Maine Campus Interview – Full Text

So it turns out the Maine Campus website is incredibly lame in that it requires registration to view any of its content. It’s free, but annoying enough to prevent most people from giving a damn. So here’s the full text of the interview as published by both the website and the printed publication.

WMEB Spot: Ministry of Metal
by Kegan Zema

Jeremy Swist, a Latin and secondary education student at the University of Maine, hosts the weekly radio show, “The Ministry of Metal,” Sundays from 7 to 10 p.m.

MC: What got you first involved with WMEB?

Swist: I saw an advertisement on FirstClass, and they said they needed metal DJs. So I thought I might as well take the opportunity to expose the kind of metal I was into, which wasn’t the kind that most people think of what metal is.

MC: What characterizes your type of metal?

Swist: I specialize in extreme metal, like black metal and death metal, but I also love more traditional styles like doom metal and heavy metal. What most current people think of when they think of metal is the new-wave American heavy metal, like Lamb of God and Godsmack and some bands that aren’t actually metal. People who aren’t into metal, they look at that [type of metal] and think that’s what the entire genre is like. But that’s the case with every genre of music. People will look at hip-hop and if they’re not really into it, think hip-hop is all 50 Cent and Lil’ Wayne, but they shouldn’t by any means represent what the genre really is.

MC: On your show, do you try to show people that there is a whole different side to the genre?

Swist: That’s part of my mission. I am on this forum called, and it’s basically a music discussion forum. I will post the Webstream link, and they [other forum users] will listen in. I get requests from them, and they use it to discover the bands I’m into. Sometimes people who have their own really underground band will send me songs to play on the station, and there are also local bands I promote on the show.

MC: How did you first start listening to metal? As an extreme genre, most people slip into it from something else; they don’t just walk into a store and pick up a Slayer CD out of nowhere.

Swist: How most people get really deep into metal is they start with the bands that they think represent the genre as a whole. Those surface bands that once they’re really into the genre, they look back at them and think they don’t have much substance. In early high school, I got into nu-metal like System of a Down and Linkin Park, and I just moved deeper from there. I got into Metallica and Rammstein and from there, I got into bands that I could no longer find on Napster or Kazaa, so I actually had to physically buy CDs. Then I joined that forum and that opened a whole new world of music to me. The thing with extreme metal is it takes a while to acclimatize, because there are certain elements of it that aren’t very accessible.

MC: Much of the metal scene you’re are a fan of is based out of Europe. Do you feel that you are at an advantage or a disadvantage living in the United States?

Swist: Well I’m certainly isolated from the European metal scene. Metal is huge in Europe. In Norway, black metal evolved kind of as a counter-culture but also very much based in their ancestral roots. What black metal has become today is a very extreme representation of culture. So I just want to make people over here realize that metal is very deep and significant – it’s not just angry music.

MC: The metal scene often revolves around being the most legitimate. However, I have seen many die-hard metal fans embrace Dethklok from the Adult Swim show “Metalocalypse,” a completely fictional band. What is your take on the Dethklok phenomenon?

Swist: Well, I personally don’t really like Dethklok, I have always seen them as just a parody band, stereotyping the metal culture. But I think people are really into them because they are just a fun band. You have another band like Gwar, that’s also kind of a joke band, but there’s also a serious aspect to it.

MC: I noticed you are wearing an Amon Amarth shirt. I know they represent almost the opposite of the idea of being a parody band because they have such a fervent belief in Viking culture. Do find that many of the metal bands you enjoy are fully entrenched in the music they make and the world they live in?

Swist: Well, the problem is that creativity is hard to come by, and no genre of music is free of trends. So with black metal there is the whole satanic trends. Most bands don’t take it seriously, but they think that in order to be legitimate ,they have to adopt that persona. It’s the same with death metal and the death and gore lyrics. The key element to any of those genres is defined by the music, the thematic stuff is just superficial. But because it’s more easily perceptible … a genre is defined by its image, not by its music, and I don’t find that to be fair.

MC: Anything else you’d like to add?

Swist: Check out my show. See the other side of the coin, what’s under the surface, and let the music speak for itself.

“The Ministry of Metal,” part of the complete WMEB lineup, can be heard on 91.9 FM, online at and on channel 20 of campus television.


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