Interview with head organizer Lara Noel McGlynn | By Michael Pementel
In a society in which a million and one websites exist, each one dedicated to its own particular niche, it takes sincere dedication and passion to stand out among them all. Doomed & Stoned happens to be one of these platforms. Since its inception, the site has remained committed to its particular focus on metal and has built a proud and loyal following.
“Doomed and Stoned is a ‘grassroots’ music blog devoted to covering heavy music, especially that which is inspired by Black Sabbath,” Doomed & Stoned’s Chicago editor Lara Noel McGlynn shares. “We’re a collective of contributors—writers, photographers, musicians—from all around the world, covering both the local scene of our area and beyond. The motto has always been, ‘To provide independent coverage of the heavy underground, by the underground for the underground, the world around.’”
“In 2013, Doomed & Stoned was started by Billy Goate and Melissa Collins,” McGlynn continues. “Both had a devotion and passion for heavy music and envisioned creating a platform where music in the various subgenres of heavy music—doom, doom metal, drone, sludge, stoner rock, psych rock, etc.—could be highlighted and explored in a more meaningful, in-depth way. [The site is] especially focused on those up-and-coming [bands] in local scenes being covered by independent contributors.”
To set itself apart from other music sites, Doomed & Stoned aims to keep its ear to the underground, crafting stories rather than quick bits of news. “I think our content is unique in the sense that we’re not simply providing the latest ‘news,’ spewing out tons of surface content that lacks any real substance,” McGlynn says. “We aim to create reviews, articles, and interviews that give the reader a very personal connection. I’d like to think that we often go where others don’t, exploring aspects of an album or garnering unique dialogue with bands, creating a fuller experience for our readers.”
McGlynn also shares the site’s dedication to showcasing talent from specific regions of the world via music compilations the site puts together. “One thing that we do that definitely sets us apart is our ‘scene-by-scene’ music compilations,” she confirms. “These are up on Bandcamp and have been worked on by contributors from around the world, covering particular countries, regions, and specific cities [and] states. Our latest ones were Doomed & Stoned in Philadelphia and Doomed & Stoned in Ireland. These compilations have been a vehicle to put a spotlight on local bands and open the listeners up to bands they might not have ever come across in any other way.”
From these compilations, Doomed & Stoned began a unique and fascinating journey. For the past couple years, Doomed & Stoned has worked to create festivals, celebrating local underground music across different scenes. “In 2016, [our] executive editor Melissa Collins organized [the] Doomed & Stoned Festival that [now] takes place annually in Indianapolis, Indiana,” McGlynn explains. “She had done the Doomed & Stoned in Indy compilation, and the festival grew out of that.”
This year, Doomed & Stoned celebrates its first-ever three-day festival, this time taking place in Chicago. Taking lead as head organizer of the festival is none other than McGlynn. “Last year, in July 2017, I completed and released the Doomed & Stoned in Chicago compilation,” she says. “During the process of creating that compilation, I moved to Chicago and submersed myself into the music scene here. Last fall, the idea to create a festival here in Chicago that would highlight some of the best local heavy music talent took shape. The rest is history.”
Organizing a festival is no small task, and McGlynn shares in detail the amount of work required to pull it off. “My role with the Chicago fest is as the chief organizer,” she begins. “I have seen to every aspect of planning this. The team looks a bit different depending on location. For example, Melissa has a different support network in Indy than I do here. However, we do share support under the umbrella of Doomed & Stoned. Various members assist by helping behind the scenes to get information out on the festival. [This] comes in many forms, including posting forthcoming news about a band on the bill or highlighting them in some way to draw attention to and educate people on the band and event. Some of us have come together to assist hands-on at the events and, surely, to bounce ideas around and brainstorm. The team is very supportive of one another and has a commitment to the scene as a whole. So, bottom line is to always see that things are getting done, look good, and nobody is getting burned out in the process.”
McGlynn says that Chicago Doomed & Stoned Festival will be unlike the fests most fans are used to. “The festival will be more personal than your bigger music festivals,” she shares. “Here, attendees will be able to interact with the bands, removing the barrier that typically [exists at] bigger festivals like Riot Fest or Chicago Open Air—which is actually on hiatus this year. I’ve also put together an artist showcase where local artists whose work falls in line with the heavy underground will be able to showcase and sell their art.”
While there’s lots of work to be done, McGlynn shares what she considers to be one of the bigger challenges in putting the event together. “Always a big challenge is promotion [and] getting the word out [and] garnering support for these events,” she explains. “We have truly worked together to assist one another in seeing that happen, even if it’s something as simple as sharing a Facebook post. Honestly though, networking has always been key. The team has opened doors for various members to ensure that the proper connections are made to see a project through. Our Editor-in-Chief Billy has always been super supportive of whatever we do, encouraging us in every aspect.”
McGlynn shares how proud she is of the Doomed & Stoned crew and their commitment to and passion for heavy music. “I’m always impressed with how hard our team works to get content out,” she says. “We have such devoted and passionate contributors. We’re all in this together and support one another to be the best we can be.”
“However, what’s impressive too is our ability to work independently,” she adds. “There’s not one person directing what gets covered and what goes out. We present ideas and take on our own challenges all the time, but nobody ever feels alone at all.”
“In general, people just seem to want to be a part of what we do,” McGlynn says. “It truly takes a village to take on something like a multiple-day festival. For me, I could not have made Chicago Doomed & Stoned Festival a reality without the help of some key people. They have devoted time and energy, being completely selfless, simply out of the sheer love of music. People see what Doomed & Stoned has done for local scenes. They migrate toward that and all pitch in to make it like one big family.”
Chicago Doomed & Stoned Festival will take place June 1 through June 3 at Reggies Rock Club. The event will feature over 20 bands, and fans can expect some amazing acts including Inter Arma, Brain Tentacles, Whores., Sixes, Faces Of The Bog, and more. The festival has some remarkable sponsors as well, including the likes of: Kuma’s Corner, 3 Floyds Brewing Co., and Dark Matter Coffee.
For McGlynn, the Chicago Doomed & Stoned Festival is a superb achievement, one that embodies her passion for the music. “With 21 bands from all over the country taking place in one of the biggest cities in the country, it hasn’t been an easy feat,” she attests. “It’s very much a labor of love.”
McGlynn also sees a bright future for the work of Doomed & Stoned, as well as future Chicago Doomed & Stoned Festivals. “My goal is to see that Chicago Doomed & Stoned Festival prospers and keeps providing the local music community a well-needed showcase for the unbelievable talent that is housed here,” she says. “Official submissions for next year begin July 1.”
You can purchase tickets for the festival here.