Come and rock out with freelance journalist Natasha Scharf – writer for magazines such as Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Artrocker and author of ‘Worldwide Gothic’, published by Independent Music Press earlier this year. Find out about working in the world of gothic, post-punk and metal music journalism, and which fascinating musician Natasha would love to interview herself.
About your journalism:
What do you write about?
I specialise in music and alternative lifestyle with a heavy leaning towards gothic, post-punk and metal.
Where are we likely to see your work?
Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Prog, AOR and Artrocker magazines. You also might have seen or heard me being interviewed on various televised music shows or on the radio!
What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
Up until recently, I would have said co-producing a music documentary called ‘Beyond The Pale’ for Radio 1 but this summer, I had my very first book published by Independent Music Press. It’s called ‘Worldwide Gothic’ and chronicles the gothic movement from the late ‘70s to the current day all around the globe. It’s been an amazing experience and right now I’m in the middle of a book signing tour with some djing guest slots thrown in for good measure.
You can read about it here.
What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
I’m fascinated by people and what makes them tick – that’s one of the reasons I became a journalist – and the one musician I’m most fascinated by is Marilyn Manson. I’ve yet to interview him so I’d still love to do that.
About you and PRs:
Where do you source ideas for articles?
As a music journalist, a lot of my ideas grow from bands I’ve seen or heard recently. I get a real buzz discovering new music, watching acts get signed and grow bigger. Other ideas might come through press releases or conversations with contacts who share my passion for new music.
How can PRs be useful to you?
PRs are hugely important in helping connect me to new bands and keeping me up-to-date with existing ones. I can’t be at every gig or listen to every new CD so it’s really helpful to receive press releases from people I trust.
How and when do you like them to get in touch?
I prefer email communication and I like them to get in touch whenever there’s new music around that they think I might like.
Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
Because my area is so specialised, I tend to focus only on those events that are appropriate to what I’m doing. In this respect they’re extremely useful in keeping me up-to-date with what’s going on before it hits the public domain.
If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
I prefer not to have them telephone me, especially when I’m in the middle of deadlines so I’d change that. While I appreciate they need to chase journalists for feedback, that can be annoying as well, especially if the feedback request is marked ‘high priority’.
How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
I always say that if I ever tire of writing, I will retrain as a psychologist – that’s the other job that involves finding out what makes people tick!
If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
I would spend it on a well-earned holiday, maybe to LA as I’ve not got round to going there yet. Although knowing me I’d probably somehow turn it into a working one!
What books are on your bedside table or magazines in your bag?
I realise this might sound a bit odd but I’m currently getting stuck into young adult fiction as I have the storyline of a novel that I’m trying to tweak, so I’m reading lots of Jacqueline Wilson and Louise Rennison at the moment! As for magazines, I’m dipping in and out of current issues of Classic Rock, Prog, Metal Hammer, Artrocker and Dazed And Confused just to keep up with what’s going on. I also have a copy of Psychologies and some new clothing catalogues nearby as I recently went to an alternative fashion expo, so I’m keeping an eye on trends.