Hellbound Staff Interrogations #23: Sean Palmerston

Our second anniversary celebration wouldn’t be complete without hearing from Hellbound’s evil editor-in-chief. Cara Cross took the opportunity to interrogate Sean Palmerston about his unholy creation. Photo by Adam Wills.

What motivated you to create Hellbound?

I had been writing for two different metal magazines, Metal Maniacs and Unrestrained!, and in early 2009 both of them ceased to exist. The publisher of Unrestrained, Adrian Bromley, passed away very suddenly in December 2008 and in the first quarter of 2009 the publishers of Metal Maniacs pulled the plug with little advance notice.

I really enjoyed writing for both magazines immensely but was left without a solid writing outlet. Before joining the staff of both magazines I had written about metal for Canada’s Exclaim! but as I got busier with other magazines my level of involvement declined and I didn’t think it would be fair to their current metal writers to try and step back and take work from others, so I just decided to step forward and start something myself.

I took my last earnings from Metal Maniacs and registered hellbound.ca, an offshoot of our weekly radio program, Hellbound Radio.

Who did you reach out to, in those first few months, to make the project work?

Originally I only reached out to Canadian based writers that I enjoyed, most of which also wrote for Unrestrained!, Metal Maniacs or its sister mag Metal Edge, which also was cancelled.

When a few of my favourite writers agreed that they would be willing to participate then I asked some of my friends to also contribute. Having been into metal music for over twenty years, I have made a number of friends that have good taste and strong opinions who had never written before. I wanted their opinions to be known.

I also did an open call for writers through the Bravewords.com message board and that brought some interested writers out too, most notably Ola Mazzuca, who was just going into her last year of high school then.

Did you ever have doubts about whether Hellbound would catch on?

I didn’t have a doubt that it could catch on, but I did worry that being an online only publication might make it hard to curate and build an audience. There are so many only webzines and blogs, I’d even experimented with a few myself previously, but very few have longevity. We’ve managed to pass the two-year mark, which means we’ve basically posted new reviews and interviews for more than 500 business days. I think we’re starting to catch on.

Where do you hope Hellbound will be five years from now?

I hope that it will still be going with a staff that as it least as talented as the wonderful bunch that contribute to it now, and that its daily audience will have at least doubled from the five hundred that visit the site on average every day right now.

Do you have any aspirations to bring Hellbound to Canadian newsstands?

I would really like to see that happen, but I think it may be a little bit too cost prohibitive to do so. A few writers have asked about doing a special edition print version of Hellbound and I would love to, believe you me. We’ll see.

What is your favourite Hellbound memory?

I have a lot of memories and a lot of them are sentimental. Winning a Hamilton Music Award in our hometown was pretty amazing, as was having my son there with me to accept it. But my personal favourite memory is being in Cozumel, Mexico with Adrien Begrand, Albert Mansour and Kevin Stewart-Panko, sitting on a bar patio enjoying some Mexican beer and Cokes at the mid-point of the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise. That was a truly incredible week in more ways than one. Special thanks goes to Adrien for inviting us along!

Any hints on what you have in store for Hellbound readers in the latter half of 2011?

I’m not that organized! I tend to do this site week to week, sometimes looking ahead to the next month but very rarely more than that. I did know that  Adam Wills was going to France to cover Hellfest for us, and I am sure that at least one Hellbound contributor will be at HEAVY TO Fest this July, but apart from that I don’t really know what the future holds. We will definitely be doing our year end lists though, including our Top Canadian Metal albums of 2011.

What five metal albums could you not live without?

Iron Maiden – Piece of Mind
Black Sabbath – Volume IV
Voivod – Dimension Hatross
Mercyful Fate – Melissa
Hawkwind – Doremi Fasol Latido

Adam has been a photographer for Hellbound since day 1 and also has a hand in the technical aspects of running the site.