I thought it would be fun to interview some of the bloggers and writers that we work with on a regular basis. The first interview is with Joe Thrashnkill of Toilet ov Hell!
Thank you for agreeing to do this interview! First of all can you tell us a bit about the blog and how you originally got the idea to do it?
Toilet ov Hell is a community-based heavy metal blog. We have a core set of writers that cover everything from new releases, reviews, interviews, opinion, and humor. We also often publish guest posts from people who have never written for a blog before.
A couple of years ago I found myself in need of a creative outlet. I organized with a bunch of friends I had made from commenting on another metal blog, and pretty soon I launched a hastily-created website without any knowledge of how to run it. Since then, we’ve all progressed together as a blogging collective with an incredibly stupid name.
Are there any genre’s of metal you *won’t* cover on the site? If so, why?
I’m completely opposed to NSBM, RAC, and any other acronym for Nazi music. When we cover a band that embraces racist, anti Semitic, or homophobic views, we do it for the purpose of making fun of them.
The blog seems to have grown steadily over the time I’ve known you. What do you feel have been the successful actions you’ve taken to grow it?
As far as I can tell, the key to long term growth has been consistency and dedication. There’s no way to predict which posts will bring in new readers, so we work our asses off writing the best pieces we can. For the past two years we’ve published a minimum of 22 posts a week, every week. We’re looking to do more.
Are you happy with where the blog is at presently? Do you have a goal of where you want the blog to be in terms of readership in the next year? If so, what is it?
I’m happy that the blog is growing and that our readers enjoy it, but I’m a little disappointed that we’re not bigger than we are currently. It fuels me to keep it going. I regularly compare our site metrics against other metal blogs. Next year is the year we overtake [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] in readership.
Are you more inclined to review a band if they have a publicist? Why or why not?
It really depends. I try to listen to every band that submits their work to me directly but we get so many, and a lot of bands make it difficult (Pro-tip: Give me a link to stream you music. Please do not make me download your tracks in order to hear what you sound like). I have a really great relationship with a handful of publicists that can convince me to take a chance on a band I may have otherwise missed in the hundreds of emails we get every week. Not all publicists are created equal.
What makes you decide to review a band? Is there anything specific that a band/publicist should do to get your attention?
We prefer to review bands that really resonate with us as listeners. None of us want to write reviews of mediocre music. The best way to get my attention is to include a personal note in an email that lets me know you didn’t just BCC me and a million other blogs.
For promo kits, what should bands include when submitting to you?
A link to stream your music, attach the digital files, include a band bio, album artwork, and band pics.
What’s the *best* example of a band/publicist submitting an album to you the wrong way?
I once got an email with a subject line that just said “FUCK YOU”. Inside was the promo for a nu metal album. Both were unwelcome.
You are very active on social media (Specifically Twitter), how has that helped you in growing the blog?
Oh lord yes. I spend way too much time on both Facebook and Twitter. I created and am very active in a Facebook group for the site (Toilet ov Hell Social Club). It has been a tremendous way of meeting metal fans and musicians, as well as a great way to get people to the blog from the content we crosspost to the Facebook group. Twitter, likewise, opens up a new audience of folks that avoid Facebook.
Are there any plans to expand Toilet ov Hell outside of metal?
We’ve discussed expanding to include sub blogs for things like sports, movies and video games, but it may be a while before we can make that happen.
Thanks for your time, anything else you’d like to say?
If anyone reading this is interesting in writing, just hit me up! A positive attitude is a great thing to have, even in the world of extreme metal. Thanks for chatting with me, Curtis!