Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Interview with Natasha Scharf

As a long time Goth and a regular attender of Gothic events I was really interested to hear that a new book that explores the world of Gothic from its origins in the music scene to its present day metamorphosis is due to be released at the end of this month! Written by Natasha Scarf, former editor of Meltdown Magazine, this book promises to take a good look at the impact Goth has had across the world.

I had the chance to speak with Natasha and ask her about her past, the book and her plans for the future.
Natasha Scharf by Taya Uddin

Lisa - You were the Editor of the fantastic Meltdown Magazine, Tell us a little about your writing career?

Natasha - Well, I've been writing ever since I learned how to - I started my first fanzine when I was 7 although that had a very limited print-run and wasn't quite up to the standards of my later efforts! By 16, I was writing for our local newspaper and by 19, I was editorial assistant on an international classical music magazine during my university breaks! The seeds for meltdown were planted shortly after I graduated from a journalism degree and I juggled that while working for various media institutions. These days, I'm a full-time freelance music journalist and count Metal Hammer among the magazines that I write for - a publication that I used to dream of writing for!

Lisa - And so now you've written Worldwide Gothic. What can we expect from this book?

Natasha - Worldwide Gothic was no mean feat - it chronicles the goth scene from its birth in London in 1976 with the very first Siouxsie and the Banshees gig right up to the present day, looking at how it developed around the world and how it's changed over the years. I've been listening to goth music since I was a child and have been writing about it for many years but I have to admit that even I was surprised by some of the things I learned while researching this book! The toughest part was having to condense it all down over a very short space of time - it really is a culmination of my life's work.  I've packed Worldwide Gothic with new interviews and loads of full-colour photos, many of which have never been seen before - I'm really excited about the project and I can't wait to share my findings with everyone.

Lisa - Your cover image features the stunning Lady Amaranth. Did you have much difficulty in selecting the face of Gothic culture??
Cover Image by Taya Uddin

Natasha - To me, Lady Amaranth's image epitomises the most glamorous side of contemporary gothic and she always looks stunning. There are so many different interpretations of the gothic look and one thing I learned while researching this book is that those interpretations vary wildly not only from country to country but also from era to era so it was important to use a model who would be universally recognised as 'gothic'. Lady Amaranth's look ticks all the right boxes and I don't think anyone could argue that she doesn't look gothic!

But there are other ingredients to take into consideration too. I chose the photographer Taya Uddin to take the photo as her stunning imagery has just the right balance of darkness and light without being over-the-top or cheesy. The beautiful corset worn on the cover was made by the talented alternative designer Larysa K, whose corsetry has to be seen to be believed and the jewellery is by the famous Alchemy Gothic, who have been creating some of the most incredible designs since the very birth of goth (I recently had the privilage of visiting their factory in Leicester and was amazed to watch the pieces being crafted by hand). I should also point out that everyone involved in creating the image has roots in different parts of the world so the cover alone summarises worldwide gothic to me!

That said, there was only room for one model on the cover so I wanted to include a selection of some other well-known gothic models inside the book as well. These include AndromedaX, Fracture and Dark Morte and there are lots of photographs of goths from around the world as well as bands and musicians - this is a very colourful book that should surprise anyone who thought goths only wore black!
Bloodlust and Katie Korpse at  WGW by Stephen Milward

WGT goth by Stephen Milward

Lisa - In your time as editor of Meltdown Magazine you introduced us to a number of fantastic up and coming
bands/artists. Do you have a particular favourite amongst them?

Natasha - Oh, goodness! I never stopped writing about up-and-coming artistes even after what I refer to as 'the meltdown years' so it would be impossible to choose just one favourite. Music is constantly evolving and fashions are constantly changing - I must have written about hundreds of acts over the years (at least)! I can't deny that when a band or singer I've written about starts being referenced in blogs and other publications, I do feel a warm glow :)

Lisa - You've been as magazine editor, DJ, presenter and now author. What can we expect from you next?

Natasha - I've also done some acting, production and voice-over work! My boyfriend keeps saying that I ought to become a children's author next although I'm not quite sure if I'm ready for that just yet! Worldwide Gothic is actually the fifth book I've written so I'm rather keen to tweak my earlier efforts and see whether I can get any of those published. In the meantime, I shall be continuing with my music journalism and I have a few other magazines in the pipeline that I'm looking at contributing to.

Other than that, I'm a firm believer in taking whatever Fate throws in my path so I don't like to place too much
expectation in anything!  

Worldwide Gothic is published by ImpBooks and is released on the 23rd June 2011. For more details you can visit the publishers website Here.

Preorder your copy from Amazon for just £7.61!

Lady Amaranth and Natasha Scharf wear jewellery from the Alchemy Gothic collection
Lady Amaranth's corset is by Larysa K
Natasha Scharf's hair extensions have been dyed using Manic Panic semi-permanent hair colour cream and she is wearing make-up from the Creature Of The Night collection

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