The shoe is on the other foot — Sleaze Roxx editor is the interviewee rather than the interviewer
I have to say it feels a little odd writing an article on Sleaze Roxx about myself but I recently got interviewed by Andrew Daly at Vinyl Writer Music, who is easily one of the most prolific interviewers of the last two years. Below are some of the highlights from the interview for me. You can check out the entire interview at Vinyl Writer Music‘s website.
Vinyl Writer Music: Where did your writing and journalism come from? Who were some of your early influences?
Olivier: I don’t consider myself a journalist although I suppose that’s what my job description might be when conducting interviews for Sleaze Roxx. I also don’t really consider myself a “writer.” If I had to describe my role within Sleaze Roxx, I would describe it more as the editor-in-chief, and before I took over the reins of the website, I would have described myself as a “reviewer.” So I don’t have any influences that come immediately to mind when it comes to writing and/or journalism. That being said, if I had to pick one influence, it would actually be Sleaze Roxx’s founder Skid. I liked his writing style and always enjoyed reading his reviews. Funny enough, I think that many of the other Sleaze Roxx writers are way better writers than I am.
Vinyl Writer Music: You’ve been running Sleaze Roxx for some time now. Take me through the initial founding and formation of the website. What led you to dive into the world of music journalism?
Olivier: Well, Sleaze Roxx was founded by a Canadian named Skid way back in May 2002, so all the credit should go to him in that regard. I personally discovered the website around 2006, and it was easily my favorite website from then on. Eventually, I ended up contributing a concert review based on an Airbourne show that I caught in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, back in 2010. It took me about a year and a half to write something else for the website. I am not sure what happened there. [Laughs]. But I would say by mid-2012, I started writing CD reviews for the website on a semi-regular basis. My first interview was with the band Diemonds in September 2012. I told them that I would be taking some photos. They might have thought that it would be a full-blown photoshoot, but here I was with a tiny camera and nothing else. [Laughs]. They were good sports about it, and Diemonds guitarist C.C. Diemond ended up working on at least one of the photos, and one of them came out pretty cool at the end! Given that this was the first interview that I have ever done, I still remember many aspects of the interview quite vividly.
As I started contributing more and more to the Sleaze Roxx website, little did I know that the Sleaze Roxx founder and editor Skid was pretty tired of doing it. So by the time that Skid decided to shut things down, I was contributing quite a bit, including likely about half of the CD reviews, most of the concert reviews, and a few news articles. I even did draft write-ups for a few of the albums on the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2013. As an example, there were 29 concert reviews posted on Sleaze Roxx in 2014, and 27 of those were ones that I had written. Eventually, Skid gave me the bad news that he was going to stop running the website. After trying to no avail to convince Skid to continue, I remember that a bunch of us were at Sleaze Roxx writer Mark Hovarth’s house before going to see a Steel Panther concert on May 22, 2015 when Mark suggested that I might end up running the website. Eventually, that’s exactly what happened although I had to get a brand new website created since I knew nothing about HTML coding, which is how the old website was running. The new Sleaze Roxx website ended up launching on July 10, 2015. As an interesting tidbit, there were maybe five or six of us at Mark Hovarth’s house on May 22, 2015 and four of us became or continue to be regular contributors to the Sleaze Roxx website. The other two that ended up contributing once the new Sleaze Roxx website was up and running were Mark Gregory and Eduardo.
Vinyl Writer Music: Initially, what were your goals for Sleaze Roxx? How have they changed and progressed as you’ve gone along?
Olivier: My goal once I took over the reins of the Sleaze Roxx website was to get it back to its glory days in terms of productivity, meaning the number of postings on a yearly basis. From 2008 to 2010, my predecessor Skid posted over 1,400 News articles for each of those years. However, there was a steady decline after that. From 2016 to 2020, I have posted at least 1,395 News articles each year, and there has also been an increase in the number of CD reviews, concert reviews, and interviews. Luckily for me, many Sleaze Roxx writers — new and old — stepped up as well. So I think that I have accomplished my initial goals, and I ended up “beating” the previous seemingly unattainable records that were set by my predecessor Skid, including most news articles posted in one month and one year. As far as my future goals for Sleaze Roxx are concerned, I haven’t really thought about it. I’ll continue running the Sleaze Roxx site as long as I am having fun and feeling fulfilled while doing so
Vinyl Writer Music: In your time running Sleaze Roxx, you’ve featured so many incredible artists for articles and interviews. Looking back, what are some of your fondest and proudest moments?
Olivier: When I first started doing interviews for Sleaze Roxx, I made a point of interviewing many of the newer bands in my neck of the woods, including Diemonds, Last Bullet, Revolution, Reverse Grip, and Midnight Malice. Funny enough, none of those bands are around anymore except for Diemonds, and even they have been relatively inactive during the last couple of years. In terms of my favorite interviews, I always mention my favorite that I have done for the year in the Sleaze Roxx Writers’ Top Five Albums of the Year, which gets posted in mid-January ever since 2016.
My favorite all-time interview that I did would be the one with Wolfchild drummer Tomi Nousianen-Gunnar in February 2015, where he shed some light on what led to the demise of the band as well as the publicly untold story of the last moments of Wolfchild bassist and founder Jaska Koivusilta who sadly committed suicide back in 2007. Wolfchild’s self-titled debut album remains one of my all-time favorite albums. It’s a no-bullshit Rock ‘N’ Roll record. The singer Kim Hogberg’s voice is kind of a take it or leave it type of voice, but I really love it and can’t get enough of that record.
Another favorite interview of mine is the first time that I interviewed Masterplan founder and former Helloween guitarist Roland Grapow in 2016, where he provided his thoughts on many of the albums that he had made. I also have to mention the recent interview that I did with WildSide drummer Jim Darby where he broke his silence about various things concerning the band’s history. That was a really cool interview and one that occurred very quickly. He reached out to me via e-mail one afternoon, and we did the interview later that evening. I love doing concert reviews of Rock festivals such as the M3 Rock Festival, and I have covered a few others such as Rock n Skull in 2016 and Rocklanta in 2019. I also take pride in having been able to continue the legacy of the Sleaze Roxx website.
Wolfchild‘s “Don’t Shoot Me” track: