Metal scene is noted for brilliant musicans, skilled sound producers, wise label owners... and tallented artists of course. Read out what one them, named Mickmo, has got to tell The Metallist readers.
Ind: Introduce yourself please! Why is your nameshortened?
Mickmo: The darkened shadows of this world figured Ineeded a shorter and more memorable name for this hostbody, It is inscribed on a stone relic and trappedunder ice in the Antarctic Region. My true name not tobe announced until the beginnings of the Thousand YearWar between angels and demons.Anyway, as far as it goes, my art is pretty wellrecieved by both in the metal community as well as thecomics community. I play a duel role in both. I findmyself jumping back and forth with it.
Ind: Which artwork cooperation do you think was the most exciting foryou?
Mickmo: I would say the most exiting was the interiorfor Punished Earth: Ruined Empire from Uxicon Records,they gave me free reign on that piece.
Ind: What type of metal music are you in to?
Mickmo: All sorts of metal ranging from power metal todeath metal. Grindcore and black metal also are worthyof kicking serious ass! You know, anything with ballsand just stomps the prissie nu-metal acts to theground!
Ind: You are in friendly relations with many famousmetal folks, aren't you?
Mickmo: I have met many metal bands from many labelsand some were so underground and didn't have a label.I have met over 70 metal bands. I think my favoriteshave been bands like ORIGIN, KRISIUN, IMMOLATION,CANNIBAL CORPSE, EXHUMED, CEPHALIC CARNAGE, MORTICIAN, COALESCE, HYPOCRISY, IMMORTAL (before the breakup) andso many others. I even sung a song with the legends inFLOTSAM AND JETSAM! It was spur of the moment thing,but the song was Hammerhead, I won't ever forget itand it was a hell of a lot of fun!I may have met one or two bands that I probably caughton a bad day. But sometimes they go through stresstoo.But people know I am cool with the metal road dogs ofhere and abroad, it is almost legend in itself.
Ind: Tell us more about your comics! What are yourmain inspirations horror, amusement, everyday life?
Mickmo: I really learned to do art from gut feeling,that extends into my mind and into the electricalimpulses of my hand, then onto the medium I am workingwith.I am at my best when I am away from everything andeveryone and working within my psyche, then I come outof the house with this amazing image.I barely read comics, I just watch really good moviesand televison shows ranging from Freddy Kreuger flicksto Monty Python. It is a broad expansion of visualmedium. But I do look at a lot of fine art such asGiger and Bekinski.I have done work for so many freelance things, Iforget them all. It ranges with all the stuff I havedone in the past 10 years. You could see all of thestuff I have been involved with by just typing my nameunder a search engine.But as far as comics, I am known for my creationBug-Slayer and Tales of Retribution and the new work Iam doing with the CCN (Kansas City Comics CreatorsNetwork) anthology, Show and Tell 2. As far as I know,I am the only existing metalhead in the CCN. Well, sofar!
Ind: You also take a lot of photos! Is it a separateart of shooting metal stage action?
Mickmo: Whenever I go to a metal show, and anticipatethe excitement and sometimes I don't sleep for like 20hours, there is nothing quite like it! Because it issafer then jumping out a plane or doing stunt work,yet you can still feel this raw feeling of creativeexpression that literally leaps from the sound of thatstage that night.So when I take the pictures, I make sure I get in thefrom of the stage and capture the band's intensity andvelocity.The true art and form comes when I get them scanned infrom photographs and look for something unique in thepictures. It is all based around solid composition.
Ind: Do you remember recent days when USA and USSRwere enemies?
Mickmo: During the Cold War, yes I do! I remember theRocky movies when he punched out Russian boxers andSam Kinison was making fun of Khrushchev and his uglyteeth, or Gorbachev's stain on his head. There was abig sterotype of Russians being spies, even during the80's and the Reagan Era. stuff like the classic movies"Spies Like Us" or some of the James Bond films.
Ind: Do you feel any echoes of such attitudenowadays?
Mickmo: I don't see it too much now, I sort of hearabout it here and there, but I hear more about theSaddam thing now then anything now. I think collegedid it for me dude, when I saw these stunning Moscowgirls and thought, "Wow, they are hotter then someAmerican girls I know!". Too bad I didn't get them inthe sack!
Ind: I know that most ordinary people think wrongidea to start the Iraq war...
Mickmo: Yeah that whole thing was all hype because ofthe tragedy of September 11. They considered Saddamthe main guy to go after, when they should have wentafter Bin Laden. It was either this, you supported thepropaganda the government was feeding you, or you wereconsidered one of the bad guys along with them. It wasa weird time.
Ind: Can we really fight terrorism or all efforts canforce them to make more terror?
Mickmo: I think when you get rid of the head of theproblem, you are still going to have post-radicalssupporting the ideals of a dictatorship anyway. It isthe same as people who may support the KKK or Naziparties. It is scary, but there are still people inthis world that are like that who support thedumbfounded ignorance and live in that sort of tunnelvisionary shell.
Ind: Another political issue. Having TERMINATOR as apolitician! Will that be the starting point of robots'riot?
Mickmo: Heh! Good old Arnold Swartzenegger! That racefor California was funny cause he was competingagainst a circus of people. Including a few porn starsand Gary Coleman, the famous midget from DifferentStrokes! Then they made these accusations that Arnoldwas groping women's breasts. It was all a promotionalthing for actors to become a part of the government. Itwas all media hoopla to me!
Ind: Do you like films like "Tank Girl" - a mixtureof comics and cinematography?
Mickmo: You know, I actually watched that movie ontelevision the other day, a few weeks ago. Tank Girlwas a funny yet quirky film, with a younger JenniferConnelly in it. The Hulk was a movie I was reallyimpressed with, because it went from panel to panel. Ilike Ang Lee's directorial style.
Ind: Do you know at least anything about eastEuropean scene, apart big bands like Behemoth, Vader,Krabathor?
Mickmo: I know about all of those plus Pandemia andRoot. I think there is a lot of heavy andinnovative bands from overseas, some of which I stillhave to discover for myself. But I like it all of thesame if it has the universal heaviness to it.
Ind: What's up with US labels? Most brilliantAmerican metal bands got signed to European labels!
Mickmo: I am just guessing that metal labels are moreabundant overseas. I know being an artist for metalbands, it is easier to get my album art across to aforeign label. I imagine it holds true if you aretrying to press a CD in Europe or abroad. I had aneasier time getting album work with Uxicon Records inBelgium then I did with Relapse in the States.It took me a long time as well to break open with alocal scene of comics, but they always say what comesaround, goes around. I think it all just happens incycles. But somehow it all balances out in the grandscope of things.
Ind: Don't you mind telling us about your problemswith police? Was really because of your art?
Mickmo: Yeah dude, one time I had a cop tell me thatmy comics were evil, because some kid killed himselffrom reading my comic. So then I get called up by adetective and they think I got this plot to killpeople. The parents were ticked off and angry at me,and I did not think anyone would get the weird ideasof suicide based off of one of my comics. The comicwas called "Tales of Retribution".I have had cops strip search me and interrogate mebecause I fit there quote-end quote "stereotype",because I was different then them. Because they didnot understand me in their police state tunnel visionminds. About 95 percent of the cops I have encounteredin the area, did not give a damn about me as a person.So, for the longest time, I found myself havingsomewhat of a prejudice to this revolving door policyof jurisdiction and the savage tactics they have oftenused to bend people's wills.I have seen a police state go after its owntaxpayers, send them to court, force them to pleadguilty for thing they knew there were innocent for andextort money from people. A lot of it is frivolous andjust set up for their own bulging pocketbooks.Yes, I had to see psychiatric help and deal with allof this crap just because they thought I was crazy. Itturned out that I did have a low form of depression.Turns out it was just an active imagination in anormal mind as I suspected.Fortunately, I have not got locked up in jail yet. Butmy publisher for the CCN (Kansas City Comics CreatorsNetwork) is also a cop, probably the coolest guy I hadever met. I just see him and think, "How on earthcould he be a cop? He does not really even act likeone!". It sort of changed my views a little bit andshowed me a different side of the coin. I think heunderstands creative people quite a bit.My publisher does a online comic book called Void Pulpthat you should definitely check out' , I am included onthere as well.
Ind: Have you ever suffered from censorship?
Mickmo: Yes, I had unfortunately.I had this dickhead of a publisher for an old indiecomics company dump me out on the street. He got toobig for his head a lot for the times.I got discharged by a comics promoter out of envy andjealousy. After that unfortunate episode in my lifeand dark time, I rediscovered metal shows. It wasthere at clubs that I had discovered the correlationbetween art and metal. It made so much sense at thetime as it does now, it was a release of built-uptension.I guess after the ban was when others thought my artand stories were cool. The stigma turned into a truemystique over time. I think the metal scene helped meat a time when the comics scene didn't. But, I amthankful to both, regardless.I had seen myself tested against freedoms of speechand expression when I knew it was not right. I hadgotten fired from jobs because I was a creativeperson, or they saw me as some sort of competitionbecause they wanted nothing of me. For a long time, Ifelt as if I was very misunderstood.But after all of that, I still stayed true to myselfand the art that I really wanted to do. Because ofthat, people found me to be alright.
Ind: Do have a family, close friends, pets?
Mickmo: I have 2 wonderful cats named Webster andGravy. They are like sons to me and are so loyal! ThenI have 2 roommates, a father and a few brothers.My friends do metal zines and bands and also artistsand creators that I come across. I have some buddieson the CCN as well. Check out the link tohttp://www.kcccn.com' when you ever get a chance.Other then that, I hide under incessant shadows, andtend to be a recluse!
Ind: Are there any artists (doing art for metal) youthink absolute gods?
Mickmo: I really like the current stuff like WesBenscoter, Travis Smith and Mike Bohatch. They are thenew gods of our era in metal art. H.R. Giger is anabsolute dark art god all together! Then you have JoePetagno whom I would consider near art-god status.Richard Corben is definitley an art god to comics andor coruse album covers! I cannot leave out the Polishmaster Zdzislaw Beksinski either.It is not unusual to see great artists who bridge thegap of fine art within comics and album covers. Heck,I am doing it myself!
Ind: How important it is to have a gripping frontcover of maybe music comes first of all?
Mickmo: A death, black or grindcore metal cover issomething that has to say "dark and heavy" without useof words or dialect. That art that you do has to havesomething strong about it where the person looking atit can remember it. It has to stand out and havesomething to it that may be somewhat unusual. You arealmost considered to be like another member of theband whenever you get accepted into doing album art.
Ind: Don't you think our life is a pack of lostopportunities? Sometimes we are too lazy and don'teven care about our actual wishes?
Mickmo: Yeah I see these people sitting around anddoing nothing with there lives, which is both sad andpathetic. People going day to day with no cause of anysorts.For some people, that is all they know or want to careto know.I was both blessed and cursed with art but also had towork normal jobs to maintain it. For me it was usuallya duality between normal work and art. Chances are,they balance my life out and brought some sanity in myrestless and darkened mind.
Ind: Do you have anything to say to metal maniacs inEx-USSR states and to The MetalList readers?
Mickmo: Yeah, I would just say, to keep true toyourself for whatever you are striving to put out whatis from you heart and soul and soak up as many ideasas you possibly can!Also check out some of my websites! Check out the artgalleries on all of them to see what sort of stuff Ihave been doing....I am on all of these finer sites onthe web for those who cannot see my art otherwise! Ambiance: www.go.to/mickmo2001' Bug-Slayer: bugslayer.homepagehere.com' Continuum: www.continuum.pagehere.com' Bushmado WebZine: www.bushmado.com' Halo And Sprocket: www.haloandsprocket.com' Void Pulp Press Online: www.voidpulppress.com' Keep the artforms of music and art dark and evil,always and hail true metal!