Witch, black belt in Taekwon-Do and record label owner Alan Craw exclusive interview
Alan Craw in the interview chair
Please introduce yourself to my readers?
My name is Alan Craw, I also go by, and sometimes known via different aliases such as; Herne’s Magister. Outlandish Knight… and by my Scottish Gaelic name – Ailean MacRath-MacPharlain.
Who I am and what I am are two very different things… and I do try to keep both separate… though sometimes there is a fine line between the two?
What I am? I am the founder and manager of the music & multi-media label – DMMG.
Who I am? I am a Pagan Witch, initiated into both Wicca (but no longer a practicing Wiccan) and Traditional Witchcraft.
How would you describe Cyrkel Spynn?
These days? It can seem a bit eclectic? But when I first founded CS (in 1995) and came up with the idea in 1994… the focus was that it would be orientated towards both “Pagan”, and “Gothic” culture and music. Cyrkel Spynn was the first ever music periodical to focus on “Pagan” music, as a music publication. However these days… though we are still a very strongly orientated “Pagan” magazine… we also include other genres within the Alternative and Underground music culture/scene.
Alan Craw interview photos
Please say a bit about DMMG and your musical projects?
DMMG or to use the company’s full name – DisAssociation Music & Media Group… was originally a single company in it’s own right founded in 1998, as a continuation of my interests in the music industry when I shelved Cyrkel Spynn (fanzine)… Cyrkel Spynn as a magazine... Was re-invented or reincarnated if you like in 2006. Anyway… when I initially shelved CS. In 1998, I still wanted to keep in touch with a lot of the people in the music industry I had previously made contact with… a friend of mine whom was working as an accountant at the time for Warner’s suggested I get into music promotions and management… she offered to help me… so thus, DMMG was founded, firstly as a label focused towards the promotional distribution of music and videos of bands and artists whom where on other labels that contracted DMMG to do the promotional distribution on their behalf… then secondly, as a management label for independent artists, we were personally interested in…. that aspect of the label, when DMMG expanded in 2000 became “DMMG Management & Promotions”.
When I re-launched Cyrkel Spynn in 2006, I also decided to re-launch all the other projects and ideas I had previously though about doing… only this time I wanted to do it on as bigger scale… so I could gain further commercial recognition for the label.
DMMG - became the mother of several other labels and ongoing projects that I have currently in the pipeline… Some I have already launched others they exist in name but I still have too explore further, invest in and launch.
DMMG’s subsidiary companies/labels are as follows:
Altar-Ego Music (Music Publishing),
Cyrkel Spynn Publication (Publishing Label),
Dark & Wise Recordings (Music Compilation Label),
DMMG Distro. (Distribution Label for DMMG products),
DMMG Management & Promotions (Promotional Distribution & Artist Management),
DMMG Multi-Media (Multi-Media & Electronic Media Publishing Label),
DMMG Records (Music/Record Label),
DMMG Studios (Our in-house, Multi-Media and Music/Audio Post-Production/Mastering/ 48 –Track - Recording Studio),
Seventh Hell Recordings (Music/Record Label).
At present we have no independent acts/bands etc on the management label, or no bands currently signed to the new label – Seventh Hell Recordings, but I will be scouting around for potential acts in the near future. I am also on the hunt/look out for premises to expand DMMG Studios and the DMMG Office… e.g. the conversion of an old derelict pub or warehouse, etc… If/when I can find a suitable location in the future! Once I have DMMG will become a full-time commercial label… rather than the part-time label that I currently run it as.
Please say a bit about Tori Amos and her recent tour?
I’ve been a fan since 1991. But DMMG (DMMG Management & Promotions) on a business level… only began promoting her music on a promotional distribution level to the media etc in 1998 first through Warner’s and later via other independent promotions labels whom work on behalf of the major labels in the music industry, we do the media forwarding/distribution to the press of promo releases for many bands and artists whom you would call major or commercial, and others alternative, underground and independent… some of those bands previously have included: Eliza Carthy, Enya, Leather Zoo, Lupine, Shadowsphere, Regina Spektor, Staind, Static-X, The Cult, Tori Amos, and others…
But I digress from the point of the question. With regards to Tori Amos and her recent tour… she is an amazing performer the sort of artist whom lives for the stage… the recent tour (for the “Abnormally Attracted To Sin” album) was far, far superior to the last tour (for the “American Doll Posse” album) and was probably her best since 1998 and the Plugged Tour (“From The Choirgirl Hotel” album).
It was nice to see her play at more shows than previously… where she had previously stuck to London and Manchester… this time she also took in Birmingham and Glasgow as well… though personally I’d like to see her do even more… e.g. Sheffield, Nottingham, Newcastle, Edinburgh… etc would be great.
What is your involvement in the martial arts?
I am a black belt in Taekwon-Do… I first got interested I guess… in the early 80’s when my step-dad used to rent out videos from the local video shop… at the time I didn’t realise it… but it later influenced me to get involved, as did various school friends whom were doing martial arts… and later work colleagues (once I had left school, etc). The branch of Taekwon-Do that I do… has been termed “Traditional” Taekwon-Do as opposed to the sports variant which is known as “Olympic” Taekwon-Do… the “Traditional” Taekwon-Do that was originally taught by TKD’s founder… General Choi Hong-Hi, who founded it on the 11th April 1955. He based it upon several different martial arts including Taekyyon, Soo Bahk, Tae Soo Do (all Korean) and fleshed them out with the Karate (Shotokan Karate and Karate-Do) he learned as a POW (Prisoner of War) during World War II.
I wanted to do something that was different from the fashionable Karate and Kung Fu… but still something that had a strong philosophy with regard to spiritual beliefs and the esoteric… and Korean Martial Arts has that with the practical uses of “Ki” energy… and the traditional focus on balancing movement and energy and creating temperance.
What attracted you to the pagan pathway?
I guess I’ve always been a Pagan… as a child I was intrigued and fascinated by some of the mythos of the Greek legends… I first got interested in mythology and the supernatural? If you want to call it that… via the late 70’s and early 1980’s comic book annual – Monster Fun…. which used to be published along with the comic strips… facts on the supernatural and tales from various myths… I guess it originally grew from there…
Please list some bands and artists you admire.
There are so many… over the years, different bands have influenced me in different ways from so many different styles of music.
As a child I was a huge ‘Adam & the Ants’ fan in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Then my dad later introduced me to ‘Status Quo’ (He’s a massive fan.), my step-dad he introduced me to the likes of ‘Meat Loaf’, ‘Jim Steinman’, and the ‘Scorpions. Then when I had left school and went to college… I was introduced by friends there to bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Mega Deth, Anthrax, Helloween, Skyclad, Metal Church, Venom, etc.
Then later as a performing musician, I got into punk, glam-rock and goth…. Through the influences of other musicians I had worked with in bands, etc… bands like Hanoi Rocks, Dogs D’Amour, Georgia Satellites, Faster Pussycat, Vain, The Wildhearts, Manic Street Preachers, The Cult, Fields of the Nephilim, Sisters of Mercy, Siouxsie & the Banshees, All About Eve, The Levellers, Blondie, Kim Wilde, Transvision Vamp, Shakespeare’s Sister, Marcella Detroit, Tori Amos, Nick Cave, The Waterboys, and then later… I got into… Kate Bush, Clannad, Enya, Vanessa Mae, Frances Rufelle, Eliza Carthy, Medieval Baebes, Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation, Nightwish, Tarja, and yes… Inkubus Sukkubus.
As for whom I admire… any artist that does music for the love of music, for the performance and self expression as an act of expressing themselves creatively rather than just to make money, etc.
Doing it for the sheer love of it, and the pleasure of pleasing one’s self on a creative level, along with pleasing their audiences as a bonus of their personal endeavours’
Plans for the future?
Pretty much I've mentioned them above… find suitable premises for the label and studio. Sign more bands to the label, and put out more releases, etc.
Anything else you would like to add or promote?
Thanks for the interview opportunity. It’s been ages since I have done an interview… and would like to say if any other magazines or fanzine would like to rack my brains… feel free to ask me for an interview.
Yeah… I have to say it… independent labels and artists need the support of music fans… the internet is become a haven of people expecting everything quick and free… but those whom are expressing themselves on a creative level need you the fans to support by you buying their products. I’m a traditionalist and personally I'd rather hold a record, tape or CD, than downloading it from the internet or pinching a copy from a friend… If you're into something then support the person or artist whom you are into by buying something from them… artists of whatever calibre have to pay for what they create… so support them… otherwise the music industry, or whatever industry will eventually die.
So yes… Buy Steve Andrews the Bard of Ely's new CD album – Welsh Wizard. Help both DMMG and him have the means to produce more good and honest, independent music…
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