Hi there! I’m Bear Wiseman, the former owner and editor-in-chief of Musicalypse. I’m here to tell you that we have proudly joined forces with Tuonela Magazine, and tell you a little bit about Musicalypse and how we ended up a part of the Tuonela team!
THE EARLY DAYS
Musicalypse.net was founded in 2007 under the name “Music-Photocalypse” by Jana Blomqvist (Russia/Finland) and Cornelia Wickel (Germany). These two never exactly had the same taste in music, but nevertheless kept shooting the same bands, and found each other on DeviantArt as a result. What made these two click was their similar ideas on what actually makes up a good gig photo. It soon became clear that they both had the idea to put together their own website so they could post their photos how and when they wanted to. Cornelia came up with the name “Music-Photocalypse” and thus our little site was born. Soon, some journalists were brought on as well to cover the journalistic aspects of the site, and by 2010, Music-Photocalypse had become a fairly well-known local music media with guest photographers and writers and everything. They were able to shoot and interview such greats as MEGADETH, SLAYER, and more!
It’s a shame to say then, that it was around that time that the site also started to die. They journalists lost interest and Cornelia simply became too busy with her day job to find time to write and photograph live shows regularly anymore. As for Jana, though she did continue shoot for us from time to time, she moved up to the big leagues years ago and most of the time, if you wanted to see her photos, you would most easily find her material on Rumba. She also ran the Artisti artistin silmin blog over at Inferno (formerly Rumba). Neither of the ladies wanted to see their site fade into obscurity, as there were over 15,000 photos in the original archives, and that’s a lot of art to lose, not to mention the interviews and gig reports as well!
FROM MUSIC-PHOTOCALYPSE TO MUSICALYPSE
I met Jana, funnily enough, also on DeviantArt when I moved to Finland and started admiring her photos. We met in person for the first time at the WITHIN TEMPTATION show at The Circus back in 2010 and have been good friends ever since. By 2012, it seemed that Music-Photocalypse was pretty much dead, as there hadn’t been any updates on the site in nearly 2 years. I was writing little gig reviews and posting them on Facebook for fun, so Jana asked me if I wanted to try writing reviews for the site, which she now referred to as “Musicalypse,” and so I went to see THE USED at The Circus and wrote a little test review that wasn’t officially updated and published officially until 2012.
After giving me some tips on writing and Musicalypse‘s style, my first official (re: accredited) review for Musicalypse was of SABATON at the end of 2012, and by 2013 I was the only staff left to hold up the weight of the site on my shoulders. By 2014 I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep going with the site or not. I always joked that as long as the amount of money I spent on the server hosting was less than the amount I would normally spend on concert tickets, I’d keep the site – after all, festival tickets are expensive, but the truth is, writing can get tiring if you do it a lot. So I started poking around my friends and their friends to see if I could find any others to join the team. Whenever I could, I brought in some friends and acquaintances from various places to help both spread the love and take some of the work off my shoulders. Slowly and surely over the years, I managed to build the staff up to over 20 contributors.
As for the site itself, I’d been debating whether or not I wanted to put any money into fixing this rather broken site for over a year. Back when it was just me, I couldn’t be bothered. I had no idea if anyone even read Musicalypse anymore and if the site was just me, myself, and I, why would I put any money into it? When I finally had a staff to help me out though, it was just a matter of finding the time and money to fix things up. The old site design, while fun, never clicked with me. I loved the camera cannon, and I did think the exploding photos was a cool idea, but the overall design always struck me as “1990s metal site” and we’ve never been a strictly metal review site.
I’m also not a web designer. I’ve learned a lot about the internet from running Musicalypse, but Cornelia had stayed on as our content manager, and it always made me feel so guilty about keeping her on the line when she was so busy all the time, plus constantly asking her to go back and fix things every time I fucked something up. I wanted to be able to post things myself without having to worry about her or anyone else. It’s my site now – it should be my responsibility! So I bought a new logo and hired some people to rebuild the site for me, and we reached Musicalypse 2.0.
PARTNERS IN PASSION
From here on out, with a growing staff and a lot of coverage, Musicalypse regained its place as the biggest English-language magazine in Finland. That is, at least, until I met Laureline Tilkin, whom you may know as the editor-in-chief of this lovely Tuonela Magazine where you are finding us today.
Now, I’ll never forgive her for starting her own site, instead of applying for Musicalypse, but I understand that desire to do things one’s own way. It’s just a shame because she could’ve totally taken control of Musicalypse and been the head photographer, since at that point my head photographer had stepped down. Besides, she’s always known what she’s doing far better than I do.
We met when I was looking for some photos of EVERFROST to use for the Valurauta show at The Circus, and Benji Connelly told me that Laureline had been photographing that show as well. Naturally, I tried to convince her to join Musicalypse, having no idea she was also the owner of Tuonela. We hit it off pretty quickly and started helping one another out when we could. By 2019, our medias were clear partners, working hand-in-hand together and supporting one another as much as possible – I even became her English editor (Laureline is Belgian, if you didn’t know), while she’d help me with a lot of interview photography. I appreciate her dedication to real, good journalism, as well as respect her knowledge of websites and how they work – something that had pretty much always been my kryptonite.
Music journalism is a tough industry (well, let’s face it, the whole music industry is a real bitch) and has an impressive power to beat a person down. Labels don’t care about content or quality as long as you have the likes and views to make it interesting for them. Shitty clickbait medias do their utmost to squash competitors, rather than partnering up the way we did, creating unnecessary viciousness in an already shitty industry. To cap it off, I simply had no skills to really build the site properly and it was starting to take up so much of my time that I wasn’t really able to accomplish anything else. My personal life goals, like my lifelong dream of being a fiction writer, were fading away because of all the reviews I felt that I needed to write, all the editing I needed to do, and all the management of the rest of the staffs’ articles and the page itself.
Don’t get me wrong, I put over 8 years of blood, sweat, and tears into Musicalypse. The site was my baby, my pride and joy. I could tell you every article that we published and had reformatted every article (nearly 2000 of them towards the end) on multiple occasions throughout the years. I had dedicated a part-to-full-time amount of my life to keeping the site up-to-date. But because we were still the biggest, it meant obligations. To keep it up, I wanted to push the limits. Get on the mailing list of more labels. Get more interviews. But I simply didn’t have time for it anymore and I was sick of putting my real dreams on hold for it.
Laureline and I had joked about merging our sites for some time but with no really serious discussion. It was towards the end of summer 2020 that, for reasons I can’t rightfully explain, it occurred to me that I was done having my own site. It took a lot of internal debate, to ask myself if I could let go of Musicalypse, knowing that it would never come back. It turned out that the answer was easy. I had already been the English editor for Tuonela for over a year at that point and I was familiar with how things worked and was comfortable with it, as well as Laureline’s management. As well, it allowed me to take a step back without giving up this hobby completely. I insisted that Laureline stay in charge and just keep me on in whatever capacity I was useful to her.
NOW AND THE FUTURE
This brings us to today! Musicalypse‘s archives have slowly and surely been transferred over to Tuonela Magazine and as of April, the hosting for Musicalypse will come to an end. Tuonela has inherited all of Musicalypse‘s series, from our Playlist of My Life mini-interviews, to the Unleashed series that goes in depth into concept/story albums, to the BandFit video series where we get bands to do CrossFit, and already towards the end of 2020 we started to do IGTV interviews. We have plenty more ideas that we hope to roll out soon, so stay tuned and we hope you continue to like and follow us on all the usual channels! We look forward to keeping up our standards for excellent journalism and quality content for you in the coming years!
Thanks for reading!
Owner & editor-in-chief
Interview with messier — “There’s only three of us, so we have to make it count and get the sound as big as we can.”