Nail interview conducted by mail for QRD #11
3rd Nail is a nice zine by nice people, Jason & Kristine Lambert. itís dead now, iím not sure when their new project will be up & running
QRD – why did you feel you personally needed to do a zine?
Jason – I've always done zines since I was 13 or 14. it seems to be a necessary outlet for my maniac energy to make things. itís worked so far, I haven't gone to jail or the nuthouse yet. when we started 3rd Nail it was a reflection of our interests & loves, primarily gothic. plus I'm pathetically competitive, I knew my little zine could blow Propaganda & Ghastly out of the water. we have a love of goth where they have pictures of pretty boys & girls.
QRD – what do you feel is your zineís market & purpose?
Jason – our market has always been the people that feel left out of a "scene," or who believe that no one else shares their hopes & sadness. we want to be a window that shows these people that that not only are they among friends, but that their lifestyle is a viable one, that they don't have to "fit-in" to normal society to have a support network. basically, the club-goths & trendies can fuck themselves, I want the kids who drink wine in cemeteries alone & love the dark parts of life. like a gothic Big Brother or something.
QRD – how many copies do you currently press & how many would you like to?
Jason – we print between 250 to 300 issues. it doesn't sound like much, but we come out so often that we don't have time to push 1000 copies of an issue. itís already old by the time the new one comes out. I'd love to be able to print enough to satisfy the demand, I never have left over issues. & on some past issues I don't even have a copy for myself!
QRD – what's the current format & would you like to be bigger & slicker?
Jason – currently we're half sized & xeroxed. we run 49 to 59 pages long. I would like to make the zine hold more pages, but our staples start to come out after about 55 pages. I really never had a desire to be bigger in size or glossy. those zines never come out very often, cost $5 or $6 an issue & seem to need a lot of filler to make their pages seem full. the digest size/format works well for us & I think we'll keep it that way. I would like to have hard covers like a victorian pocket naughty-book though!
QRD – how do you feel about availability in stores?
Jason – I like being available in stores locally, but I prefer direct mail outside of Pittsburgh. that way I correspond with our readers in person via letter, plus that way we get full cover price. the stores always want 60 to 80% of the cover cost, their solution is always "well, weíll raise the cover price so you can make more money" which we'll never do. 3rd Nail is worth $3, not more, that's why we print the price on the cover.
QRD – do you think advertisements belong in your zine or they compromise it?
Jason – I like ads when they're from companies we believe in supporting & who have always played fair with us. the ads cover our printing costs so the price stays low & it's nice to have a single page ad to slap on the end of an article that's one page too short/long! we never give a company/band/label a good review because they advertise with us. I've really dogged a few bands in the same issue that their ad appears in, generally they appreciate the honesty.
QRD – what would cause you to stop doing your zine?
Jason – well, the situation now is that 3rd Nail is a zine that is only about 10% of my current interests. so we are going to stop publishing it after issue #20 & begin a new zine that better expresses our loves & views. when we started 3rd Nail in '94 it really was 90% of what we were into, but we've gotten older & weirder & since we want 3rd Nail to remain faithful to the hardcore goth we haven't changed it. but it's gotten too constricting, so hopefully this new un-named zine will still satisfy the goth edge we still have, but allow us to explore the other dark & twisted corridors of our minds. we'll probably lose a lot of our readers, but I think this is more honest to those readers.
QRD – is there a local zine culture where you live or a zine culture you feel a part of?
Jason – in the last couple of years a lot of zines have sprung up & disappeared in Pittsburgh, & I'm glad to say that the majority have been friends with us. a few seem to have that "we're gother than you" attitude, but those are the ones that fade out really quickly. most of the zines around here (P.M.S. zine, Incubus, Dark Troubador, etc.) are really well done & friendly.
QRD – what do you think of the internet's effect on zines? do you think it's forcing the surviving zines to change in any way?
Jason – to be blunt, most web goth zines suck. except for the few like Nyx Obscura & Morbid Outlook, the majority are primarily self-glorifying collections of snotty fashion advice, masturbatory portraits of the designers' friends in "going-out" clothes, & next to nothing on the literary/historical/sociological aspects of goth. besides that, as a non-internet having person, it bothers me that so much important connections/penpal info is denied to those who can't afford or don't have access to the internet. I always say that the on ramp to the "information superhighway" is guarded by dollar signs. it has very little effect on paper zines as far as I know except to provide a new format to advertise in. hopefully, it has shown some printed zine editors how not to make a zine readable. I see paper zines as a cultural archive of an otherwise unrecorded society, the very temporary nature of electronic information cannot fulfill this role.
QRD – what's your favorite issue of 3rd Nail & why?
Jason – my favorite issue of 3rd Nail is #13 & #17 both (cop out, I know). #13 was our bad luck issue & I did a shitload of research on the articles in it. it was also the closest thing to how we want our new zine to look/read. #17 I like just because it is chocked full-o-goodies & I just like how it looks. actually that's a tough question because I've forgotten the majority of what is in our previous zines.
QRD – how do you feel about professionalism & unprofessionalism in zines & cut & paste versus slick computer graphics?
Jason – I think professionalism in a zine just means being true to the spirit of your publication. as far as looking "professional," a lot of my favorite zines are just cut & paste & thrown together, but the editors still stayed true to their own ideas & that makes them "professional" in a way that a slick but phony sounding zine can never be. heartfelt sincerity will blow away a pretty layout any day of the week. (for example Iíve seldom read an issue of Propaganda twice, but my copies of the Web are all dog eared & tattered from many many readings. oh yeah, & QRD too!)
QRD – what zines originally inspired/influenced you, what ones have recently, & have any made you want to quit?
Jason – I realize that this sounds like
I'm bragging, but when we started 3rd Nail, the only zines we had read
about goth were the big glossy ones, & we laughed at those. it
wasn't until we had 4 or 5 issues under our belts that we came across other
zines that impressed us, like the Web, Spectre, Dead and Buried which then
influenced 3rd Nail from then on. really, prior to 3rd Nail I loved
punk zines (since I came into goth by way of punk & still considered
myself a gothic-punk) like Slug-N-Lettuce, Maximum Rock-N-Roll, & my
all time favorite Flipside! that may be the reason 3rd Nail turned
out the like it did, we saw no need to pretend to be "all-knowing-gothic-kings/queens."
recently I've been really impressed with QRD (no shit, really), the Web
(as always), Conspiracy Comix, & locals P.M.S. (that's for Post Modern
Sluts) & the reborn Necro zine. As far as making me want to quit,
never, I'm too psychotic to give up an outlet for expression as cool as
zines! it's like heroin, once you're hooked, nothing else will do.