So, the tables have turned a bit. I want to get to know the people who spend countless hours covering and writing about the bands and artists we all listen to and love. Whether, you are a journalist, photographer, publicist or artist, chances are you are in this industry because you are a fan, first and foremost.
First, please tell us who you are and your role in the music industry and what’s your genre?
Hi! Thank you so much for having me! My name is Chelf Dortlouke, I am the co-founder and creative director of Metal Digest magazine. (www.metal-digest.com) As for my genre, I have a soft spot for Scandinavian Blackened Death Metal.
What’s your first musical memory?
Hmm… I remember having this doll, called Bibi-Bo Rocker (nod to ‘80s babies) and she came with a mix-tape that had these little silly Barbie versions of rock songs. I used to wear glitter, thinking I was so cool. I was in fact, really not.
Whatever your genre, what was the driving force that pushed you in that direction?
It just feels right. Black and Death Metal, it’s as if someone took the mishmash of thoughts in my head and turned them into glorious sounds and feel-good music.
How did you first discover your genre? For me it was a VHS tape my cousin had with videos recorded from Much Music. (Enter Sandman, 18 and Life, Youth Gone Wild)
Would you judge me if I said ‘I don’t remember’? I can’t remember mychelf not listening to black metal… Hmm… Interesting.
How did it all start for you? What was your foot in the door?
I discovered metal when I was about 13-14 years old, I suppose. A friend gave me a ride home and he had Black Sabbath’s ‘Dehumanizer’ CD in his car. I stole this particular CD and I still have it to this day. Borrowed, I mean, borrowed.
Can you tell us about some of your successes in the music industry? What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Woo! Time to brag!
I’m proud of my very own magazine ‘Metal Digest’, I’m insanely proud of my bands, I’m proud of the fact that I never sold out or compromised my core values.
So, on the flip side, what have been some downfalls or setbacks that you’ve experienced?
How much time do you have? Starting my own business from scratch, taking a huge leap of faith; came at a huge cost as well. Sleepless nights, work non-stop, zero social life as a result and so on. Moreover, I’ve had to work twice as hard to prove myself in the industry because, apparently, I am a woman. Who knew! Jokes aside, not enough hours in the day, is the main struggle. Not my fault, really. Who invented time, after all?
If it applies, do you have any crazy stories from the music industry you’ve experienced?
Put the kettle on, I’ve got plenty. But I’ll go for this one: Waking up before everybody else does, making sure my bands have everything under control before the day begins, working on the magazine, interviewing bands, sorting out the demos, heading to a photoshoot, again check in with my bands, heading to a concert to report back, coming home who knows what time, making sure dinner is on the table for me, my boyfriend Nick, and our dog, Else, and then having to do it all over again. Not crazy enough for ya? I once broke a tooth at a Rotting Christ show.
Do you have a certain process for what you do? Me, I do my PR work usually with a movie on in the background. Something to look up at every once in a while.
Yes! I always, always work with a cup of coffee next to me. I don’t care if it’s good, fresh or stale, it just gotta be there for me. Friends got your back, right? Then I get comfortable at my very small desk, give the good chair to Else so that she can supervise me while I work, and sip my way through my to-do list of the day.
Do you have anything else going on in the music world? Do you play in a band, run a record store, etc.? If so, please tell us about it and give us some links to click and follow.
I also work as a band manager so I guess that falls into this category. I am a freelancer, I do consulting, promotional projects, brand and marketing strategies and overall a holistic management plan for rock and metal bands.
I also model for band merch and do music videos as well, once in a blue moon.
From above: hair n make-up for the video “Horned God’ by Serpent Lord: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaLEolKtzfM&ab_channel=SerpentLord-GR
Snapshots from shooting the music video ‘Disgusting Misery’ by Beyond the Existence.
Photoshoot for Lynchpin’s merch.
Photoshoot for Martyrium’s merch.
Photoshoot for Serpent Lord’s merch campaign.
My links to click:
My website, The Chelfdom www.chelf.net (ß-currently having a makeover)
You can also find me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/chelf.chelfdom/
and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/chelfofficial/
What words of encouragement or warnings could you give to someone looking to get into your sector?
Do your thing. Be relentless but accept criticism gracefully. There’s room for everyone, help a fellow creator out if needed. Find your niche and know your value. Don’t settle but know when to hold back.
Are there any other words you could leave us with?
Running. Out. Of. Coffee. Help.
It’s been fantastic getting to know more about you and I look forward to working with you more and more in the future.
Connect with Chelf:
The Chelfdom www.chelf.net (ß-currently having a makeover)
Metal Digest Magazine: www.metal-digest.com