Hello, darling geeks! We’ve got a great partnership for you today! You’re about to get to know High Voltage, & I myself sure wish I’d known about it from its inception, because it is so cool. It may quickly become one of your favorite online resources! They’ve got reviews of music, books, movies & more. They’ve got interviews. They’ve got photos and videos. And they put out print issues quarterly. If you’re not quite convinced yet, they’ve also got great fandom-inspired buttons for sale. You officially can’t ask for more than that!
We’ve got an interview for you with Chelsea Schwartz, one of the original founders of High Voltage & an inspiring geek in her own right.
What inspired you to start High Voltage?
Initially, High Voltage was created by four ecstatic music fans in 2003 who wanted to give back to the music we loved so much. I had a background in journalism so I knew how to speak with publicists, edit copy, etc. My friends were excellent writers, one was an aspiring web designer and another studying photography. We all met each other through a shared love of the band OK Go and were active members on their message board. It was pretty much meant to happen.
Could you tell us about how High Voltage has changed over time? What has that been like?
For starters, around 2008, I became the only founding member of High Voltage that’s still around. With that change, I realized I wanted to cover much more than music and we began to branch out into all sorts of lifestyle coverage. In particular, I’m fascinated by TV/Film fandoms & nerd culture and wanted a bigger way to dive deep into that world. Since then I kind of made it policy that my team can cover anything their heart is excited about. With that said, you can be disappointed or dislike things you are excited about, but you’ll never be forced to cover something you have zero interest in. I’m tired of reading other publications where you can just tell the author had no interest in the piece from the beginning, it comes across in the writing and that doesn’t make me want to keep reading.
On top of that, we now put a lot of power in our audiences’ hands with each print issue. As of last year, our audience picks/votes on who goes on the cover of every print issue we put out now. The latest winner, for our upcoming Fall 2015 issue, is Kirk Thatcher. The voting process is very interactive and a lot of fun! If you’d like to possibly nominate/vote for our next issue, follow @highvoltagemag and pay attention to announcements around Sept 15th.
We’ve also started to carry our own limited edition fandom button line which has been a lot of fun to develop. Constantly looking for new ideas on button designs, so if anyone reading feels your fandom needs more representation let us know!
What’s your favorite part of what you do? What has been the most unexpected?
Wow – I don’t know. I love it all. I love the feeling every time a new piece or issue is published, and waiting for the audience reactions. I love interviewing all the actors and musicians we have access to. I love marketing High Voltage via our social networks. I love attending ‘cons and meeting fellow nerds. Literally every aspect of what High Voltage does is very rewarding/fulfilling/exciting to me. The only unexpected moments come from checking our stats, when a piece takes off (a lot of traffic) on a rather unknown artist or something we’ve never covered before… realizing there’s an audience for it is unexpected and fun to watch/learn!
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to get into publication?
Ben Fong-Torres, former editor of Rolling Stone, once told me “Just keep writing.” This was before High Voltage when I was writing for regional newspapers and brand new (to the time) web publications. And I think that’s the best advice. It was a different way of saying “never give up” or “nothing’s impossible.”
If you could have any pen pal, real or fictitious, who would you choose?
Sherlock Holmes in hopes I’d get long vents about recent cases and how he solved them, and perhaps he could even tell me what I’d been doing that week I wrote him. Otherwise, Walt Disney. Don’t think that one even needs an explanation.
What are some albums you’d recommend to anyone?
I’ve got three recommendations.
1. For anyone planning to take a road trip (especially to see a band), pick up Jackson Browne’s Running On Empty. It was written and recorded on the road. It’s great.
2. Nightmare and the Cat’s Simple, a band that broke up about two months after their debut album came out; just barely getting a chance to promote it. And I can’t get enough of it! You can read a review I wrote on it here: http://iamhighvoltage.com/2014/07/21/simple-by-nightmare-and-the-cat/
3. And my all-time favorite album (I’ve never gotten sick of even one track on it): Counting Crows – August and Everything After
BONUS: Check out the band BØRNS.
In your free time, what are your favorite things to do?
I’m a Disney nerd, I spend a lot of time at Disneyland Resort where I became a Legend of Frontierland, I frequent the Mad T Party (not the ride, the concert event) and I love to eat. When it comes Disneyland dining, I’m a foodie.
What’s something new you’ve tried lately that you’ve liked?
I’m currently on a food journey to heal my body, so I’ve had to cut out a lot of foods more Americans eat on a daily basis. The diet is more commonly known as Autoimmune Paleo. With that said, I just discovered a Gluten-Free, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Kosher, Nut-Free, Egg-Free, No Refined Sugar/Flours, No Coconut, Non-GMO (was that a mouthful yet?) Lemon Cookie that I’m in love with. It’s from a brand called Wholesome Chow (and their Big Yummy Brownie is delicious too).
A good place to get started on your discovery of High Voltage would be their latest YouTube playlist, of coverage from San Diego Comic Con! It has more videos coming soon!
We get the super rad opportunity to do a giveaway for you– one lucky winner will be granted a year subscription for the print editions of High Voltage, plus their choice of three of the fandom buttons of their choice!
We’re so grateful to Chelsea & the High Voltage team for this chance to share the great work they do!