Sunday, February 8, 2009

20 Questions with Christine of Scene Trash Magazine

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Scene Trash Magazine is a regional monthly print magazine as well as a promotions company that is just as dedicated as PGR to helping bands out. We had the pleasure of having Christine answer 20 of our questions to give a little bit of an insight to how things work.

Who are you and what is your position for Scene Trash?
I am Christine Osazuwa (stalk me on Facebook?), I'm a sophomore at UMBC, and I was born in the 90s. I am the president/editor/CEO/everything else of Scene Trash Magazine & Promotions
How did you come up with the name "Scene Trash"?
I'll be honest, I remember having a conversation with a friend I no longer talk to, and it was the best idea ever, at the time, but the meaning has developed over time. It's not because we trash the bands or we like to "whore 4 whore" or whatever else crazy kids are doing these days. It just kind of combines all things "scene." Not like dinosaurs and bows because if you're over 13 years old that's probably tacky-looking (unless you can do it right), it's about the music and the lifestyle it conveys including the companies, the bands, the people, and yes, even the clothes. It sounded a lot better than "scene salad" plus it really gets your attention, doesn't it?

What made you want to enter the publishing world?
Well, I never thought I was that wonderful of a writer. I never had a life-long dream to be an editor or something like that. I just really liked to promote when I was 14, and it seemed like a great way to promote that no one else was doing.

How did you decide what kind of things you wanted to put into the magazine?
Since we're all 20 and under on the staff, and all actually go to shows we know what kids want to read, for the most part, because... we are them. So if we hear that one of our bands is putting out an album we want to know about it. We want to ask our favorite bands what type of cereal they like, and ask our favorite bands managers which bands they actually listen to. We figure bands have their "influences" and their "bio" on their MySpace so why not ask them what we know everyone else is thinking?

What are some of the problems you faced producing your first issue? Ongoing issues you still face today?
The first issue came out a week late. Guess you can consider that a... problem. We just had problems printing and how exactly we should put it all together, etc. Then my graphic designer quit 5 issues in, so I had to learn how to use publishing software. We still face price issues, because it's expensive to print definitely, but thankfully we have subscribers & advertisers now that help cut down costs some.

How did you approach advertising sales on your first issue?
We didn't. I didn't even think of advertisers until maybe the 7th issue or so. I don't think if I was someone interested in advertising I would have wanted to advertise with Scene Trash in the first issues, they were terrible! We may have had one or two scattered about from friends but nothing anyone actually PAID for, that was unfeasible for a while.

After the first issue, when and why did you decide on having more people help with your publication?
Well we started off with 5 people I believe, maybe 4. None of which are on the staff anymore, of course. I knew I couldn't do it alone so I just asked a bunch of my friends, which was obviously a mistake but I was 15 when Scene Trash started. Oh to be youthful and innocent...

How has your magazine changed from when you first started out?
I'd actually read it now. The first four/five issues were God awful. Now, it's full of some great articles by some amazing girls. It covers bands you've never heard of and bands you listen to daily. It's a nice blend and every issue there's always an article that turns out to be my favorite where I really do learn something new even though I'm the editor.

For those readers who have never picked up an issue of Scene Trash Magazine, what can they expect to get out of it?
It depends on what you want to get out of it. If you pick it up thinking, this is such a joke, that's what you'll get out of it. We like to have fun over here at Scene Trash, so what you'll pick up on is our use of "LOL" in an article, or an article dedicated to how stupid girls act in relationships. We think both of these things are great but Scene Trash is about more than that. If you come at it with an open mind, you'll see the articles about bands that can't seem to catch a break, history about some amazing labels, interviews with ridiculously talented people that we're insanely jealous of. You'll find at least one thing you identify with, be you a musician, fan, or in the industry.

How much does an issue of Scene Trash cost? How much does a subscription cost?
An issue costs $2 in person (at tables, from me or the girls directly), $2.50 online due to postage, and $3 in stores because the stores take a cut. A subscription for 3 months is $6, and six months is $10. Subscriptions come with a free back issue of your choice, also.

How do you usually select people to join your staff? Do you have an application, position postings, and/or require portfolios?
We have people send us an "about me" as if they were writing on their MySpace. It includes their favorite bands, best show they've been to, where their from, etc. They also have to provide a link to their MySpace. I go through the applicants and see who made me actually want to click their MySpace link... I figure if you can't write about yourself, how can you write about 5 boys in a band? There's also little Scene Trash staff secrets rules that I don't want to reveal here but, we frown on obsessions, we don't hire sluts, and it helps if you present yourself well.

For many fans, interviewing favorite bands such as The Academy Is… and Cobra Starship would be a dream come true. How did you achieve such feats?
It was simple really. Build up a relationship with the labels and management. Once they know you're not a screaming fan, and you're pretty legit, they're pretty receptive to most of your requests. Mind you, I'm probably not going to be interviewing Fall Out Boy anytime soon, regardless of the relationship I have with PR companies and managers, but it could happen one day. Oh and as for a dream come true, what was better than the interviews themselves is that... the bands actually liked the articles. That's the dream come true.

Which person or band has been your favorite interview so far?
Wow, I can't name just one, I've done amazing interviews and they all had very different vibes. I'll say 2007 was a great year and I should follow up on most of these interviews. Cobra Starship because they played Mario Kart throughout the interview. The Academy Is... because it was the realest interview I've ever done, very heart on the sleeve type. All Time Low because it's always great to catch up with those kids again and show the world who they really are.

If you could interview anyone in the world (that you haven't already) who would it be?
I got to interview Kevin Lyman (the creator of Warped & Taste of Chaos) which turned me into a little fangirl on the inside, but I have a heroes section on my MySpace and any of those people would be amazing: Mike Shea, Jason Tate, John Janick, Sean Combs. (I'll let you look up who they are). I've gotten to the point where I'm pretty jaded about being around "rock stars" but people that own record labels, put on festivals, or have created a brand turn me into an idolizing little girl, and I have to stop myself from trying to get an autograph.

Which issue (if any) is your favorite? Why?
My favorite issues are the ones that have great interviews with bands usually, because I just want to show them off. I'm also a fan of all the issues with The Scene Trash Awards because they stir up so much controversy but finally get people talking about all the things they were afraid to say, since I (or someone else) already said it first.

How has the internet helped you with your publishing venture?
We try to be all over the internet on sites like MySpace, Twitter & Facebook of course, in addition we've got great relationships with sites such as &, that we advertise with a lot. It helps spread the word definitely, plus it's the easiest way to order magazines from us. We like seeing people in person though so the internet is a means to something more. We have a print magazine because we like the tangible a lot more than some words on a screen.

What types of marketing and advertising have you done to promote your magazine?
Word of mouth, especially from our bands is always great. Anytime a band says "our great friends at Scene Trash" on stage or on their blog we always have a spike in page views and friends on MySpace. We also try to put together contests & get our banner out online on all the sites we said above. We're all about doing things that no one else is doing though so putting together compilations, and have prize packs like a "show survival kit" really sets us apart and have people looking our way.

How are you managing your circulation and distribution?
The best way I can. I handle all the circulation, distribution, shipping, and finance. So needless to say, it gets a bit tough somehow but PayPal and Excel are a life saver.

What tips can you give others on getting their first issue produced?
Don't do it. It's more trouble than it's worth, most of the time (especially if you're in school). I, on the other hand, am an over ambitious crazy person, so I probably like the torture/lack of sleep deep down somewhere. Do something else, come up with something that makes me go, damn I wish I would have thought of that. Chances are we'll want to team up! I think we need someone out there to start making music videos and band DVDs!

What do you hope to achieve this year? Any plans to expand into other states maybe?
We have plans to expand again, eventually. We're at a staff of 16 girls or so, so that's really overwhelming at the moment. We plan to finish up the lower part of the East Coast eventually, i.e. Georgia & Florida. We also have a lot of plans that go beyond the magazine, but I don't want to spill the beans just yet. What I can says is that our compilation comes out in a few days, and we hope to grab some merch to give away to our bands before the summer.

Is there anything you'd like to add to conclude this interview?
I guess I just want to say thanks for the interview, seriously! This is the first time I've ever been on this end of the interview process, and it's pretty cool, now I guess I know what all the hypes about. Oh and I hope I don't sound like too much of a tool bag...

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