DEPRESSION zine presentation: Exclusive Interview With The Author Ryan Wolfe

Ryan Wolfe put together an interesting zine last summer called “Depression“. It’s not a typical hardcore punk zine, so don’t expect reviews, news and scene reports full of pictures and bands information. It is a nice collection of some prose and journal entries though. Nevertheless, the author grew up and is still involved in the hardcore community. I sat down with him to ask him a couple of questions and thought you might be interested in checking it out!

We discussed Ryan’s writing, his travels, view on modern hardcore scene, the love for Greg Bennick and TRIAL, my carpal tunnel syndrome and a few more :)

Edinboro, PA’s Down For Anything Records is distributing this joint. Don’s miss it!

Hey, man! What’s up? Thanks so much for taking some time with IDIOTEQ.

To start off, tell me what is “Post Blues”?

Post Blues is basically just the name I decided to use to sell the physical copies of anything I had put out. Down For Anything Records was cool enough to help me out with the first issue of any of my writings. They handled the lay out and constructed the “Depression” zine for me. So Post Blues is just a name. You can find my Bigcartel under that name as well as a Tumblr that I barely use because I just don’t have time for it/it seems kind of silly. I’m not really a “blogger” type of person.

Alrightie, tell me more about the zine. Except the label, does someone else help you with putting it together? How did you decide to start writing?

The label and I are the only ones involved in putting the zine together. I had everything written in notebooks and I typed them up and emailed them to the label and they put it all together from there. We decided to do 50 copies of the zine along with a button to go along with it. It was a pretty simple process.

 I decided to start writing a few years back, I felt like I had no outlets left. I was constantly angry or upset about something and it was really becoming a problem to function everyday. I had seen how some of my favorite authors wrote and thought I would take a stab at it. I am by no means a “writer” but a guy that just decided to pick up a pen. The “Depression” zine is a collection of different journal entries from my first few notebooks. It is titled “Depression” because as I wrote more and more and got my thoughts out instead of keeping them bottled up I began to realize that I am not just an angry kid anymore but it had grown into a serious problem. I had trouble functioning in public, it was tough to get out of bed every morning. I was dealing with the loss of loved ones or failed relationships or just general hatred for the world. Most of everything I write never has a positive feel to it. I feel like I could type up a whole book for you to post about what really sets me off with this world but I doubt anyone wants to read that [laughs].

It’s not a typical zine we’re used to. No photos, no punk scene reports, just words. Why have you decided to put it together like this? Why call it a zine?

Originally I had planned on using some photos and heavily distorting them. I have tons from traveling over the years but for the first issue I kind of just wanted the words. I wanted it to read like a book without much distraction. A very minimalist layout and you can see that with the cover, it’s simple and clean. I would like to add some photos in future issues though.

As far as calling it a zine, I didn’t know what else to call it. Like I said I wanted I to read like a book but obviously it isn’t a book. The format is a zine format so that’s what I called it. I have copies of zine that aren’t your typical “hardcore punk” zines and just have photos or drawings, mine just has words.

So you’re not planning on sweetening the pot with music-related content?

I really don’t know how I could add in music-related content. I wanted to have my writings put out into the world and I’m not sure how just adding an interview into the zine would flow I guess. I’m not opposed to any ideas if I thought it would work well. I would like to at some point possibly put out “zines” for other people through Post Blues and I thought it would be cool that if someone in a band wanted to publish their lyrics/explanations or something along those lines.

If I ever had the opportunity to do a cool interview with a music artist that I loved I would probably throw it into a zine just because I have nowhere else to put it.

Tell me more about those photos you mentioned. Where and why have you been traveling?

The photos are just of places I have been and things that appealed to me. Like writing, I’m not a photographer, just someone with a camera. I have been around the United States several times, lived in different cities. I travel for because I have this insatiable urge to see new places and experience new things. When I’m not on the road I spend most of my time in my room and eventually that takes its toll on you and I get the urge to take off so I do it.

What are some of your favourite places that you’ve visited in the States and why? Have you visited some countries outside the USA?

I’m torn on favorite places. The bigger cities like NYC, LA, Chicago, etc. are great places and that is where a lot of cool things are happening but at the same time I am NOT a people person so being in those places can be bittersweet. As far as favorites I like both coasts and the desert are great but the Midwest is not for me.

I have been to Mexico and Canada a couple times but that isn’t like LEAVING the country. Asia and Europe are next on the list though.

Have you been in a band?

No, never in a band. I grew up going to punk and hardcore shows but never learned an instrument or had the desire to try and sing in one.

How and when were you first introduced to hardcore punk?

It would have been the early 2000s when I was at my first hardcore punk show I believe. I can’t even remember who played, I know it was a bunch of locals bands that my friends were in. I think my story is pretty much similar to a lot of people’s. I was an angry young teenager, my friends had gotten their hands on some early punk records and when I heard them my mind was blown. Songs like “Seeing Red” by MINOR THREAT or “My War” by BLACK FLAG just set me off and then getting into current music at the time like SNAPCASE, CATHARSIS, DISEMBODIED and INTEGRITY and hearing how heavy those bands were. I was hooked and I have not gone back since. I am still a show goer as much as my schedule allows. I don’t want to sound like a jaded person but today I do see a lot of bands that seem to have lost that sincerity. It seems forced and fake like these bands are trying to fit a mold to get signed to a certain label and advance their careers. I guess they have not figured out yet that there is no money to be made in hardcore.

So who’s stayin’ true these days? What are some of the current bands you really respect?

Well I don’t know everyone personally so I can’t say who is staying true but I can tell you what bands I am currently listening to! TERROR‘s last album was insane and I am super excited for the new album to come out. I think the new CODE ORANGE KIDS album was great, I heard the new SEVEN SISTERS OF SLEEP and that album is extremely heavy and that is another one I can’t wait to own. There is a band from North Carolina called DISCOURSE and it is so nice to hear a Straight Edge band that isn’t the macho tough guy stuff you normally get. Matt from Down From Anything sent me over the new SMOKE & MIRRORS album and I really enjoyed it but I haven’t checked out their Energy tape, it really isn’t my cup of tea. I can’t wait for the new RINGWORM and INTEGRITY, it’s crazy that they were putting out some of my favorite albums years ago and are still putting out quality music now! I know there are tons of other bands that I am forgetting, for anyone reading, check out ALL bands not just hardcore and punk but be skeptical. Don’t let the liars and fakes in.

What amazing gigs have you recently been to? Do you risk your life by getting involved in mosh fights and extreme stage dives? [smiles]

I have not been to anything in ages! Sometimes I feel bad about it but nothing I really cares about has come through. I’m sure by the time summer hits there  will be some good tours I will catch.

As far as sick pit moves and stage dives, I have given that stuff up in my older age. I have seen too many people lose teeth or break collarbones and hands. I don’t want any of that to happen to me and I don’t want to be responsible for hurting anyone else. In my younger days I may or may not have gotten down…

Same here [laughs].

Alright, back to your zine. Why print only 50 copies?

I wanted to keep it limited. I am a nobody and I wasn’t sure if people would even buy them so there is no point in printing up hundreds of copies for people to not even be into it. I figured once these 50 sold I would get to work on putting together another issue. I have the next issue ready to be printed up minus cover art and that will be limited as well. Once they are gone, they are gone. I am constantly writing and I wish I could just keep pumping new issues after new issues out all the time! If I had things my way people would grab these up quick so I had a reason to print more and that way writing would become a chore for me to continue to have issues coming out. I like to stay busy and this first zine was a great project and I hope there are many more to come!

Who are your readers?

I not really sure, I assume they are the hardcore and punk community. Having a hardcore label help me out, doing even this interview with a site that handles hardcore and punk news, my readers are most likely those people. Which is good, I think that they will be able to relate to the way I feel the most. Popular culture was never for me and it makes me sick to my stomach to see some of the things I see. But who knows, I would hope anyone would read what I have to say whether they are involved in punk or not and I hope to someday connect with my readers. I’m always willing to talk or email with someone who picked up something I have been involved in!

What’s the best time to go off for the world around you and start writing? When do you feel most comfortable in your writing zone?

I usually do most of my writing at night, I have my whole day to look back and reflect on even though I usually just end up writing about other things. I go through phases though, there have been times where I carried a notebook and pen around with me everywhere and any down time was spent writing. There have been times where I didn’t pick up a pen for weeks, I was like a dried up well. I guess it is all just depending on how I am feeling. I never feel like anything I am writing down is great or well written but there have been times when I try and make myself write something down and it is even worse than usual so I just walk away for awhile until I feel like there is something worth writing down. I usually feel like I always have something to say, I always have an opinion on something, I could listen to myself talk for hours on end. [laughs] I just need someone to listen.

People write less and less these days and they confine their writing to text messages and emails. Have you noticed such regularity?

I have absolutely noticed it. I am one of them, I am constantly on my smart phone, I did most of this interview via my phone because I didn’t have time to sit down at my computer to do it. I think that it is incredible that we can communicate so quickly via text message and email. I mean, look at us right now, worlds apart from each other but we can conduct this interview with ease. But I also notice when I am in public, around people, that I am not the only one finding it had to hold a conversation. Everyone is so used to sending a text that they don’t know how to interact with each other anymore. I have been with groups of people and a guy and girl are texting from across the room instead of talking to each other face to face.

I am torn on it though because I hate talking on the phone and find it just easier to text someone because I can continue to work on what I am doing and not have to give my full attention to being on the phone. Anyone reading this, don’t text and drive. Please.

[laughs] Yeah, man. No joke. People don’t know how to write anymore. Literally. I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and this shit is really fucked up. I literally can’t deal with a pen anymore. It has been caused by constant use of a computer mouse. At least that’s what doctor told me.

When will we stop using pen and paper?

That is a bummer!! I hope it isn’t too much a constant pain.

I would like to think that we would never stop using pen and paper completely. I am sure people will always send letters, there are always kids infatuated with all things retro and sending letters instead of a text or email is right up their alley. I have thought about ditching the pen and pad and going straight to a word document to cut down on the process of typing up what I wrote if or when I want to print another issue but then I would be forced to carry around a computer and that isn’t something I want to do. But I think there will always be a need for people to physically write things down. You should always be writing something down!

Damn right! Our children were already born with digital technology, but I fear the upcoming years even more [smiles].

I hope we won’t give up on reading though. How often do you read books?

God I hope we don’t give up on reading books!!! I hear it more and more every day, “I don’t really like to read books.” It blows my mind every single time. I just want to ask these people how unintelligent do they want to sound. I don’t care if you are reading the dictionary, the bible, or those awful Twilight books, just read something. Do anything instead of sitting in front of the TV, eating junk food and watching some “reality” show.

I do read often though, I like to unwind at night with reading a little bit. That and writing are like my nightly activities. I am currently reading Black Spring by Henry Miller, it is great so far, I suggest picking it up.

Was it a part of the pattern of your behavior? How have you develop in reading?

I feel like reading is another outlet for me. When I’m into a book it is like being somewhere else. It sounds cliche but it’s the truth, it’s a place to escape reality. When writing I feel like reality is right in my face because I  writing about my reality or my feeling/thoughts. So it’s nice to escape that because it can be overwhelming and it can drag me down. So I try to balance the reading and writing out. It seems weird I know, I just have a lot of negativity in my writing and have gone lengths of time where I only write and I find myself just being a lot meaner so I try and fight that with having my thoughts elsewhere.

As far as being developed as a reader, I think I read at a slower pace so I can comprehend and absorb everything. Like everything else I go through phases where I will devour book after book and then not pick up one for weeks.

Were you raised like that? I mean, reading is not the first thing kids want to dive into these days, right? Sometimes it takes great attention from parents and a proper role models in your surroundings to fall in love with books, don’t you think?

I completely agree, I think parents should show their kids that reading doesn’t make you a “dork” or a “nerd” or something along those lines. I however wasn’t raised like that, it wasn’t until I got a little older that I really started getting more and more into books. I think these days and even when I was growing up, it was/is easier to put your kid in front of a television or video games instead of trying to get them to read a book. I know if someone woman is unlucky enough to have my child, that I will do my best to make sure that kid grows up wanting to read and enjoying books.

Books over music then? Or should it go arm in arm?

Music over everything. I don’t think I could go a day in my life without music playing! I constantly need it on.

What’s your favourite format? Are you a mobile listener, like we all these days? Or do you still find some time to forget everything else and just listen?

I am a mobile listener, I have like 3 iPods filled with different types of music. When I’m home I have music always playing from my computer but as soon as I leave the headphones go on. I hate when I am somewhere or doing something and I can’t be listening to some kind of music!

I am also a collector of music on vinyl format. I’m not one of those people who swear that it sounds better on vinyl but someone who LOVES artwork and packaging. I love that the album artwork being huge and the insert has lyrics and usually other little things on it that I can read when I find time to spin a record. I love being in different cities and finding their best record stores and spending hours in there going through everything.

Nice one, bro. Same here. What are some of the most unique presses you’ve got?

I’m not sure if I have anything too unique. Growing up being into TRIAL, when BETWEEN EARTH & SKY released their album I HAD to snag up a test press from Refuse Records! Shipping was insane but well worth it! That is a band that everyone needs to be checking out.

Ha! I know Robert from Refuse [laughs]. I used to spend hours at his flat in Warsaw a few years ago. BETWEEN EARTH & SKY will be playing Refuse Records’ 20th Aniversary gig in Warsaw this summer. Can’t wait! Also, Greg is doing his spoken word tour this spring. I’m stoked!

Btw, check out some of the footage shot during TRIAL’s performance at one of my favourite festivals ever.

What’s so special about Greg and these two projects?

I’m very jealous about them being over there, I wish I was there to see it, I was I was hanging in Warsaw even!

These projects are special because they are a positive message! There are so many bands out there crying about their trivial problems which is fine because that’s what I do in my writings but when a band is talking about serious issues everyone should make it a point to pay attention and listen! TRIAL playing shows again is one of the few reunions going on that I actually support!

Alright, Ryan. Please shed some light on your local punk scene. What is it like?

Like I said I am constantly moving/traveling  and at the moment I’m not really active in what’s going on here locally. Someday I will slow down and settle into a place I like and will do my best to be an active show goer. I never want to be an “old head” who doesn’t go out to the shows and only talks about how great it used to be.

Ha! You’re stuck in the past, bro! Admit it! [laughs]

How did you find IDIOTEQ?

I am, these kids don’t know anything about hardcore! [laughs]

I have actually followed your site for awhile, I don’t know if I stumbled across it or saw a band interview I wanted to read. I can’t remember but I pop in and check out what you have going on from time to time! It’s a good site to get hardcore related news and get exclusive interviews and what not. Some people are going to read this and realize I’m a nobody and be pretty disappointed in you for doing the interview!

Actually I hope we’ll get a nice count with this chat! [smiles]

Are you looking for more opportunities to promote your zine now?

I hope so too!!

I am constantly looking for any opportunity to promote this zine and any future issues. If you know anyone looking to do an interview send them my way and if anyone reading this wants to talk please feel free to contact me. Like I said, I have an opinion on anything and everything and would love to talk about it all! Would love to get my name out there as much as possible.

Aaah! I knew it! You’re desperate to be on television! [laughs]

Ok, J. K. Rowling, do you have any interesting stories you’d like to share before we finish up? [smiles]

HA! I don’t know if TV is my thing!! I feel like I have a million and one stories but nothing is coming to mind right now!

Something about the Easter weekend perhaps? Do you celebrate it?

I’m not the religious type but I will head back to my mothers for the weekend and spend time with family. Pretty standard stuff, no church for me, just food and lounging around really. It will be nice to get away for a couple days! [laughs]

Do you have a special menu for this occasion?

I actually have no idea what is being made. I am sure a ham or turkey among other things. There will be a lot of other family there so there will be plenty of food which is great because I love to eat! But who doesn’t? [laughs]

Brian Fallon of THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM! [laughs] He revelaed this terrible thought during this interview and I was really shocked [laughs].

Alright, Ryan. Thank you so much for your time! Say hello to your family and have a good one with your zine! Make sure to drop me line as soon as you produce more issues.

Cheers, mate!

Thank you so much for the interview! I will be in touch!

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