Bob Donovan from Carpe Nocturne
From a roadie to the founder of a magazine dedicated to being the voice of the New Dark Culture, Bob Donovan has finally found his calling. Carpe Nocturne was born out of a desire to create a community of creative and open-minded people passionate about the Goth culture and all it has to offer. The magazine is more than just black clothes and punk rock. It’s a place where those who march to the beat of their own drum can stay in the know when it comes to music, fashion, art and literature. Armed with a strong following and a passion for the scene, his magazine picks up where Carpe Noctem left off and he shows no signs of stopping. We had the awesome opportunity to not only learn more about him but the often misunderstood community that he represents.
What is your professional background and how did it lead you to starting your own magazine?
Well, I’ve had a love for music since I was in High School. However, I became a roadie and then stage lighting director of an extremely popular Boston based Dark Rock trio known as Bastel’ in 1979. At that point, my love for music and desire to become more involved skyrocketed. I read books, studied and took some courses at Mass Collage of the Arts and then started managing rock and metal bands. I loved rock and metal but there always seemed to be something missing… I didn’t fit for one reason or another.
By the early 90′s I signed an all female rock/metal act in Phoenix known as Whiskey Blu right as they were forming. They were awesome musicians and, I felt confident that I knew what I was doing. Within a year they performed over 100 shows and won several major awards. Then they started opening for major acts and got signed to an indie label. The label proceeded to screw them over bad and we all lost everything.
While I was taking a break from management, I thought, “Hey, there’s nothing promoting the local scene here. Maybe I’ll make a Newsletter and put them around.” So, my 6 to 10 page photocopied, stapled in the corner newsletter got popular and people started saying “I Love your magazine!” Better still, “How can we advertise?” It was there my first magazine, “The Alternative Mews” was born. Over the years I published print magazine supporting local and indie music and around 2004 or 2005 I was immersed into the Goth Culture and the rest is history! It is my life now and supporting it is my mission!
What was your vision for creating Carpe Nocturne? Why did you decide to continue the legacy of the Carpe Noctem print publication of the 90′s?
That is a somewhat interesting story. I had only seen an issue or two of Carpe Noctem back in the 90′s and enjoyed it, but honestly, I had forgotten about it. Years later I was doing a Feature within the now defunct publication known as Indie IN-TUNE. This feature was to be about the “Dark Scene” including, but not limited to Goth / Industrial / EBM and the like. So, I thought Carpe Nocturne would be a good name for the feature as it meant “Seize The Night” in Latin. However, later I was to discover that Carpe Nocturne is actually a common misspelling or miss use of the term. It’s assumed that nocturne, short for nocturnal, is night. However, the proper Latin translation is Carpe Noctem. However, I’d already started using the name.
Then, once the feature swiftly outgrew the publication and branched off to become its own publication, the name Carpe Nocturne stuck. After about the 3rd or 4th issue back in 2005, we got a few e-mails saying we missed you and we still have print copies of the publication. I had no clue what they were talking about. Then, as time went on, I was asked if we were the Carpe Noctem/Carpe Nocturne magazine of the 90′s. THEN IT DAWNED ON ME! So, I researched it and found some old copies and went through everything page by page, story by story.
At this point, I reached the conclusion that the original publication with the proper use of the name, Carpe Noctem, had stopped printing several years before our Carpe Nocturne. Not only that, I felt the publishers of Carpe Noctem had the same goals as we do as their stories and reporting seemed very honest, from the heart, and positive. The publication was very informative and geared toward their readers. With all that in mind, though nervous about possible trademark / trade name infractions, I decided to proceed with the publication and hope for the blessings of Carpe Noctem publishers as, we too, are a down to earth, positive, honest and informative publication.
About 6 months ago I got a friend request on Facebook. To my amazement, it was one of the founders of Carpe Noctem! I contacted her and she said she’d been reading and following the publication for several months and loved it! Best of all, I asked if she’d be willing to do an interview and she said yes! That interview will be taking place soon and appear in Carpe Nocturne Magazine. However, you now see advertisements within Carpe Nocturne Magazine for Carpe Noctem as they are selling compilations of their top stories. So, it’s kinda funny how it all worked out.
Your site tagline reads “The Voice of the New Dark Culture.” Who is the New Dark Culture?
People who enjoy the darker side of culture. By this, I DO NOT mean morbid, death, hurting oneself or others or any of the media based bull crap clichés that surround the “Dark Culture” or “Goth Scene.” Columbine was a tragedy indeed, but the media needed someone to blame and because the idiots wore black trench coats and has a Marilyn Manson (someone who call them self Goth but is really an opportunist who capitalized on the Goth image, exploited it out of control and target teeny boppers because he knew they buy it) the media just went whole hog on “The Goths!” Because of that, the kindest, most open minded, forgiving, accepting and mellow culture I have ever known was slaughtered and splintered. So, the Dark Culture is more of a term that is not so attached to the media blitz on something they know nothing about!
What is the Dark Culture? Individualists, people with open minds, caring about themselves and the environment, and march to a different drummer and don’t feel the need to be in the SPOTLIGHT of the Norm! So, they step out of the spotlight of the hum-drum life and into the darkness.
What is your Vision and goals for the magazine?
Carpe Nocturne Magazine is here to support this “Culture” by providing informative coverage, interviews, reviews, stories and event coverage of this entire and diverse culture. Not so “more people get interested,” but so that those who are involved know what’ going on, who’s who, and how and where to go and simply have a great time.
As this culture is not “main stream” in any way, we don’t get the radio airplay, media coverage of arts and fashion events and other activities. To be perfectly honest, that is fine with us! Once something becomes “mainstream” or “Pop” it tends to lose its luster and simply gets over marketed and becomes yet another tool for corporate America to target a group and make money from them. Look at the Rock/Metal and “Alternative” worlds… When you started hearing orchestral version Led Zeppelin in the elevator going to the dentist or at the mall or hear piped through the store versions of “The Cranberries” or “Fish” while shopping at Home Depot, you pretty much know it’s over for that scene.
So basically, Carpe Nocturne Magazine is a kind of a “Members Only Newsletter” to the members of a specific “group” to keep each other informed and updated on the activities and interests many share within the group.
We hope to be adding video to the magazine, possibly our own online radio station, record label and much more. In the mean time, we do our best support and sponsor various related events around the world.
What new features/projects do you have in store for the magazine?
Video interviews, maybe our own label, and other surprises that I just can’t say yet!
What do you think the average person, with only stereotypical knowledge of the Goth subculture, would find the most surprising about you?
Well, those with the stereotypical knowledge of Goths more than likely got it from the damn media and rumors. So, based on that, I’d say those people would be AMAZED that rather than making plans to kill everyone at the mall or at school, I actually run a magazine with worldwide readership and volunteer staff around the world. I’d say they’d never think I am positive and true! They wouldn’t believe in a million years we support causes like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Cancer Research, Gay / Lesbian Rights, Open to all religious viewpoints, accepting of all lifestyles, I’m learning (with the help of my beautiful girlfriend Charlene) to be more into healthy eating. Also, supporting the environment, ecology, animal rights and more. I have cats and don’t use them for sacrifices! I actually LOVE THEM! And, my girlfriend and I, along with our partner Goth/Industrial DJ AddamBombb raise honeybees here in our yard.
There, that’s most likely got some jaws hitting the floor!
Photos courtesy of: Carpe Nocturne