Metal but it wasn’t easy to tune the station properly, living a bit too far from the emitting radio signal I think, I had to fix a wire to the antenna almost to the ceiling to be able to listen to the radio show, sometimes when it was raining I couldn’t listen to it or mono only not stereo, it was my… ritual!


I rarely listen to these old bands today and what they released later wasn’t that entertaining to me, but I’ll give a try on the new AC-DC which is just out now, they’re my favourite with Iron Maiden, Metallica and Slayer but I don’t listen to them anymore now, except the old albums until 1992.


Still from the radio show, one day I listened to Death “Scream Bloody Gore” and Hobbs Angel Of Death full albums, that was the click I needed in my brain but I had no clue of how to get them so I knew that was what I wanted to listen to and I started to buy magazines and discovered the reviews about other bands of the same kind, one day at a local record store I bought that famous well-promoted compilation called Masters Of Brutality vol.1 on tape that I also had discovered from the radio show and I loved all bands on it, so I said I must to know more now and checked some other compilations that were Death Is Just The Beginning vol.1. and In The Eyes Of Death…

CF: Now underground metal? Was it a style you took right to or did it take a few listens to get into? What were some of the early bands that you liked and do you still like them these days?


OM: I found the first Immolation album Dawn Of Possession on tape version in a big supermarket, I had no clue about them and bought it from the cover artwork which was very attractive in my eyes, also found the logo very good, when I played it I didn’t understand what was going on, it was so weird, difficult riffs and solos to get into, they were extremely intricate and twisted to me, recorded from another dimension I had never heard that before, took me many listening’s but I never gave up to finally appreciate it fully as a genius album! For the story, I found their last CD Atonement in that very same big supermarket too!

I get introduced to the world of underground metal from the record store owner, he talked me about two guys who were listening to the same kind of music as me, they were living not so far away from me and introduced me to the leading French distro lists that were Adipocere Recs, Osmose productions, Holy records and Thrash recs. (I remember when I got the Adipocere distro list that was just b/w xeroxed and they only had mostly demo tapes, shirts and 7″ for sale in the beginning).

These two guys were also in touch with another guy I knew who was organizing a bus to go to a concert, that guy was in the same boarding school as me, he later also ran another radio show which I took over the place after he quit, he taped me full albums by Entombed, Dismember, Asphyx, Bolt Thrower, Suffocation, Benediction, Incantation… he had a job and could find and buy all albums that were circulating at the time, he definitely was a freak, driving his car with his friends to Amsterdam and came back with weeds, hash and Metal vinyl’s tapes, cds, I imagined his car was full on!

As far as I can remember, I still like a lot Asphyx, Immolation, Grave, Vader, Obituary, Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Incubus, Master…

CF: Now what were some early magazines that you read? I imagine Kerrang/Metal Forces and Metal Hammer would have to be on that list right?


OM: I didn’t find Kerrang in stores but yes Metal Forces, Metal Hammer and Hard Rock mags were the ones I checked occasionally but just for the reviews, I knew that when a band got a bad review, I’ll sure like the album and checked it, for instance, Winter “Into Darkness” had a really bad review, I found the tape in a record store and became a fan of these doomsters immediately! (Yes, I mostly bought tapes in the beginning, I had no cd player yet!)

All these mags only had the same big bands covered again and again, at that time I definitely wanted to discover more obscure and extreme, faster Metal music.

CF: What was the first metal concert you went to and what was the first underground metal show you went to?


OM: My first “metal” concert was a local underground punk/rock/hard-rock metal show, I never saw any big bands I had no money and no car to drive and go to a real metal concert until 1994 when I finally got my license to drive at age 20 and really started to work, so the very first show was probably Overload, a local band who played nearly 30kms from my house, I won the ticket from a radio station that I called by phone and just said my name, I did go to the show with my bicycle, Overload played in the afternoon it was open air I bought their tape album there, the band was very much into Vulcain and Motörhead kind of hard-rock you have known, I had much fun seeing them live but then I had to get back to home and the night came, I get lost in the near forest and had to ask someone in a house where to go to finally get back home, I think I finally came home at 1 or 2 am after taking many wrong ways…!

Another show I remember was Agressor on June 12th 1993, my parents left me there and I was coming back home with the aforementioned friends who had a car, they played with many punk/rock bands that day, no needs to say that we were only there to see the French Death/Thrash legend, they had their second album Towards Beyond out at that time probably one of the very few first CDs I ever bought!

Still, in 1993, I came to see Compulsory, a grindcore band my friends played in, I draw the logo for them, unfortunately, I lost the original drawing of the final version, not sure if they kept it, they made a flag with it to put on stage, that was really chaotic and a lot of noise and stage-diving in the place where there were only alternative rock bands playing… A video has been uploaded on YouTube if anyone cares at all!

CF: When did you first learn about fanzines? If you remember, what were some of the 1st ones you read or saw?

OM: I can’t recall exactly because I ordered some underground magazines first, pro made, then I quickly switched to xeroxed ones, I really don’t know which one was the first I ever read, wait I remember now, it was a French ‘zine called Suffocations ‘zine, it was a huge issue written in English and available for a dozen of stamps, they had a ton of reviews and completely underground flyers printed I remember of great interviews with Massacra among a plenty others, so yes that was the very first underground literature I’ve ever read, I collected many zines through the years and kept ’em all in a full carton, got to check what’s inside one day!
CF: Now back then, was there any shops/record stores you would go visit and buy stuff from on a regular basis?
OM: There was only one record shop where I live that I visited frequently, maybe once or twice a month, it was called Evasion and I found a lot of great albums there, of course, the shop is no more and there’s absolutely nothing here now, I preferred going to the next bigger town sometimes where there were a lot more shops back in the days and today there’s still a record shop with second hand stuffs that’s still opened and a big national shop called Fnac but they’re a lot more expensive, still I can find one or two underground releases from time to time here and there.

CF: Now back then how was the underground metal scene in France?

OM: When I get into the underground, many people were turning their back to death metal and more and more jumping in the atmospheric black metal scene, lots of melodic, “progressive” (never understand why they called it progress… though!), gothic doom with clean vocals, too many bands I didn’t care about were flooding the scene, it was hard for me to find another good extreme French metal release, most of them were truly mediocre! But I think the scene was good for those who liked soft metal stuff, but not for me as I always continued searching for more extremes, faster and more aggressive bands!

CF: Did you do any writing for any other publications before starting up Liquid of Life fanzine?

OM: Yes, I contributed to doing a scene report and reviews + a translation of what was written as a biography in Immolation’s Stepping On Angels Before Dawn CD released by Repulse Records, it was all written in french, the zine was called Mortal Emotions ‘zine and was made by a friend who also played guitar/vocals in Mortal Remains and Unfragment. He’s still active in the metal scene by releasing and recording stuff for other bands too.
CF: What made you decide to start up a fanzine? Did you have any idea what you were getting into? Did you write to other fanzine editors to get their input on what needed to be done?
OM: The main reason was that I saw the french scene declined in brutality, not enough extreme bands and too many boring ones for my taste, I needed a brutal dose of skilled Death, Thrash, Grind, Doom and morbid, sordid tunes, not chanting melodies, fairytales and beautiful lyrics… I also wanted to know if other guys were still interested in the real extremes like me, so I started by reviewing my entire collection as a newsletter that was spread for free and hopefully getting some answers to my quest!
CF: How did you come up with the name Liquid of Life? Were you the only one that did the zine or did you have other people help you out?
OM: Ha, good question I used to ask almost all the bands I had interviewed, the name Liquid Of Life comes from Immolation’s Burial Ground lyrics (…Liquids of Life have taken to the earth…), first I’ve always been a huge fan and vocalized it when I heard it so that was a sign of something, then I discovered that it was also in the Gorguts Hematollogical Allergy and Massacre The Succubus lyrics too, so it was evident that it would fit my vision of the zine’s direction perfectly!
I’ve always did my zine by myself, the only help I got was from tape-traders because I couldn’t buy everything, I reviewed stuffs from my personal collection first and those I also got from tape-trading days with guys who recommended to listen to this and that…
CF: Now from the time that you thought about doing a zine till it came out, did it actually take?
OM: I started to write in 1993 for myself but the first newsletters came out in 1995-1996 and after the third issue, it was taking shape of a real fanzine with more than just a dozen of pages.
CF: So what year did your first issue come out? Who was interviewed in it? Where did you get them printed and how many copies did you do?
OM: My two first issues came out in 1995, the first being delayed and almost lost due to computer problems, I had to rebuild the issue completely and buy a PC for myself as I was using the one from my sister, with a printer and a scanner, it cost me a lot of money, the equivalent of one month salary of today! The first interview was in Inhumate they gave me their demo when I was at the Morbid Angel/Immortal/Moonspell show in Strasbourg, they only had their demo just out and figured it was something interesting and new to be featured in my first issue.
I printed them in a xerox shop and did 300 copies of each that were sent for free to various distros and labels, for that they passed them in packages of their customers like flyers.
CF: Did you make ads like every other zine editor and ask other zines and bands that you wrote to, to pass them around in their mail?
OM: Sure, I printed thousands of ads, I loved to receive others in my mail and passed them as well.
CF: So who was the most famous band you ever interviewed? What is your favourite interview you ever did?
OM: I would say the most famous is Krisiun, when they just had their fantastic Black Force Domain album out, but also Martire from Australia, one of the most extremes bands at the time, truly an honour and proud to have made these interviews in the same issue, as for my favourite it is with no doubts Ossuary Insane, that band was exactly what I was looking for, the perfect band in my eyes, we kept in touch for many years and became pen pals and great friends, true brothers of Metal, same goes to Kaamos, damn these two bands were the best 20 years ago!!
CF: So now, with each issue, were you printing up more and more copies? Were more bands sending you stuff to review? I am sure you traded with a lot of other fanzines as I know we did.
OM: I didn’t print more and more copies at each issue, only issue #3 was 500 hand numbered copies it was still a newsletter but I incorporated artworks and logos and more and more reviews than ever, still within 10 pages only, I asked 3 stamps for french buyers or $2 elsewhere, other issues were printed to 200 copies each only #5 I had to do a small quantity reprint and reached 221 copies, all are sold-out.
Yes more and more promo stuff came in my mailbox and I must say that I didn’t like everything that was coming in when you start to be a bit more known, you tend to get stuff that you never expected nor wanted to listen to, that was the reverse side of the game, only a very few were fitting what I wanted to do with the zine, so sometimes a very good excellent surprise and most of the time boring music by bigger labels who can send their promo pack everywhere they can…
I traded my zine with other editors of course that was great to choose which one could be more interesting and focused in the same musical direction, we also reviewed each other’s issues, that was cool to know the opinion of others too about your own work!
CF: Did you have many stores or distributors selling copies? Your zine was full zine not half zine, right?
OM: Not so many as I preferred selling them directly within my circle of usual buyers and new contacts, also traded for some demos, ‘zines or cds when I saw an interesting flyer in my mail.
Yes, it became a full zine at the 4th issue in 1997.
CF: Looking back do you think you were a good interviewer and a fair reviewer of the stuff you got to review?
OM: I always got good critics about my interviews, feedbacks from bands first and readers then, as for the review, I was extremely severe on certain aspects of my musical taste so people were accepting it or not, that was just my point of view.
CF: Now what were your favourite styles of metal and styles you hated?
OM: Death Metal was and still is my favourite music, and anything in between Death/Doom, Death/Black, Death/Grind also I adore funeral Doom and some speed aggressive Death/Thrash, I get bored of the so-called brutal slamming groove etc. with piggy or frog vocals, that was cool when it popped up from nowhere in the early nineties but then too many bands did the same thing and ruined the style completely! (ha ha great description of that style-chris) Also anything “core” or “progressive” “melodic” was and still are completely rejected here as well as “Norwegian black metal” same as the slam groove too many bands ruined the style to the bone
CF: Name me 10 albums anybody reading this must own?
Azarath – Blasphemers’ Maledictions
Immortal Fate – Beautiful
Infernal Conjuration – Infernale Metallum Mortis
Misery – A Necessary Evil
Ossuary Insane – Part II: Demonize The Flesh
Poisonous – Perdition’s Den
Ritualization – Sacraments To The Sons Of The Abyss
War Master – Pyramid Of The Necropolis
Anima Damnata – Nefarious Seed Grows To Bring Forth Supremacy Of The Beast
Centurian – Contra Rationem
CF: Did it ever get to the point where you were spending hours every week doing mail, reviewing stuff, etc?
OM: Yes for sure, not every week because I stayed quite small but the time and money investment were considerable.
CF: Did you think you were a good writer and what were some of your favourite zine editors?
OM: I think I was good at what I created with my zine, when I read other zines, I felt sometimes better than others and sometimes worse but I have no special favorites, we were all writing our opinion which could be very different and sometimes in total opposite or contradiction which was weird but everyone is different and so have different point of views.
CF: Favorite concerts that you saw?
Portal/Impetuous Ritual/Chaos Echoes/Ritualization in Paris 2015
Father Befouled/Krypts/Encoffination/Jupiterian in Paris 2019
Eskhaton in Paris
Hobbs Angel Of Death/Interment in Paris
Ignivomous in Nantes
Spectral Voice/Blood Incantation/Cadaveric Fumes in Rennes
Venefixion/Sadistic Intent in Rennes
Skelethal/Grave Miasma/Centurian/Maveth/Interment/Necros Christos/Sadistic Intent/Demilich in Paris at Wolf Throne support fest 2015
Ritualization/Cadaveric Fumes/Voids Of Vomit/Venenum/Krypts/Convulse/Dead Congregation/Disma/Interment/Demigod at Wolf Throne fest 2013
Ascended Dead in Rennes
Diabolic in Rennes
CF: Now what was the most copies you printed of any issue during the time you were doing it and did each issue sell really well so to speak?
OM: So far a few hundred for each issue and they’re all sold out, issue #3 was printed to 500 copies others were 200 and 300 each.
CF: At what point did you decide to end doing the zine? Were you sad to see it go? Did you release a sort of farewell issue of sorts or did you decide to just end it?
OM: I decided to put it to an end in 2002, I was working on my 7th issue but was already two years since the 666th was out and it wasn’t finished yet, I had written many reviews and did some interviews, 2 interviews I did with Derkéta and Coffin Texts were then published in Compilation Of Death ‘zine from Chile a few years later, in the meantime I had my first born child so not enough free time anymore for continuing the zine in good conditions. I can’t say I was sad, it was a great investment for more than 5 years and just a natural evolution, I’m very proud of what I did and I had seen my beloved scene changing for the better as I had been to many interesting concerts, a lot more than when I started to get involved in the underground, so my work at my level has certainly made some little things changing here and there by spreading the name of great unknown bands that deserved to be more exposed.
I have published on my blog the reviews I made for aborted issue #7 so everyone can read them for free
CF: How many issues did you end up doing? Do you have original copies of every issue? Do you ever think of having them released on the internet at all?
OM: I did 6 issues, the seventh wasn’t finished but all the reviews I made have been posted on my blog
I don’t have original copies of each issues only the master prints I used to xerox and I already have scanned them all on the blog and my posthumous Facebook page, one zines dedicated site has them too it’s France metal museum:
CF: Now after you stopped doing the zine, did you write for any other publications or ever worked at any record labels?
OM: No, just two interviews were published in another famous zine and I didn’t work for labels but I helped my great metal brother Prophet from the band Ossuary Insane to find and secure a deal for that I knew the existence of great promo materials and demos they recorded between 2001 and 2006 that weren’t officially released yet, it’s now done on To The Death and Blood Harvest as a three vinyl’s triptych with a great dark artwork by Mattias Frisk, check them out it’s truly a gem of incredible musical genius on extremely collectable items!
CF: Does it amaze you the way the music scene is these days with just bands having “pages”, “bandcamp” etc and you just download stuff and not actually go buy the physical copy of the music?
OM: I won’t complain as I always listen to what the bands have to offer before buying, it’s like they all have their own radio station now hahah but all the bands I check have also physical copies for sale on their bandcamp, and shirts and more, so yes it’s amazing how more easy it is to find what you’re looking for now, of course it’s hard to stay up to date with every new bands and releases and we can’t buy ’em all but I remember the time when you weren’t aware of a band playing live near your town and you knew it the day after or even a week later and missed them, the promotion of bands has changed and it’s more comfortable for everybody I think.
CF: Oliver, horns up for doing this chat any last words?
OM: Horns fucking up, Chris. Thank you very much for the long interview, it has brought me some old memories I had almost forgot, thanx again for your longtime friendship and longevity as a zine editor, those reading this and still remember me can write and let’s chat again, keep supporting the best metal bands of the world, cheers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Back to top button