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Meet Resonating Blog/Zine Founder Angie Aristodemo

Long-running blog and fanzine Resonating recently celebrated its 5 year anniversary, which, in any context, is no small feat for a writer. Creator Angie Aristodemo was kind enough to indulge me on everything from the sweat equity that goes into physical zines to maintaining such a deeply thoughtful and carefully curated corner of the hardcore scene.

Aside from being a hyperliterate read, Angie's work has consistently lifted up and highlighted important voices in and around the subculture we all call home. Enjoy and thanks again, Angie!

Hey! For anyone not already in the know, introduce yourself and your project(s). 
 
Hey! My name is Angie Aristodemo. I’m from the suburbs outside Chicago, and I run a website called Resonating, which also exists as a physical zine. 

You recently eclipsed the 5-year mark, which is no small feat. Take us back to the inception for Resonating. How has that journey been? 
 
I created the blog because I hadn’t been writing as much and wanted to get back into it—however, I wanted to start back off with a space where I got to write about whatever I wanted, without having to ask anyone for permission. Essentially, I just wanted to be able to write about whatever was “resonating” with me. 
 
At first, it was kind of all over the place. The biggest concern is that I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to take with the music I wrote about. I like a lot of different music, and I was worried there wouldn’t be an audience for a blog that writes almost exclusively about hardcore, especially since a lot of my friends at the time (2016) weren’t into it, so I initially wrote about all kinds of bands in an attempt to grow my audience.

I had tried to write for different blogs that ended up telling me the artists I wanted to write about weren’t “big” enough, the genre wasn’t right, whatever. As you can tell, people ended up liking what I was doing, and I was able to find my niche.

It’s definitely been a journey! There were times in-between then that I wasn’t posting that much, and I’ve learned a lot about trying not to get in my own head about it. The funny thing about running a project entirely on your own is that it’s really easy to just throw out any idea you’re doubtful about, because it’s often just you keeping yourself accountable to seeing the idea through.

However, I’ve tried really hard to just say “fuck it” more often and write about the bands and topics I want to, without worrying whether it’s going to get a certain amount of clicks or whatever. The people that are going to fuck with your work, who are supposed to see it, are going to find it regardless.

Photo: Zeltzin Vazquez

As they say, “what’s in a name?” Why the noted switch from “blog” to “zine?” 
 
There’s not a whole lot to it! The last issue of the zine I did went extremely well, and I noticed a lot of people addressing it as “Resonating Zine,” so I decided to change the social media handles. I still use both interchangeably. I like it, though! I think it sounds a little more DIY than “blog,” so it’s more fitting to me.

Walk me through doing a zine. I love the tactile experience and think it’s rad you’re keeping that spirit alive. Where did your love for the medium start? Were there any particular writers/zines that made you get into the format? 
 
So, for me, it’s not really done the typical way. I don’t know how to use Photoshop or anything of that sort, so I use an online photo editor. You don’t need to get anything fancy—you can work with whatever you have! I wanted to find some kind of middle ground between the traditional cut-and-paste style and the more polished, computer-designed route. I think I found a happy medium on #3 with the cutout-style photos. I just wanted the zine to be easy to read, while also having a creative look to it.
 
As far as where my love for zines started, I remember finding out what zines were when I was a young kid on the internet. The problem was I had no idea how to get my hands on them, because I wasn’t going to shows, nor did I have any idea what hardcore was. I really liked the idea of them for the same reason I love hardcore—I love anything that allows you to create your own lane without having to answer to someone else.

I also love that, again, they typically cover bands you’re not going to hear about in a major music outlet. When I got older and got further into hardcore, I was able to start buying them, I fell in love immediately, and was like, “Yeah, I need to start doing this.”
 
My current favorite zines include Off the Surface, Words of Fire, Streets of Hate, Dead at Birth, and Dying Tradition. If you’re looking for something less hardcore-specific, my friend Miranda at Wendy House Press makes some really cool zines. I obviously love zines and could name a million more.

I think it was specifically OTS that inspired me to get started doing them again after a couple years off. Paul is an awesome human being, and I loved the idea that his interviews were just genuine conversations with the people he was speaking to - true human connections. I find that kind of thing super interesting to read.

You’ve clearly been writing for a long time! As someone who relates to this particular lane of “scene participation” as it were, how did that begin? How’d you get your start? 
 
So, as far as writing at all, it’s always kind of always been something that came really easily to me. I still do. When I was a little kid, we had a Halloween writing assignment where the teacher gave us these blank mini booklets to write and illustrate a spooky story in. She ended up loving mine and told me she’d give me the rest of the extra booklets to write more stories in if I wanted, so I ended up spending literally every moment doing that. They were definitely little zines, and I had no idea.

Other than that, I always liked doing essays and stuff like that over anything else in school, and I used to write my own poems, songs and stories growing up. In my teen years, I got my first gig writing for another music website, and I also ran a beauty blog by myself. Fast forward to now, I have this blog and zine, and I’m actually working on finishing up my journalism degree in the next few years, pandemic permitting, of course. 
 
Long story short, I’ve always loved writing, and as far as how I got involved in it as a form of scene participation, I just wanted to contribute somehow. I didn’t feel like I had the kind of resources or time to start a band or book shows, so zines felt like a no-brainer with my background as a writer. It’s also always been a huge plus that it was something I could do by myself whenever I had the time.
 
Based solely on your year-end best of lists, which rule by the way, you have wildly varied taste. I’ve discovered a bunch of great stuff digging through them. For our purposes here at No Echo, though, what brought you to hardcore? Were there any gateway bands? 
 
Thank you so much! I always wonder if people actually read those and it means a lot to me how much you dig them. But you’ve right, my taste is kind of all over the place, hahah.
 
I wish this answer was simpler, but it’s not, so I’ll try to get through it quickly. So, I was a pop punk kid, and there was a lot of crossover between the fans in my area at the time. A hardcore band played a notable local pop punk band’s holiday show, and I finally caved and started checking it out. I essentially just listened to any band I saw on a shirt or heard my friends talking about—Code Orange, Harm’s Way, Floorpunch, Chain of Strength, Incendiary, and then more local bands like Kharma and Bitter Thoughts.

After that, I started meeting friends on the internet who were into hardcore, and I took recommendations from them. My first couple hardcore shows were at slightly bigger clubs/bars, one of those being Foundation’s last Chicago show (which fucking ruled).

The show where I really felt it “click” for me was my first house show in summer 2016. I wasn’t supposed to go, but I got a ride last minute. Blind Justice, Regulate, Detain, No Victory, Breaking Wheel, Decline, and a local band called Short Fuse, in Elgin, IL, at the very aptly-named Mao’s Basement. It was awesome. It was amazing to feel like regular-ass people could create something that felt so indescribably right to me.

I felt like I unlocked a feeling I had been looking for my entire life. It was something I knew I was going to continue to push for a place in no matter what.
 
So, yeah, to summarize, most of my gateway bands were the bands that played my first shows, and most of them remain important to me to this day.

You choose a really fitting name for the zine and a couple of pieces you’ve done “resonated” deeply with me. Your “lifestyle” column which, at its core, intersects with hardcore, is of particular mention and essential reading. Both “An Open Letter About Abuse,” and “You’re Missing The Point of Hardcore” are exceptional pieces. Could you comment on the importance of conversations like these in the larger world of hardcore? 
 
First of all, thank you so much! 
 
The lifestyle pieces often come from me venting about something, then deciding to put that opinion out into the world. The thing about smaller scenes, hardcore included, is that everyone is just a human being. Regardless of what you might think, no one here is better or more important than anyone else. You can access musicians that have made a massive influence on your life very easily.

If you comment on their Instagram photo, they’ll probably see it. When you buy their merch and music, a good amount of the money is, for the most part, going directly to them. People that listen to radio music and go to big concerts are not afforded that luxury. This often means that there’s some social issues that happen to be prominent in our community, which is why I talk about them. Some of them are more important, and some are a little less serious, but all-in-all, it’s just me talking about whatever’s weighing on my mind that day.
 
The first piece was written around June of last year, when things were very tense and a lot of people were speaking about their experiences online. I heard a lot of discourse about how exactly we should hold people accountable. To me, it was important to talk about because I think a lot of us learned that month that suffering doesn’t always look as obvious as you’d think, and it doesn’t have a specific face.

A lot of people were hurt, with many of them hiding in plain sight for a long time before they felt they could say something. Instead of just talking about it, I wanted to write something that would hopefully address that question with possible action.
 
The second one is a bit more lighthearted, but it’s definitely still important. Unsurprisingly, I’ve heard a lot of cool guy bullshit from certain people. The cycle starts with the “cool guys” themselves - people thinking areas belong to them, people not fucking with certain bands because there’s no “cool kids” in them, and so on. The cycle ends, consequently, with people outside hardcore unfairly judging the entire scene because of those people.

To me, both of those people are missing the point of hardcore. At its core, it’s a DIY, anti-establishment-based genre. You get to make your own seat at the table if no one is giving one to you.
 
No one escapes “the list.” As difficult as it might be, what’re your top five hardcore albums? What’s on rotation lately? 
 
This felt absolutely impossible, but here’s my best shot at answering! These aren’t in any order:

  1. Foundation, When the Smoke Clears (greatest of all time)
  2. Blistered, The Poison of Self-Confinement
  3. Bulldoze, The Final Beatdown
  4. Incendiary, Cost of Living
  5. Floorpunch, Fast Times at the Jersey Shore  

As far as recently, I’ve been listening to a mix of a lot of things. All of the above mentioned records are on heavy rotation. I love R&B, and have been listening to a ton of SZA (my favorite), Kali Uchis, and Frank Ocean. I’m also loving all the new records from Glitterer, God’s Hate, All Under Heaven, Citizen, and so on. In general, I listen to a ton of Fall Out Boy, Taking Back Sunday, and other mid-'00s emo.

Photo: Zeltzin Vazquez

Where can people grab a copy of the zine and keep up with the blog? 
 
You can grab a copy of the zine at my BigCartel shop and keep up with the blog at www.resonating.us. Thank you in advance if you order something, mention No Echo sent you in the notes!
 
Our IG and Twitter handles are @resonatingzine, and our Facebook is /resonatingblog. I post updates of all new posts, zines, and whatnot on all three socials. Stay tuned, I’m currently working on zine #4 and trying to plan another popup in Milwaukee, WI (probably sometime in late May).

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