Markus, how did you discover music and hard rock / heavy metal music in particular? What did you find so exciting in this music? It all goes back to a videoclip I saw on TV when I was a kid. It was "I want you" by KISS. I was maybe 10 years old or so. I still remember I was fascinated by the heavy sound and the make up, of course. I think KISS were an initiation for a lot of kids around my age. At which point and how did you turn into the underground world? How did you discover fast, brutal music? I always was – and still am – looking for the most brutal and fast music around. Soon after KISS I first discoverd all the other bands like SCORPIONS, RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH, MAIDEN, PRIEST or MOTÖRHEAD. One day I was listening to the Heavy Metal Show on the radio and heard a VENOM song. I was blown away and I needed to have that album. Fortunately, there was a record shop in Duisburg ("Rock On") where you coul get a lot of cool stuff. Michael, later editor-in-chief of DARK TALES, was also a regular customer there. Maybe we met without knowing back then. Hoewever, as I said, I was always looking for the next most brutal band. After Venom came METALLCA, BATHORY, SLAYER, HELLHAMMER, NAPALM etc. I got to admit that I somehow lost interest in metal by the end of the 90s for a few years. At that point, band like ANTHRAX were popular and metal was mixing with Punk and Hip Hop. I was back a few years later when I first saw a picture of DARKTHRONE somewhere. I thought: "What the fuck is going on here?". At that point, the Euronymous murder was still unsolved and it caught my whole attention. I was back in. And I still am! "I never really liked Metal Hammer. They smelled like sell out from the very beginning..." What did/does The Underground" mean to you – respectively, to "be underground"? I wasn't thinking in terms of "underground". Metal wasn't very popular back then and I think there were just three or four other metal guys at my school back then, but I didn't call it "underground". It was just the music and style I loved. I never gave a fuck whether something is pupular or not popular. Were you also involved in the tapetrading scene? Yes, I was involved in the tape trading scene. I think I started tape trading with one of the guys of SHOCK POWER magazine. I still remember when I received the "Satanic Rites" Demo of HELLHAMMER arrived. I was very curious and began listening at once. But… I fell asleep after a few songs. But I began to really love it a few days later.At which point did the fanzines enter in your life? Do you still remember which fanzines did you get in your hands for the first time? As I just said, SHOCK POWER was one of the first fanzines I read. I don't really remember the exact chronology, but one of the first magazines around besides the dutch Aardschok was the Desaster magazine. The size was that of a newspaper. I don't know if it was really good, but as a young metalhead you were happy to get some information anyway. After that of course, Metal Hammer started and also the Rock Hard Fanzine, which soon became the most popular magazine in Germany. How did you like them? Was this a brand new world for you? I really liked Shock Power and Rock Hard and a few other fanzines I could get hold of then. I never really liked Metal Hammer. They smelled like sell out from the very beginning. When did Dark Tales start exactly? Well, Nr. 1 came out in 1985. I think we started a few months before. Maybe late 1984. How about the staff? How did you get to know eachother? I think we all knew eachother before from a pub called "Mountains". That was the firs metal bar I knew, located right around the corner of the famous "Old Daddy" in Duisburg. We all were regulars there and went to concerts together and stuff like that. One day, Michael and Torsten came up with the idea of the magazine and they asked me and Jürgen if we would like contribute. What was your motivation, goal with the fanzine? What did inspire you founding a fanzine? I can only speak for me here. I was just honoured to be part of it. Since I was very young then and still was at school, I couldn't invest any money. But I tried to compensate that with enthusiasm and work.Did you have contributors/helping hands as well? Yes, we did have helping hands, but just a few. Torsten himself did most of the fotos, but as far as I remember, he had someone at work who helped him editing the pictures. And we had some guest writers now and then. Would you say that Dark Tales belonged to the first fanzines from Germany? Do you perhaps remember, which fanzines started earlier than Dark Tales? Shock Power, Blitzkrieg, Metal Warriors, Metal Prophecy, Battlefield etc.. Dark Tales belonged to the group of very early fanzines. As I said before, I already knew Shock Power. I think Metal Warriors were also there before us. Battlefield… I knew the guys, but I don't remember if they started earlier. Cool guys, by the way. Did you, I mean the fanzines, help and support each other or was it rather a competition among you? Did you also trade with each other? As far as I can judge we always helped and supported each other. We exchanged our issues or even sold each others issues at concerts. Back then you had to build a network (in contrast to just accessing an already existing network). Was it clear for you to write German instead of English? Why did you choose your mother language? We didn't think about it, I guess. At least these thoughts didn't come up during that period. "we were located in the midst of the Ruhr area... the golden age and the golden area of Thrash / Death / Black Metal..." At the early/mid 80's a lot of new heavy/speed metal bands were popping up such as Grave Digger, Helloween, Avenger/Rage, Atlain, Running Wild, Living Death, Warrant, Gravestone, Stormwind, Warlock, Vampyr etc. from every part of Germany. Did you keep an eye on what's going on in the German underground scene at this point? Of course we did. We were fans ourselves and every new band was interesting to us. Since we were located in the midst of the Ruhr area, we were surrounded by young bands and eager musicians. It was the golden age and the golden area of Thrash / Death / Black Metal with bands like SODOM, KREATOR, ASSASSIN, DEATHROW, VIOLENT FORCE, LIVING DEATH and so on. With these hugh amount of bands that started their career at this point, was the situation in Germany the same as in the UK with the NWOBHM movement? Were you also familiar with the British outfits? The British bands started it, along with the American bands. The bands I just mentioned were all influenced by VENOM, SLAYER, METALLICA, EXODUS, Swedish BATHORY and Swiss HELLHAMMER. In your opinion, were the German bands easily distinguishable from each other in terms of songwriting, producing, sound etc.?Intersting question, because when you think about it, all of these bands had their own sound. Even SODOM or HELLHAMMER, who were laughed about in the very beginning, had a distinguished sound. You can't say that about most of the bands today. How did you get in touch with the bands that were interviewed/featured in each issue? There were two basic ways to get to a band: Ask for an interview at a concert or write them a letter. You nearly always got an answer or the permission to do an interview. I always had the impression that musicians were happy to get some promotion. Most of them were fans themselves. How did you choose the bands that you wanted to interview/to feature at all? Did it depend on your personal musical taste or…? Yes, I think so. Jürgen and me were more into the hard stuff whereas Michael and Torsten were into the more melodic and traditional bands. Hence the magazine was quite versatile.Did you always use own material or did you borrow articles from other fanzines too? We always used our own articles. Maybe there were one or two exceptions. I would ask you to give us some details about the issues of Dark Tales! I'm interested in everything what come to your mind.. OK, though question. We had (only) three issues. They were released during 1985 and 1986. I don't know how much time passed between issues but think it was about half a year. The interviews were as deep as the circumstances allowed. If we had time to prepare and time to ask questions, the interviews went fine. I remember an interview with Martin Ain of CELTIC FROST. I already knew Martin from writing letters and from phone calls so I went in quite prepared. Since we also had enough time after the infamous Zeche Bochum gig, the interview went very well. It is still my favourite interview ever. Jürgen also did a very good interview with MANOWAR's Eric Adams. But there were also moment you just had a few minutes or spontaneous interviews you had to improvise. As for reviews, I always tried to be fair. We never were under pressure to write good reviews about bands we don't like, though. Did the fanzine satisfy the demands of the underground fans? I hope so. I was quite surprised when I saw that we were number 3 after Metal Hammer and Rock Hard in a Metal Hammer poll. How were they sold and distributed/promoted? Were all of the issues sold out? I really don't remember that. We sold the issues at local distributors (like record stores) and concerts. Maybe the last issue had a bigger distributor. Did you receive letters from other continents, too? Yes, we did. From time to time I even got LPs from America from bands who wanted a review. You can call that mouth to mouth propaganda! Were you also in touch with record labels? Did you get respectively how often did you get promo packages? Michal was the main man regarding that. He was in contact with record labels and spreaded the records during editorial meetings. Maybe he got packages once a month?Mosty records and demo tapes. Also as advance tapes.Did it happen that the material that you've got from bands or labels weren't featured in the issues because of lack of space or did you always have enough material for every issue? I think we always covered everything we got. As always, there might be some exceptions. What about the production cost of each issues? Were your costs cleared, that you were investing in them? I'm afraid they were not. We stopped after three issues and that was one of the main reasons. I think if we had had a bit more endurance, we could have made the next big step. During the 80's a lot of compilations were released by several labels, such as the famous "Metal Massacre", "Speed Metal Hell", "Thrash Metal Attack", "Beyond Metal Zone", "Stars On Thrash" to name a few. Did it help a lot for the bands to make a name for themselves? Were these samplers good things for introducing newer bands to the fans? The first METALLICA song I ever heard was on Metal Massacre 1. It really blew me away. Is that an answert to your question? (-: Yes, I think these samplers were great. However, you can't compare these samplers to samplers nowadays. But I also discovered some bands by listening to the newest Rock Hard sampler. Which year was the best for metal and why? OK, right now I've been thinking about this for half an hour. I quit. Maybe 1984, when you could see IRON MAIDEN, SCORPIONS, JUDAS PRIEST, OZZY OSBOURNE, DEF LEPPARD and MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP in one concert (Rock Pop in Concert). Thar was realy fucking great! What do you recall of the fanzine world of the 80's as a whole? Metallic Beast, Blackthorn, Deathfuck, Violent Noize, Kick Ass Monthly, Metal Mania, Headbanger, Aardschok to name a few… I was always happy to get my hand on other great and famous fanzines since I was always eager to get to know more new and extreme bands. Was it a kind of impenetrable scene? I mean, there were a very large amount of fanzines, as if a new one popped up every day or week… Compared to today, the scene was quite clear. Let's take Black Metal for example. Between VENOM and MAYHEM there were maybe a few hundred bands. Now you have hundreds of thousands. Just have a look at Metal Archives. That I would call impenetrable. "Fanzines were and are the connection between the bands and the business part of music and the fans..." Because of the big amount of fanzines, was it hard to pick up fanzines for the fans/collectors? From today's point of view I think it was a more local phenomenon. I had a few fanzines I read regularly. When I was at a concert outside my area, I maybe bought one or two other fanzines there without becoming a regular reader. I had the impression that there were two main groups: the Metal Hammer and the Rock Hard readers. What is/was the importance of the fanzines in your opinion? Fanzines were and are the connection between the bands and the business part of music and the fans, who – of course – are also part of the business part. Both parts cannot exist without the other. Fanzines are here to make that clear!! During the existence of Dark Tales did the staff remain constant or were there guys that got out of the fanzine and others joined instead of them? No, the staff was quite constant. What about the prime cost of the certains issues? As I said, Michael and Torsten were concerned with the financial part. We always tried to finance the issues with sales and advertising. Although advertising increased with the time, it wasn't enough. Were all of you satisfied with every Dark Tales issues? Beside discovering spelling errors: Yes. Why and when did you stop doing Dark Tales? The answer to this question can be found in various answers before. However, beside financial reasons we became a bit frustrated. Michael tried a "restart" with an online version of DARK TALES. Must have been around 2000 or so. Did you go on writing for other fanzines/magazines? If so, in which magazines/fanzines did you take part? I contributed to a fanzine called TALES OF THE MACABRE in the 90's. The editor in chief founded Iron Pegasus records, known for METALUCIFER and DESASTER. I also took part in an online magazine called METAL STORM. Both don't exist any more, as far as I know. In your opinion, did the scene become oversaturated at the late 80's/early 90's? How did you view the grunge, pop/punk and nu metal scene later on? The scene became oversaturated but this is just a normal process. It is the process of proceation if you will. I'm always trying to catch up a bit but it is not possible any more. I'm still reading DEAF FOREVER magazine and I'm watching the Krachmucker channel on youtube, but that's it. I just don't have the time. Looking back, the genres you mention are quite dead, right? I liked some grunge, some pop punk but NO nu metal! Are you still proud of Dark Tales these days? Well, if a guy from Hungary does contact me to make an interview after all these years, the answer is YES. Who are/were your best friends from the scene? Are you still in touch with them? Since my oldest friends were from the scene and are still friends of mine I can say that I still am in touch with them. Do you often read webzines? What do you think about them? Since I also wrote for a webzine once I can only say that I like them. Hiwever, I don't read them regularly. Can you recommend one? Do you often go to concerts, festivals these days? Unfortunately no. I don't mind going to see a movie in the cinema alone, but I don't go to concerts alone. I'm living near Frankfurt right now and don't know too many people here. The last concert I saw was Tom Warrior's TRIUMPH OF DEATH. That was a MUST SEE!Markus, thanks a lot for your answers, what are your closing words for The Corroseum's readers? Thank you very much. It was an honour to answer your questions. And you helped me remembering some moments of my past I maybe never would have recalled. Keep up the Metal Spirit forever!!