Q: What is Black Ivory Tower and what’s so special about it?
A: At its core, Black Ivory Tower is a website and magazine that focuses on reviewing peripherical music. Black metal, neofolk, traditional music, ambient, you know the drill.
What separates us from most other music outlets is that, in terms of content, reviews are our focal point. For anything we review, we have the ambition to write the best, most informative review available for the release in question. We do not only aim to inform our readers about upcoming bands; we also discuss more established artists to motivate our readers to look at them in new ways. Black Ivory Tower is as much about discovering music as it is about rediscovering the old stuff. Our reviews are essayistic in style, though we never sacrifice anything in terms of readability, nor will we refrain from injecting our writings with a good dose of humor once in a while.
Q: What is the history of the publication?
A: Black Ivory Tower was started in the summer of 2011 by Degtyarov, who has since recruited a few other writers. While these writers all proved to be ‘compatible’ with the direction Degtyarov was going for with Black Ivory Tower, they all bring their own style and opinions to the table, preventing the website from becoming an echo chamber.
In July of 2014, Black Ivory Tower was first released in print. This inaugural physical issue, subtitled ‘Interbellum’, contained mostly new material, provided with a fresh, print-oriented design. The publication was sold out within 2 months on this website, but several webstores still have some copies in stock. New print issues are being worked on, but the website will also remain active.
Q: Do you produce any other articles than reviews?
A: Yes. Although reviews are, as said, our main focus, we also publish editorials and interviews from time to time. We only conduct interviews with artists whom we are genuinely intersted in, and whose oeuvre we know through-and-through. So do not expect any interviews to appear on a weekly or even a monthly basis.
Q: Does Black Ivory Tower, as a publication, have a political stance?
A: We frequently reference political events, but this should not lead anyone to assume that Black Ivory Tower is therefore a political publication. Our view on music and art in general is derived from our worldview, of which politics are of course a part. So whenever we refer to politics in our articles, we reference the same philosophy from which we derive our opinions on the music at hand. At the end of the day, we are not politicians, but music critics. As such, when we invoke imagery or quotes of communist, liberal, fascist or whatever origins, we do so because we find it artistically and aesthetically relevant.
Moreover, we value the right of any individual to express himself freely. This means we will often talk about music that expresses opinions with which me may not agree. Because we prefer our readers form their own opinions on matters, we are against including tons of whiney disclaimers and trigger warnings everywhere, and we refuse to censor whatever any of our interviewees might say. And although the BIT editors stand behind this approach, we still hold vastly differing political views.
Q: Where do you stand on religious issues?
A: We do not have a common policy. Most of us do not seem to be wildly appreciative of satanism, meaning that you are not likely to read try-hard teeny bopper shit like “thank satan” in our articles. Other than that, our editors subscribe to religions varying from Christianity to Buddhism. As such, any religious commentary you may encounter in any one of our articles represents the view of the author in question rather than the publication as a whole.
Q: Can I write for Black Ivory Tower?
A: We are always prepared to offer a stage to new contributors, so if you think you have what it takes, simply write a message to blackivorytower[AT]gmail[DOT]com and we will try to come to an agreement. Mind that we have high quality standards, and we reserve the right to reject any contributions that do not meet our demands or are otherwise deemed unfit for publication. We do not offer anything in the way of financial compensation because this operation costs more money than it generates.
Q: Can I send in promos for review?
A: We are reluctant toward accepting promos. You can send in your work, but we do not give any sort of guarantee that we will cover it. A lot of time and effort goes into writing a review that is up to our standards, and we find the whole process simply works better when we choose our own music. Look at promos as bringing something to our attention, meaning that it might be less costly and time-consuming for you to just drop us a link to your Bandcamp or Soundcloud.
Please consider that this policy is not rooted in arrogance on our behalf, but rather in the fact that this is not a promotional website and could therefore not function operating as such.
Q: Whatever happened to the Dutch site?
A: Black Ivory Tower started out as Bevroren Ivoren Toren, a Dutch website equal to this one, except I wrote everything in my mother tongue. This meant I had to translate all of my articles into English. As more writers joined me, I also had to start translating their work back to Dutch. Effectively, this doubled the workload and kept me from adding new content more regularly. When I started working on the magazine edition, it was no longer an option to have all content in two languages. Given that the Dutch version of BIT had very few readers anyway, I decided it would be best to discontinue it.
Q: Apart from this website, where can I find Black Ivory Tower online?
A: Currently, we have two other media channels:
Facebook – We use this channel to give quick updates and post information on and fragments of upcoming articles and activities.
YouTube – Here we mainly post high-quality renditions of songs we refer to in our articles, as to prevent dead links from littering the website after a while.