When Shawn Loeffler founded Yell! Magazine with good friend Steve Ladanyi back in 2010, he was out for blood… or at least to cover all aspects of blood-related pop culture. Tired of magazines that treated their personal interests as only sidebar-worthy topics, Loeffler and Ladanyi set out to make heavy metal, horror/sci-fi movies, MMA fighting, and hardcore video games the focus of Yell!, and they’ve been having a bloody good time putting the webzine together ever since. We love a startup success story! We caught up with Loeffler to find out more about Yell! and what it’s been like turning his dream job into a reality.
Give us a snippet about you. What should people know?
You mean all I get is a snippet? Kidding aside, I’m the proud co-founder, along with Steve Ladanyi, of the Montreal-based webzine, Yell! Magazine. At this point, I’ve got my hands in pretty much every aspect of the site’s content, but my passion is on the music front. Horror is pretty cool too. I’m an ex-pat living in Montreal and very fortunate to have a loving and supportive wife who lets me pursue this crazy dream.
How did Yell! get started?
Steve and I started Yell! Magazine because we’re passionate about the topics we cover and we saw a pretty obvious overlap between them. We both had web experience in different capacities, so we decided we should go for it and become a voice for these often neglected aspects of the subculture. Esentially, Yell! got started from the ground up and out of our own pockets.
What have been some of the coolest experiences you’ve had since launching the webzine?
Festivals! Montreal is a hotbed of festivals, which gives us tons of opportunities to interview bands, film directors, and actors. As far as a specific experience, for me it was having an article I wrote for Yell! run off KISS’ official website. Within 10 minutes, Yell! got hit hard with so much traffic that our servers crashed. We also had one of our interviews go in the special features of a horror movie DVD (Jacob, if you’re interested).
What musicians/bands do you most want to interview and why?
We were so close to interviewing Phil Anselmo (ex-Pantera) this past summer. We watched other media outlets swarm around him like bees to honey and the dude is way over the top. Not to mention that he is a heavy metal legend. Other bands I’d like to interview include In This Moment, KISS, Megadeth, Van Halen, Lamb of God, Slayer, Birthday Massacre… god the list could go on and on. I’ve interviewed some of these bands already, but I’m greedy like that.
Ever had an interview go terribly wrong?
We have an interview that’s about three minutes long after editing. Nicest guy in the world, but he could hardly speak a lick of English. Outside of that, nothing terrible has really happened. Before Yell!, I did interview Ice Cube and asked him if he had collaborated with Dre for his latest album… yeah, my foot tasted pretty good that day.
Best advice for aspiring music writers?
Best advice? Network like mad, but it’s pretty easy since the music industry, at least the heavy metal side of it, is pretty friendly. Write for free if you’re just starting out because you have to get your name out there. And when you write reviews for albums, videos, songs, concerts, whatever, tell your reader what you specifically like or don’t like — keeping in mind that they may never see or hear what you’re talking about. Oh, and if you ever trash a band, back it up.